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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2019, Article ID 9372563, 11 pages
Review Article

Roles of Chinese Medicine and Gut Microbiota in Chronic Constipation

1College of Basic Medical Sciences, Yunnan University of Chinese Medicine, 650500 Kunming, Yunnan, China
2Yunnan Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology of Chinese Medicine, 650500 Kunming, Yunnan, China
3College of Chinese Medicine, Jinan University, 510632 Guangzhou, Guangdong, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Jiali Yuan; moc.621@81028102ljy and Zhongshan Yang; nc.ude.mctuny@nahsgnohzgnay

Received 12 February 2019; Revised 20 April 2019; Accepted 7 May 2019; Published 21 May 2019

Academic Editor: Kenji Watanabe

Copyright © 2019 Zhenyuan Xu 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.


Chronic constipation is a common gastrointestinal dysfunction, but its aetiology and pathogenesis are still unclear. Interestingly, the compositions of the gut microbiota in constipation patients and healthy controls are different. Various studies reported the different gut microbiota alterations in constipation patients, but most studies indicated that constipation patients showed the decreased beneficial bacteria and the reduced species richness of gut bacteria. Besides, the alterations in the gut microbiota may lead to constipation and constipation-related symptoms and the regulation of gut microbiota has a positive effect on gut functional diseases such as constipation. Microbial treatment methods, such as probiotics, prebiotics, synbiotics, and fecal microbiota transplantation, can be used to regulate gut microbiota. Increasing evidences have suggested that Chinese medicine (CM) has a good therapeutic effect on chronic constipation. Chinese medicine is well known for its multitarget and multimode effects on diseases as well as less side effects. In previous studies, after the treatment of constipation with CM, the gut microbiota was restored, indicating that the gut microbiota might be the target or important way for CM to exert its efficacy. In this review, we summarized the effects of microbial treatment and CM on the gut microbiota of constipation patients and discussed the relationship between CM and gut microbiota.