By: Alison Li
What is Chinese Medicine?
Chinese Medicine was born more than 3000 years ago and known as a healer to the human body. It is practiced in wide variations, where acupuncture is the oldest and most common along with herbal medicine, massaging body, nutrition, etc. The formula of Chinese Medicine is combined with many ingredients with different chemical molecules (Nestler, 2002).
Yin and Yang theory is associated with Chinese medicine, where five principles were developed. Yin is known as the shady side, where cold, darkness, inwardness, etc. is associated to determine the front, lower, and internal of the body. Yang is known as the sunny side, where activity, excitement, outwardness, etc. are associated with back, upper, and external of the body. Yin and yang cannot be separated because they control and transform each other (Kaptchuk, 2000).
Chinese Medicine vs. Western Medicine
Chinese Medicine is practiced together with Western Medicine. There are hospitals that specialize in Western medicine and Eastern medicine such as Chinese medicine (Nestler, 2002). Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine name disease, group systems, and their medical language differently (Kaptchuk, 2000).
Can Chinese Medicine be a better alternative?
As Chinese medicine increased in industrialized countries such as United States and Australia, it could help with chronic conditions. Cardiovascular disease has become a #1 cause of death, as there have been 17.3 million deaths a year and may increase to 23.6 million deaths per year by 2030. There have been more than 50 studies that happened between 2006-2016, which last four weeks or more to help understand the benefit of Chinese medicine with hypertension (HTN), diabetes/pre-diabetes, heart failure, etc. (Hao et al., 2017).
Hypertension (HTN) and Chinese medicine
Chinese herbal medicines have been commonly used to treat hypertension. The study was divided into two groups, where Group A used Tiankuijiangya tablet, Zhongfujianhya capsule, Qiqilian capsule, etc. and group B used Bushenheluo formula. From Group A, it concluded when patients used Tiankuijiangya tablet that the morning systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) decreased. Also, when patient used Qiqilian capsule, it reduced the DBP ≥ 10 mmHg to normal or SBP ≥30 mmHg, which was higher than the placebo. From Group B, it concluded when patients used Bushenheluo formula it showed a lower SBP, but not the DBP when compared to the placebo. It was concluded that these Chinese herbal medicines could be an alternative for those who cannot afford Western medicine, but it is unclear with long term effect (Hao et al., 2017).
Heart Failure and Chinese Medicine
1-2% adults develop heart failure in industrialized country and over 10% are 70 years old or older. Shengmai is known as a Chinese herb for heart failure that is used for treatment in China, which is also known for Western acute heart failure. It is made from 3 herbs, which are Panax ginseng, Ophiopagon japonicus, and Schisandra chmensis. It is made into capsule, powder, injection, or oral liquid. Shengmai is known to improve symptoms and will discontinued after relief (Zheng, Chen, Xiong, 2011).
Can Chinese Medicine become the next medicine to help chronic conditions?
As you can see, Chinese medicine has been beneficial as it is non-toxic, more natural, and affordable to help with health and well-being (Ho et al., 2018). The state council of China wants to increase practice universally, so they have developed a list of 3106 terms with translations (Cyranoski, 2018).
I believe it can become the next medicine to help as I have eaten herbal medicine in the past. It could be helpful short time, but it could also affect the body if ingesting too much as a family member has some health complications.
Cyranoski, D. (2018). Why Chinese medicine is heading for clinics around the world. Nature,561(7724), 448-450. doi:10.1038/d41586-018-06782-7
Hao, Jiang, Cheng, Ma, Zhang, & Zhao. (2017). Traditional Chinese Medicine for Cardiovascular Disease: Evidence and Potential Mechanisms: Evidence and Potential Mechanisms. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, 69(24), 2952-2966.
Ho, Evelyn Y., Acquah, Joseph, Chao, Cewin, Leung, Genevieve, Ng, Don C., Chao, Maria T., . . . Jih, Jane. (2018). Heart healthy integrative nutritional counseling (H2INC): Creating a Chinese medicine western medicine patient education curriculum for Chinese Americans. Patient Education and Counseling, .
Kaptchuk, T. J. (2000). The Web that has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese medicine. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Nestler, G. (2002). Traditional Chinese Medicine. Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 86(1), 63-73. doi. 10.1016/S0025-7125(03)00072-5
Zheng, Hx, Chen, Yl, Chen, J, Kwong, J, & Xiong, Wm. (2011). Shengmai (a traditional Chinese herbal medicine) for heart failure. Cochrane Database Of Systematic Reviews, (2), CD005052.
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