Strict standards can ensure purity of TCM herbs
of the first white paper on traditional Chinese medicine, the government must now focus on protecting the quality of the herbal sources used in traditional Chinese medicine treatments. Beijing Youth Daily commented on Wednesday:
Soil contamination, water pollution and the overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticide all threaten the quality and purity of the plants used in TCM, most of which are now commercially grown instead of being collected from the wild. The deteriorating quality of the plants used for treatments means it is difficult even for the most experienced TCM practitioners to prescribe the correct quantities required for a treatment to be effective.
TCM treatments are based on the accumulated experience passed from one generation to another according to the medicinal effects of the wild plants used in the past. Today, the commercial farming of these plants means their potency may not be the same as those found in the wild.
TCM attaches great importance to the purity of the plants used in treatments, some of the rarest and thus most valuable plants traditionally were only found in a certain place because of the local climate and soil. But the commercial farming of these lucrative plants means that is no longer the case.
Some businesspeople plant the expensive herbs irrespective of local natural conditions, and boost the output through excessive uses of chemical fertilizers and pesticide, in disregard for the herbs’ true medical effects.
As Wang Guoqiang, head of the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said in Beijing on Tuesday at the launch of the first white paper on TCM, the weakening of the effectiveness of plants used in TCM treatments, if it is not curbed, will harm the credibility of TCM.
In this sense, publishing the first white paper on TCM is only the beginning of the efforts needed to protect and spread TCM.
Now what is needed are national standards for the quality and purity of plants used in TCM treatments.