TCM must adapt to sci­en­tific find­ings

China Daily (Canada) - - WORLD -

pub­lished in Sci­ence Trans­la­tion­alMedicine, a sub-jour­nal of Sci­ence, con­cludes that herbal medicines that con­tain aris­tolochic acid are a main cause of liver can­cer in Asia. Bei­jing News com­ments:

This is not the first time that aris­tolochic acid has been blamed for liver can­cer. As early as the 1990s, over­seas re­searchers found that aris­tolochic acid might harm hu­man health. In 2001, the WorldHealth Or­ga­ni­za­tion is­sued warn­ings about aris­tolochic acid be­cause re­search re­sults showed it might harm hu­man kid­neys.

This time, the China Food and Drug Ad­min­is­tra­tion re­sponded in a timely man­ner, say­ing that there is no di­rect data in support of the claim. Its spokesman said aris­tolochic acid has al­ready proved harm­ful to hu­man kid­neys, yet there is no proof that it harms the hu­man liver. How­ever, the CFDA promised to support deeper re­search into the ef­fects of aris­tolochic acid on the liver, which shows its open­ness.

Some worry that if aris­tolochic acid, which is found in herbs widely used in tra­di­tional Chi­nese

medicine pre­scrip­tions, is found harm­ful to hu­man liver that it will ruin peo­ple’s trust in TCM. That con­cern is un­nec­es­sary. LikeWestern medicine, TCM should make con­stant progress and adapt to newfind­ings. The more pa­tients it heals, the more pub­lic trust it will gain.

TCM prac­ti­tion­ers should take the dis­pute over aris­tolochic acid as an op­por­tu­nity to mod­ern­ize. It is time that TCM prac­ti­tion­ers and drug su­per­vi­sors at all lev­els con­ducted deeper sci­en­tific re­search into the ef­fects of the dif­fer­ent herbs used in TCM, so as to re­as­sure pa­tients of their safety.

The cen­tral lead­er­ship has al­ready high­lighted the im­por­tance of de­vel­op­ing TCM, and TCM prac­ti­tion­ers should heed that call by con­stantly im­prov­ing them­selves.

The CFDA has taken the right path by al­low­ing re­searchers to do their work.

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