Licorice root has been used medicinally for thousands of years. It is used more than any other herb in Chinese medicine, with over 5,000 herbal formulas using it to "harmonize" other herbs. Glycyrrhizin, a main constituent in licorice, has been shown by studies to reduce inflammation and may be helpful in treating and preventing pancreatitis. Glycyrrhizin, however, can have serious side effects, including raising blood pressure. People with high blood pressure should avoid taking licorice root or be closely monitored by a health care provider.
Dan shen has been used for many years as a traditional Chinese medicine remedy to help treat acute pancreatitis. In one study, people with severe acute pancreatitis had high blood levels of three cytokines (proinflammatory substances that are believed to be responsible for acute episodes). After seven days of receiving dan shen, all three cytokines were greatly decreased.
Asian ginseng (also called panax ginseng) has been used in Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years. Ginsenosides, constituents of ginseng, are believed to have anti-inflammatory effects and may help manage inflammatory diseases like pancreatitis.
In addition to treating problems like nausea and vomiting, ginger root has also been used for a long time to treat health problems due to inflammation.
Cinnamon bark, peony root, calamus, bupleurum, pinelliae tuber, and jujube are other Chinese herbs for pancreatitis that may be beneficial.