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Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Submitted By chiawenc
Words 2821
Pages 12
Topic: Traditional Chinese Medicine
Title: Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Medical World: Ready For a New Remedy?
Introduction/Rationale:
According to China’s Natural Bureau of Statistics, “Traditional Chinese Medicine exports rose in 2011, with exports to the US alone jumping by 66.3% year on year.” The use and practice of TCM has expanded and spread to other countries, and is currently affecting many individuals. From this fact, this paper aims to study Traditional Chinese Medicine (or TCM) because of its current and possible future situation. Its course of development, evolution, impact on society, and acceptance in the medical field will be thoroughly discussed and analyzed in this paper.
There are two reasons as to why this study should be taken. The first is to find out if alternative medicine, specifically Traditional Chinese Medicine, can be considered another plausible treatment for diseases apart from pharmaceutical drugs. The second reason is because it is an ongoing practice that involves many people today, which is why its possible future should be predicted and studied.

Contributions of the study: Chinese traditional medicine has contributed many things. It mainly helped in discoveries, studies, and developments. Chinese traditional medicine discovered the many medical uses of plants and animals. They discovered that Astragalus roots can be used to strengthen the heart and prevent heart disease. Schisandra, otherwise known as Magnolia vine, is used to treat Tussis (coughs) Rhino sinusitis (colds) and fatigue. Another plant that they discovered was the Chrysanthemum, which helped cure fevers, flus, and headaches. Another discovery traditional Chinese medicine made was the medical use of opium that worked as an efficacious pain reliever and narcotic drug. Chinese traditional medicine helped in the studies and development in the medical field by figuring out ways to cure sicknesses and keep good health. CTM helped in the development of acupuncture, and medicine making. It contributed in the studies of strengthening one’s body and longevity. CTM lead to the curing of illnesses such as fevers, pneumonia, viral myocarditis, and more.
CTM has contributed to the studies in health by leaving recorded works. China.org states that the Chinese have recorded internal, surgical and gynecological illnesses. It also gave the basic theoretical framework, which was documented around 770BCE- 200 BCE as The Yellow Emperor’s Canon of Medicine. Another documented work, The Book of Master, by Ge Hong shows that China found a way to prevent smallpox before the West did. Another book, Classic of Pulse Diagnosis, was written about pulse and its circulatory physiology. CTM also helped in studying the Chinese past’s by showing what they learned and practiced. Golden needles showed that they practiced acupuncture and basins, mortars, pills, and spoons found showed that medicine was a common practice.

Explanation of Concepts and Related Concepts:
Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM is the path to create and live in the life that one is born into. According to tcmworld.org , it is a bridge that helps in every life dimension. It can help in the balance, harmony and wellness of one’s life by unlocking one’s potentials and helping in its growth and development. The are four key principals of TCM: first, your body is an integrated whole, meaning everything in a person, tangible or not, is essential and is powered by a life force or energy which is why everything needed to heal one’s self is already found within. Second, you are completely connected to nature. This means that a person’s physical surroundings can shape a him/her because the body adapts to the environment. The third is that each person was born with a natural self- healing ability. TCM aids in the self- healing function of the body. Lastly, prevention is the best cure. TCM also helps a person understand the language or signs the body is trying to say, or in other words, symptoms.
Traditional Chinese Medicine was founded on Taoism or also known as Daoism, which is an ancient philosophy that originated from China. Tao or dao means “way” or “path”, which refers to the right way of behaviour in order for cosmic harmony to become possible. There are two types of Taoism, namely: philosophical Taoism and Religious Taoism. Philosophical Taoism is the rationale and understanding of the world. It accepts death as a natural occurrence. Religious Taoism is magical and focuses on health and ways to prolong life or even immortality. The yin and yang symbol is the Chinese symbol of everything in the universe. Dating back to 700 BCE, yin and yang are used to describe the fundamental principles and shows a unique way of seeing the world. Yin and Yang exist as a pair and because of their inseparable relationship; they complement one another, symbolize balance and harmony. The two dots on both sides of the symbol show that each of them has some part of the other. Since there is some part of Yang in Yin and vice versa, this means that they Yang can become Yin interchangeably so there is a flow and seamless harmony to the two energies. In TCM, the idea of yin and yang are used in such a way that TCM strives to find balance and harmony in one’s body in order to cure someone. It seeks to cure by understanding yin and yang in a person-- by first diagnosing then treating the sickness. The Yin and Yang theory helps in the balancing and rebalancing of a person’s energies in order to attain a state of harmony. Traditional Chinese Medicine makes the patient relax and see his or her life as a whole, identify their issues, and understand how it may cause serious health problems. Given this, TCM identifies not only physical symptoms, but also intangible symptoms such as emotions, patterns of thinking, and belief systems.
Historical Development:
Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the oldest forms of medication, with the first dating more than 2000 years ago. However, according to legends Traditional Chinese Medicine has roots dating over 5000 years ago. Legend traces the origins of Traditional Chinese Medicine to three, possible mythical emperors: Fu Xi, Shen Nong and Huang Di. (“History”, n.d.)
Fu Xi and Shen Nong were tribal leaders. Fu Xi created the Book of Changes, which consists of the trigrams of Yi Jing (I Ching). Written record states that "Fu Xi drew the eight trigrams, and created nine needles." Shen Nong, on the other hand, experimented with herbs, testing on himself. In order to rid people of pain, Shen Nong ingested over a hundred herbs a day, some of which were toxic. Because of this, Shen Nong was considered the founder of herbal medicine (“History”, n.d.)
It was during the reign of Huang Di (also known as the Yellow Emperor) when Traditional Chinese Medicine was recorded (“History”, n.d.). The book was called Hung-Di Nei-Jing or Yellow Emperor's Cannon of Internal Medicine (“Chinese”, n.d.). It provided the foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as some theories behind its practices. Traditional Chinese Medicine developed during the Zhou Dynasty. Developments included the foundations of yin and yang, the establishment of theories of acupuncture, as well as the replacement of stone needles for metal ones, among others.
It was also during this dynasty when one of the greatest Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors arose. This doctor was Bian Que. He was the first to use a pulse in his diagnosis. Legend states that Bian Que was to treat a prince. However, upon Bian Que’s arrival, the price was being prepared for his burial. Bian Que asked to see the price, and discovered that the prince had gone into a coma. He treated the prince with herbs and acupuncture, and the prince awoke. Bian Que was then rumored to be a miracle worker who could bring the dead back to life (“Bian”, n.d.).
There was very little progress of Traditional Chinese Medicine during the Qin Dynasty. However, during the Han Dynasty, Traditional Chinese Medicine flourished. During this dynasty another notable doctor appeared: Zhang Zhongjing. He was known for his impeccable medical skill and books. One was known as a medical masterpiece, entitled Shang Han Lun or "Treatise on Febrile Diseases." His works are still referred to today (“Zhang”, n.d.).
This dynasty also hailed another doctor, Hua To, who developed anesthetics called Mafei San and used the first narcotic drug. His other practices included the “frolics of the five animals” (“Hua”, n.d.). This exercise mimics the movements of five animals, namely, tiger, deer, bear, ape, and bird. Because of his skill, his name is used in several brands of modern Chinese medicine (“History”, n.d.). After the Han Dynasty, Traditional Chinese Medicine underwent several great developments. Two of which are books: Mai Jing (The Classic of the Pulse), which explained the pulse diagnosis and written by Wang Shuhe, and "Zhen Jiu Jia Yi Jing" or The Systematic Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, which is the first book only about acupuncture and moxibustion and written by Huang Fumi (“History”, n.d.). Over the next few dynasties, Traditional Chinese Medicine developed, with more discoveries made, and books published. During the Tang Dynasty, the first school of medicine was founded. This dynasty also produced one of the greatest Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors, Sun Simiao. At the age of 15, he understood all aspects of Taoism, and researched on Buddhist classics. By 20, he was crowned as “King of Herbal Medicine” (Dharmananda, S., n.d.). The Song Dynasty saw great developments in the school of medicine. New schools were established and students treated teachers and soldiers as part of their curriculum. Traditional Chinese Medicine became specialized, and acupuncture was broadened in terms of understanding its principles and methods during the Yuan Dynasty. Several specialized books were printed during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. However, during the Qing Dynasty, western influence was introduced to China and acupuncture was almost extinct. The year 1911 marked several changes for China, including changes in the medical field. China aimed to modernize, and the people turned to Western medicine. The government proposed to abolish Traditional Chinese Medicine and went to extremes to stop its development. However, in 1949, with the Communist party in power, Traditional Chinese Medicine regained its popularity, and became a standard in hospitals. However, since Traditional Chinese Medicine was a reminder of the old Chinese Culture, it was looked down upon during the Cultural Revolution. In 1966-1976, Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors were killed, thrown out of school, hospitals. However, in 1979, the NACM, or National Association for Chinese Medicine, was established. Books were edited and republished. In 1980, a list released by the World Health Organization contained 43 types of pathologies which could be treated with acupuncture. Today, Traditional Chinese Medicine has spread across the world, slowly gaining popularity (History, n.d.).
Impact of the issue: Throughout the ages, Traditional Chinese Medicine has brought about both negative and positive changes. TCM, being accessible and easy to find in nature, aided the Chinese in times of disease before scientifically proven western medicine was made readily available. It proved to be very beneficial to its users and provided pain relief to countless illnesses. Thus, it positively affected its users. However, although it may have been a great alternative during those times, it still does not discount the fact that TCM has little to no scientific proof to back-up its effectivity. Therefore, some of these treatments may not be entirely safe. Some medicines have been reported to contain drugs, toxins, or heavy metals not stated to be in the ingredients, causing it to produce harmful side effects. For instance, the Chinese herb ephedra (ma huang) has been linked to serious health complications, including heart attack and stroke. Unfortunately, there is no law pertaining to the ban of ephedra in TCM remedies. Unverified drugs can cause harm unto unsuspecting users. (Berman, Ge & Khalsa, 2012). Moreover, TCM textbooks still contain recipes recommending the usage of animal parts such as tiger bones, antelope, buffalo, deer antlers, penis of the dog, bear or snake bile. Likewise, little research has been done to prove the efficiency of these animal products. Thus, many animals are still being hunted down to be used in medicine; this adds to the further extinction of endangered animals like tigers, some species of snakes, and bears. (Still, 2003). Both of these aforementioned negative impacts of TCM are mitigatable though. With the right laws, precautions, and awareness, harmful drugs and toxins can be avoided as well as the reckless killing of endangered species.
Future of the issue: With the rapidly growing popularity and prevalence of Traditional Chinese Medicine around the world, it is believed that in the near future, its use will become widely accepted. Studies show that its market has been expanding worldwide, so many pharmaceutical companies will soon be taking a large interest in exploring the potential of TCM. Many scientists and doctors have already begun researching this type of medicine, seeking to find scientific back-up and proof regarding its safety, development, and its unexplained ability to cure many diseases. GlaxoSmithKline, for example, aims to innovate the future of medicine by combining TCM with pharmaceutical drugs (Hong Yi, 2012). However, many test results have only proved to be futile and inconclusive. So far, only a number of herbal treatments have proven to be safety and effective by western standards. Others seem to only work because of the placebo effect. Thus, due to the lack of scientific evidence regarding Traditional Chinese Medicine, majority of doctors will not begin prescribing its use any time soon. There will still be a lot of doubt and confusion amongst many doctors, so its official acceptance into the western field of medicine will not be happening in the near future. This does not necessarily imply that doctors will be discouraging the practice; however, it is certain that many doctors will not be recommending its use for safety reasons. Nevertheless, even with or without the doctor's approval, it is highly plausible that many patients will still turn to Traditional Chinese Medicine. The news of Traditional Chinese Medicine's effectiveness is steadily becoming more widespread, and word of mouth is slowly piquing the interest of many people around the world. Also, it has been observed that there has been a sudden surge of interest in more natural forms of medicine such as TCM. Many people in Australia, for example, have reported their dissatisfaction with conventional medicine, also known as pharmaceutical drugs. Many patients are beginning to find that Traditional Chinese Medicine has the ability to cure what conventional medicine cannot (Costa, 2012). Ultimately however, a scientific basis is still needed for it to be accepted into the world of medicine. Once conclusive knowledge on TCM has been found, the scientific and medical world will surely begin working towards the development and official incorporation of it into hospitals alongside pharmaceutical drugs.
References:
Annie’s Remedy (2005.) Chinese Herbs. Retrieved from http://www.anniesremedy.com/chinese_herbs.php
Bian Que: A legendary doctor (n.d.). Retrieved from http://english.eastday.com/e/zx/userobject1ai4059567.html
Brian Berman, M.D., University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine; Adeline Ge, M.D., O.M.D., NCCAM Complementary and Integrative Medicine Consult Service, NIH Clinical Center; and Partap Khalsa, D.C., Ph.D., NCCAM. (2012). Traditional Chinese Medicine: An Introduction. Retrieved from http://nccam.nih.gov/health/whatiscam/chinesemed.htm
Chinese medicine (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.travelchinaguide.com/intro/medicine.htm
Corriher C., (n.d.) Retrieved from http://healthwyze.org/index.php/component/content/article/244-the-history-of-opium-and-the-history-of-how-the-pharmaceutical-industry-intentionally-created-drug-addictions.html
Dharmananda, S., (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.itmonline.org/arts/sunsimiao.htm

History of Chinese herbal medicine (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.china4u2.com/TCM_History/tcm_history.html

Hua To (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.taijichinesemedicine.com/huatuo.htm
Jingfeng C., (n.d.) A Historical Overview of Traditional Chinese Medicine nd Ancient Chinese Medical Ethics. Retrieved from http://www.medizin-ethik.ch/publik/historical_overview.htm
Joe Nickell., (April 2012.) Traditional Chinese Medicine: Views East and West. Retrieved from http://www.csicop.org/si/show/traditional_chinese_medicine_views_east_and_west/
N.A., (2001) Medicine. Retrieved from http://www.china.org.cn/e-gudai/7.htm
N.A., (2004.) Traditional Chinese Medicine Education. Retrieved from http://www.chinaeducenter.com/en/cedu/tcm.php
Still, J. (2003). Use of animal products in traditional Chinese medicine: Environmental impact and health hazards. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12801499 tracy1028,. (August 8 2013) Retrieved from http://www.chinatravel.com/facts/history-of-traditional-chinese-medicine.htm
What do taoists believe? (n.d.) Beliefnet. Retrieved from http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Taoism/What-Do-Taoists-Believe.aspx?b=1&p=6
What is ctm?. (n.d.) Traditional chinese medicine. Retrieved from http://www.tcmworld.org/what-is-tcm/
Zhang Zhongjing (n.d.). Retrieved from http://global.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1530977/Zhang-Zhongjing

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