Home > Current Events > Year 2009 March
A review of stories making the headlines.

New herbal medicine gets go-ahead
English Eastday(http://english.eastday.com), 5 March 2009

The Shuguang Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital has been given a new medicine license by drug authorities for a herbal compound to treat respiratory diseases. It is said to be the first such medicine for the city developed by a TCM hospital. Laboratory, animal and clinical tests have apparently confirmed the safety and effectiveness of the drug. The medicine, Jingyin Granule, based on the Jingyin Herbal Compound which has long been used at the hospital. The main components of the medicine are various Chinese herbs which have detoxifying and anti-inflammatory effects. Its active ingredients are protocatechuic aldehyde that eases inflammation and chlorogenic acid which inhibits bacteria and viruses.

Hunt for TCM recipes
Shanghai Daily
(www.shanghaidaily.com), 12 March 2009

Pudong New Area in Shanghai has launched a campaign to collect TCM recipes from doctors in the area. The collected recipes will be compiled in a book as a means to preserve China's traditional medical heritage. Selected recipes may be chosen to undergo laboratory and clinical testing. Recipes for TCM are often highly particular to each doctor and well-kept family secrets for generation of doctors. However all are not necessary passed down. The Shuguang Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital is the institution spearheading the campaign.

Reform boon for village doctors
China Daily (http://english.people.com.cn), 13 March 2009

China is set to bring around one million better-trained village doctors its ongoing healthcare reform plan in a bid to provide about 1.3 billion citizens, particularly the poor, with access to basic healthcare, as Wang Guoqiang, vice-minister of health and director of the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SATCM), who is also a CPPCC National Committee member recently said. Assessment of village doctors' qualifications will begin in Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou provinces in 2009 as part of the country's 850-billion-yuan ($124 billion) healthcare reform. "The assessment will not be as academic as it is for those trained professionally in medical schools, but good enough to test a doctor's ability to offer primary care in the rural areas," said Wang. Apprenticeships, which have been the main method of training for village doctors have been legalized as an alternative to medical schools.

Traditional Chinese therapy may help ease eczema
USnews (http://health.usnews.com), 14 March 2009

A combination of Erka Shizheng Herbal Tea, a bath additive, creams and acupuncture over eight months greatly reduced the severity of eczema, an itchy, red skin condition and improved the quality of life of 14 eczema patients studied by researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. The patients received the treatment at a Manhattan natural health centre. All but one patient saw at least a 60 percent improvement in eczema severity after around three months of treatment. The use of steroids, antibiotics and antihistamines also decreased during the study.

China blacklists 46 websites for selling fake TCM
Xinhua(www.chinaview.cn), 23 March 2009

China's State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SATCM) blacklisted 46 websites for selling fake herbal medicines recently. Consumers were warned against buying drugs from organizations including the Foreign-related Cooperation Center of Chinese Medicine Research Institute (www.gaoxueya666.com) and the Chinese Medicine Academy of Cardiovascular Diseases (www.gxz117.com). Drugs sold on these sites claimed to be able to cure high blood pressure, skin diseases, diabetes and other chronic conditions. All the 46 blacklisted websites are listed on SATCM's website at www.satcm.gov.cn. A full list of 11 Chinese websites licensed to sell over-the-counter drugs online is available on the administration's website (www.sfda.gov.cn).

Acupuncture helps addicted inmates
Baltimore Sun(http://www.baltimoresun.com), 23 March 2009

Acupuncture has been helping drug addicts at Baltimore's jail for around 16 years. A part of the treatment program "Addicts Changing Together Substance Abuse Program" that serves around 688 inmates each year. In addition to 25 acupuncture sessions, inmates get group and individual counseling, and life-skills classes. Experts say that the treatment causes the body to release endorphins which travel to the same receptors in the brain that are turned on when someone takes drugs At a cost of $40,000 a year for all 688 inmates, the acupuncture portion of the treatment program is considered relatively cheap compared to other treatment modalities. However it must also be used in conjunction with counselling to get more long-lasting results.

Licorice may block effectiveness of drug widely used by transplant patients
EurekAlert (http://www.eurekalert.org), 24 March 2009

It has been reported that an ingredient in licorice íV which is widely used in herbal medicine to treat the common cold, stomach ulcers, and liver disease íV appears to block the absorption of cyclosporine, a drug used by transplant patients to prevent organ rejection. Researchers from Taiwan have reported that could potentially result in transplant rejection in those take cyclosporine and licorice together. The researchers say they do not know exactly how much licorice it takes to have a toxic effect in humans. Licorice-based products vary widely in their content of its main active ingredient, glycyrrhizin, so it is advised that patients using cyclosporine should avoid licorice altogether.

Chinese medicine plan "not working"
New Straits Times (http://www.nst.com.my), 24 March 2009

The setting up of a TCM division in three government hospitals two years ago in Malaysia has not achieved what it had set out to do. Malaysia TCM Practitioners Association chairman Tan Kee Huat said this was because only a few patients had benefited from the service. He said the Chinese physicians were recruited from China, thus depriving local Malaysians of job opportunities in this area. Chinese medicine was introduced in the three hospitals (Kepala Batas Hospital in Penang, Putrajaya Hospital and Sultan Ismail Hospital) following a Health Ministry initiative in 2007, to incorporate modern and traditional medicines into the national healthcare system for a more holistic approach. The TCM division had no outpatient unit, but only an oncologist who handled advanced cancer patients referred by the hospital's oncology department. Statistics showed that the division in the three hospitals received a total of 776 admissions up to last month.

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