Home > Current Events > Year 2010 September
A review of stories making the headlines.

TCM pillows offer plush prescriptions
China Daily, 6 September 2010

Pillows stuffed with herbs have seen a spike in sales at Beijing bedding shops during the summer, as locals seek a softer cure for what ails them. Costing between 100 yuan and 400 yuan, the pillows contain herbs such as ginkgo leaf which TCM doctors claim can reduce high blood pressure and help skin, or cassia seed which is said to promote a healthy liver and improve vision. A salesman at Hantang bedding store said that the herbal pillows are a hit among middle-age and senior people.

TCM continues to find favor with Chinese
China Daily, 21 September 2010

The State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine released a survey results, nearly 90% of respondents said they have received treatment from TCM, with more than 40% of them in favor of its lower cost. In the survey, 88% respondents said they had consulted TCM practitioners or used remedies based on TCM, while only 5.6% said they never tried it; 24.2% believed TCM could successfully treat chronic diseases and another 20% resorted to TCM for rare illnesses. The survey reflected that people's awareness of TCM increased with age, 45% people over the age of 45 said they continued to learn about TCM, whereas the learning curve was less than 40% between the ages of 18 and 40, and 20% for those under 17.

Acupuncture beats drug to treat hot flashes: study
Reuters, 22 September 2010

Acupuncture works as well as a drug commonly used to combat hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms that can accompany breast cancer treatment, and its benefits last longer, without bad side effects, according to researchers led by Dr. Eleanor Walker of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. They tested acupuncture against the Wyeth antidepressant Effexor for hot flashes in breast cancer patients. After 12 weeks of treatment, symptoms were reduced for 15 additional weeks for women who had undergone acupuncture, compared with two weeks for those who had taken Effexor.

Chinese officials say loose cobras caught, but leave wiggle room
The Seattle Times, 25 September 2010

Businessman Cai Yong bought 3,000 cobra eggs, he then hatched and bred snakes at homemade cages of plywood, brick and netting in an abandoned school building. His plan was to make money by selling cobra venom for traditional Chinese medicine. However, more than 160 serpents slithered through a hole in the wall and threw the remote village of Xianling into bedlam, cobras were seen in outhouse toilets, kitchens, front yards and the mah-jongg parlor in a farming community in southwest China. Officials recently delivered snakebite serum to the village, though only the breeder has been hurt so far, and given lectures about cobras. The government of Shijiao issued a notice detailing how the snakes got loose and telling residents that almost all of them had been caught.

Overseas companies see great prospects in Chinese traditional herbal medicine industry
Global Times, 25 September 2010

The world's largest direct selling company and manufacturer Amway, is holding plans to build a research center in China for the study and growing of Chinese herbal medicine. According to Amway, the research center might come into use in 2013 and will be divided into research center and experimental farm. More than 5,000 herbs will be studied at the center so as to be added into the company's home care products. With proven efficacy, Chinese herbal medicine has become a source of product innovations for the foreign companies in the field. Procter &Gamble (P&G) and Unilever have also produced shampoos which contain herbal extracts.

China to develop Chinese medicine to fight super bacteria
People's Daily Online, 25 September 2010

Chinese pharmaceutical companies and research institutions have jointly launched a program for developing traditional Chinese medicine to fight against super bacteria, according to the Ministry of Health. The partnership, which is headed by Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings Ltd. and the South China Center for Innovative Pharmaceuticals (SCCIP), hopes to achieve substantive results in five years. An official with China's State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine said that traditional Chinese medicine has its own characteristics in the aspects of antibacterial and antiviral, it is a good starting point for researchers to find a new cure for so-called super bugs by combining Chinese and Western medicine.

Herbal supplements may raise blood lead levels
National Post, 28 September, 2010

Some herbal supplements may boost the levels of lead in the blood of women, new research shows. Dr. Catherine Buettner at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and colleagues examined herbal supplement use among women of reproductive age. They reported in the Journal of General Internal Medicine that the relationship with lead levels was even stronger, with lead levels 20% higher overall, and up to 40% higher among users of select herbal supplements compared to non-users. The team found that women using Ayurvedic or traditional Chinese medicine herbs had lead levels 24% higher than non-users, while those using St. John's wort and "other" herbs had lead levels 23% and 21% higher, respectively, than non-users.

Man is addicted to eating live scorpions
Ghana News, 28 September 2010

A Chinese man says he has become addicted to eating live scorpions and reckons that he has swallowed at least 10,000 over the last 30 years. Li Liuqun, 58, says he got hooked when he was walking in mountains close to his home in Hunan province, central China, and was stung by a huge scorpion. "I was so angry I picked it up and bit its head off. It tasted sweet and nutty and I never looked back. To me, they're delicious - like fried beans," he explained. Now Li will eat 20 or 30 of the live beasts in a single sitting and seems to be immune to their venom, which can paralyze and kill humans in large enough doses. Medics say Li has probably become addicted to the venom, which is used in small doses in traditional Chinese medicine to relieve the pain of rheumatism.

HIV/AIDS patients denied best drugs due to bureaucracy: expert
People's Daily Online, 28 September 2010

Chinese HIV/AIDS sufferers are not getting the best treatment for the disease, as long and costly licensing processes are preventing more effective drugs from entering China, according to a leading researcher in the field. David Ho said "China needs to make better options to patients, as the drugs available here are not yet satisfied, and the high prices for these drugs as well as other economic problems present further obstacles to them." Ho also expressed caution over claims that TCM has been effective in treating HIV/AIDS. "I have not seen anything that is convincing," he said, "TCM should be studied by systematic and scientific methods, not by claims or proclamations."

Plight of the Pangolin
New Straits Times, 28 September 2010

Pangolins are hunted and traded by the tonne. From 2000 to 2007, Malaysia made at least 34 pangolin seizures, a total of 6,000 specimens. Although found in tropical Asia and Africa, pangolin is specially Malaysian, its name derived from the Malay guling or to roll over. Deputy regional director for Traffic Southeast Asia Chris Shepherd has said that illegal trade was pushing unique species like the pangolin close to the abyss of extinction. At current rates of harvest and trade, it is only a matter of time before pangolins pass a point of no return. Malaysia has all the laws in place to protect pangolins.

Massage therapy for animals now offered at veterinary offices
syracuse.com, 29 September 2010

Central New York's canine population increasingly is making use of canine massage. Just as in humans, massage is said to help reduce pain and improve blood circulation and range of motion. A veterinarian on Cazenovia Road said the manipulative therapy often used in conjunction with acupuncture, and is used to treat various internal ailments as well as muscle skeletal issues. She says people seeking alternative therapies for their pets usually either use alternative therapies for their own health, or have exhausted traditional veterinary treatments.

Compiled By:
Rose Tse, Integrated Chinese Medicine Holdings Ltd.