Acute pancreatitis (AP) is one of the most common diseases. AP is associated with significant morbidity and mortality, but it lacks specific and effective therapies. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is one of the most popular complementary and alternative medicine modalities worldwide for the treatment of AP. The current evidence from basic research and clinical studies has shown that TCM has good therapeutic effects on AP. This review summarizes the widely used formulas, single herbs and monomers that are used to treat AP and the potential underlying mechanisms of TCM. Because of the abundance, low cost, and safety of TCM as well as its ability to target various aspects of the pathogenesis, TCM provides potential clinical benefits and a new avenue with tremendous potential for the future treatment of AP.
Keywords: Acute pancreatitis; Alternative therapy; Anti-inflammatory; Pancreas protection; Traditional Chinese medicine.