Can Traditional Chinese Medicine Treat Angina?

  • 1st Revision: Isobel Lester
  • 2nd Revision: Sheza Asim
  • 3rd Revision: Ha Nguyen

Angina is chest pain caused by a reduction of blood flow to the heart; it is a symptom of coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease is plaque build-up in the arteries that provide oxygen-rich blood to the heart. It is the most common disease of the cardiovascular system, with cases rising annually.

Recent studies have shown that Traditional Chinese medicine demonstrates clinical advantages in decreasing symptoms of angina. Hence, it can improve the patient’s ability to do physical activities and, therefore, the overall quality of life1,2

Previous research found that several factors contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease, with minimal chances of recovery upon treatment3. Therefore, early treatment for removing them is necessary.

Ying et al. suggested the specific and effective intervention to improve symptoms and prevent recurrent events of angina. Specifically, it showcased the complex features of traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of angina in combination with western medicine, and compare its effects with western medicine alone1.

The study involved 1042 patients with Angina; 423 were treated with the standard western medicine, and 619 were treated with a combination of western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. The two groups went through a follow up for a year to establish whether there was an improvement in cardiovascular events. 

The results showed that the mean change for each follow up visit decreased over time for patients taking western medicine. However, this decrease was more significant with those taking a combination of traditional Chinese and western medicine. 

Furthermore, the study indicated that as the treatment time increased, so did the therapeutic effects of the combined treatment. However, there were contradictory effects with the combination group as some patients were rehospitalised. 
In conclusion, the group with combined treatment with traditional Chinese medicine and western medicine showed reduced cardiovascular events in patients with angina3,4. This combination is likely the key to getting the best outcome for patients.


  1. Chen Ying, XIAO Xue, XU Xiaolin, et al. Traditional Chinese Medicine in the prevention and treatment of stable angina pectoris in patients with coronary heart disease based on the theory of "phlegm and blood stasis" under guidance of evidence-based medicine: a prospective cohort study. J Tradit Chin Med 2021;41(1): 150-156.
  2. Choi TY, Jun JH, Lee JA, et al. Expert opinions on the concept of blood stasis in China: an interview study. Chin J Integr Med 2016; 22(11): 823-831.
  3. Cook Cm, Ahmad Y, Howard JP, et al. Association between physiological stenosis severity and angina-limited exercise time in patients with stable coronary artery disease. JAMA cardiology 2019; 4(6): 569-574.
  4. Wang R, Wang J, Guo LL. Effect of traditional Chinese medicine on coronary heart disease with phlegm and blood stasis syndrome. Zhong Guo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 2016; 41(1): 35-37.
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Murielle Nsiela

MSc Graduate in Medical Engineering - Bachelor's degree, Pharmaceutical Science, Keele University, Staffordshire UK

MSc in Medical Engineering Design, Keele University Modules included: Advanced engineering applications, Engineering for medical applications report, Bioreactors and Growth environment, Creative engineering design, Experimental research methodology and research projects

BSc (Hons) Pharmaceutical Science, Technology and Business, Keele University Modules included: Core topics in pharmaceutical science, Laboratory studies - tabletting and liposomes report, applied Pharmaceutical Science 2, Pharmaceutical research project

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