Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Trying Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) categorizes endometriosis as a blood stasis disease with formation of lumps. The Chinese name for endometriosis is actually neiyi, meaning internal lump. TCM relates blood stasis in the lower abdomen to back and pelvic pain. In addition, qi stagnation (restricted blood flow due to emotional distress) and coldness (decreased metabolism and circulation sometimes called kidney yang deficiency) cause the blood stasis. In the 1800s, TCM physician Wang Quingren, forerunner of endometriosis treatment in China, developed two blood-vitalizing formulas for the lower body that are still widely used in TCM today. One formula is Shaofu Zhuyu Tang (shaofu means lower palace) and the other formula is Gexia Zhuyu Tang (ge means diaphragm, while xia means below). The two formulas are similar and contain many of the herbs listed in Table 12-1. Common TCM Herbs and Their Uses If you're combining the methods of a TCM practitioner with traditional Western medicine, make...

Vodou See voodoo vodoun See voodoo

A religion that focuses on contacting and appeasing spirits to help and protect people voodoo attributes illness to angry ancestors. Many ceremonies focus on divination to find the cause of illness, rites of healing, propitiation of spirits in which offerings are given, and sacrifices to prevent future trouble. Voodoo is the major religion of Haiti. Also spelled vodou or vodoun. warfare. Violence between political entities such as communities, districts, or nations. western medicine. See biomedicine.

Historical development of antidepressants

The use of cocaine, extracted in a crude form from the leaves of the Andean coca plant, has been used for centuries in South America to alleviate fatigue and elevate the mood. It was only relatively recently, however, that the same pharmacological effect was discovered when the amphetamines were introduced into Western medicine as anorexiants with stimulant properties. Opiates, generally as a galenical mixture, were also widely used for centuries for their mood-elevating effects throughout the world. It is not without interest that while such drugs would never now be used as antidepressants, there is evidence that most antidepressants do modulate the pain threshold, possibly via the enkephalins and endorphins. This may help to explain the use of antidepressants in the treatment of atypical pain syndromes and as an adjunct to the treatment of terminal cancer pain. Finally, alcohol in its various forms has been used to alleviate anguish and sorrow since antiquity. Whilst the opiates,...

Early Developments and Precursors

And his followers periodically affirmed the role of exposure in treatment of fears and phobias, and other procedures, from diverse areas such as Chinese medicine, Zen Buddhism, Morita therapy, folk practices of aboriginal tribes in Malaysia, and psychotherapy practices resemble what many would call behavioral interventions. Though these and other examples are certainly of historic interest, none appears to have influenced the development of behavior therapy directly (if at all). The more direct antecedents of the behavior therapy originated from a confluence of factors occurring within early-20th-century psychology.

Conceptions of Medical Pluralism

Regional medical systems are systems distributed over a relatively large area, such as Ayurveda and Unani medicine in India and Sri Lanka and traditional Chinese medicine. Cosmopolitan medicine refers to the world-wide system commonly referred to as Western medicine, regular medicine, allopathic medicine, scientific medicine, or biomedicine. Complex societies generally contain all three of these systems. In modern industrial or post-industrial societies, biomedicine the dominant system tends to exist in a competitive relationship with other systems such as chiropractic, naturopathy, Christian Science, evangelical faith healing, and various folk medical systems. It often seeks either to annihilate these systems or to restrict their scope of practice. In some instance, biomedicine seeks to absorb or co-opt them, particularly if the latter achieve increasing legitimacy.

Tranquilizer Rescinnamine

Strychnine, from the seeds of many Strychnos species, is a widely known poison (although, in fact, it is only moderately toxic). Pharmacologically, strychnine excites all portions of the CNS it is a powerful convulsant and death results from asphyxia. It has no therapeutic uses in Western medicine, although its nitrate is used in treating chronic aplastic anemia.

Herbs and spices as sources of antioxidants

Asian countries in folk medicine contain potent antioxidants but they have been generally not sufficiently tested for their safety. Also gingko leaves, containing strong antioxidants and used in East-Asian medicine, have not been sufficiently tested for safety, and should be thoroughly investigated before they are allowed for food use.

Echinoderms Their Culture and Bioactive Compounds

Of the five extant classes of echinoderms, it is the sea urchins (Echinoidea) and the sea cucumbers (Holothuroidea) that are both commercially fished and heavily overexploited. In sea urchins, it is the gonad of both males and females, normally referred to as 'roe', that is a sought-after food. In the sea cucumber, the principal product is the boiled and dried body-wall or Cbeche-de-mef for which there is an increasing demand. Many sea urchin and sea cucumber fisheries still have no management system or restrictions in place, and for those that do, the prognosis for catches to continue even at a reduced level is poor. Cultivation of these species increasingly becomes a necessity, both for stock enhancement programs and as a means to meet market demand. Sea urchin culture has been practised on a large scale in Japan for many decades, and effective methods for the culture and reseeding of species in these waters have been long established. Juvenile urchins are produced in...

Biology and Nature Constructing Biomedicines Ultimate Realities

The study of the clinical practices of Biomedicine has led to major observations about the realities with which it is concerned. Such research has demonstrated that professional medical systems represent a variety of biological realities, not one. Traditional Chinese medicine is very distinct from Biomedicine (Kleinman, 1980 Unschuld, 1985) its biological focus is complemented by a strong focus on energy. The same is true of Unnani, the professional medicine of the Middle East derived from Greek Classical medicine. Unnani and its Greek predecessor are involved in the somatic domain, but may add to it energetic and cosmological elements and interpretations that make their reading of human biology unique (Good & DelVecchio Good, 1993). Central to the (re) conceptualizations of human biology in various societies are certain root metaphors for traditional U.S. medicine, the body is like a machine in Traditional Chinese medicine, it is like a plant in Indian Ayurveda, the body is seen as...

Theoretical and Applied Implications

Much of modern medical anthropology has its origins in anthropologists' interaction in international public health and medical programs of the post World War II era. Anthropologists, like their medical colleagues, assumed that Western medicine was superior to traditional medicine and that the natural course of things was to replace the latter with the former. The skills of anthropology were needed to gain public acceptance of the new medicine and its practitioners. Both anthropology and medicine have come a long way in the succeeding decades.

Korean Chinese and Asian Indian Traditional Medicine

Type 2 diabetes mellitus is known as the rich man's disease in Korea. It was not until after the 1960s that diabetes began a rapid increase at an estimated rate of 3-4 per year, with an estimated 500,000 in the year 2000 (Korean National Federation of Medical Insurance, 1993). Gang (1995) investigated traditional and biomedical practices among diabetic Koreans aged 20-80 years. Fifty patients used primarily Western medicine and 33 used primarily traditional therapies. Western therapies included diet, exercise, insulin, or oral medications. Fasting blood glucose levels for patients using traditional treatments averaged 165.8 mg dl compared with 206.1 mg dl for patients using Western medicine. Both groups of patients avoided fatty foods, alcohol, and foods containing sugar. Some diabetics substituted unpolished rice, black soybeans, and barley in place of the traditional polished rice at main meals. Black soybeans are the most popular item in a diabetic diet. The majority of patients...

Anthropology and Biomedicine

Early on, Biomedicine was the reality in terms of which other medical systems, professional or popular, were implicitly compared and evaluated. Like science, Western medicine was assumed to be acultural beyond the influence of culture while all other medical systems were assumed to be so culturally biased that they had little or no scientific relevance (e.g., Foster & Anderson, 1978 Hughes, 1968 Prince, 1964 Simons & Hughes, 1985). Not only did this ideological hegemony devalue local systems, it also stripped the illness experience of its local semantic content and context (Early, 1982 Good, 1977 Kleinman, 1980, 1988a). This stripping served to obscure the thick polysemous realities that became obvious in ethnographic and historical inquiries, challenging the thin biomedical interpretations of disorder (Early, 1982 Good, 1977 Ohnuki-Tierney, 1984).

Healing and Cultural Reality

Healing, of course, is a much broader cultural phenomenon than that encompassed by Western scientific medicine. Admittedly, the success of Western medicine at curing has helped justify its claim to be the model for healing in the world today. Yet, as Eric Cassell notes, the success of medicine has created a strain the doctor sees his role as the curer of disease and 'forgets' his role as healer of the sick, and patients wander disabled but without a culturally acceptable mantle of disease with which to clothe the nakedness of their pain (Cassell, 1976, p. 51). This strain also appears in the way patients perceive their physicians. Western culture has conferred upon doctors the role of the care of the sick but although doctors' role as the curers of disease is clear, their role as healers remains obscure. The latter role, Cassell adds, depends less on their ability to provide a scientifically accurate explanation of their patient's illness than to provide an explanation consistent with...

Within System Distinctions

Its potential for cross-cultural application although it specifically allows that some non-biomedical practices, such as Ayurvedic or traditional Chinese medicine, should be classed as professional medicine due to their routinized, formalized, professionalized nature, this is easily forgotten by those who would view those therapeutic modalities as so-called folk practices.

Infertility and Fertility Enhancement

The links between the moral order and reproductive health are particularly marked in cases of infertility. The inability to bear a child is understood to reflect moral status, and in particular is usually blamed upon the woman who may suffer abuse and ostracism. In Africa, infertility carries a grave social stigma, and there is an elaborate range of traditional remedies used to address it (Ebin, 1994 Kielmann, 1998). Likewise, Chinese medicine reflects the cultural emphasis placed upon fertility (Farquhar, 1991) and women are often subjected to intense traditional and biomedical interventions to conceive (Handwerker, 1998).

Finding a competent practitioner

In order to find a competent practitioner, we recommend you start with the governing boards or licensing bodies of the professions that have them, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), naturopathy, or acupuncture, to name a few. (We list the governing bodies of many alternative treatments in the sections describing them.) If you want to find out or you're unsure whether a profession is regulated, a number of sources can help.

Orientations to the Body

The history of medical anthropology is to a large extent a history of scrutinizing and challenging Western assumptions about sickness, beginning with the distinction between biomedicine and traditional medicine. (Most medical anthropologists prefer the term biomedicine to the alternative terminology scientific, modern, and Western medicine. For an explanation see Leslie.) At first glance the distinction appears to be a commonsense way to classify different kinds of medical systems in practice it rests on a set of problematic assumptions.

Biomedicine and Medicalization

In the Western context, and in the United States specifically, biomedicine has assumed the role of the dominant health system (Singer & Baer, 1995). By focusing on the modes of biomedical production, anthropologists can look at the ways in which capitalism has been resisted or transformed by the individual participants (Morgan, 1987). Foster and Anderson (1978) define biomedicine as an ethno-medical system which has both its genesis and its sustenance within Western political, economic, and ideological institution. It is variously called cosmopolitan medicine, capitalist medicine, Western medicine, and urban medicine. Importantly, Foster and Anderson (1978) point out that biomedicine is an ethno-medical system, just like curanderismo in Latin America, Ayurveda in India, and Qi-based systems in China. Biomedically informed health providers blame the victim. Indeed, in capitalist medicine (Navarro, 1986) the system is rarely implicated, while the worker is further burdened. Among

Early Studies of Biomedicine

Biomedicine first came into the anthropological gaze as a product of studies that sought to consider professional medicines of other Great Traditions rather than the folk or ethnomedicines of traditional, small-scale cultures. Indian Ayurvedic (Leslie, 1976), Japanese Kanpo (Lock, 1980 Ohnuki-Tierney, 1984), and Traditional Chinese Medicine (Kleinman, 1980 Kleinman, Kunstadter, Alexander, & Gale, 1975) were objects of study in comparative frameworks that included Biomedicine. In these contexts, Biomedicine began to receive some scrutiny suggestive of its cultural construction, but this was not yet the primary focus of research.

Box 51 Culture and fast food in the Peoples Republic of China PRC

Culture can influence consumers' food choices. The Chinese diet contains more rice, noodles, chicken, pork, vegetables and fewer sweet desserts compared with the American diet of bread, beef, cheese, dairy products and sweet desserts. Therefore, chicken and beef noodle fast-food restaurants are more popular in PRC than pizza and burger restaurants. Beef is scarce, and considered very nutritious in traditional Chinese medicine. The older a person is, the more difficult it is to adapt to the new diet. Therefore older PRC consumers eat burgers for nutrition, and younger consumers eat burgers for taste. Younger persons are more likely to try new foods. Many young, one-child families in urban Beijing take children to McDonald's about once a week. Young people seek novelty and material progress. Although they do not like pizza, Chinese teens sit at Pizza Hut to be seen, older Chinese like low-fat food all go to McDonald's to be served, enjoy friends and listen to music.

Accessing Acupuncture

You may be familiar with acupuncture, the art of inserting fine, sterile needles into different areas of the body for treatment of any number of disorders. Acupuncture, which is part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), came into use in the United States in the 1970s and is often used for pain relief. Some traditional medical doctors now train in the use of acupuncture. TCM acupuncturists often combine treatments with the use of herbs.

Developments in Medicine

The leading causes of death in America have now shifted to lifestyle diseases, notably heart disease and cancer. For clarification, recent genomic research has allowed scientists to claim they have discovered the gene for some of these chronic conditions. This too is an oversimplification in that genetic predisposition triggered by certain environmental events, including once again the social environment, combine and interact to make the risk for contracting and dying from these lifestyle diseases rather more complex. It is the case that a substantial portion of medical research is devoted toward finding treatments and cures, somewhat less for preventive measures. In short, Western medicine runs its

Personality Differences by Gender

When this happens, all activity in the surrounding neighborhood stops as spectators gather. The woman is reportedly possessed by some spirit, probably wished on her by a sexual or status competitor. All attention is drawn to the afflicted, and she is comforted by everyone after the event is over, usually in about an hour. These episodes, which are uncommon, do not in any way resemble what is known in Western medicine as an epileptic seizure. Young men apparently do not experience this phenomenon.

Medical Systems Crossculturally

While etiological questions do have importance, categorization can also rest on the organizational characteristics of the systems in question. For example, medical systems can be categorized as either accumulating or diffusing according to whether they entail accumulated, formalized teachings or, rather, encourage the fragmentation of medical knowledge (Young, 1983). Practitioners in diffusing systems generally do not communicate with one another their knowledge is often secretly held. Accumulating systems, on the other hand, amass knowledge, generally in written form. Knowledge is shared at conferences and through professional associations and formal training institutions. Biomedicine, Chinese medicine, and Ayurveda are examples of accumulating systems.

Instrumentation for monitoring the effectiveness of food preservation during processing

Examples of instrumentation for different preservation techniques will be discussed below. It is a general requirement, included in HACCP, TCM (Total Control Management) and similar systems, that instruments used in food control and especially in monitoring of a CCP give accurate and reproducible results. Moreover, such instruments must be serviced, tested, and calibrated at appropriate intervals. Their design must make it easy to read measurements and to provide a clear signal, e.g., sound or light, if the preservation process is

Is Eczema Majama

Fung AY, Look PC, Chong LY, But PP, Wong E. A controlled trial of traditional Chinese herbal medicine in Chinese patients with recalcitrant atopic dermatitis. Int J Dermatol 1999 38 387-92. 30. Sheehan MP, Atherton DJ. One year follow-up of children treated with Chinese medicinal herbs for atopic eczema. Br J Dermatol 1994 130 488-93.


Historically, herbal remedies and medicinal properties associated with this genus date back some 5000 years and are remarkable and extensive in Asian cultures. They included multipurpose cures for many ailments. Compounds, especially from Pyrrosia lingua and P. sheareri, are still offered in contemporary Chinese medicine as remedies for assorted ills from bronchial infections and asthma to serious kidney and urinary tract disorders.

Naming the Subject

The designation Biomedicine as the name of the professional medicine of the West emphasizes the fact that this is a preeminently biological medicine. As such, it can be distinguished from the professional medicines of other cultures and, like them, its designation can be considered a proper noun and capitalized. The label Biomedicine was for these reasons conferred by Gaines and Hahn (1982, 1985) (after Engel, 1977) on what had variously been labeled scientific medicine, cosmopolitan medicine, Western medicine, allopathic medicine, and simply, medicine (Engel, 1980 Kleinman, 1980 Leslie, 1976 Mishler, 1981). Medicine as a label was particularly problematic it effectively devalued the health care systems of other cultures as non-medical, ethnomed-ical, or merely folk and thus inefficacious systems based on belief rather than presumably certain medical knowledge (Good, 1994). The term allopathic is still often employed as it designates the biomedical tradition of

Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine

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