A brand new study suggests that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) may be as effective at treating heart disease as Western medications. Although more research is needed, doctors are hopeful that this study will inspire more Western scientists and doctors to take TCM seriously as a healing methodology.
This study looked at case histories published within the last 10 years. All of these patients used different Chinese herbal remedies to combat diseases that affected the heart including diabetes, dyslipidemia, and hypertension.
Researchers found that most of the Chinese medications were at least as effective as Western pharmaceuticals. All of the TCM herbs used in this study presented no negative side effects. A few herbs that had antihypertensive effects were Jiangya, Jiangyabao, Zhongfujiangya, and Qiqilian.
While this research is promising, doctors need more long-term evidence on TCM’s effectiveness over time. Doctors are also interested in whether or not TCM medications could be used with Western pharmaceuticals in the management of cardiovascular issues.
Study authors note that TCM practitioners don’t generally prescribe just one herb for one condition. TCM doctors usually create complex formulas taking into account the idiosyncrasies of their patients. These complex formulas are often modified over time to more effectively treat the symptoms each patient presents to the doctor.
It’s often difficult to study TCM in a Western laboratory setting. Since most formulas concocted in TCM have literally dozens of ingredients, it’s very hard for scientists to pinpoint the correlations between the chemical compounds and the patient’s symptoms. Also, most medications in China don’t go through as rigorous screening procedures as Western medicines do.
Most of the research in this study was conducted at Shandong University Qilu Hospital in Jinan, Shandong, China. Dr. Yuxia Zhao, a physician in the hospital’s Department of Traditional Chinese Medicine, was the lead author.
This study was published in the June issue of Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The article was entitled “Traditional Chinese Medicine for Cardiovascular Disease Evidence and Potential Mechanisms.”