Forum: China Elevates Folk Medicine over the Real Kind

By Minter, Adam | New Haven Register (New Haven, CT), January 1, 2017 | Go to article overview

Forum: China Elevates Folk Medicine over the Real Kind


Minter, Adam, New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)


For decades, practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine (or TCM) have disputed accusations that their craft is a pseudo- science, a placebo, exploitative of endangered species, poisonous and ineffective. Now China's government is fighting on their behalf. On Christmas Day, it passed the country's first law regulating TCM, with the aim of placing it on an equal footing with science-based Western medicine.

It's an expressly political goal, designed to "give a boost to China's soft power," as one spokesperson put it. Unfortunately, it's also misguided. China's health-care system is already burdened by fraud, a shortage of doctors, counterfeit medicine and rank profiteering. Whatever the merits of TCM, raising it to the status of science-based medicine will only provide a distraction from the more urgent task of improving standard medical care.

The practices that constitute traditional medicine -- herbal remedies, dietary treatments, acupuncture -- date back centuries. But TCM as a unified practice only emerged in the 1960s, when China's government institutionalized it to counterbalance ideologically suspect practitioners of Western medicine. As a favored state industry, TCM has prospered: In 2015, total revenue for the traditional pharmaceutical industry reached $114 billion. Those drugs were dispensed by 452,000 practitioners working out of tens of thousands of clinics -- some no more than single-room storefronts.

As with other state-backed industries, the protective hand of government has benefited the industry far more than consumers. The problems start with a lack of oversight over who can practice TCM. Earlier this week, the director of the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine conceded that it's difficult to judge the qualification level of most practitioners. That's a nice way of saying that anybody can claim to be a TCM master. To be fair, China has a network of schools designed to professionalize homeopathic care. But amateurism (or charlatanism) remains alarmingly common, especially in the countryside.

This lack of oversight extends to the thriving industry of traditional pharmaceuticals. Last year, a team of scientists found that nearly 90 percent of TCM remedies marketed in Australia contained undeclared ingredients, including antibiotics and decongestants, heavy metals such as lead and arsenic, and a range of plant and animal matter -- not least, the DNA of endangered snow leopards. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Forum: China Elevates Folk Medicine over the Real Kind
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.