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

Chinese botanical drug to cure peanut allergies
The Future of Things(http://thefutureofthings.com),9 April 2009

A recent study by Dr. Li Xiumin and colleagues from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York suggests that Chinese herbs can help patients overcome their food allergies. Dr Li saw a link between lower levels of allergies in China when compared to the West and the consumption of herbs. Dr Li found a food allergy herbal formula (FAHF-2) which produced long term protection against peanut-induced anaphylaxis in mice. The study showed that treatment using FAHF-2 protected peanut allergic mice from anaphylaxis for more than 36 weeks after the mice stopped receiving the drug. FAHF-2 has started human trials to determine its safety and efficacy.

"Herbal viagra" warning
Nursing Times (http://www.nursingtimes.net), 12 April 2009

An unlicensed product, "Jia Yi Jian", known as "herbal Viagra" has been analysed by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency in the UK and found to contain two undeclared ingredients. They are Sibutramine, used to treat obesity, and Tadalafil, for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. These drugs are licensed as prescription-only drugs in the UK. Potential side effects include significant heart and blood pressure problems and potential harmful interactions with other blood pressure and heart disease medications and some antidepressants.

China selects "masters of traditional Chinese medicine" for first time
People's Daily (http://paper.people.com.cn), 14 April 2009

The Chinese government has designated certain individuals as "masters of traditional Chinese medicine". These individuals include Qiu Peiran, born in January 1913 and a chief physician with the Shanghai University of Chinese Traditional Medicine and Zhang Xuewen, a chief physician with the Shaanxi University of Chinese Medicine. These doctors have spent over 55 years in the TCM field. These "Masters of Traditional Chinese Medicine" will be granted medals and certificates and will be treated as provincial or ministerial-level "model workers".

New healthcare reform should pay more attention to TCM talent
Beijing International (http://www.ebeijing.gov.cn), 15 April 2009

An official from China's Ministry of Health says around half of the drugs on the upcoming essential medicine list are TCMs. The essential medicine list, designed to curb rising drug prices, is part of China's current healthcare reform. The Beijing News has published an article that said that the move indicates the government is working to promote wider use of TCM. However, the writer says wider use of Chinese traditional drugs alone wont really promote the development of Chinese medicine. The writer says that TCM is a weak point in the entire healthcare system, which leads to a small demand for TCM talent. Furthermore, the proportion of TCM doctors in medical institutions is very small, which could restrict the use of TCMs. The article concludes by suggesting the government give more support to TCM doctors and draw up more standardized rules for the use of TCMs.

Experts urge more traditional Chinese medicine use
China Daily(www.chinaview.cn), 15 April 2009

Experts and practitioners at a forum on TCM's international presence organized by the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (SATCM) and the China Australia Cooperation Society called for the expansion of TCM's global influence. "The world is rapidly embracing TCM. It's like an infant who needs care, attention and guidance," said one Canadian TCM doctor. More and more people around the world are interested in TCM, which has become a major medical force," SATCM director and Vice-Minister of Health Wang Guoqiang said. Australian representatives at the forum said that Australia had introduced TCM-related legislation in the 1850s, while a US delegate stated that TCM was one of the fastest growing forms of healthcare in the United States.

Magazine reveals TCM profits scam
Shanghai Daily (www.shanghaidaily.com), 21 April 2009

Distributors of TCMs collaborated with local hospitals and unlicensed clinics to reap huge profits illegally by writing false invoices and manufacturing/delivering fake drugs according to a report in the China Economic Weekly. China's herbal market is split into in three parts V herb, herbal pieces and patent medicine. TCM distributors mainly focus on the sale of herbal pieces, the report said. Some vendors sold pieces from unidentified sources to small clinics while some others made deals with hospitals to earn hundreds of times what the drugs were worth. Some industry insiders even made counterfeit expensive medicines with worthless materials. Under current medical reforms, the PRC government will be in charge of the bidding and delivery of TCMs to cut out regulate supply of herbal components and standardize retail prices based on reasonable profits.

Newly-found tomb mural depicts ancient Chinese medication
Xinhua (www.chinaview.cn), 15 April 2009

Archaeologists have unearthed a mural from an ancient tomb in the northwestern Shaanxi last week depicting how TCM was practiced 1,000 years ago. Sun Bingjun of the Shaanxi Provincial Institute of Archaeology said this was the first mural found to depict TCM. The mural, about four meters square, had a man sitting on a chair, whom experts believed was the tomb owner. "Jars and bottles were seen on a table nearby," said Sun. Two other men were sitting at the table, one of whom was carrying two bags of herbs and the other consulting a huge collection of herbal formulas. "The names of the herbs were still seen on the bags and the papers," said Sun. "We assume the master of the house was sick and two physicians were making prescriptions." Sun and his colleagues have finished a preliminary research on the mural, which was found in a Song dynasty (960-1279) tomb in the suburbs of Hancheng City in February. On the same mural were eight busy servants, some were waiting on the master while others were preparing his medicine, said Sun. "One of them had a bowl and cup in each hand, while others were busy at the stove, presumably brewing herbs." The tomb chamber, the murals and the coffin were elevated from the 10-meter deep pit and transported to a heritage base in the provincial capital Xian.

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