Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is the study of human physiology and pathology, and the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of human diseases. It is a system that consists of the clinical and theoretical investigation of the physiology and pathology of organs and functions. Current TCM practice is based on the cosmologic principles of Chinese philosophy, including holism, differentiation, yin yang, and the five elements. Herbal medicine, acupuncture, and moxibustion are the treatment methods employed in TCM, in order of frequency. TCM has a more than 2,500-year history consisting of the development of major theories and clinical investigations that have been carried out by generations of practitioners and investigators. The theoretical basis for TCM is beyond the scope of this chapter. A detailed discussion may be found in the work of Bensky, et al. (1-3). Traditional Chinese medicine deserves serious consideration as a treatment option for patients with epilepsy. The TCM approach...

Modern Research on TCM Herbal Treatment in Epilepsy

As practiced in China today, TCM relies on herbal formulas as the principal treatment method for all diseases, including epilepsy. Acupuncture is used as a supplemental treatment (4). During the past few decades, many studies in China have examined the clinical effectiveness and pathophysiologic effects of the TCM herbal formulas used in treating epilepsy. One focus of modern research has been to compare the effectiveness of TCM herbal treatment to conventional Western pharmacotherapies. Although conventional medications can provide a more rapid initial clinical response, TCM can provide a long-term clinical benefit equivalent to conventional medications, but with significantly fewer side effects (5). In China, it is common to use Western medications initially and then replace or supplement these by TCM herbal formulas. Li et al. (6) randomly divided 306 patients into two groups. One hundred fifty-three patients received the TCM herbal formula Wuhuzhuifeng San the control group was...

History of Epilepsy Treatment Using TCM

TCM has its own schema for the differentiation of epilepsy, the most widely used of which includes four differentiation types. Other approaches to the differentiation of epilepsy identify more types, but these different schemas for the differentiation of epilepsy are not necessarily incompatible. They differ in how broadly a particular clini cal form is defined and whether particular clinical variations should be considered as separate major forms or subtypes. Even after thousands of years, such diagnostic considerations still persist in modern Western medicine. Because conditions and situations vary within the same patient, so do the clinical presentations. In all cases, the treatment formula is modified according to the patient's overall situation. The TCM treatment approach for epilepsy is threefold. First, treat the seizure disorder with herbs and acupuncture, as determined by the clinical diagnosis and differentiation. Second, following improvement and or remission of seizures,...

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine

An investigation into the management of the spasticity experienced by some patients with multiple sclerosis using acupuncture based on traditional Chinese medicine. Compl Ther Med 1996 4 58-62. 8. Xi L, Zhiwen L, Huayan W, et al. Preventing relapse in multiple sclerosis with Chinese medicine. J Chin Med 2001 66 39-40. 9. Yi S, Xiaoyan L. A review on traditional Chinese medicine in prevention and treatment of multiple sclerosis. J Trad Chinese Med 1999 19 65-73.

Treatment of Epilepsy in Ayurveda

Similar to traditional Chinese herbal medicine (TCHM), Ayurvedic medicine has been practiced for millennia. The practice includes not only medicinal and dietary treatments but also commonsense behavioral prescriptions such as, Patients with epilepsy should avoid being in places where a seizure could result in injury (1). As with TCHM, many of the compounds used are likely to be pharmacologically active agents. Fortunately, as highlighted in a review by Khan and Balick of the New York Botanical Gardens (2), the effects of many plant species used in Ayurvedic medicine have been preliminarily studied in both humans and animals. Studies now reveal the beneficial effects of several herbal remedies for ailments, including burns (3), diabetes (4), asthma, and pain (5). A study examined the antiepileptic and antianxiety effects of the common Ayurvedic epilepsy herbal medicine Sesbania grandiflora (6). The plant demonstrated clear antiseizure effects when evaluated using the same standard...

Immune Stimulating Herbs

Many commonly used herbs may stimulate the immune system (see Table 23.2). Echinacea is the most well known of these herbs. Some other herbs in this category are among the most popular herbs in the United States, including alfalfa, Asian ginseng, astragalus, cat's claw, garlic, saw palmetto, and Siberian ginseng. Other immune-stimulating herbs may be found in this book in the chapters on Asian herbal medicine and Ayurvedic medicine.

Additional Resources Books

Louis Mosby, 2001, pp. 333-369. Hsu DT, Cheng RL. Acupuncture. In Weintraub MI, Micozzi MS, eds. Alternative and Complementary Treatments in Neurologic Illness. New York Churchill Livingstone, 2001, pp. 11-26. Lin Y-C. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine. In Oken BS, ed. Complementary Therapies in Neurology. London Parthenon Publishing, 2004, pp. 113-125. Checkmark Books. 2005, pp. 2-5. Nielsen A, Hammerschlag R. Acupuncture and East Asian medicine. In Kligler B, Lee R, eds. Integrative Medicine Principles for Practice. New York McGraw Hill, 2004, pp. 177-217. Borchers AT, Hackman RM, Keen CL, et al. Complementary medicine A review of immunomodulatory effects of Chinese herbal medicines. Am J Clin Nutrition 1997 66 1303-1312. Chan TYK, Critchley JAJH. Usage and adverse effects of Chinese herbal medicines. Human Exp Toxicol 1996 15 5-12. Miller RE. An investigation into the management of the spasticity experienced by some patients with multiple sclerosis using...

Practical Information

Aromatherapy may be obtained from a practitioner or may be self-administered. It is sometimes combined with herbal medicine or traditional Chinese medicine. Aromatherapy may be provided on an individual basis or as informational classes. Individual sessions typically cost 60 to 80 and last about 60 minutes. Classes cost about 30 for 60 to 120 minutes.

Studies in MS and Other Conditions

A small 1999 study found that t'ai chi may be beneficial for people with multiple sclerosis (MS) (1). This study, conducted at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, examined the effects of an 8-week t'ai chi group program on 19 people with MS. People were accepted into the study regardless of the severity of their disability. T'ai chi improved emotional and social function and produced physical benefits, with a 21 percent improvement in walking speed and a 28 percent decrease in muscle stiffness. Comments obtained from participants indicated that

Key Steps of Cancer Metastasis

Extravasation The migration of tumour cells through the endothelial lining towards the surrounding tissues can be facilitated by different cell interactions described in 4), which lead to tumour cell arrest in the circulation. But another mechanism showing cooperation between cancer cells and blood components in the process of extravasation has been enlightened in a recent in vitro study 20 . These authors demonstrated that polymorphonuclear neu-trophils (leukocytes) incubated with tumour conditioned medium (TCM) show an ability to help cancer cells in the process of extravasation through different endothelial cell monolayers. TCM downregulated PMNs cytocidal function, delayed PMN apoptosis11 and upregulated PMN adhesion molecule expression. The TMC treated PMNs were shown to attach to tumour cells and to play a role in transporting these cells through endothelial monolayers. Tumour cells are therefore able to exploit PMNs and alter their function to facilitate their extravasation....

Neurophysiologic Studies

Taking into account the pathology-dependent concepts of balancing in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), some studies of acupressure fit well with the established model of Group 2 neurons, whose activation by manual stimulation may inhibit the spread of epileptic discharge originating from Group 1 neurons (62).

Acupuncture Technique

The patients in the control group received sham (imitation) acupuncture. They were given bilateral needling of three sham acupoints chosen by a group of Chinese and Norwegian acupuncturists S1-2.5 cun to the side of the umbilicus, S2-3 cun above the midpoint of the patella, and S3-1 cun below the midpoint between LI15 and TE14. (Cun is an individual system of measurement used in traditional Chinese medicine it is familiar to acupuncturists around the world.) We chose these points on the basis of minimum expected effect. In the sham group, we used thinner needles (0.25 millimeters in diameter, 13 millimeters in length, less than 5 mm depth) that were not stimulated, either manually or electrically.

Training and Licensure

Four accredited colleges of Naturopathic Medicine are located in North America Bastyr University in Seattle ( (established in 1978) the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto ( (established in 1979) National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon ( (established in 1956) and the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona ( All four institutions are graduate schools that require either a bachelor's degree or a minimum of 3 years of undergraduate studies. A naturopathic medical program includes four and a half years of studies in the medical sciences, diagnosis, natural therapies, and over 1,500 hours treating patients. Graduates of this program earn the title Naturopathic Doctor (N.D.). The curriculum covers clinical nutrition, Western and Eastern botanical medicine, homeopathy, counseling, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, minor surgery, obstetrics, and several different...

Brief History of Biomedical Fluid Mechanics

The Yellow Emperor, Huang Ti, lived in China between 475 and 221 B.C. and he wrote one of the first works dealing with circulation. Huang Ti wrote Internal Classics, in which fundamental theories of Chinese medicine were addressed. Among other topics, Huang Ti wrote about the Yin Yang doctrine and the theory of circulation.

Future Directions for Idiotype Specific T Cell Immunotherapy

The observation that over 50 cancer patients can respond to the adoptive T cell transfer has made the adoptive immunotherapy one of the most attractive strategies (Dudley et al. 2002). A previous study has demonstrated that it is feasible to transfer idiotype-specific T cells from healthy donors to recipients (Kwak et al. 1995). The transferred idiotype-specific T cells protected mice against established tumor in mouse model (Hornung et al. 1995). T cells can also be generated in large number in vitro for adoptive T cell transfer. It has been demonstrated that the success of T cell transfer will depend heavily on the quality of transferred T cells. T cells that belong to central memory (TCM) type but not terminal differentiated type (TEM) can proliferate well and exert a protective role after adoptive transfer (Wherry et al. 2003 Gattinoni et al. 2005). Generating T cells that have a high percentage of TCM cells is essential for the success of adoptive T cell transfer. IL-15 and IL-7...

CAM Approaches for Pediatric Pain 21 Acupuncture

7-15 years, complaining of migraine headaches (25). Of the children, 12 were treated with 10 weekly sessions of true acupuncture, with needles inserted subdermally, according to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. The 10 children in the placebo group had needles of the same size inserted in the stratum corneum once a week for 10 weeks. Children, parents, and nurse raters who administered the pain measures were all blinded to study group assignment. No children received prophylactic medications.


Jean Levi, 'The Body The Daoists' Coat of Arms', in Michel Feher, Ramona Nadeff, Nadia Tazi, and E. Alliez (eds.), Fragments for a History of the Human Body (New York Zone Cambridge, Mass. MIT Press, 1989), pt. iii, pp. 114-17. See also the comments of Marcel Mauss, Sociology and Psychology Essays, trans. Ben Brewster (1950 London Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979), 122 and the sociological studies of his friend the religious historian Marcel Granet, The Religion of the Chinese People, trans. Maurice Freedman (1922 Oxford Blackwell, 1975). See also Francesca Bray, 'Chinese Medicine', in

Descriptive Epidemiology of Herbal and Vitamin Poisonings

The most popular herb sales in the United States include Echinacea (10 ), garlic (10 ), goldenseal* (7 ), ginseng (6 ), Ginkgo (4.5 ), and saw palmetto (4.4 ). * Goldenseal is often used illicitly in unsuccessful attempts to disguise urinary marijuana (THC) metabolites. There are no toxicologic databases on herbal and vitamin toxicity in the United States. In Hong Kong, herbal medicine toxicity accounts for less than 1 of all acute hospital admissions, and Western medicine toxicity and drug-drug interactions account for 4.4 of all acute hospital admissions. Fatalities have resulted from megadoses of the fat-soluble and lipophilic (stored in liver and brain) vitamins A, D, and E and therapeutic (homeopathic) doses of niacin and tryptophan.

Eastern Herbs

Two Asian herbal mixtures of the same nine herbs have been reported to have similar antiepileptic efficacy Japanese sho-saiko-to (or saiko-keishi-to) and Chinese chai-hu-keui-chi-tang (bupleurum-cinnamon combination) (14). These are composed of Bupleurum falcatum (thorowax) root, Paeonia lactiflora (peony) root, Pinellia ternata (ban xia) rhizome, Cinnamomum cassia (cassia) bark, Zingiber officinale (ginger) rhizome, Zizyphus jujuba (jujube) fruit, Panax ginseng (Asian ginseng) root, Scutellaria baicalensis (scullcap) root, and Glycyrrhiza uralensis (licorice, gan cao) rhizome in differing ratios (14). Animal studies show that this herbal mixture may prevent seizures by inhibiting the effects of calcium or by affecting cyclic nucleotides in nerve cells (15). A similar mechanism may explain the antiepileptic affect of Coleus forskohlii, an important herb in the Ayurvedic treatment of epilepsy (14). Some human studies on these Oriental herbal mixtures have been reported, but some are...


On the basis of current evidence, acupuncture and Asian herbal medicine, both of which are components of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), should be approached differently by people with MS. Acupuncture is of low risk, is possibly beneficial, and may be a reasonable treatment option for some people with MS. In contrast, Asian herbal medicine should be considered with caution by people with MS, especially for use on a long-term basis. Reports of treatment benefits using this therapy cannot be fully evaluated because of the lack of published information in English. Some herbs may be toxic or may stimulate the immune system, and the safety of long-term treatment has not generally been established.

Blue Cohosh

Conry and Pearl provide a careful, evidence-based review of the data to support or refute claims of effectiveness and safety for herbal therapies in epilepsy. They follow the approach of Western medicine, the culture in which the editors of this book were educated and practice. So for us, the chapter is a beacon of light and honesty. Simple questions Does it help , Does it harm but incredibly difficult to answer. That is the problem that both lay individuals face as they decide whether to try out one of these therapies. It is also the problem that professionals face when they try to counsel patients on the use of these therapies.


Oxindole CDK inhibitors related to the pan-kinase inhibitor indirubin 56 isolated from Chinese herbal medicine 117,118 have been reported by several companies Sugen (now Pfizer) 119,120 (57), Hoffman La Roche 121 (58), Boehringer Ingelheim 122 (59), and GlaxoSmithKline 123 (60). Many of these analogs were very potent inhibitors of the CDKs and exhibited excellent anti-proliferative activity against tumor cell lines. The series from GlaxoSmithKline 123 is selected here to exemplify this class of inhibitor and illustrate how, through the use of X-ray crystallography, modeling, and SAR studies, activity and selectivity were optimized.

Galens Hygiene

Galen's epic contribution to Western medicine came in the confident days of the mid-Empire. He was born in the reign of Hadrian in ad 129, lived his mature life under the great philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius (161-80), and died several emperors later in c.216. His professional influence from writing a corpus of over 350 titles cannot be underestimated in total about as much as all other Greek medical writings put together. As he said, Hippocrates 'staked the way, but I made it passable'. He was an expert anatomist who left a continuing legacy of heroic bloodletting in Western medicine but he was equally concerned to make his mark as a dietitian. Galen's long-lasting influence on hygiene came largely from his famous work De Sanitate Tuenda ('On the Healthy Life') but also, from the way in which he extended and dominated the field of hygienic medical classification in general, as a teacher of 'the best of the young physicians'.34 It was Galen who absorbed Plato's dualist philosophy...


Caspi and his colleagues provide a valuable look at the vexing problem of proof. How do we determine if a standard or alternative complementary therapy actually works and is safe Western medicine has faced a challenging road to reach its current burden of proof. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) remains enormously popular among diverse segments of Western and non-Western societies. Proving the efficacy and safety of these techniques poses significant challenges. In part, the medical-scientific culture that defines mainstream medicine is different than the CAM culture that runs parallel and divergent from it however, when it comes to proof, we are left with few alternatives that eliminate the bias inherent in patients, caregivers, and scientific researchers. Western medicine is laden with numerous and deep faults. We are all biased even the most scientifically gifted fall prey to their emotions and feelings, elevating opinions beyond their authority. Consider a lecture...

Herbal Research

The lack of human testing results from a number of factors. Herbs are considered dietary supplements rather than drugs by the FDA and, therefore, clinical trials for usefulness and toxicity are not required. Western medicine also has ignored and avoided alternative therapies until recently, and pharmaceutical companies lack interest because patents cannot be issued for naturally occurring products. In addition, Western medical and pharmaceutical research favors the study of isolated chemical compounds, as

Study Design

The study included a baseline period of 10 weeks, a treatment period of 8 weeks, and a follow-up of 12 weeks. The patients were divided into two groups by four-block randomization one acupuncture group with 18 patients and one control group with 16 patients. (In block randomization, the unit of randomization is not the individual, but a large group.) Two Chinese acupuncturists, both senior staff members of the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, gave the treatment. All the patients were also diagnosed according to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. One of five diagnoses was given to each patient. As outpatients, all received 20 treatments (three treatments per week for 3.5 weeks, 1 week pause, and another series of treatments over 3.5 weeks). Each treatment lasted about 30 minutes. The patients' antiepileptic medication was held stable throughout the study, and both patients and epileptologists were blinded.

Clinical Application

The other major problem is the practical application of honey. There is no consensus regarding the best method of application or the frequency of change. In most studies, it is applied daily or on alternate days directly onto the wound. Others use honey-soaked gauze and or occlusive dressings. Molan has concisely listed the practical considerations when using honey clinically, and Table 1 is based on his published guidelines (44). Medical honey is certainly different from commercial consumption honey in that the latter is heated, which inactivates the enzyme responsible for the production of hydrogen peroxide. Sterilization of therapeutic honey used in Western medicine is achieved via gamma irradiation.


How could a needle stuck into the skin possibly provide pain relief and other medical benefits Many answers to this question have been proposed. As noted, from a traditional Chinese medicine perspective, the insertion of needles is believed to alter the flow of energy in such a way that it produces therapeutic effects. From a Western scientific viewpoint, various possible mechanisms have been explored. One explanation for the pain-relieving effects of acupuncture is that it releases opioids, chemicals produced by the body that decrease pain. Other studies indicate that levels of another chemical, serotonin, are altered by acupuncture. Studies on the brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) indicate that acupuncture may change the activity in specific pain-related brain regions. Acupuncture also may decrease stress or, in some situations, act as a placebo. In the end, it may be found that multiple processes are involved.

Treatment Method

Ayurveda consists of several components. As in traditional Chinese medicine, pulse and tongue evaluation are important for diagnosis. Diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, and specific supplements are used therapeutically. Yoga, breathing exercises, massage, and meditation, discussed elsewhere in this book, are also components of Ayurveda. One type of Ayurvedic meditation, transcendental meditation (TM), was popularized by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Another important aspect of Ayurveda, panchakarma, is used for disease prevention. Panchakarma means five processes and includes massages, sweat baths, vomiting, enemas, and bloodletting (through the use of leeches).


editation is a type of mind-body therapy, a class of therapies that also includes biofeedback, hypnosis, and guided imagery. For thousands of years, meditation has been practiced in some form, especially in the context of religious practice. Also, meditation is one of several components of some complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies, including Ayurveda (which uses transcendental meditation or TM) and traditional Chinese medicine.

Journal Articles

T'ai chi, also known as t'ai chi ch'uan, was developed in China hundreds of years ago and is a component of traditional Chinese medicine. On the surface, t'ai chi appears to be simply slow body movements. In practice, it may provide some of the physical benefits of exercise and the relaxation effects of meditation. T'ai chi has been widely practiced in China for centuries and has recently become popular in the United States.


Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris) has generated positive results in Western medicine for the correction of breech presentation (12). There is a lack of clinical data supporting mug-wort's safety and efficacy, however, and its use cannot be recommended. Synonyms for mugwort are ai ye, armoise commune, artemesia, carline thistle, felon herb, gemeiner beifuss, hierba de San Juan, sailor's tobacco, St. John's plant, Summitates artemisiae, and wild wormwood. The common trade name is Phyto Surge .

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine

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