Oriental medicine has been around for thousands of years (the earliest Herbal, the Shennong, was completed around 200 BC), yet we still trust modern medicine and its dangerous side effects more. Western medications go through approximately a year of testing and can have unforeseen side effects, but Chinese medicine, even the more recent have been through hundreds of years of prescription. The Chinese Herbals contain medicines that the Western world considers toxic and extremely dangerous. Yet the Chinese have found ways to neutralize the toxins in these concoctions making them perfectly safe to use, much safer than many medicines used in treatments like chemotherapy. Each of these remedies is painstakingly prepared so that they work effectively and safely to treat the body. Of the more than 6000 herbal medications very few are used to treat specific ailments, most are used to help treat the body as a whole and make the user a healthier, stronger person. All these reasons might make you wonder why the modern world shuns or disregards herbal medicines despite their benefits, the lack of dangerous side effects, and its effectiveness in curing illnesses.
Herbal medicines, particularly those prescribed by trained Chinese physicians, have proven themselves as an effective means of treating a multitude of diseases and problems. They don t simply cure what ails you; many are preventative or treat your body as a whole. These herbs are much more effective in keeping you healthy and less susceptible to the trauma that Western medications are used to cure. To prescribe herbal medicines (at least in the United States) you must undergo special training and earn a degree. In China it is more of a passed down art combined with an honor code. People trust that their doctors know what they are doing. The Chinese philosophy is a If you don t get sick, there s nothing to cure sort of approach. The Western world has a very different view of medicine.
We all know what Western drugs are capable of these days. Many are considered miracles, others, whilst still maintaining a very useful purpose, are just your everyday pills like aspirin. Many drugs have been getting a significant amount of press lately because of their effectiveness. Take the recently released Viagra. There were more articles (and jokes on late night talk shows!) about that drug than there has been for any herbal mixture. This is mainly attributed to the fact that it helped so many people with such a great effect. There is no way any natural cures can compete with the likes of many Western medicines, and there are also many things that natural prescriptions just can t do. No plant has ever been found that had the ability to inhibit (or cure) AIDS. Meanwhile, Western research is getting closer and closer, with many drugs postponing the deaths of HIV positive people for 20 years! No doubt you can easily say that modern medications are extremely effective in doing what they are supposed to. Of course, it should also be noted that many Western cures are based on organic items.
Chinese concoctions can never be overdosed, although they can be prepared incorrectly. This makes Chinese medications a much safer bet for long term prescription. Unless you or the pharmacist improperly prepare your prescription then no problems or side effects should arise. Certain herbal remedies do have mild side effects, but these are counteracted by other items taken with it. If you are afraid of undergoing certain Western treatments in fear that they will permanently harm you, research a little into possible herbal cures; you may be pleasantly surprised. Many herbal medicines have been proven to inhibit and even shrink tumors.
In contrast to the Chinese feelings, the Western world has more of a If it ain t broke, don t fix it approach. This is actually a very effective view on their medications. If you took most of these medications on a regular basis like the Chinese do their s, it would be very hazardous to your health. It is true, most modern medicines have side-effects that only effect certain people or people who overdose on them, but there is always that slim possibility you are one of the few. The chemicals in many Western medications can have adverse effects on your well-being causing other complications. Chemotherapy medications may help cancer patients, but those same chemicals make you sick in other ways. If you take a particular antibiotic too often the bacteria you are trying to kill will eventually become immune, rendering that particular antibiotic useless. In this way Western medication may kill itself. If the users get sick or can no longer be cured by these methods they will turn to other forms of treatment, and herbal medications seem as viable a treatment as any other.
Chinese remedies can even help these complications, particularly those inflicted by chemotherapy used to treat cancer patients. For example, patients of chemotherapy often have low white blood cell counts, which in turn weakens their immune systems (Help for Chemotherapy). A natural remedy for this (while not Chinese, it is similar/inspired by) is shark liver oil (Help for Chemotherapy). Shark liver oil was used before to give people more energy and keep them healthy. It was later discovered that it contained alkylglycerols (AKG), the same substance found in bone marrow used to produce new blood cells (Help for Chemotherapy). This is just one of the many examples of how Chinese-style medicines can aid people in their struggles to hold on to life.
Every type of medicinal practice is viewed effective by its followers. Even the psychic surgeons in the Philippines that operate using no surgical apparatus and leave no reminder of their intrusion are believed to be real doctors by some. These some are just believers though; the rest of the world knows that these surgeons use fake blood and strange items like strips of bacon to represent the items they are removing. So in a way they are very skilled, but at the art of deception, not medicine. Many may view Chinese medicine in this way, but the fact of the matter is it works, sometimes. It effectively cures people (although some scientists believe the cure is psychological, much like the psychic doctors) with the many concoctions it has. Patients and the medicines all have certain properties in Chinese practice; therefore the drugs are prepared specifically for that person. The herbs are combined together based on their properties, and certain drugs cannot be combined as defined in the herbal being followed. As long as these rules are conformed to and the sources of the herbs are of high quality, the medications seem to be very effective. Millions of people would vouch at the potency of herbal medicines, claiming that they are extremely effective at curing various illnesses.
Western medicine is the same. There are many who say it doesn t work (or at least not in the way it should), but there are also millions that would claim it as a miracle of modern science. There are literally millions of illnesses that modern medicine has found a cure for, or at least a very effective means of prevention. In this sense, modern medicine is incredibly advanced, especially when you consider its young age. If we continue at this rate who knows what the future may hold? Diseases like AIDS or cancer may just be fairytales. If you consider these factors it is very obvious how well Western medicine works, even when you compare it to the age old Chinese ways. In fact, most people believe that Western medicine is much more effective; perhaps because Chinese doctors work more on prevention than curing so the benefits are not seem as easily.
Both Western and Chinese medicine have come a long way since their infancy, and both have their own unique benefits, securities, and abilities. Your view on these different forms of medicine helps interpret how you view its effectiveness and viability as a world practice. I believe that if the two were combined taking the benefits of both we would enter a new age of medical advancement. By using the concepts and age-old, tested traditions the world would not have to fear medicine and still have a working solution. Western medicine s potency is where it shines. It has the ability of the instant cure. Take this and Chinese medicine s long tested concepts and methods of prevention and a new age of medical science may bloom.