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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017, Article ID 8614680, 12 pages
Review Article

Herbal Medicine Treatment for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review

1Department of Pediatrics of Korean Medicine, Graduate School of Dongguk University, Pildong-ro 1-Gil 30, Jung-gu, Seoul 04620, Republic of Korea
2Department of Pediatrics of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University Korean Medical Hospital, Kyung Hee University Medical Center, Kyung Hee Dae-ro 23, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 02447, Republic of Korea
3Department of Neuropsychiatry, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Kyung Hee Dae-ro 26, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul 02447, Republic of Korea
4Department of Pediatrics of Korean Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Dongeui University, Yangjeong-ro 52-57, Busanjin-gu, Busan 47227, Republic of Korea
5Department of Pediatrics, Korean Medicine Hospital, Pusan National University, Geumo-ro 20, Mulgeum-eup, Yangsan-si, Gyeongsangnam-do 50612, Republic of Korea
6Chan-Nuri Hospital of Korean Medicine, Wonjeok-ro 469, Bupyeong-gu, Incheon 21365, Republic of Korea
7Department of Pediatrics of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University Hospital at Gangdong, Dongnam-ro 892, Gangdong-gu, Seoul 05278, Republic of Korea
8Department of Pediatrics of Korean Medicine, Korean Medicine Hospital, Dongguk University Medical Center, Dongguk-ro 27, Ilsandong-gu, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do 10326, Republic of Korea

Correspondence should be addressed to Gyu Tae Chang; and Sang Yeon Min; ude.kuggnod@melbbbub

Received 16 January 2017; Revised 12 April 2017; Accepted 27 April 2017; Published 16 May 2017

Academic Editor: Fabio Firenzuoli

Copyright © 2017 Miran Bang 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.


Objective. To summarize and evaluate the efficacy and safety of herbal medicines used for the treatment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children. Methods. Thirteen electronic databases were searched from their inception to November 2016. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that assessed the efficacy of herbal medicines alone or in combination with other Traditional Chinese Medicine treatments for ASD in children were included. The Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool was used and other data analyses were performed using RevMan (Version 5.3). Results. Ten RCTs involving 567 patients with ASD were included for qualitative synthesis. In conjunction with conventional therapy, herbal medicines significantly improved the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) score, but the results of effects on total effective rate (TER) were different between the included studies. The use of herbal medicines with integrative therapy improved the CARS score and TER. In the studies that documented adverse events, no serious events were associated with herbal medicines. Conclusions. The efficacy of herbal medicines for the treatment of ASD appears to be encouraging but was inconclusive owing to low methodological quality, herbal medicine diversity, and small sample size of the examined studies.