Home > Current Events > Year 2008 September
A review of stories making the headlines.
Bitter Melon Nutrients Fight Type 2 Diabetes Better than Prescription Drugs
The Natural News (www.naturalnews.com), 2 September 2008

The Chinese government and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research in Sydney, Australia have joined forces in a joint effect, to investigate the vegetable bitter melon. The results of the study, which was published in the journal Chemistry & Biology, isolated four compounds in bitter melon that may account for the vegetable's effectiveness as a diabetes treatment in TCM. As well as relieving the symptoms of diabetes, bitter melon is used in TCM to promote digestion, brighten the eyes and cool the body. Researchers pulped approximately a metric ton of bitter melon and analyzed its chemical components and identified four compounds that appeared to stimulate the activity of a chemical known as AMPK. Exercise is normally prescribed as a part of diabetes treatment because it activates AMPK, which is known to help move glucose transporters to the surface of cells, where they can then take sugar out of the blood. The scientist gave this compound to mice just before a meal and found that it could regulate their blood sugar levels afterwards.

China bans spurious TCM claims
China Daily, (www.chinadaily.com.cn/english), 14 September 2008

Hospitals that practice TCM must stop making exaggerated claims about the effectiveness of their treatments, an official with the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Describing treatments as "uniquely effective" or having a "secret formula" is no longer allowed. Before a hospital can promote itself as having specialist knowledge in the treatment of a certain disease, it must get approval from a TCM administration at least provincial level. In the past, a lot of confusion was caused by hospitals claiming to use both TCM and Western techniques, so it was difficult to tell which had been effective in curing the particular condition. Regular checks on China's 3,000 TCM hospitals across the country will be made to ensure that truthful information is given out to patients and consumers.

Official jailed over China quake medicine theft
The Seattle Times (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com), 23 September 2008

State media says a hospital official from Sichuan Province was sentenced to seven years jail for stealing medicine intended for survivors of last May's massive earthquake, which killed nearly 70,000. Xinhua News Agency quotes court officials Tuesday saying Fu Hongyuan, deputy head of the Yuanba District Chinese Traditional Medicine Hospital in Guangyuan city was found guilty of stealing 17,950 yuan worth of medicine. Guangyuan was one of the most badly damaged places in the disaster.

Traditional medicine has radical impact on mainland's astronauts
South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), 23 September 2008

Working in space can cause dehydration, hyperhydration, dizziness, fatigue, vomiting, a decrease in bone calcium, immune system changes, anaemia and nervous breakdowns. Joint research by the China Astronaut Centre and the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium found that Chinese astronauts returned to Earth healthier than their Russian and European counterparts. Chinese astronauts had more strength and could stand, sit and move around more easily after returning to earth. Comparisons revealed that the US astronauts pumped less blood with each heartbeat, and their hearts had to beat faster upon their return to Earth, while the Chinese astronauts hardly showed any changes when they returned. This is because they took TCM, in particular, a pill called Taikongyangxindan, or "space heart guardian", which was to be taken in case of a heart attack in microgravity. The pill is a mixture of the root of Chinese foxglove; glossy privet seeds; the leaves of an aphrodisiac, short-horned epimedium; and dry orange peel. Since some of the problems encountered in space travel relate to earth-bound conditions, the "space heart guardian" will soon be available over the counter.

Why does gecko, a Chinese traditional medicine, have anti-tumor effects?
Medical News Today (www.medicalnewstoday.com), 24 September 2008

A TCM, gecko (ge jie), is known to have had some positive effects on malignant tumors in clinical practice, but few studies on why. A research team led by Prof. Wang from Henan University has undertaken pharmacological studies of gecko and its mechanisms of anti-tumor action, the findings of which were recently published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology. Gecko not only can aid immunity but also induction of tumor cell apoptosis and the down-regulation of protein expression of VEGF and bFGF, with fewer unpleasant side affects such as in regular chemotherapy.

South Korea says tonnes of unsafe Chinese herbal medicine destroyed
Medical Research (www.medical.wesrch.com), 30 September 2008

The Korea Food and Drug Administration has told the government that imports of Chinese herbal medicine had higher than permitted amounts of heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and arsenic as well as sulphur dioxide. South Korea has destroyed 871 tonnes of imported Chinese herbal medicine ingredients over the past two years because they contained excessive level of toxins. The country had imported 19,650 tonnes of Chinese herbs and other material for oriental medicines in 2007.

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