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Archive | Chinese herbal medicines

WHO blasted for legitimizing non-evidence-based Chinese medicine

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Posted 10 April 2019

The editors of Scientific American have harshly criticized the World Health Organization for including in the 11th edition of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) disorders described in ancient Chinese medicine (ICD-11).

Editors. The World Health Organization gives the nod to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Bad Idea. Scientific American. April 2019 https://www.who.int/health-topics/international-classification-of-diseases

Their key points include:

  • Including traditional Chinese medicine in the ICD is an egregious lapse in evidence-based thinking and practice. Data supporting the effectiveness of most traditional remedies are scant, at best.
  • In China, traditional medicines are unregulated, and they frequently make people sick rather than curing them.
  • Analyses of Chinese remedies have revealed hidden ingredients including banned Western drugs, toxic chemicals, and DNA from endangered species.
  • The proliferation of traditional medicines contributes to destruction of ecosystems and increases the illegal trade of wildlife.
  • Until they undergo rigorous testing for
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Herbal remedies widely linked to liver cancers

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Posted 20 October 2017

In an article titled, Herbal remedies embraced by naturopaths, alt med widely linked to liver cancers, published in ArsTechnica, makes the following points:

According to a study published Wednesday in Science Translational Medicine, traditional components of herbal remedies used throughout Asia are widely implicated in liver cancers there. In Taiwan, for instance, 78 percent of 98 liver tumors sampled displayed a pattern of mutations consistent with exposure to herbs containing aristolochic acids (AAs). These are carcinogenic components found in a variety of centuries-old herbal remedies said to treat everything from snakebites to gout, asthma, and pain.


In 2000, Belgian doctors reported that about 100 women taking a Chinese herbal treatment from a weight-loss clinic in Brussels experienced kidney failure, and many later developed bladder and urinary tract cancers. Upon investigation, the doctors determined that the AA-containing herb Aristolochia fangchi had been

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In Hong Kong, Folk Remedies Are Sickening Patients

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Posted 10 October 2017

An article in the New York Times, written by Rachel Nuwer, makes the point that hidden adulterants are found in Chinese Folk Medicines.

Every few weeks, Dr. Tony Wing Lai Mak, a pathologist at Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong, receives blood and urine samples from yet another patient hospitalized after taking a traditional Chinese medical or health supplement.

His toxicology lab finds the same culprits over and over: adulterants hidden in the dose.

Although the Hong Kong Department of Health regularly issues warnings about the medicines, “we’re still seeing this all the time,” Dr. Mak said.

“These are illegal products that are damaging to people’s health and can even kill. Yet somehow, they’re still here.”

The frequency and serious nature of the cases inspired Dr. Mak and his colleagues to compile a decade’s worth of observations, which they recently published in the British Journal Read the rest

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Chinese herbal medicines contain pesticide residue

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Posted 02 July 2013

Chinese herbs have been used for centuries. Although many are likely to have a true health benefit, in fact not many have been evaluated yet for safety or whether they are in fact efficacious. The paradigm of Chinese medicine is unlike Western medicine on a number of levels, including the latter having developed a surveillance system for adverse effects.

This interesting article published in The Guardian highlights a new problem – in trying to increase production of medicinal herbs, pesticides are being used which may result in the final product containing high levels of residual pesticide.

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