Connect with us


Could combining CBD and Chinese herbal medicine help with pain?

CBD and herbal medicines aim to restore balance to the body but could they work better together?



Chinese herbs and CBD
Home » Health » Pain » Could combining CBD and Chinese herbal medicine help with pain?

As we enter into the Chinese year of the tiger, we explore whether CBD could be combined with traditional herbal medicine to help alleviate pain.

Chinese medicine has been practised for thousands of years. It is based on the concept that we all have a vital life force in our bodies called Qi (Chi). If this becomes imbalanced then it results in illness. The imbalance happens when the opposite and complementary forces are not aligned. These are referred to as yin and yang.

Chinese herbs are sorted into different types: warming, cooling, tonifying, sedative, guiding, regulating QI herbs. Each herb group has a different use for conditions such as pain, arthritis, anxiety or depression. Herbs can be combined with other complementary medicines such as cupping, massage and acupuncture.

Could CBD be used with Chinese herbs and medicine to help with pain management? 

The medical cannabis clinics


How can Chinese herbs help with pain?

A study from the University of California discovered that a compound derived from Chinese herbal medicine may be effective at alleviating pain, especially acute inflammatory and nerve pain.

The compound is the dehydrocorybulbine (DHCB) found in the roots of the Corydalis yanhusuo plant. In an animal test, DHCB reduced inflammatory pain that was associated with tissue damage, infiltration of immune cells and injury-induced neuropathic pain.  Interestingly, the mice did not appear to develop a tolerance to the extract which may happen with prescription pain medication.

Corydalis is a flowering plant found in Siberia, Northern China and Japan. Traditionally, people used an extract made from the roots to relieve menstrual cramps, chest and abdominal pain. It has also been linked to improving energy flow, blood flow and stomach ulcers.

CBD and Chinese medicine

CBD can complement Chinese herbal medicine or practises such as acupuncture. Both aim to bring the body back into a state of homeostasis or balance which enables the endocannabinoid system to function.

CBD is thought to be a potent anti-inflammatory that works by inhibiting an eicosanoid enzyme called COX2. Aspirin also works by inhibiting the same enzyme.

In a study on mice, researchers discovered that CBD may protect against inflammation caused by multiple sclerosis.

Another study examined CBD effects for rats with joint inflammation. The researchers found that topical CBD gel reduced the joint swelling in the rodents with no side effects.

How do I take Chinese herbal medicine?

When choosing what herbs to take, it is best to speak to Chinese medicine practitioners. Discuss alternative options with your GP as well as research which CBD options may work for you.

There are many different ways to take the herbs as they may be ground in powder, added to capsules or drank as a tea.

Complimentary medicine

If you are not sure about starting Chinese medicine, there are other options. Acupuncture involves the insertion of tiny needles into the skin at various pressure points in the body. The needles are designed not to be painful but may feel like a slight bruise.

It is designed to return our bodies to a state of homeostasis where the endocannabinoid system can work. Acupuncture and CBD release a chemical that is made naturally in the cells of our bodies. Acupuncture stimulates the release of this chemical to increase our capacity for pain. CBD increases its ability to fight painful inflammation.

Combining both acupuncture and CBD may help to boost individual effectiveness.


Cannabis Health is a journalist-led news site. Any views expressed by interviewees or commentators do not reflect our own. All content on this site is intended for educational purposes, please seek professional medical advice if you are concerned about any of the issues raised.

Copyright © 2024 PP Intelligence Ltd.