Home > Current Events > Year 2008 February
A review of stories making the headlines.

Cavity-fighting herbal lollipop
The Future of Things (http://www.tfot.info),, 4 February 2008

UCLA microbiologist Shi Wenyuan in conjunction with research company C3 Jian has developed an orange-flavoured lollipop that is actually good for your teeth. Professor Shi studied and tested over 1,000 Chinese herbs and determined that an extract of liquorice root (Glycyrrhiza uralensis) targets and kills the primary bacteria (streptococcus mutans) responsible for tooth decay. The sugar-free lollipop, which will be marketed as Dr. John's Herbal Candy, is infused with a natural ingredient found in liquorice that works against tooth decay. Liquorice stimulates saliva flows, has anti-bacterial properties and keeps bacteria from adhering to your teeth.

Chinese medicine paired with fertility technology
The Kansas City Star (http://www.kansascity.com), 9 February 2008

A scientific review published recently in the British Medical Journal suggests that acupuncture might help women become pregnant if done right before or just after embryos are placed in the womb after in vitro fertilization (IVF). The analysis was led by Eric Manheimer, a researcher at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The research was paid for by a federal agency, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The analysis pools results from seven studies on 1,366 women in the United States, Germany, Australia and Denmark undergoing IVF. Only three studies found acupuncture beneficial, three found a trend toward a benefit and one found there was no benefit. However, when results of these studies were pooled together, researchers found that the odds of conceiving went up about 65 percent for women treated with acupuncture.

University silent on radiation exposures
South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), 12 February 2008

A recent report stated that 18 third-year students had eye and ear complaints after they were exposed to UV radiation in a laboratory class in the school of Chinese medicine at Baptist University, Hong Kong. The university was not willing to discuss the report, but said that it would upgrade its safety procedures in the future. It appears that there was a lack of knowledge about UV radiation, a poor technical support in the lab and no specific safety alerts were listed in the students' lab manuals. The school would continue to monitor the affected students who had all recovered and returned to class.

Traditional Chinese medicine under the microscope
Science and Development Network (http://www.scidev.net), 12 February 2008

A recent article in the journal Science discusses a new 15-year project that will look at the make-up of traditional Chinese medicines. The "Herbalome Project" will use high throughput screening, toxicity tests and clinical trials to identify the active components of TCMs, of which there are as many as 400,000 combinations of 10,000 herbs and animal extracts. It is hoped that this will modernise the field and lead to better quality control. The scientists are developing new methods of separating the various parts of TCMs into "multi-componentsĄ¨ (groups of similar ingredients). They also plan to devise "Herbalome chips", with which compounds are tested for their ability to bind to certain peptides.

Two convicted of poaching
The Mountain Press (http://www.zwire.com), 13 February 2008

Norman D. McCoy, 50 and Nicholas B. Bryson, 27 were recently both found guilty, fined and sentenced to a jail term on charges of illegal possession of American ginseng in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Illegal harvest of plants is a serious problem in the Smoky Mountains, particularly of wild ginseng, a favourite target of poachers since it can bring in between $500 to $800 per pound of dried roots on the black market. Its roots have been a traditional ingredient in Chinese medicine for thousands of years and its growing popularity for it has meant that illegal harvest has increased over the years and has put pressure on the plant's survival.

California acupuncture bill advances
AsianWeek (http://www.asianweek.com/), 16 February 2008

People in California may no longer pay extra insurance premiums for acupuncture if a bill currently in the state senate is made into law. The bill, AB54, mandates insurance companies to include acupuncture treatments in coverage plans. It passed the state assembly last month. This could be seen as a development that reflects TCM's steady growth in popularity and the greater acceptance of the medical fraternity. Proposed by Democratic Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally, AB54 passed the assembly floor by a vote of 46 to 27 after a year of political wrangling. However the bill's contents still need further development.

Pressing on sciatic nerve relieves pain and discomfort
Medical News (http://www.medpagetoday.com), 18 February 2008

Dr Jiman He, a visiting scholar at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, told attendees at the recent American Academy of Pain Medicine that two minutes of pressure on the path of the sciatic nerve appears to bring up to an hour's relief of pain and discomfort for people with a variety of symptoms. Dr He used aspects of TCM to determine pressure sites that give relief. Pressure on the sciatic pathway also brought relief of non-painful discomfort, including fullness, bloating, nausea, and vomiting, among cancer patients and patients at an internal medicine clinic. The pressure is performed with the patient lying on his or her stomach and clinician presses on the general area of the sciatic nerve from the buttocks to mid thigh with their palms or fist. However, the effect of this treatment seems to lessen with repeated use.

Compiled By:
Jennifer Eagleton, BA, MA (Asian Studies), Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd.