Pain and Herbal Medicine: Effectiveness of Japanese Kampo Medicines on Pains Associated with Cancer Patients

  • Yasuhito UezonoEmail author
  • Kanako Miyano
Part of the Methods in Pharmacology and Toxicology book series (MIPT)


Pain derived from cancer therapy as well as cancer itself is one of the most incurable symptoms. Pain management is important in oncologic care and essential for maximizing patient outcomes. Accumulating evidence showed that unrelieved pain significantly comprised overall quality of life and effective pain control was associated with survival. In Asian countries, traditional herbal medicine is frequently combined with western medical approaches to treat cancer. Although an overview of systematic reviews about the complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) for cancer pain conducted, they showed that CAM may be beneficial for alleviating cancer pain, but the evidence levels were found to be low or moderate. In case of Japanese kampo medicine, recent progresses regarding cancer pain treatment have indicated that scientific evidence of both basic and clinical research has accumulated in many of the literatures. In this chapter, we discuss herbal medicines for pain relief of cancer patients, in particular, benefit of Japanese kampo medicines based on their accumulated evidence-based scientific reports. Further, we also introduced a novel screening assay, CellKey system, to find valuable ingredients or substances from kampo medicine possibly as well as other traditional herbal medicines in the world.

Key words

Kampo medicine Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) Cancer pain Goshajinkigan Hangeshashinto CellKey system Electrical impedance assay 



This work was supported in part by a Grant-in-Aid for the Research Project for Improving Quality in Healthcare and Collecting Scientific Evidence on Integrative Medicine No. 15lk0310003h0001 from the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED); Practical Research for Innovative Cancer Control No. 15Ack0106059h0002 from AMED; Foundation for Promotion of Cancer Research in Japan; Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) No. 15K08686, No. 15K10522, No. 15K008215, No. 15K09819, No. 25462442, Scientific Research (A) No. 15H02562 and Young Scientists (B) No. 25860199 from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan; and a grant from Tsumura & Co. (Ibaraki, Japan).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Cancer PathophysiologyNational Cancer Center Research InstituteTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Division of Supportive Care ResearchExploratory Oncology Research and Clinical Trial Center, National Cancer CenterTokyoJapan
  3. 3.Innovation Center for Supportive, Palliative and Psychosocial Care, National Cancer CenterHospitalTokyoJapan

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