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Perspective & Concern about Chinese Herbal Medicine in America

It is estimated by the World Health Organization that 80% of the world population uses herbal medicine. And as healthcare costs rise and incomes decline, many Americans who are not satisfied with western medicine, have turned to alternative and complementary medicine. The authors of this paper cite how Americans are increasingly turning to herbal products and traditional Chinese medicine, especially acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine (CHM).

Though the authors believe that both western medicine and CHM can be complementary, they make a strong point that each has very distinct modalities and that health care practitioners and pharmacists need to understand how CHM is prepared and the risks patients face by self-medicating. This paper provides insight into basic differences in how herbs are prepared before administration to the patients in China versus a single unprepared herb sold in the USA and Europe. Also addressed are the interdisciplinary issues with health professionals, the proper regulations for better quality control of imported herbs, and the proper warning on the labels of the herbs.

Published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2014, by Winston I. Lu and Dominic P. Lu

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