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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 6491420, 12 pages
Review Article

A Review of Western and Traditional Chinese Medical Approaches to Managing Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

1Division of Hepato-Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
2Institute of Food Science and Technology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan
3School of Post-Baccalaureate Chinese Medicine, College of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan
4Department of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan
5Research Center for Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan

Received 6 September 2016; Accepted 9 October 2016

Academic Editor: Menaka C. Thounaojam

Copyright © 2016 Wei-Fan Hsu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a disease of attention because of increase in prevalence from 20% to 41%. The clinical and pathological conditions in patients with NAFLD range from steatosis alone to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) with or without fibrosis to hepatic cancer. In the United States, NAFLD was the second-leading indication for liver transplant between 2004 and 2013. Although imaging studies such as magnetic resonance elastography and the use of diagnostic panels and scoring systems can provide a fairly accurate diagnosis of NAFLD, there are few treatment options for patients with mild to moderate disease other than lifestyle modification. Many of the currently used medical treatments have been shown to cause severe side effects and some have been shown to be associated with increased risk for certain types of cancer. In recent years, a number of traditional Chinese herbal treatments have been examined for their potential uses as treatment for NAFLD. In this review, we provide a general overview of NAFLD and a survey of Western pharmacologic drugs currently used to treat the disease as well as the results of recent studies on the effectiveness of traditional Chinese herbal remedies for managing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.