Sunday, November 12, 2006

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

I remember Dr. Huo, one of my TCM instructors, telling me that when his son was sick he reached for antibiotics because it was to hard to force a cranky, ill child to drink cherry-flavored cough syrup let alone an herbal decoction. I also remember Dr. Zhong taking 45 minutes to describe the ingredients and uses of a particular herbal formula by describing the plot of a popular Chinese opera complete with periodic singing. Dr. Hou was all for intergrating into Western society and owned all of the latest technologies while Dr. Zhong intended to return to his home village and still spoke of "Great Leader Chairmen Mao" as though he would walk in the room any moment.

I always enjoyed speaking to my various instructors about what China was like, what they thought about America, and how things have changed since moving here. Some wanted to chase the American dream, others found out that what they had in China was what they wanted all along.

I find it interesting that decades after Mao snubbed all things western (publicly, not personally of course) and encouraged the use of TCM, many in the Chinese medical and scientific community are rejecting their heritage and doubting its effectiveness. TCM had been used successfully in hospitals in China for generations alongside western therapies but now they are suspect and "untrustworthy." Once again, even if it worked, you can't believe it worked without someone independently verifying it worked.

But then, Phizer doesn't finance large studies to investigate the effectiveness of Yin Qiao.

Chinese turning away from traditional remedies
Monday November 13, 2006
From the nzherald

BEIJING - In the West, demand for traditional Chinese medicine just goes on growing, however it's the Chinese who are taking a great big acupuncture needle and trying to prick this bubble.

More and more of them are rejecting their ancient remedies in favour of Western medicine. A proposal to remove from the Chinese health care system traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has divided public opinion and outraged the Government which backs its use.

The controversy was sparked by an online petition proposing that only Western-style healthcare be available in China's hospitals. Behind it is Professor Zhang Gongyao, who describes TCM, practised in China for 4000 years, as "untrustworthy" and "pseudo-science".

At stake is an industry last year worth £5.2 billion ($15 billion).

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