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Chinese Medicinal Materials and their Interface with Western Medical Concepts
Journal of Ethno-Pharmacology (2005)
  • Kelvin Chan

Chinese medicine (CM), one of the oldest continuously surviving traditions, has been practised to maintain good health and treat diseases in the Chinese communities and recently by other ethnic groups worldwide. Chinese medicinal materials (Chinese materia medica, CMM) and proprietary CM products (PCM), acupuncture and related physical therapies, as well as special life styles are often used together in the practice, co-existing with orthodox medicine (OM) in China and some regions in the Far East. Increasing uses of CMM have created both skepticism and support of CM practice that have been the major debate since the successful randomised clinical trial of the 10-CM herbs prescription in relieving atopic eczema was published in 1992. Available in the West, some CMM are supplied with wrong species or wrong named herbs that possess liver and kidney toxicity and some PCM adulterated with OMdrugs. These do not give CMM the right reputation and recognition. These problems have been due to lack of recognition and regulation of the profession, qualified practitioners, quality-controlled CMM products and evidence-based clinical studies. Though practised widely, CM was not recognised officially in some regions such the EU and North America as part of the healthcare system run by western OM practice. Such circumstance has delayed the development of CM in these regions including Hong Kong comparing with that in Australia, Japan (As Kampo medicine), the UK, some European countries, and the USA. It can be considered as obstacles for proper development of CM in general. This paper addresses these key issues and attempts to propose ways for future research and development for CMM. The impact will certainly be modernisation in every aspect of CMM to cope with the fast growing demand in quality medicines in the 21st century. Several major areas are listed for discussion.

  • Chinese Medicine,
  • Chinese Materia Medica,
  • Proprietary Chinese Medicinal Products,
  • Impact in the West,
  • Future Development
Publication Date
Citation Information
Kelvin Chan. "Chinese Medicinal Materials and their Interface with Western Medical Concepts" Journal of Ethno-Pharmacology Vol. 96 (2005)
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