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Big potential for use of traditional Chinese medicine in US: experts

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-11-29 09:07

A file photo of traditional Chinese medicine. [Photo/VCG]

NEW YORK -- Traditional Chinese medicine has big potential to become part of mainstream health service in the United States especially in the areas where Western medicine reaches its limitation, said several TCM experts.

The existing Western medical therapies have difficulty in solving many medical problems, while TCM has been proven effective in treating diseases in its long history of practice in China, Xu Jianguang, president of Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine told Xinhua in an earlier interview.

"We need to use the solid evidence, technology and data to demonstrate why and how Chinese medicine works and under what medical condition," said Xu, who is also an expert on hand surgery and microsurgery.

Now, TCM products are mostly regulated as dietary supplement in the Untied States. But a number of TCM products have entered phase-two and even phase-three trials in application of new drugs with US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

China's TCM product developer Tasly Pharmaceutical has been a frontrunner and entered phase-3 clinical trials for its TCM product T89, a kind of botanical cardiotonic pill.

If FDA finally certifies T89 as a new drug, people could change their views on TCM and the possible breakthrough could fuel development of the TCM industry, said Aaron Zhu, general manager of Zhongke Health International (New York) LLC, which sells a series of botanical extract products as dietary supplement in the United States.

Still, it will take a long time for TCM to become part of mainstream health care services in the Untied States as TCM products are yet to be certified by FDA as drugs and the licensing of herbalist need to be introduced separately, said Zhu on Wednesday.

Zhou said botanical products have very big market in the Untied States while his company now only focuses on botanical products related to TCM.

The development of TCM shall be guided by traditional theories and more standardization work should be done, said Chen Yemeng, president of New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. He added that the theories of TCM have not been fully accepted in the United States though acupuncture and other TCM therapies are widely used here.

Now, there are nearly 40,000 acupuncture practitioners in 47 US states, according to Chen.

TCM should be integrated into existing professional therapies in the US health care sector as soon as possible in a bid to prompt its adoption, Chen told Xinhua.

New York-based Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the major and oldest private cancer center in the world, has established an integrative medicine center featuring the use of acupuncture, massage, mind-body therapies as well as classes and workshops.

New York College of Traditional Chinese Medicine carries out teaching clinics at multiple sites and regular lectures for local commodity, which helps promote people's awareness of TCM, according to Chen.

TCM is based on holistic view of human body and disease, which always sees the big picture and proves useful in treating chronic diseases and serving aged people in particular.

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