Stroke is a major healthcare problem. It is one of the leading causes of death and serious long-term disability. Prevention of stroke is considered to be an important strategy. Some Traditional Chinese Medicines are used to try and prevent stroke because evidence suggests that they can improve blood circulation, dilate blood vessels, lower blood pressure, inhibit thrombosis, regulate lipid metabolism and other functions. We looked for evidence on the effects of Chuanxiong, a treatment widely used in China to treat and prevent stroke.
We found three trials that tested treatments based on Chuanxiong. One trial compared Nao-an capsule with aspirin for the primary prevention of stroke in people at high risk. This trial found that Nao-an capsule reduced the incidence of stroke. It may, therefore, be a choice for the primary prevention of stroke. However the design of the trial means that the results may have been affected by the way people were selected to take part in the study, and by potential conflicts of interest of the researchers.Two further trials were identified but they were of low quality and their evidence was weak. Further good quality research is required.