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Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Jan
13

SINGAPORE: The number of complaints against practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been falling.

    In reply to a question in parliament from Ang Mo Kio GRC MP Lam Pin Min, Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan said there were six complaints last year, seven in 2008 and ten in 2007.

The complaints were mainly related to allegations of professional negligence, misconduct and the misuse of Western medicine.

    Dr Lam also asked if TCM practitioners need to be covered by professional indemnity against costs and damages in clinical negligence cases.

    To this, Mr Khaw replied that the TCM Practitioners Board encourages all registered TCM practitioners to be covered by professional indemnity insurance on a voluntary basis.

Jan
08

SINGAPORE : Prices of some Chinese herbs have shot up by some three times over the past six months, on the back of rising demand.

    Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners said concerns over H1N1 in China and poor harvest due to bad weather, have unexpectedly spurred domestic sales, resulting in a dip in export volume.

    Herbs like honeysuckle flowers were selling for about S$50 a kilogramme half a year ago. Today, you would have to fork out a whopping S$135 for them.

    The same goes for chrysanthemum flowers – they used to sell for S$8 for half a kilogramme. Now, the price is about twice that – at S$15.

    On average, prices for most herbs have gone up by about 20 per cent. But TCM practitioners said they are absorbing the costs for now.

    They said they are not raising their fees yet because they have stocked up on their processed herbal medications. Orders were made long before prices went up.

    The practitioners also advise customers not to purchase herbs in bulk because that will only push up prices and most herbs do not store well for long.

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Jan
04

   As 2010 dawns, the turning of a decade gives people a great opportunity to get their affairs in order – and for some, fengshui too.

    The streets to the west of Yonghegong, or Lama Temple, are lined with shops selling new fengshui calendars and books, along with the usual incense. And traders say it is not just elderly people snapping them up.

    “We get all kinds of customers here,” said a shopkeeper surnamed Wang, who has the exclusive rights to sell fengshui calendars whose covers sport a smiling Li Juming, a Hong Kong practitioner.

    “Young tourists are always buying calendars for themselves or their parents.”

    The peak time for sales is the Spring Festival. The trader said she will buy in a large amount of stock for the rush.

    Fengshui is gaining interest among young people in China. An online survey of about 600 people conducted by METRO on social networking website Renren.com last week found that around 70 percent said they, more or less, believe in fengshui.

    Pang Bo, a 24-year-old university student in Beijing, is a believer despite an education background of computer science.

    Pang thinks fengshui arrangements of interior design helps visitors feel comfortable.

   Pang said he felt uneasy when he stepped into a hotel room he had booked in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, last month.

    “It was the interior decoration,” he said. “The dressing mirror on the wall faced the bed, which made me feel uncomfortable.”

    But some of his friends said Pang was superstitious.

    Pang admitted that most of the time he didn’t know how to explain it.

    Wang Haohua, a fengshui practitioner in Beijing, told METRO that young people, especially white-collar workers, are now his biggest clients, along with executives with large enterprises.

    “The most frequent questions asked by young people are about their career paths and their relationships,” Wang said. 

    Wang said fengshui, which translates as “wind water”, is a set of knowledge that people use to improve their living environment in ancient China. Fengshui knowledge could be dated back to 3,000 years ago.

    He said it still cannot be explained by science but that does not mean it is wrong.

    “It is just like traditional Chinese medicine; sometimes difficult to illustrate but effective,” he said.

    Wang added that there were also people who followed the advice of fengshui masters just for psychological comfort.

     Zhang Xixi, 23, is a Beijing office worker born in the year of the tiger.

    As 2010 sees the return of the tiger, Zhang said she was told by a fengshui practitioner to visit a temple to avoid bad luck.

    “I don’t know much about fengshui but after going to the temple I feel safe and comfortable about the new year,” she told METRO. “Everyone needs good luck, right?”

Although fengshui has enjoyed somewhat of a comeback across the world in recent years, the argument between science and superstition has raged for decades.

In late 2008, the University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, Hubei province, offered a course covering the “architecture of fengshui”.

However, it was cancelled after criticism on campus and in the media.

Tao Shilong, a famous geologist in his 80s, said fengshui is superstition in an article posted online.

“For me, a fengshui practitioner is no different from a fortuneteller or palm reader,” said one college student on an online forum.

Hou Wenxia, who opened a consultancy firm close to the Confucius Temple, said it is hard to reason with.

“It is not easy for young people to understand its philosophical foundation,” he said. “Fengshui is closely associated with ancient Chinese culture and philosophy.

“Some people say it is superstitious. I think at its core, fengshui calls for harmony between human beings and nature.”

Source: China Daily

Dec
18

Some Chinese remedies have been recommended by the government in the fight against human swine flu.

The Chinese Medicine Department of the Hospital Authority Friday announced five Chinese remedies believed to help prevent infection by influenza, including human swine flu – especially for the populace of Hong Kong.

“Considering the environment of Hong Kong, the five remedies are medically tailored to Hong Kong people with reference to Hong Kong’s circumstances and the physical condition of Hong Kong people,” said assistant professor Cao Kejian from the School of Chinese Medicine, the University of Hong Kong.

Cao, in addition to three other Chinese medicine practitioners, was invited by the Hospital Authority in May this year to formulate influenza preventatives. They have also been to Beijing to have further discussions with the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine and came back to Hong Kong with a set of suggested Chinese medicine remedies from Beijing which were then refined to meet the specific needs of Hong Kong people.

One of the remedies said to be especially appropriate and effective for the winter-spring season in Hong Kong is reportedly able to prevent both colds and influenza. It contains su ye, jing jie, sang ye, and ju hua, 10g each plus 3g gan cao.

“Su ye and jing jie can prevent cold while sang ye and ju hua can help prevent influenza,” Cho said, adding, “Thus, this remedy can help people avoid both cold and influenza.”

Another Chinese medicine practitioner, Wang Yongqin, senior lecturer of the Clinical Division, School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, recommended that Hong Kong people have lighter meals instead of having an excessive fatty and oily diet in the winter, for a healthier body and prevention of flu. Spicy foods, he advises, should also be avoided as they may create too much heat in the lung and lead to flu.

“More vegetables and fruits are recommended, but avoid deep fried and spicy foods,” said Wang.

There have recently been claims that chili and garlic can help prevent flu, but Cho said they were just rumors and there was not any official proof of such efficacy.

The 14 Chinese medicine clinics under the Hospital Authority are providing information about the five remedies concerned on the Authority’s website at http://www.ha.org.hk/chinesemedicine. Different people with different physical constitutions and conditions should choose different remedies, and are strongly advised to seek a physician’s advice on selecting the best remedy for themselves.

Specific medical prevention and remedies aside, maintaining good health and a strong immune system through good health practices and diet are crucial, according to the Hospital Authority.
[HONG KONG]

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Nov
05

Children suffering A(H1N1) influenza could benefit from taking Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Beijing traditional Chinese medicine bureau said.

Tu Zhitao, vice-director of the bureau, claimed that children sickened with the flu should be cured within three days.

“Some children will be cured with only one dose (of No 2 Cold Medicine), while others might need two,” Tu said.
As the number of H1N1 sufferers reached 6,196 in Beijing as of Monday, 20 traditional Chinese medicine hospitals opened 24-hour anti-H1N1 departments.

Tamiflu and Relenza are the two approved antiviral drugs that are available for treatment of H1N1. The World Health Organization recommends that all patients (including pregnant women) and all age groups (including young children and infants) should be treated with Tamiflu in the event of severe or deteriorating illness.

The WHO said it was not familiar with the TCM recommended for children and could not comment.

A woman who didn’t provide her name and was in charge of the health policy division of the bureau, told METRO: “This medicine is very effective. Our director’s son has tried it.”

“Western medicines might harm the stomachs of children. Chinese medicine does not have this side effect. This No 2 cold medicine is an upgrade of former anti-flu medicine,” she added.

Cui Xianyu, director of the Korean International School in Beijing said: “We haven’t heard about No 2 cold medicine but we have faith in Chinese medicine.”

“About one month ago, we provided our students with some Chinese medicine to protect them from H1N1 following a requirement from the municipal education commission. They didn’t suffer from any side effects but we did have to close the school for a week after some students were infected,” Cui said.

An employee of the pediatrics department in Xiyuan Hospital at the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences said it would open a special anti-H1N1 department today.

The woman, who also did not want to be named, told METRO: “We haven’t received many patients these days. The No 2 cold medicine is basically the same as the ordinary anti-flu Chinese medicine. You can buy it for around 6 yuan.”

Professor Zhai Huaqiang from the School of Chinese Pharmacy at the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine believed Chinese medicine might be a cure for H1N1, but it isn’t suitable for everyone.

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Nov
05

Sales of a traditional Chinese medicine against swine flu, which its producer says is especially effective for children, have been launched in China, a local newspaper said on Tuesday.

The China Daily quoted the deputy head of the Beijing traditional Chinese medicine bureau as saying that children with the flu should be cured with “No 2 Cold Medicine” within three days.

“Some children will be cured with only one dose, while others might need two,” Tu Zhitao said.

The World Health Organization said it was not familiar with the traditional Chinese medicine recommended for children and could not comment, the paper said.

Tamiflu and Relenza are so far the only two approved antiviral drugs that are available for treatment of the H1N1 virus.

As the number of H1N1 cases reached 6,196 in Beijing as of Monday, 20 traditional Chinese medical hospitals opened 24-hour anti-H1N1 departments, the paper said.

An unidentified bureau official said the traditional Chinese medicine is very effective and does not harm the stomach, unlike western medicines. “Chinese medicine does not have this side effect. This No 2 cold medicine is an upgrade of former anti-flu medicines,” the paper quoted her as saying.

Other experts said the medicine is basically the same as an ordinary Chinese anti-flu drug.

Nearly 50,000 confirmed swine flu cases have been reported in China. Seven people have died of the disease and 118 are in critical condition.

China was the first country to complete tests of a swine flu vaccine and started the vaccination campaign in September. The country plans to produce up to 360 million doses of the vaccine, and is set to allocate a total of $725 million on efforts to curb the disease.

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Nov
05

A teenager in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region died of A/H1N1 influenza Tuesday, after at least eight Chinese nationals had fallen victims to the virus on the mainland.
The 14-year-old school student surnamed Guo, of Fuyun County in Altay Prefecture, was treated at local clinics for a fever on Oct.30. He was transferred to the Fuyun People’s Hospital Tuesday, but later died, said the regional health department.

Tests on Wednesday showed Guo died of A/H1N1, viral pneumonia and acute respiratory distress syndrome, the department said.

Eight deaths from A/H1N1 had earlier been reported from Beijing, Tibet, Qinghai, Xinjiang, Heilongjiang, Guangxi, Hunan and Zhejiang.

In the eighth case, a 60-year-old man in Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province, died Tuesday as he was recovering from the flu two days after tests showed negative.

“The flu also worsened his heart disease, high blood pressure and chronic bronchitis which directly caused the death,” said Ma Weihang, deputy head of Zhejiang Provincial Health Department.

A 32-year-old Russian man died of the virus in Beijing Monday. He arrived from Russia on Oct. 28 by air and went to hospital on Sunday with severe breathing difficulties and other symptoms.
(Xinhua)

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Nov
05

The Chinese mainland is seeing an increasing number of cases of the A/H1N1 flu. So far, 8 people died after contracting the virus. Many public sectors around the country are doing their best to combat the growing threat.

In Beijing, subway workers have been disinfecting facilities five times a day. And ventilation systems at newly built subway lines are working through the night. Each train is disinfected at least once a day.

In Sichuan province, people are receiving the vaccine, including many areas that were affected by last year’s earthquake.

In the municipality of Chongqing, health sectors are supplying 2 tons of traditional Chinese medicine for residents. All are free of charge.

In Shandong province, health officials have offered tips to combat the flu.

Yang Hong, Dietician of Qingdao Haici Hospital, said, “Stewed mutton is not only delicious, but can also keep out the cold and increase people’s resistance to diseases. Eating more fish, meat, eggs and milk, and boiling vinegar for disinfection, are all effective ways of preventing transmission.”

In Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region, department stores have stopped their central air-conditioners. They have turned on electric fans and are opening more windows and doors to keep fresh air circulating.

People are also coming up with their own ways to protect themselves against the virus.

A resident said, “We often wash our hands as well as the children’s. It’s not terrible.”

In southwestern Yunnan province, the local disease control center has strengthened quarantine and inspection measures at border checkpoints. It has printed health declaration cards and informative materials in various languages for the convenience of people entering the country.

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Oct
19

Yahoo Malaysia news reported that doctors at Ditan Hospital in Beijing claimed that a combination of various Chinese herbs had a 75 percent cure rate in the 117 patients treated there for swine flu.

http://malaysia.news.yahoo.com/bnm/20090723/tts-flu-herbs-993ba14.html

The government had allocated 10 million yuan (about $1.5 milliom US) to research treatment of swine flu using traditional Chinese medicine, including one study comparing results with Tamiflu treatment.

Doctors at Ditan Hospital first stared treating all patients with the antiviral drug, Tamiflu plus the herbal combination, but discontinued the Tamiflu for the non-critical patients within a month after determining that the herbal medication was effective by itself.

In the article, hospital spokesman Dr. Wang Yuguang, deputy dean of the Centre of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine was quoted: “From our clinical tests and observation, the traditional method of treatment left no after effects and it is safe.” He added that the recovery period was shorter than in patients who received Tamiflu and the daily cost of the herbal remedy at about 12 yuan ($1.76 US) was lower as compared to Tamiflu treatment at 56 yuan ($8.20 US),

Wang would not reveal the actual herbs used, stating that the advantage of traditional Chinese medicine is that doctors can gear their herbal prescriptions to the specific patient’s condition. In his news briefing, he claimed that doctors at the hospital had recently used this approach with high-risk patients with good results. Given these findings, the Chinese government has apparently advised hospitals to use traditional treatment as a first line approach and resort to Western medicine only after Chinese medicine fails.

In the meantime, while 11 Chinese companies work on developing a swine flu vaccine to prevent the disease, Beijing Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital has introduced an A/H1N1 swine flu prevention herbal medicine pack which, according to Jin Wei, Deputy Director of the hospital, contains seven small packs of four types of herbs in combination and taken mixed with hot water as a tea or used as mouthwash. Jin Wei said the pack could even cure mild cases of swine flu, but that if patients did not recover after taking the herbs for seven days, they were advised to go to the hospital for further treatment.

According to the news article, the combination of the herbs is as follows:

Lonicera Japonica Thund (honeysuckle flower)-3 grams,
Isatis Indigodica- 3 gms,
Mentha Haplocalyx Brip (mint).-3 gms
Glycyrrhiza Glabra(licorice)-3 gms.

These herbs are available in Chinese herbal medicine shops. It should be noted that a search of the scientific literature, the web and discussions with infectious disease colleagues did not produce a primary source for these claims, so the herbs and their doses reported in the news article may or may not be accurate.

What are these herbs and what do they purport to do?

Lonicera
Laboratory investigations of lonicera have mainly focused on demonstrating anti-inflammatory actions. In vitro and animal studies indicate antibacterial and antiviral activity (mainly tested for seasonal influenza). In traditional Chinese medicine it is used almost exclusively for prevention and treatment of the common cold and upper respiratory tract infections, sore throats and general flu-like symptoms

Isatis
Also known as Woad root, this herb is thought to have very broad anti-infection properties, which partly explains its repeated use in these formulas. It contains the dye indigo (a crude form is used as the Chinese medicinal substance qingdai), which has been used worldwide as an antimicrobial medicine.

Mentha
These are Chinese peppermints and were described by the Chinese as early as 470 AD in the Oriental Materia Medica as a treatment for fever, headaches, excessive tearing, sore throat, oral and skin lesions, rash, and toothache. The principal active constituents of mentha are the essential oils, which comprise about 1% of the herb. They dilate peripheral blood vessels, inducing perspiration and alleviating aching.

Glycyrrhiza Glabra (European licorice)
Therapeutic use of licorice dates back to the Roman Empire. Hippocrates (460BC) extolled its use as an expectorant and gas reliever. It is one of the most commonly used herbs in the Chinese Materia Medica and is traditionally said to “harmonize” a formula in Chinese medicine, acting as a guide drug to enhance the activity of other ingredients, reducing toxicity, as well as improving flavor. In Western medicine it is commonly found in cough medicines. Recognized side effects of prolonged use includes hypertension, water retention, sodium retention and loss of potassium.

The theory in traditional Chinese medicine is that rather than using a single herb or a single formulation to treat an infection like flu, a collection of herbs and formulas working together will produce a better response in the patient. Many of these formulations evaluated in large scale studies in China from the 1950s through the 1970s claimed to demonstrate preventive properties. These findings, which appeared in Chinese medical journals and books, were reviewed at the Institute for Traditional Medicine (ITM) in Oregon. In a 2006 report, Subhuti Dharmananda, PhD, Director of ITM, explained that “while there is insufficient proof from these studies that Chinese herbal therapies can cure or impede influenza because of problems in methodology and reporting, practitioners of Chinese medicine and their patients are convinced of the efficacy of this approach.”

Routine prescription of Chinese herbs for seasonal flu or other therapeutic applications continues to be limited primarily to those countries like China, Japan and Korea where traditional herbal medicine is officially recognized. In other countries, including the US, herbs are available mainly through the work of licensed acupuncturists, naturopaths, and other non-M.D. practitioners, as well as through direct marketing of products to consumers.

Although Chinese research has recently been tainted by allegations of widespread fraud,
there is clearly much to be learned from the potential use of herbs to treat various diseases including swine flu. As Americans turn more and more to alternative medicine, it will be critical to have good scientific data to document the safety and efficacy of herbal formulations. It is important to remember that herbs, though “natural” often have strong medicinal properties that may include dangerous side effects.
- Deborah Shlian Miami Health Care Examiner

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Oct
05

By Dr. Marina Ponton

Sixty years ago, when China faced a health-care crisis fueled by too many people to treat, too little money and too few doctors to provide care, the Eastern Asian country embraced its past, turning to acupuncture and Oriental medicine for answers.
Between 1949 and 1978, the average life expectancy in China increased from 35 to 68 years. Today, Traditional Chinese Medicine is a major component of China’s health-care delivery system where doctors are trained in the traditional methods of acupuncture and massage, as well as the diagnostic and surgical techniques of Western medicine. Treatments such as acupuncture, herb therapy and massage therapy account for around 40 percent of all health care delivered in China.

I’m aware that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doesn’t match the scientific model of the U.S. health-care system, and that many view TCM as alternative “folk healing” that often is considered only after conventional treatment options have been exhausted. But with health-care costs in the U.S. continuing to escalate, more and more Americans are looking for alternative answers to their health-care needs, realizing that one-size-fits-all medicine isn’t working.

For three weeks this past June, I worked alongside health-care professionals at Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China’s Sichuan province. Founded in 1956, Chengdu University is among the oldest TCM universities in China, with a hospital that houses a 5,000-square-foot herbal pharmacy and seven floors of outpatient care. My time at Chengdu confirmed that a fully integrated health-care system that improves the quality of care while decreasing its cost is attainable and sustainable.

Traditional Chinese Medicine differs from Western medicine by emphasizing patient education and preventive care, and by teaching patients how to take personal responsibility for their own health and methods of treatment. Culturally, the Chinese are more aware of their health, with the average person in China entering a medical facility as a knowledgeable patient.

The basic premise of TCM is that a body in balance has a basic immunity to health issues. You truly are what you eat, think and breathe. You are the lifestyle you lead. That’s why overall, the Chinese are a healthier people. They are taught TCM techniques as children and practice them throughout their lives.

A great example is chronic childhood ear infections are non-existent in China. Children are given herbal formulas from day one, which prevent their development. Frankly, the idea of surgery to place tubes in a child’s ears or giving children antibiotics long term is considered primitive and uncivilized to Chinese doctors.

While there are people with difficult diseases in China, they tend to respond better to care. There are far fewer instances of death from cancer in China, and when a case is terminal, those patients tends to live longer and have a better quality of life in the final stages. While in China, I met several nine and 10-year survivors of pancreatic cancer.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been providing an uninterrupted system of prevention and wellness worldwide for thousands of years. It makes primary health care more affordable because it provides effective treatments for chronic and acute conditions at a fraction of the cost of Western medicine. For example, Chinese women who are having surgeries and receiving chemo for breast cancer, at the same time, are getting IV drips of Chinese formulas to mitigate the side effects for nausea, dizziness and fatigue rather than taking another pharmaceutical drug.

The U.S. system of health care has handicapped doctors. It has created the current crisis of unmet needs, virtually no preventive care, and mounting costs that cannot be supported. Americans are forced to decide among the most expensive health-care services in the world, with most insurance plans offering no option to choose natural health modalities such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, diet modifications, and breathing and movement therapies.

I have many patients whose insurance will not cover their natural health treatments. However these treatments often lessen the need for pharmaceutical drugs or costly surgeries, and in some cases, eliminates it. Costs are offsetting and often reduced.

A bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would add acupuncture as a benefit covered under both Medicare and the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program. The Federal Acupuncture Coverage Act would be an excellent start to an integrated system of care that prevents and treats illness rather than symptoms and side effects.

The basic premise of TCM is that a body in balance has a basic immunity to health issues. You truly are what you eat, think and breathe. You are the lifestyle you lead. That’s why overall, the Chinese are a healthier people. They are taught TCM techniques as children and practice them throughout their lives.
A great example is chronic childhood ear infections are non-existent in China. Children are given herbal formulas from day one, which prevent their development. Frankly, the idea of surgery to place tubes in a child’s ears or giving children antibiotics long term is considered primitive and uncivilized to Chinese doctors.

While there are people with difficult diseases in China, they tend to respond better to care. There are far fewer instances of death from cancer in China, and when a case is terminal, those patients tends to live longer and have a better quality of life in the final stages. While in China, I met several nine and 10-year survivors of pancreatic cancer.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been providing an uninterrupted system of prevention and wellness worldwide for thousands of years. It makes primary health care more affordable because it provides effective treatments for chronic and acute conditions at a fraction of the cost of Western medicine. For example, Chinese women who are having surgeries and receiving chemo for breast cancer, at the same time, are getting IV drips of Chinese formulas to mitigate the side effects for nausea, dizziness and fatigue rather than taking another pharmaceutical drug.

The U.S. system of health care has handicapped doctors. It has created the current crisis of unmet needs, virtually no preventive care, and mounting costs that cannot be supported. Americans are forced to decide among the most expensive health-care services in the world, with most insurance plans offering no option to choose natural health modalities such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, diet modifications, and breathing and movement therapies.

I have many patients whose insurance will not cover their natural health treatments. However these treatments often lessen the need for pharmaceutical drugs or costly surgeries, and in some cases, eliminates it. Costs are offsetting and often reduced.

A bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would add acupuncture as a benefit covered under both Medicare and the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program. The Federal Acupuncture Coverage Act would be an excellent start to an integrated system of care that prevents and treats illness rather than symptoms and side effects.

Dr. Marina Ponton is an acupuncture physician who has been in private practice since 1999. She opened Greenville Natural Health Center in Greenville in 2007. She can be reached at info@greenvillenaturalhealth.com.

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