2 Cases of Mucositis Involving the Oral Cavity

Case 1

A 62 year old man, an auto mechanic, presented with an 18-month history of recurrent canker sores in his mouth.  He had consulted many physicians,  no definitive diagnosis was made.  One physician prescribed an immunosuppressive drug for him.  He saw some improvement but he did not like the bone pain side effect.  He had no other significant medical history.  His energy level was good and no other energy issues.  He chose to discontinue the prescription drug and started Chinese herbal treatment under my guidance.

A mixture of predominantly anti-inflammatory herbs, some blood tonics/energy boosting herbs, in conjunction with stomach-pacifying herbs was given.  Over the next three months, his oral condition gradually improved and eventually, with no side effects from the herbs, resolved completely.  He is currently off the herbs, and is being followed only.

Case 2

A 45 year old nurse presented with oral mucositis of more than 10 years duration.  The sores, while predominantly on the tip of her tongue, also affected the entire buccal mucosa.  She also suffered from hot flashes (mostly at night), insomnia, irritability, chronic fatigue and palpitation.  According to traditional Chinese medicine, she has heart and kidney Yin energy deficiency (please refer to the Yin-Yang discussion).

Two herbal formulas were prescribed.  Her condition improved rapidly and all her symptoms disappeared within six weeks.

Discussion points:

  • Canker sores may be the manifestation of an underlying energy imbalance/deficiency.  In holistic medicine, different parts of the body are interrelated.  In traditional Chinese medicine, the tongue is connected with the heart energy channel.  With herbal therapy, our nurse friend not only felt better in her mouth, her whole body felt much better.
  • The goal of Chinese herbal therapy is to cure and to heal completely and no one takes herbs “forever” – with the exception of some chronic and serious conditions, such as cancer.  Both patients discontinued their herbal decoction after a number of weeks.  Certainly, they may require further treatment should their problem relapse.
  • Herbal usage is safe under the guidance of someone well trained in traditional Chinese medicine.  A mixture of herbs is used over a relatively short period of time, rather than one herbal ingredient in large quantity over a long period of time.  The latter condition is more likely to be responsible for drug-herb interaction.
  • Cost effectiveness: The cost of the herbal therapy is about $100 – $200 per month, probably the most cost effective solution in health care today.

Dr. Peter Sheng
Cincinnati Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Therapy, Integrative Medicine & Holistic Health Care