Small bowel obstruction (SBO) is one of the most common emergent complications of general surgery. Intra-abdominal adhesions are the leading cause of SBO. Because surgery can induce new adhesions, non-operative management is preferred in the absence of signs of peritonitis or strangulation. Oral traditional Chinese herbal medicine has long been used as a non-operative therapy to treat adhesive SBO in China. Many controlled trials have been conducted to investigate its therapeutic value in resolving adhesive SBO.