“People are easily fooled. Even smart people … I’m talking about the wide variety of health treatments that call themselves alternative medicine, integrative medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, energy medicine, and other names. These are all just marketing terms, but many people, including some physicians and scientists, seem captivated by them.” – Steven Salzberg, Forbes, May 13, 2019
Mar 16, 2020
Hong Kong (CNN) Xiong Qingzhen, a drone engineer in the central Chinese metropolis of Wuhan, spent more than two weeks in a makeshift hospital in February receiving treatment for Covid-19, the respiratory disease causing a global health crisis.
Every morning and evening, the 38-year-old was handed a bag of brown soup — a traditional Chinese remedy blended from over 20 herbs, including ephedra, cinnamon twigs and licorice root.
But unlike most patients around him, Xiong was skeptical of its efficacy and refused to drink it.
“In my opinion, it is a sheer placebo,” said, Xiong, who was discharged in late February from the makeshift hospital run by TCM doctors where no Western medicine was provided, apart from medication for underlying conditions, such as high blood pressure.
“TCM [traditional Chinese medicine] is loaded with mystical pseudoscience … From a medical standpoint, the vast majority of TCM doesn’t deserve respect. We might respect it from a cultural and historical standpoint, but medically it’s a prescientific system of medicine not based on science.” – David H. Gorski, MD, PhD, scienceblogs.com, Oct 11, 2015
The “lung-clearing and detoxing soup,” as the herbal compound he was given is called, was part of the Chinese government’s push to use Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the fight against the novel coronavirus outbreak.
As scientists race to find a cure and vaccine, China is increasingly turning to its traditional remedies.
As of late last month, more than 85% of all coronavirus patients in China — about 60,000 people — had received herbal remedies alongside mainstream antiviral drugs, according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.
Yu Yanhong, deputy head of China’s National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said at a press conference last week:
“We are willing to share the ‘Chinese experience’ and ‘Chinese solution’ of treating Covid-19, and let more countries get to know Chinese medicine, understand Chinese medicine and use Chinese medicine.”
But even in China, where TCM has a large number of adherents, the government has been unable to quell its skeptics — like Xiong.
Abroad, the herbal remedies could face even more skepticism from Western medical experts, who have long questioned their safety and effectiveness … Read more.
“State-sponsored quackery: China is ramping up its promotion of its ancient medical arts. That is dangerous for humans as well as rhinos.” – The Economist, Aug 31 2017