How to Treat Prostatitis and Sciatica with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Cinnamon bark is a warm herb often used to treat chronic prostatitis. See more pictures of herbal remedies.


Treating Prostatitis with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland often due to an acute bacterial infection. A urinary tract infection often accompanies prostatitis.

Prostatitis symptoms include difficulty urinating, frequent urge to urinate, and pain in the prostate area. In acute cases of prostatitis, either acupuncture or herbs can provide immediate relief, while chronic cases take longer to resolve, depending on the severity of the condition.


Conventional Western treatment is antibiotic therapy, bed rest, and consumption of adequate fluids. In Chinese medicine, treatment of this condition, which corresponds to the pattern of lower burner damp heat, is the same as in acute urinary tract infections: Ba Zheng San. An herb that is especially effective in acute prostatitis is Vaccaria seed (wang bu liu xing). It is the chief ingredient in the patent medicine Prostate Gland Pills, an effective remedy for this condition.

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Chronic prostatitis is often the result of deficiency of yin, yang, or qi in the kidneys. Treatment is Rehmannia Six Teapills, to which a practitioner often adds herbs specific to the patient's constitution and complaint. If there is a deficiency of yang, warm herbs such as aconite root (fu zi) and cinnamon bark (rou gui) are added. Treating Sciatica with Traditional Chinese Medicine

In sciatica, pain travels from the buttocks down the back of the leg, following the course of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica is usually caused by a lower back disk injury, usually a slipped disk pressing on the nerve; it's also possible that the nerve compression is in the pelvis or buttocks.

Acupuncture is exceptionally effective for this condition: Many people experience immediate relief. Points are selected along the course of the sciatic nerve. The most important points are located on the gallbladder meridian and urinary bladder meridians. If sciatic pain is due to a severe injury to a spinal disk, treatment can take months and sometimes only brings partial relief.

Moxibustion is also very helpful, as long as there is no underlying heat condition. The patent medicine Sciatica Pills is also quite effective in relieving the pain and inflammation. If there is accompanying low back pain, Du Huo Ji Sheng Wan can also be taken.


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Bill Schoenbart has been practicing traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) since 1991, when he earned a Masters degree in TCM. He teaches TCM medical theory and herbalism at an acupuncture school in California, and also maintains a clinical practice.


Ellen Shefi is a licensed massage technician, licensed acupuncturist, and registered dietician. She is a member of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, the American Herb Association, and the Oregon Acupuncture Association.