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Traditional Chinese medicinal herbs for the treatment of idiopathic chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Review
  • Intervention




Chronic fatigue is increasingly common. Conventional medical care is limited in treating chronic fatigue, leading some patients to use traditional Chinese medicine therapies, including herbal medicine.


To assess the effectiveness of traditional Chinese medicine herbal products in treating idiopathic chronic fatigue and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Search methods

The following databases were searched for terms related to traditional Chinese medicine, chronic fatigue, and clinical trials: CCDAN Controlled Trials Register (July 2009), MEDLINE (1966-2008), EMBASE (1980-2008), AMED (1985-2008), CINAHL (1982-2008), PSYCHINFO (1985-2008), CENTRAL (Issue 2 2008), the Chalmers Research Group PedCAM Database (2004), VIP Information (1989-2008), CNKI (1976-2008), OCLC Proceedings First (1992-2008), Conference Papers Index (1982-2008), and Dissertation Abstracts (1980-2008). Reference lists of included studies and review articles were examined and experts in the field were contacted for knowledge of additional studies.

Selection criteria

Selection criteria included published or unpublished randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of participants diagnosed with idiopathic chronic fatigue or chronic fatigue syndrome comparing traditional Chinese medicinal herbs with placebo, conventional standard of care (SOC), or no treatment/wait lists. The outcome of interest was fatigue.

Data collection and analysis

13 databases were searched for RCTs investigating TCM herbal products for the treatment of chronic fatigue. Over 2400 references were located. Studies were screened and assessed for inclusion criteria by two authors.

Main results

No studies that met all inclusion criteria were identified.

Authors' conclusions

Although studies examining the use of TCM herbal products for chronic fatigue were located, methodologic limitations resulted in the exclusion of all studies. Of note, many of the studies labelled as RCTs and conducted in China did not utilize rigorous randomization procedures. Improvements in methodology in future studies is required for meaningful synthesis of data.



傳統中草藥治療原發性慢性疲勞(idiopathic chronic fatigue)和慢性疲勞症候群(chronic fatigue syndrome)

慢性疲勞越來越普遍. 傳統藥物治療對治療慢性疲勞的療效有限,故有些病人尋求傳統中藥(包含草藥)來治療




搜尋以下資料庫中與關鍵字傳統中草藥,慢性疲勞和臨床試驗相關的文章:CCDAN Controlled Trials Register (July 2009), MEDLINE (1966 – 2008), EMBASE (1980 – 2008), AMED (1985 – 2008), CINAHL (1982 – 2008), PSYCHINFO (1985 – 2008), CENTRAL (Issue 2 2008), the Chalmers Research Group PedCAM Database (2004), VIP Information (1989 – 2008), CNKI (1976 – 2008), OCLC Proceedings First (1992 – 2008), Conference Papers Index (1982 – 2008), and Dissertation Abstracts (1980 – 2008). 對於搜尋到的研究以及回顧文章,會進一步檢視其參考文獻,同時也會諮詢相關領域的專家有無額外的研究結果.


包含發表或未發表的隨機對照試驗,受試者診斷為原發性慢性疲勞和慢性疲勞症候群,比較傳統中草藥與安慰劑,傳統標準療法(SOC)或沒有治療/候補名單. 預後變項為疲勞


搜尋13資料庫中研究傳統中草藥治療慢性疲勞的隨機對照試驗. 鎖定超過2400個參考文獻. 兩位作者瀏覽試驗並確認是否符合納入條件.




導致所有搜尋到的受限於方法學上的因素,試驗都被排除在外,有許多在中國執行的研究案,雖然標示為RCTs ,不過卻沒有採行嚴格的隨機步驟,因此,為了往後能夠有意義地分析資料,未來在研究方法學實在有改進的必要.



此翻譯計畫由臺灣國家衛生研究院(National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan)統籌。


使用傳統中草藥治療慢性疲勞:原發性慢性疲勞的治療選擇有限,本回顧企圖評估傳統中草藥治療此病的療效. 雖然找到一些相關研究但沒有一個完全符合納入條件之所以選擇這樣的納入條件,主要是希望被選中的研究是採用嚴謹的方法而具有意義的研究. 可惜的是目前所找到研究都受限於其使用的方法學(例如對照的型式以及實驗試計)而降低了資料的可用性。

Plain language summary

Traditional Chinese medicinal herbs for chronic fatigue

Treatment options for idiopathic chronic fatigue are limited. This review attempted to examine the use of traditional Chinese herbal remedies for this condition. Although some studies investigating traditional Chinese herbs for were found for chronic fatigue syndrome, no studies met the inclusion criteria. Choice of inclusion criteria was intended to narrow inclusion to methodologically rigourous and meaningful studies. Methodological limitations in the studies identified, such as type of control used and study design, limited the usefulness of the data