Li Dan Pian
To dissolve and remove gallstones. Likely course of use is 4 weeks.
ACUPUNCTURE FOR GALLSTONES
Excerpted from "TREATMENT OF GALLSTONES WITH
CHINESE HERBS AND ACUPUNCTURE"
By Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon
For the complete article go to: http://www.itmonline.org/arts/gallstones.htm
It is unclear whether acupuncture, by itself, can cause expulsion of gallstones, but acupuncture is used to treat symptoms of gallstones, such as biliary colic. The two acupuncture points mentioned in this article, qimen (LV-14) and riyue (GB-24), are the main ones mentioned in the literature. These points lie over the liver on the right side, and are located one rib apart and directly below the nipple. Only the right side is treated. An extensive analysis of the value of these points was presented in an article on treatment of biliary colic (6), along with brief mention of the nearby point juque (CV-14). In the discussion of their treatment, the authors stated:
- We found that the most sensitive and tender point of qimen [among our patients with biliary colic] is in the area defined by the lines connecting qimen, riyue, and juque points, which, according to traditional Chinese medicine, is the dividing line between the liver and the gallbladder, and is indicated mainly for treating diseases of the internal organs in the vicinity. Qimen is the mu point [alarm point] of the liver, riyue is the mu point of the gallbladder, and juque is the mu point of the heart. The front mu points are used mainly in the treatment of diseases of the internal organs. Various painful lesions are the result of failure of the heart and liver to remove stagnancy of vital energy, leading to impediment to the flow of Qi of the gallbladder, thus producing the pain. Basing on the principle of treating pain by needling the location where pain exists, the most marked tender spot was detected in the region of the three points....
Other points frequently mentioned in the literature for treating gallstones include the lower leg points yanglingquan (GB-34), qiuxu (GB-40), and zusanli (ST-36); in addition, there is an extra point known as the gallbladder point (dannangxue), just below GB-34 (about 1-2 cun lower). The nausea and pain associated with cholecystitis and with biliary blockage is treated at neiguan (PC-6) and zhigou (TB-6), above the wrist. In explaining the use of these points, the Advanced Textbook of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Pharmacology states:
- Qimen and riyue are the front mu points of the liver and gallbladder meridians respectively; zhigou and yanglingquan can relieve hypochondriac pain, while zusanli helps strengthen the spleen and disperse dampness-heat.
Ear acupuncture developed a reputation for being a method for expelling gallstones during the 1980s. It was reported to be especially effective for the damp-heat type and less so for the stagnation-stagnation types of patients, but not effective for those with Qi deficiency. Over 60 auricular points have been used in the treatment of gallstones, making it difficult to pick out points that might be particularly effective. Not surprisingly, the most commonly used points were those associated with the liver, gallbladder, bile duct, pancreas, duodenum, stomach, spleen, and small intestine. A course of treatment would be thirty days with pressure applied to the point using various kinds of pellets, especially vaccaria seeds (which have a sharp point and may be substituted by the small "ear tacks"). Pressure would be applied for 20-30 minutes after meals (about 15 minutes after eating). Despite the high efficacy of the therapy in alleviating symptoms, the number of cases reported to have complete elimination of stones was usually only about 10%, sometimes as high as 20%. During treatment, stone expulsion would yield a sensation of distention or pain in the region of the gallbladder.
Unfortunately, it was found that in patients who had only a portion of the stones expelled, new stones appeared very rapidly, sometimes leading to a worsened condition after treatment. One researcher, Shang Cen Ruo of the Nanjing College of TCM, cautioned that a higher efficacy of ear acupuncture for stone expulsion should be attained before recommending wide spread use of the technique. Other researchers noted superior effects when ear acupuncture was combined with herbal therapy.