Large-scale natural disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, and typhoons, occur worldwide. After the Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami, our medical support operation's experiences suggested that traditional medicine might be useful for treating the various symptoms of the survivors. However, little information is available regarding herbal medicine treatment in such situations. Considering that further disasters will occur, we performed a literature review and summarized the traditional medicine approaches for treatment after large-scale disasters. We searched PubMed and Cochrane Library for articles written in English, and Ichushi for those written in Japanese. Articles published before 31 March 2016 were included. Keywords "disaster" and "herbal medicine" were used in our search. Among studies involving herbal medicine after a disaster, we found two randomized controlled trials investigating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), three retrospective investigations of trauma or common diseases, and seven case series or case reports of dizziness, pain, and psychosomatic symptoms. In conclusion, herbal medicine has been used to treat trauma, PTSD, and other symptoms after disasters. However, few articles have been published, likely due to the difficulty in designing high quality studies in such situations. Further study will be needed to clarify the usefulness of herbal medicine after disasters.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Complementary and alternative medicine