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Jillian Ongoco

Dr. Seubert
15 September 2015
Alternative Medicine
My family has used a Japanese herbal dietary supplement called Seirogan to cure
stomach aches. This round, moist pill consists of phellodendron bark, citrus unshiu peel, gambir
leaves, licorice root, water, beechwood creosote, glycerin, calcium carboxymethylcellulose, and
cinnamon bark. It should not be taken by children under the age of five or by pregnant or
lactating women. Taiko, the Osaka-based company that manufactures the medicine, claims that
the natural remedy would address common gastrointestinal disorders such as loose stools,
diarrhea, and symptoms of food and water poisoning.
Websites such as quackwatch.com and sciencebasedmedicine.org have no information on
Seirogan. Surprisingly, very few scientific reports and a wide variety of testimonies contain
information on its debunking. On the website onlinelibrary.wiley.com, Dr. Beverly GreenwoodVan Meerveld, director of the Oklahoma Foundation for Digestive Research at the University of
Oklahoma, experimented with seirogan on sheets of rat jejunum and colon. The results showed
that the substance had no effect in the ileum and colon. However, it did decrease basal
transmural potential difference in the jejunum, which could help ease diarrhea. Dr. GreenwoodVan Meerveld included sources in her paper in order to deduce seirogens effects as well as
extensive analysis and details on the materials used and the result of the experiment. Rather than
having a hypothesis, she had a goal of examining the medicine applied to the tissue. This
illustrates little to bias towards the outcome and, therefore, makes her very credible.
Other websites display an array of comments on its effects on people. Many comments
on amazon.com highly rank it and express how effective it was. Others on sites such as
healthboards.com complained about difficulty in urination, defecating, and passing gas.
Testimonies as varied as the ones I found in common sites (sites listed within the first five of the
search) prove nothing other than different effects for different people. It is possible that certain
ingredients in the pills can cause certain side effects in some people, while others have had a
positive experience in taking the medication. However, for people who have never seen the
product before, they will most likely decide to try seirogan based on such testimonies due to the
simplicity of believing that it should work for them if it worked for many others. They would
not look into research and experiments conducted on the product due to the overwhelming
amount and complexity of that information.