Chinese Herbal Footbath for Diabetic Foot

Diabetic foot refers to ulcers and recurrent or nonhealing sores on the feet and lower extremities of patients with diabetes mellitus. Such sores and ulcers are an important cause of morbidity in patients with diabetes. They can and often do lead to acromelic gangrene and amputation. Bai Ying-tuo published an article titled, “The Treatment of 40 Cases of Diabetic Foot with Chinese Medicinal Steaming & Washing,” in issue #2, 2002 of Ji Lin Zhong Yi Yao (Jilin Chinese Medicine & Medicinals) on page 38. A precis of that article appears below.

Cohort description:

Of the 40 patients in this study, 18 suffered from type 1 diabetes and 22 suffered from type 2. The course of disease (for diabetic foot) had lasted from 10 days to three years. No further description of these patients was given.

Treatment method:

The Chinese medicinal footbath consisted of: Herba Tougucao (Tou Gu Cao), 30g, Caulis Milletiae Seu Spatholobi (Ji Xue Teng), 30g, Herba Lycopodii (Shen Jin Cao), 30g, Radix Rubrus Paeoniae Lactiflorae (Chi Shao), 15g, Flos Carthami Tinctorii (Hong Hua), 15g, Lignum Sappan (Su Mu), 15g, Radix Phytolaccae (Shang Lu), 15g, Radix Et Rhizoma Notopterygii (Qiang Huo), 15g, and Radix Ligustici Wallichii (Chuan Xiong), 15g. One ji of these medicinals was decocted in water per day. First it was used to steam and then it was used to wash (or soak) the affected area. This was done once each morning and night for 40 minutes each time. During this treatment, patients were forbidden to eat acrid, peppery foods or to drink alcohol.

Treatment outcomes:

Twenty cases were judged cured after 10 ji, 12 were cured after 15 ji, and three were cured after one whole month of treatment. Five cases did not persist in doing the washes and soaks resolutely.

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