Pancreatic Cysts, Da Huang and Mang Xiao
Pancreatic cysts are growths or fluid-filled sacs that develop on the pancreas, typically after a bout of pancreatitis or pancreatic injury. They’re usually benign and asymptomatic, but some cysts can produce symptoms, and there’s always the risk of a cyst developing into cancer.
Some people are more likely to develop pancreatic cysts. This includes frequent alcohol users, older people, and people who have experienced pancreatitis in the past. Women are more likely than men to develop certain types of cysts.
There are many types of pancreatic cysts, and there are treatment options available, including Chinese medicine herbs like Da Huang and Mang Xiao.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Pancreatic Cysts?
Pancreatic cysts are usually identified while the patient is being imaged for another reason. If cysts are present, they may not cause any symptoms at all, but in some people, there are signs present, such as:
- Ongoing abdominal pain that may shift to the back
- Weight loss
- Early satiety (feeling full during eating)
In rare cases, pancreatic cysts may develop into cancerous tumors, though the risk depends on the exact type of cyst present. As such, it’s important for patients to work with their physician and determine what type of cyst is developing.
How Can Herbs like Da Huang and Mang Xiao Help with Pancreatic Cysts?
Pancreatic cysts may signify weakness in the pancreas, so for Chinese medicine practitioners, the goal is to boost the organ’s function and restore the kind of balance that can help reduce the presence and size of cysts.
Practitioners rely on a pair of commonly used herbs – Da Huang and Mang Xiao – to do this. Da Huang (rhubarb) is a cool herb and has a “downward” effect, in that it helps push out blockages in the GI and pancreatic system. Mang Xiao (mirabilite or sodium sulfate) is typically paired with Da Huang to also help with blockages, specifically those caused by hard “knots” or stones.
Together, these herbs can help resolve underlying conditions in the pancreas leading to cysts, reducing their prevalence, and correcting symptoms. Talking with your Houston primary care practitioner can help with treatment.