Home > Current Events > Year 2008 November
A review of stories making the headlines.
DOH foresees better management of medicine herb imports from China
Taiwan News (http://www.etaiwannews.com), 1 November 2008

Food safety is one of major issues on the agenda of the upcoming talks between Chiang Pin-kun, chairman of Taiwan's semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation, and Chen Yun-ling, president of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits. The two will meet in meet in Taipei later in November. Lin Yi-hsin, chairman of the Department of Health (DOH) Committee on Chinese Medicine and Pharmacy, said that once the two sides sign the food safety agreement, the committee will seek quality certification of all medicine herbs imported from China.

Now the Chinese know: the Guangxu emperor was poisoned. But by whom?
The Times(http://www.timesonline.co.uk), 4 November 2008

It has finally been established that the Guangxu emperor, the second-to-last "Son of Heaven" who died in 1908, was killed by arsenic poisoning íV the day before the Empress Dowager Cixi passed away. The elderly empress had imprisoned him for his attempts to reform the failing Qing dynasty government. Researchers studied remnants of hair and clothing taken from his burial chamber. Tests on clothing around his stomach area contained as much as 201 milligrammes of arsenic íV 2,000 times higher than in a healthy person. A dose of between 60 and 200 milligrammes is considered fatal. The researchers ruled out the possibility that he died of chronic poisoning from taking Chinese medicine. Records show that medicines he was prescribed contained traces of arsenic and mercury and could, in theory, have caused his death after being taken over a long period.

Two more Chinese medicine universities to be recognised, says Liow
Bernama (Malaysian National News Agency http://www.bernama.com.my), 7 November 2008

Malaysia will recognise two more traditional medicine universities in China to expand the numbers of qualified practitioners to work in government hospitals and boost health tourism. Malaysian Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said the two were the Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine. The minister is on a five-day working visit to Beijing to attend the WHO Congress on Traditional Medicine. Malaysia has recognised three Chinese establishments íV Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Shanghai University of Chinese Medicine and the Nanjing Universities since the beginning of 2008.

China's fattest man loses half his weight through acupuncture.
The Telegraph (http://www.telegraph.co.uk), 13 November 2008

A 34-year-old man from Beijing has gone from 38 stone to 19 in just one year due to a strict acupuncture regime. Chang Yang, who won the title of the Fattest Man in China in 2007, also won a competition to be treated at a TCM hospital. Yu Shuzhong, his doctor, said he had been treated with acupuncture and "fire herbs". "We place a wet towel sprinkled with fat-reducing herbs on the belly. Then the herb is burnt, which produces heat and spreads into Yang's skin through the towel, helping reduce fat little by little," he said. Mr Chang was also forced to get out of bed early and his meals were cut to normal size.

Call for regulation of herbalists, acupuncturists and Chinese medicine practitioners
Nursing Times (http://www.nursingtimes.net), 13 November 2008

Medical herbalists, acupuncturists and traditional Chinese medicine practitioners should be regulated, according to the Health Professions Council (HPC). The HPC has written to the UK government following the publishing of a report by the Department of Health Steering Group, Statutory Regulation of Practitioners of Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine and other Traditional Medicine Systems Practised in the United Kingdom. It proposed that the HPC should be the statutory regulator for acupuncturists, medical herbalists and TCM practitioners.

AIDS Breakthrough: Astragalus Root Could Replace HIV Drugs
Natural News(www.naturalnews.com), 13 November 2008

A new study by scientists at UCLA AIDS Institute in the US published in the Journal of Immunology says that astragalus root contains a substance that could make it a powerful weapon in the fight against the HIV virus that causes AIDS. There is a substance in the root that prevents or slows down the progressive shortening of a part of immune system cells called telomeres which help the body to fight infection. As immune cells age, telomeres gets shorter and shorter when the cells divide. Eventually, the cells change, and can no longer divide which limits their ability to fight infections. The UCLA study shows that treatment with a natural substance called TAT2 found in astragalus aids in the functioning of telomeres. Astragalus has no reported adverse effects. It has been used in TCM to support and enhance the immune system and for heart disease. The herb is widely used in China for chronic hepatitis, colds and upper respiratory infections and as an adjunctive therapy in cancer.

Plant Extract Used in Traditional Chinese Medicine May Help Treat Psoriasis
Insider Medicine(http://www.insidermedicine.ca), 17 November 2008

A plant-based powder used in TCM called indigo naturalis may help treat psoriasis, a non-contagious chronic skin disorder that causes red scaly patches to appear on the skin. according to a small study in the Archives of Dermatology. Researchers from Chang Gung University in Taiwan enlisted 42 people with psoriasis to use an ointment containing indigo naturalis on one lesion and an ointment containing no indigo naturalis on a different lesion for 12 weeks. On average, the lesions treated with indigo naturalis improved by 81%, compared with only 26% for those lesions treated with the other ointment. Among those who completed the study, 74% saw their treated lesion completely disappear.

WHO promotes Chinese model for integrating traditional medicine
Voice of America (http://www.voanews.com), 17 November 2008

The World Health Organization says traditional medicines are an effective treatment for modern illnesses and should be integrated into primary health care. Margaret Chen, head of the WHO, says China, where herbal remedies are prescribed alongside Western medicine, is a good model to follow. Chan was speaking in Beijing at the WHO's first-ever conference promoting traditional medicine. The WHO says traditional medicines have fewer side effects than western drugs and can be a cheap, effective treatment for common illnesses such as diarrhea and malaria. It can also be used to treat modern lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and mental disorders.

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