Basic knowledge about Kampo for neurologists

Muramatsu, S.

Rinsho Shinkeigaku 53(11): 934-937


ISSN/ISBN: 0009-918X
DOI: 10.5692/clinicalneurol.53.934
Accession: 068511340

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Kampo is a traditional form of medicine in Japan. The individual formulas of the Kampo medicines consist mainly of plant-derived crude drugs. Recently, extract products that maintain specific levels of quality have been commonly used for dosage formulation instead of decoction. Although severe side effects, including pseudoaldosteronism, interstitial pneumonitis, liver damage and mesenteric phlebosclerosis may occasionally arise in some patients, herbal formulations are generally safe compared with potent western medicines. Since the complicated interaction of a Kampo formulation is difficult to analyze pharmacologically, the use of each Kampo formula has been based on the empirical rules described in classical writings by clinicians. Currently, formula selection is not always based on the pathological recognition from the Oriental medicine perspective, because these ancient theories are not necessarily amenable to current clinical practice. Nevertheless, formula selection would be more appropriate, and the therapeutic efficacy would increase if the physicians understood the basic concepts of ki, ketsu, sui, yin-yang, hypofunction and hyperfunction, heat and cold, superficies and interior, the five parenchymatous viscera and the six stages of disease. Regardless of the primary diseases, many Kampo formulas are considered to be indicated for patients complaining of headache, dizziness and numbness, which are common symptoms in everyday practice in neurology.