Acupuncture Beats Drug For Gastritis Relief


Acupuncture relieves gastritis and is more effective than the drug ranitidine, an antihistamine. Researchers from Chenzhou First People’s Hospital investigated the efficacy of acupuncture and ranitidine for the treatment of chronic gastritis, a digestive disorder characterized by inflammation of the stomach lining. Gastritis causes indigestion with burning pain of the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, bloating, hiccups, or tarry stools. The results of the investigation reveal that acupuncture produces significantly greater positive patient outcomes than the antihistamine medication. 

Acupuncture is more effective than ranitidine for reducing or eliminating gastric mucosal lesions and inflammation for patients with chronic gastritis.

Acupuncture is more effective than ranitidine for reducing or eliminating gastric mucosal lesions and inflammation for patients with chronic gastritis. Gastroscopy confirms that acupuncture produced a 96.4% total effective rate and ranitidine produced a 69.9% total effective rate. Let’s take a look at the drug and acupuncture therapies tested in the clinical trial and its relationship to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory and acupuncture continuing education.

The researchers compared two groups of patients with gastritis in a clinical investigation. Group one received oral ranitidine (150 mg) two times per day. Ranitidine is a histamine-2 blocker that reduces stomach acid production. It is indicated for the treatment and prevention of ulcers in the stomach and intestines. It is also listed for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Ranitidine may increase the risk of pneumonia, crosses the placenta, and may be transferred to babies through breast milk. 

The researchers chose five primary acupuncture points on three acupuncture channels:

  • Qihai (CV6)
  • Guanyuan (CV4)
  • Zusanli (ST36)
  • Sanyinjiao (SP6)
  • Tianshu (ST25)
(Monika Wisniewska/Shutterstock)
(Monika Wisniewska/Shutterstock)

Patients rested in a supine position and 0.25 mm x 40 mm filiform needles were used. Manual acupuncture insertion was sustained to elicit deqi. A mild lifting and thrusting technique was applied. Moxa was applied with a moxibustion box to Zhongwan (CV12). Total needle retention time was thirty minutes. Acupuncture was applied once per day for ten days followed by a one day break from treatments. This process was repeated for a grand total of twenty acupuncture treatments. 

Based on the evidence, the researchers conclude that acupuncture combined with moxibustion is effective for the alleviation of gastritis. TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) has a continuing education history for both acupuncture and herbal medicine for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. The theoretical basis for treatment principles varies from those of conventional biomedical approaches to patient care.

The current view within the biomedical field is that gastritis has many causes including excess alcohol intake, stress, adverse reactions to medications, bile reflux, anemia, Helicobacter pylori infections, and other bacterial or viral infections. This is consistent with Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, the researchers note that TCM also uses differential diagnostics to determine the health of the liver, stomach, and spleen and their relationship to gastritis. The researchers note that gastritis involves several patterns including:

  • Disharmony of the liver, spleen, and stomach
  • Spleen and stomach qi deficiency
  • Yin deficiency
  • Heat toxins

They add that several TCM principles apply to the application of therapeutic modalities including acupuncture and herbs: nourish yin and blood, tonify spleen and stomach qi, dredge the meridians, expel excess dampness, clear heat toxins, release the surface to expel toxins through hydrosis. The researchers note that the work of Zhong et al. supports their use of moxibustion in their clinical trial’s treatment protocol. Zhong et al. conclude that burning moxa four inches above CV12 benefits the stomach.

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