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Full Access The Treatment of Eczema in Traditional Chinese Medicine: An Attempt at Westernisation

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The Treatment of Eczema in Traditional Chinese Medicine: An Attempt at Westernisation

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AbstractAlthough Western medicine makes extensive use of herbal extracts in its prescribing, from cancer treatments to antimalarial prophylaxis, there is a reluctance to approach one of the oldest and most established sources of medicinal herbs, namely traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). This is due, in part, to the perceived link between the doctrines of TCM and the herbs, making the latter unacceptable in Western prescribing practice with its insistence on an evidence-based rationale. Reviewing recent studies of the doctrines of TCM and Western studies of the action of Chinese herbs, we conclude that the two are not intrinsically linked. Some Chinese herbs have an action that can be explained in clear biochemical terms. Also, the mixtures of herbs, so characteristic of Chinese herbal medicine, may parallel the modern practice of combination therapy. These ideas are considered in the light of a recent effort to transform a Chinese herbal remedy for eczema into a treatment within Western prescribing practice. Problems were encountered because of the EU regulations with regard to herbal remedies but the results were promising and further research into the efficacy of Chinese herbal remedies is fully justified.

Affiliations: 1: Bute Medical School, University of St Andrews

10.1163/15734218-12341259
/content/journals/10.1163/15734218-12341259
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AbstractAlthough Western medicine makes extensive use of herbal extracts in its prescribing, from cancer treatments to antimalarial prophylaxis, there is a reluctance to approach one of the oldest and most established sources of medicinal herbs, namely traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). This is due, in part, to the perceived link between the doctrines of TCM and the herbs, making the latter unacceptable in Western prescribing practice with its insistence on an evidence-based rationale. Reviewing recent studies of the doctrines of TCM and Western studies of the action of Chinese herbs, we conclude that the two are not intrinsically linked. Some Chinese herbs have an action that can be explained in clear biochemical terms. Also, the mixtures of herbs, so characteristic of Chinese herbal medicine, may parallel the modern practice of combination therapy. These ideas are considered in the light of a recent effort to transform a Chinese herbal remedy for eczema into a treatment within Western prescribing practice. Problems were encountered because of the EU regulations with regard to herbal remedies but the results were promising and further research into the efficacy of Chinese herbal remedies is fully justified.

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2012-01-20
2018-09-20

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