Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is an ancient medical system that is based on the laws and patterns of nature and applies them to the human body. At the heart of TCM is the tenet that the root cause of illnesses, not their symptoms, must be treated. In modern-day terms, TCM is holistic in its approach; it views every aspect of a person's body, mind, spirit, and emotions as part of one complete circle rather than loosely connected pieces to be treated individually.
TCM is is the third oldest form of medicine in the world, with only Egyptian and Babylonian medicine predating it. TCM is said to have been practiced for more than five thousand years.
Why should I be aware of this?
- TCM is famous for its large variety and amazing effectiveness.
- The TCM approach is fundamentally different from that of Western medicine and the stress is on prevention rather than cure.
- The most popular Chinese medicinal herbs are ginseng, saussurea involucrata, Chinese caterpillar fungus, matrimony vine, licorice, root of hairy asiabell, and fritillary bulb.
- The causes, diagnosis, treatment methods and medicines used in TCM are very different from conventional medicine.
All about Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine works towards preventing as well as to treating illness. The entire system of medicine is based on the principles of yin (negative) and yang (positive) energy. TCM believes that each part of the human body is intricately connected to the other and has a self-healing potential that can be tapped successfully.
The TCM approach
The TCM approach is based on the fact that tissue and organs are connected through a network of channels and blood vessels inside human body. Qi (or Chi), the vital life force that flows through the body, acts as some a carrier of information. The pathways through which Qi flows are known as meridians.
In Chinese medicine, all ailments and disorders are believed to be caused by an imbalance of qi. Diagnosing an ailment involves finding out the condition of the patient's qi. Diagnosis involves using methods such as inspection, listening/smelling, inquiry and palpation.
The treatment aims at balancing the patient's qi. An imbalance occurs when opposite and complementary forces, called yin and yang, become unbalanced because there is too much of one and not enough of the other.
The main treatment methods of traditional Chinese medicine are acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, massage, herbal remedies, and movement and concentration exercises, such as qigong and tai chi. All of these are attempts to re-establish yin-yang balance so that qi can flow smoothly and unblocked.
Main herbs used in Chinese medicine
Some of the herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine are:
- Garlic - Garlic is used for controlling high blood pressure, colon cancer, parasitis, warts, common cold and high cholesterol.
- American ginseng - This herb medicinal applications are ranged from digestive disorders to sexual problems.
- Bitter melon - It can be used to treat diabetes and indigestion.
- Ginger - Ginger is helpful for osteoarthritis, indigestion, morning sickness, nausea, hay fever, low back pain, migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.
- Green tea - Green tea treats breast cancer, hives, tooth decay, colon cancer, weight loss, immune function, lung cancer, etc.
- Licorice - Licorice helps to treat infections, eczema, cough, hepatitis, menopause, colic, HIV support, gastritis, etc.
- Sweet Annie - This is helpful for intestinal parasites, fever, and infectious diarrhea.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and health
Tradiitonal Chinese has been found effective in curing some ailments.
- Skin complains like eczema.
- TCM reduces the virus symptoms and increased the survival period for AIDS and HIV sufferers.
- Reduce the side effects of chemotherapy for cancer patients.
Traditional Chinese medicine has not been shown to cure cancer or other major illnesses. However, some elements of treatment have been properly studied and found to be effective. Acupuncture can control some types of pain and nausea in many instances, and it often can help break addictive drug habits.
It however, does not slow or reverse growth or spread of cancer.
Traditional Chinese Medicine and environment
The use of animal parts and organs in TCM has led to exploitation of many animals and endangering some species. There is little doubt that the trade in tiger bones for medicinal purposes was a major factor behind the tiger conservation crisis of the 1980s and ’90s.
- Tiger -- In TCM the bones of Panthera tigres have been used in wines, plasters, and manufactured medicines to treat arthritis and other joint ailments.
- Rhinoceros-- Decocted rhinoceros horn is used in TCM to treat fever, convulsions, and delirium. Its popularity has been a major factor in the reduction of the rhinoceros population in Africa and Asia.
- Black bear -- Bear bile is used in TCM to treat a wide variety of illnesses and injuries, including liver ailments and headaches. Although substitutes for bear bile exist, there is still a huge demand for the real thing
- Musk from the musk deer is the basis of some 300 TCM prescriptions.
- Sea horse -- The seahorse, used as a treatment for kidney ailments, circulatory problems, and impotence, has been a feature of TCM for centuries
What can I do?
- Be very careful while selecting a health care provider.
- The common adverse effects in patients after receiving traditional Chinese medicine include nausea, headaches, diarrhea, and allergic reactions.