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Michael H' Dong


To understand how Chinese herbal medicines (CHM) are used worldwide. 2. ... of natural energies to restore body homeo-stasis and hence to treat the disease. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Michael H' Dong

Chinese Herbal Medicines The Good, the Bad, and
the Ugly
Michael H. Dong MPH, DrPA, PhD with Jennifer I.
(No Transcript)
Learning Objectives 1. To understand how Chinese
herbal medicines (CHM) are used worldwide. 2. To
familiarize the students with some of the
negative aspects of CHM. 3. To learn the
additional beneficial effects of CHM. 4. To gain
insight into the controversies surrounding the
use of CHM.
Performance Objectives 1. Be able to characterize
the basics of Chinese herbal medicines
(CHM). 2. Be able to identify some of the adverse
cases associated with the use of CHM. 3. Know the
basic properties of the major class of Chinese
herbs. 4. Know the factors that continue to make
CHM unacceptable to many people. 5. Know how to
use some of the resources for advancing CHM.
Contents of Lecture 1. A brief introduction of
how Chinese herbal medicines (CHM) are used
worldwide. 2. Toxicological or side effects of
CHM. 3. Beneficial effects on health prevention
and health maintenance. 4. Controversies over the
use of CHM. 5. Resources for advancing CHM.
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Has been practiced for many centuries.
  • Uses holistic concepts and elements of natural
    energies to restore body homeo-stasis and hence
    to treat the disease.
  • Relies principally on acupuncture and herbal
    drugs to restore patients health.
  • Chinese herbs include plant, animal, and mineral
  • Recently has increasingly found its way into
    Western medicine.

  • Use of Chinese Herbal Medicines (CHM) in the USA
  • Use of CHM has soared in the USA since the
    passage of a law in 1994.
  • Many CHM are now treated as dietary supplements,
    thus not subject to any stringent health
  • Millions of Americans are now taking Chinese
    herbal products.
  • Not enough Congressional support to overturn
    current regulations on CHM.

  • Use of Chinese Herbs in Europe and Australia
  • Europe takes half of the global market for herbal
    medicines (HM) in 1996.
  • Use in Europe largely based on rule of historical
    use as evidence of herb safety.
  • European governments are more pro- active in
    regulating the use of HM.
  • Australia requires registration of practitioners
    as a means to regulate the dispensing of Chinese

  • Use of Chinese Herbs in Hong Kong and China
  • Hong Kong has enacted an ordinance and
    established a council to regulate the use of
    Chinese medicines.
  • China revised the Pharmaceutical (Administration)
    Law requiring drug manufacturers to obtain good
    manufacturing practice certification.
  • Chinas law exempts Chinese herbs from following
    the new standards.

  • Ways in Which Chinese Herbs Are Used
  • Countless numbers of remedies have been prepared
    from a small fraction of approximately 6,000
    Chinese herbs.
  • Used to treat the whole body with a focus on one
    or more body organs, but based primarily on
    holistic concepts.
  • Herbal formulas are used to mitigate the toxic
    effects of some herbs.

  • Negative Aspects of Chinese Herbs (I)
  • Poisonings from misuse of Chinese herbs do occur
    from time to time.
  • Misuse can also lead to acute or long-term
    adverse effects.
  • Chinese herbal products can be contaminated with
    heavy metals.
  • Extensive clinical trials on (long-term) side
    effects are not well documented.

  • Negative Aspects of Chinese Herbs (II)
  • Drug adulterations or drug interactions are found
    in some Chinese herbal medicines (CHM).
  • Misleading labels can also be problems with CHM
    sold over the counter.
  • Unapproved ingredients and heavy metals can be
    introduced during the formulation or cultivation
    of herbs.

  • Negative Aspects of Chinese Herbs (III)
  • More than 50 cases of kidney damage have been
    linked to Chinese herbs added to slimming
  • Several cases of liver problems have been linked
    to Chinese herbs used for skin conditions.
  • Acute hepatitis has been linked to some Chinese
    herbal products used for eczema or psoriasis.

  • Negative Aspects of Chinese Herbs (IV)
  • Some Chinese herbs are found to have caused
    cardiac adverse reactions and pneumonitis.
  • At least one herb was considered to be
    carcinogenic another one was reported to
    increase risk of bleeding when used concomitantly
    with the drug warfarin.
  • Some others are known to cause allergic reactions.

  • Positive Aspects of Chinese Herbs (I)
  • Many Chinese herbs contain a variety of vitamins
    or minerals and hence can be used as dietary
  • Those herbs that are antioxidants can alleviate
    or prevent various disorders.
  • Herbs cooked with food are highly digestible,
    assimilable, extremely nutritious, and sometimes

  • Positive Aspects of Chinese Herbs (II)
  • A majority of Chinese herbs are famous for
    providing body strength and energy.
  • These tonic herbs are super-nutrients with an
    ability to enhance body functions.
  • They have anti-aging functions with no known
    adverse effects when used properly and are
    easily digestible.

  • Positive Aspects of Chinese Herbs (III)
  • As an example, ginseng is a classic tonic herb
    used to enhance endurance.
  • The plant contains chemicals capable of
    nourishing and regulating the nervous and
    endocrine (hormonal) systems.
  • Ginseng may arouse sexual desire, even though
    long-term use of this plant could lead to some
    adverse effects.

  • Positive Aspects of Chinese Herbs (IV)
  • Tang kuei is another classic tonic herb used for
    centuries to build blood.
  • The herb can be used to alleviate pre-menstrual
    symptoms, muscular aches, and bowel movements.
  • A number of Chinese athletes regularly consume
    tonic herbs to supplement their stringent
    training regimen.

  • The Ugly Side of Chinese Herbs (I)
  • Some herbs have an unpleasant smell and a very
    bitter taste.
  • Stories are rarely reported on positive
    experiences with use of Chinese herbal medicines
  • Disbelievers of traditional Chinese medicine are
    skeptical about the merits of CHM and have no
    room for therapy based on holistic concepts.

  • The Ugly Side of Chinese Herbs (II)
  • There are controversies over the use of some
    Chinese herbs, adding greater discomfort for
  • As an example, ginseng is said to have many faces
    regarding its effects.
  • Adequate standards and processes are not in place
    to guarantee the claimed effects and quality of
    Chinese herbs.

  • Institutes for Advancing Chinese Herbal Medicine
  • Over a hundred of traditional Chinese medicine
    (TCM) institutes are located worldwide, with gt
    50 in the USA.
  • Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) is a key branch of
    TCM students thus may receive CHM training in
    these institutes.
  • These institutes often take a leadership role in
    advancing CHM through joint programs and
    scientific conferences.

  • Institutes for Advancing Chinese Herbal Medicine
  • Institutes located in Asia are fewer than 50,
    with expectedly the majority in China.
  • One institute in Beijing has compiled the
    English-Chinese Textbook Series in traditional
    Chinese medicine (TCM).
  • The university in Shanghai is one of the leading
    institutions in the world for TCM.
  • The university in Nanjing is known as the
    birthplace of the earliest TCM scholars.

  • Institutes for Advancing Chinese Herbal Medicine
  • In Hong Kong, research into the effects of
    Chinese herbs is an ongoing activity at several
    local universities.
  • Some of these local universities also offer
    degree programs in Chinese medicine.
  • These educational and research programs all point
    to the direction that Chinese medicine should be
    used as an alternative or a supplement to Western
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