Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is often the cause of discomforts: bitter herbs, animal parts, all kinds of weird stuff. After a series of statewide debates on if TCM should be prohibited in its healthcare system, the Chinese government decides to declare a war on pseudoscience and bring the country's ancient medicine into line with western standards.
Animal and clinical studies on the safety and efficacy of all TCM remedies are mandatory now. For instance, clinical studies clearly show tiger bone is not able to cure rheumatoid arthritis therefore sale and use of tiger parts have been banned. A double blind study also shows that artificially synthesized compound UCDA is as effective in treating liver disease as bear bile. Reportedly the Chinese FDA is considering termination of bear bile farming industry in the country. Another example is that animal study shows the effective ingredient of stewed ox penis, a TCM for erectile dysfunction, is actually garlic rather than ox penis.
Disgusting deer penis rice wine used in TCM practice
Penis restaurant in China
Researchers did receive gifts from TCM. Artemisinin, an anti-malaria drug found in TCM 50 years ago, has saved millions of people in South Asia and Africa. It is being talked about as a candidate for a Nobel Prize in Medicine. Novartis alone has supplied 400 million Coartem (trade name of an artemisinin-based combination therapy) treatments to World Health Organization. In 2011, Prof. Tu Youyou was honored with the prestigious Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for the discovery of artemisinin. The original research of artemisinin was never published and only some derivatives were patented by western companies 30 years after its discovery, the Lasker Foundation had to spend 4 years on determining who actually discovered artemisinin.
Tu, Youyou interview
Another example is a poisonous compound named arsenic trioxide. Arsenics are among the oldest drugs known in TCM but western doctors declined the use of arsenic in cancer therapy for centuries. A Chinese scientist Chen Zhu found the molecular mechanism of using arsenic trioxide as an effective therapy of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), a type of blood cancer. The new therapy makes the once-fatal cancer very curable by improving the five-year disease-free survival rate to 95%, up from 25%. Cephalon is selling Trisenox, an FDA-approved arsenic trioxide injection.
Stop cancer with poison
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