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What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Chinese herbal medicine is a major modality in Traditional Chinese medicine and, like acupuncture, has been used in China for thousands of years. It uses a wide variety of herbs and minerals in different formulas to treat imbalances, infections, and other ailments of the body.
What are Used in Chinese Herbal Medicine?
Thousands of herbs and minerals are used in many different formulas. Among those most commonly known in the West are astragalus, ginseng, ginger, honeysuckle, dandelion, cinnamon, safflower, and etc.
What does Chinese Herbal Medicine Treat?
Over the centuries in which these herbal and mineral formulas have been used in China a vast amount of experience has been gained toward perfecting their clinic applications. Chinese herbal medicine treats a full range of conditions, from acute conditions like the common cold and flu to chronic conditions such as Crohn's disease and coronary heart disease.
- In 2015, Youyou Tu, a Chinese medicinal chemist, received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria". In the 1970s, after studies of traditional herbal medicine, Youyou Tu managed to extract a substance, artemisinin, from sweet wormwood. While the Nobel Prize was not given until 2015, treating malaria with sweet wormwood was first recorded in a traditional Chinese medical text, Emergency Prescriptions Kept up One’s Sleeve by the famous physician Ge Hong (284–363 AD). It has been used in combination with other herbs to treat malaria for over 1,600 years.
- Professor Yung-Chi Cheng of Yale University studied an herbal formula that has been in use in China for more than 1,800 years. Historically this formula has been used to treat nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Professor Cheng's research showed that this herbal formula reduced the gastrointestinal side effects of chemotherapy in mice, while actually enhancing the effects of the cancer treatment. The action mechanisms of the herbal formula include inhibiting inflammation and promoting the creation of new intestinal cells. This cannot be accomplished by current drugs, which usually target only one mechanism. This is the first herbal formula studied by a scientific team in the U.S.