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Concerns About Chinese Medicine

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Concerns About Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medical practitioners hold the view that the human body is an organic whole, that a local change which is a disorder can affect the entire body while a pathological change in the whole body can be reflected as a local phenomenon, and that, therefore, although the pathological essence of the change that is involved in the disease is hidden inside there must be a certain symptom or more than one symptom reflected outside.

In contrast to the "outside-inside" method adopted by traditional Chinese medical practitioners, Western medical practitioners generally adopt the "inside-outside" method for the study of physiological and pathological changes in the human body. All the research methods used by Western medicine in such disciplines as anatomy, histology, embryology, physiology and pathology are of the "inside-outside" type.

Western medicine has a history of only over 200 years, while traditional Chinese medicine was the unique system of medical treatment of the Chinese people for thousands of years and, by virtue of its safety and efficacy, has made important contributions to the procreation and thriving of the Chinese people and has shown its tremendous vitality at the same time. China has a great diversity of natural conditions, which have bred the rich and abundant resources of Chinese medicinal materials that endow China, as special favors of nature, with a superiority in the development of the Chinese medicinal industry. According to the latest revised official publication on herbal medicines the Chinese Materia Medica there are 8,980 Chinese herbal medicines on its record. According to a general survey conducted in China of her medicinal resources, there are in China on record as many as 12,807 medicinal resources, of which 11,146 are medicinal plants, 1,581 are medicinal creatures, and 80 are medicinal minerals. In her medical practice of several thousand years, China has summed up her clinical experience, formed a complete theoretical system of medicine and preserved both esoteric recipes and proved recipes totaling more than 300,000 in number.

At present, China has 2,552 hospitals of Chinese medicine, with 279,662 sickbeds in the year 2001. There were 190,000,000 person-times of visits of patients to the outpatient and emergency-case patient services. China has 30 colleges and schools of traditional Chinese medicine and 77 independent medicinal research institutes. According to the statistics of 1998 the health-service technicians in the field of Chinese medicine numbered 514,380 persons.

The majority of traditional Chinese medicines adopt two or more than two ingredients. They are particular about sticking to the analogy of a monarch being

aided by ministers. In a medicine of two or more than two ingredients, each ingredient possibly may play an unimportant role, but several ingredients, put together, may produce a synergetic effect, reinforcing the therapeutic effect of each other and reducing the toxic side effect at the same tine. Western medicines are particular about making clear the structural formula of the effective component in pursuit of higher and higher purity. But this is often the cause of the big toxic effect of the Western medicine. Western herbal medicines are mostly of a single ingredient each. Even if two or more ingredients are used, the analogy of a monarch being aided by ministers is not emphasized. The process of roasting, baking and simmering in preparing the traditional Chinese medicine is simply not understood by other people.

The fact that there is still no uniform international testing standard for traditional Chinese medicinal materials has become the greatest obstacle to entrance of traditional Chinese medicines into the world market. However, in recent years, with the increase of exchanges between China and international society the traditional Chinese medical science and its characteristically peculiar therapeutic efficacy are winning better and better recognition by international society and the demand for phyto-medicinal materials and functional foods is increasing at the annual rate of 8%. It is a long-standing cultural idea of China to absorb nutrition from plants grown in nature so as to reach the aim of preserving good health and curing diseases---an idea which is being more and more concurred in by international society. Traditional Chinese medicines, as the quintessence of China, will certainly make new contributions to the human race.

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