Traditional Chinese Medicine Treats Macular Degeneration

Traditional Chinese Medicine Treats Macular Degeneration

Chinese medicine is a practice that has been in existence for thousands of years. It uses a variety of botanical, nutritional, energetic and vibrational applications that have shown significant results in healing many people. 

First there was Classical Chinese Medicine (CCM) which was developed in the third century BCE with writings known as Huangdi neijing (The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic). This was a tome of observations and natural applications that still apply to modern life today. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which has also been an ancient practice, was instilled during political upheaval in the early 20th Century and deemed the medicine of choice. TCM has streamlined CCM offering an easier, less strict but still effective approach to healing. TCM has been embraced by many western/conventional medicine institutions practiced in renowned hospitals across the globe. 

Chinese medicine has been applied to a wide variety of conditions and diseases with some impressive results when treating macular degeneration. From preventative measures to naturally slowing this incurable disease progression, some even report a significant reduction in AMD (age-related macular degeneration) symptoms through TCM remedies. 

Explore how Traditional Chinese Medicine treats macular degeneration and how it might be a good path to try as a natural AMD protocol.

TCM Herbal Treatments

Chinese medicine is applied through remedies formulated from nature. Many are single or multi-herbal concoctions and when it comes to macular degeneration there is research of some notable botanical treatments. 

Some TCM herbal remedies are described by researchers from Tulane University, Louisiana through a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) which include, 

  • Astragalus membranaceus extracts – These have been shown to possess potent immunomodulatory [immune system response] and antioxidant properties applied to the retina and macula.
  • Angelica sinensis (sometimes called female ginseng) – Can reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, two major factors in AMD progression.
  • Panax notoginseng extract – Exerts anti-oxidation effects by suppressing xanthine oxidase activity [which can cause dangerous oxidation and compromise vision].
  • Poria cocos wolf  (mushroom genus) – Has shown anti-inflammatory properties as sell as reduction of Amyloid β which has been implicated in the pathogenesis of AMD.
  • Curcuma aromatica Salisb (wild turmeric) – Protect retinal cells from light- and oxidant stress-induced cell death by inhibition of NF-κB activation and down-regulation of inflammatory genes.


This is a TCM formula in a class all its own made up of combined Chines herbal ingredients which are: 

  • Astragalus membranaceus
  • Angelica sinensis
  • Panax notoginseng
  • Pollen typhae
  • Bulbus fritillariae thunbergii
  • Citrus reticulate

Although many of these are tongue twisters, when put into one capsule and taken daily they create the speech of healing. In a nine year study (2006-2015) of 139 eligible AMD patients (183 eyes), HB01 was administered orally twice per day and checked every three months. The study by researchers from the Department of Ophthalmology, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing and Department of Graduate School, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine was published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and concluded,

“On the basis of these results, HB01 could improve visual acuity, and reduce hemorrhage and fluorescein leakage of patients with  [leaking vessel aka “wet”] AMD, which may be an effective alternative and supportive treatment for exudative AMD.”

Working with a professional botanical medicine holistic doctor trained in TCM will help you with obtaining and adhering to the proper dosage of HBO1.

Another formula made up of TCM botanicals consists of:

  • Fructus Lycii (FL) – A dried raisin-like fruit called goji berry
  • Rehmanniae Radix Praeparata (RRP) – Made from wine-steaming the Rehmannia root
  • Paeonia lactiflora (PL) – Perennial flowering plant native to central and eastern Asia from eastern Tibet across northern China to eastern Siberia

A study of the mechanisms of this formula was published in Dove Press which stated,

“The combined results of network pharmacology and validation experiments showed that FL, RRP and PL reduce oxidative stress and apoptosis in RPE cells to exert its effect in the treatment of AMD.”


CCM and TCM have embraced the practice of acupuncture for almost as long as they have been in existence. This modality follows the philosophy of moving or slowing qi (chee) which, in Chinese medicine, is considered “life energy”. Using acupuncture for macular degeneration applies the concept of releasing “stuck or stagnant” energy that is impeding optimal health. It can also be used to move necessary energy to the optical space to prevent disease progression. Although there is nothing that can be targeted as a scientific explanation for the mechanism of acupuncture, several studies have shown beneficial results. 

In a review titled, ‘Non-Neglectable Therapeutic Options for Age-Related Macular Degeneration: A Promising Perspective from Traditional Chinese Medicine’ which was published in Journal of Ethnopharmacology, it stated, 

“This review summarizes the possible underlying mechanisms whereby TCM (formula, Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture included) can inhibit factors which play a role in the development and progression of AMD,…”

If macular degeneration runs in your family or you have a direct diagnosis try working with a licensed acupuncturist with good reviews online or from personal references. Be sure to ask the acupuncturist if they are familiar with the disease and if they could target a treatment for either prevention or hindering progression. 

Traditional Chinese Medicine treats macular degeneration in ways no one would have known before science could decipher it. These studies and many more continue to prove the importance of ancient botanical medicine and modalities such as acupuncture. As spring blossoms around you and summer grasses begin to sprout get yourself on a program that gives enough time for a good buildup of remedies in your system to fight allergies once and for all.