OBJECTIVE To investigate the value of Qingyi Decoction (QYD) and Glauber's salt (GS) for treatment of severe acute pancreatitis (SAP). METHODS Sixty-five patients with SAP were randomly assigned to two groups, the treated group (33 patients) and the control group (32 patients). They received the same therapy except that to the patients in the treated group, QYD was given through naso-gastric tube and GS was applied externally. RESULTS Compared with those in the control group, the alleviating time of clinical symptoms, such as abdominal pain and distention, time of hospitalization and time of blood amylase recovery in the treated group were shorter, with lesser complications and lower rate of transferring to operation (all with P < 0.05), showing a better efficacy in all aspects, but the mortality in the two groups was not different (P > 0.05). CONCLUSION Combined use of QYD and GS has significant therapeutic effect for treatment of SAP.