Herbal medicine and acupuncture relieved progressive bulbar palsy for more than 3 years: A case report

Medicine (Baltimore). 2022 Nov 11;101(45):e31446. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000031446.


Rationale: Progressive bulbar palsy (PBP) is a type of motor neuron disease (MND). The main symptoms include dysarthria, dysphagia, tongue muscle atrophy and fasciculations. This disease is generally severe and develops rapidly. Due to the lack of effective treatment, many patients with MND in China turn to traditional Chinese medicine treatment for help. We successfully relieved dysphagia and sialorrhea in a patient with PBP for 3 years with herbal medicine and acupuncture.

Patient concerns: The patient was a 68-years-old woman with PBP and suffered from severe dysphagia and sialorrhea.

Diagnoses: Progressive bulbar palsy.

Interventions: Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture.

Outcomes: After 4 months of herbal medicine and acupuncture treatment, dysphagia and sialorrhea were relieved considerably. The patient's condition has been stable for more than 3 years and continues to be treated with Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture.

Lessons: Our case suggests that alternative therapies such as herbal medicine and acupuncture may be effective in alleviating the symptoms of MND/PBP. However, standardized clinical studies are still required to verify the effectiveness and safety.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acupuncture Therapy*
  • Aged
  • Bulbar Palsy, Progressive* / drug therapy
  • Deglutition Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal* / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Herbal Medicine
  • Humans
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Sialorrhea*
  • Tongue Diseases*


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal