A physiotherapist performs acupuncture on the back of a patient. Chinese leaders have been lobbying for the move. For them, it's a huge win and the push has come right from the top: When President Xi Jinping visited WHO headquarters for the first time in Geneva in , he brought along a bronze statue showing acupuncture marks on the body. New law sparks debate over future of traditional Chinese medicine.
The country has been promoting TCM on the world stage, both as away to burnish its global image and influence, and for a slice of a growing market internationally. The country's "strategic plan" on the Development of Traditional Chinese Medicine supports the expansion of Chinese medicine overseas and advocates the use of Beijing's Belt and Road global economic initiative to promote TCM. The effectiveness of Chinese medicine is in most cases unproven, and only a few herbs have been tested systematically for toxicity or carcinogenicity in the same way Western medicines are in the United States and Europe, said Grollman.
In his research, Grollman looked at Aristolochia plants that have long been used for medical purposes and found they can cause cancer and kidney failure. David Colquhoun, a professor of pharmacology at University College London, said that the evidence that any form of traditional medicine works is "negligible. Herbalist sentenced after death of diabetic boy advised not to use insulin. Some studies have found a small effect, but it's not clinically significant, he said.
These imaginary meridians are baseless," he added. One notable drug that has emerged from Chinese medicine is the malaria treatment artemisinin, for which Chinese scientist Tu Youyou won a Nobel prize in It's good because it's been purified and you can control the dose," he said. Many wildlife conservationists are concerned about the repercussions for wild animals if the industry grows without more "clarity and supportive action from global public health authorities and nations regarding acceptable TCM practices.
Record haul of pangolin scales highlights Chinese and Vietnamese demand for endangered species. John Goodrich, chief scientist and Tiger Program senior director for Panthera, which protects wild cats, acknowledged that many TCM bodies have already taken wild animal parts out of their pharmacopoeia but stressed: "Any recognition of Traditional Chinese Medicine from an entity of the World Health Organization's stature will be perceived by the global community as a stamp of approval from the United Nations on the overall practice, which includes the use of remedies utilizing wild animal parts.
Panthera said more than 5, Asian leopards have been used in trade in the past two decades due to demand for leopard bone pills and wine. The safety and effectiveness of TCM is still debated in China , where it has both adherents and skeptics.
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