Our study showed that the TCM IFRD could effectively prevent postoperative intra-abdominal adhesions in a rat model, likely resulting from the inhibition of inflammation, fibrosis, and neovascularization during adhesion formation.
The IFRD consists of nine different herbs that have complex chemical components.
In the IFRD, some constituents including Codonopsis Radix (Dangshen) , Atractylodes Rhizoma (Baizhu) , and Paeoniae Rubra Radix (Chishao)  were reported to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidative effects.
Our present study suggests that the preventative effects of the IFRD on intra-abdominal adhesion formation are involved in inhibition of inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TGF-[beta] release.
Because the overexpression of cytokines induced by inflammation correlates with hyperplasia of fibrous connective tissue, the IFRD may work by inhibiting the expression of cytokines and decreasing hyperplasia of fibrous connective tissue.
Some components of the IFRD have important effects on improving the peristalsis and movement of gastrointestinal smooth muscle.
In a future study, we will try to elucidate these mechanisms and identify which constituents or pure compounds serve as active ingredients for adhesion prevention in the IFRD.
Our study found that the IFRD effectively prevented the formation of adhesions by decreasing inflammatory infiltration of the injured peritoneum and by reducing collagen deposition and fibrosis (Figure 6).
Caption: Figure 1: The intestine function recovery decoction (IFRD) prevented intra-abdominal adhesion formation in rats.
(a) Normal group; (b) model group; (c) control group; (d) low dose IFRD group; and (e) high dose IFRD group (* indicates the area of adhesion tissue; black triangle indicates visceral peritoneum; black arrow indicates parietal peritoneum).
Caption: Figure 5: Effects of the IFRD on the serum levels of TGF-[beta]1 (a) and IL-6 (b) (* P < 0.05; ** P < 0.01).
The outermost circle illustrates the nine traditional Chinese medicinal (TCM) herbs, which are components of the intestine function recovery decoction (IFRD).