Present treatment of ITP using conventional medicine includes use of:
- Platelet transfusion
- Gamma globulin
About thirty percent of the patients receiving these forms of treatment observe no obvious treatment effect (Yuan YP, Yang X, Hu BN, et al.)
There is ongoing research on new drug therapies for adult primary immune thrombocytopenic purpura (J Exp Hematol 2020;28:677–81.)
Many of these treatments, including the use of glucocorticoids, are able to bring a stop to the acute phase of inflammation, which is life-saving and tremendously helpful. This has to be recognized.
There are several parts to understanding and accepting how Chinese herbs can be employed in the treatment of ITP.
The first part is understanding that perhaps herbs have the ability to alter the immune status of an inflammatory condition. While glucocorticoids are able to limit the effectiveness of inflammatory mediators, they generally suppress cellular immunity more than humoral immunity.
Some Chinese herbs are able to enhance humoral and/or cellular immunity. These herbs include adaptogens like astragalus or ginseng, and are generally seen as ‘tonics.’
There are other herbs that do well when used together with the above-mentioned ‘tonics.’ These herbs, which include Caulis Lonicera Japonica and Rhizoma Smilacis Glabra, are able to regulate/inhibit immune function. They may not do so with the precision of a biologic; at the same time, they also are likely not to carry the side-effects wrought by immunosuppressive agents like MTX or cyclosporine.
In addition, there are also herbs like Rehmannia that are able to inhibit humoral immunity while enhancing cellular immunity. This is important because humoral immunity is often over active in many autoimmune diseases like ITP.
In cases where the patient already has the acute phase of bleeding under control through the use of corticosteroids, but PLT levels have reached a plateau, it can be helpful to consider the use of Chinese medicine to raise PLT levels.
Below, is a review from a patient who has responded very well to treatment using Chinese Herbs.