Western medicine (conventional medicine) is a type of medicine based on philosophical foundations of western thinking. It is developed through research and is scientifically proven. According to western medicine the human body is only a collection of its parts. And western medicine believes that by studying these parts individually, the concept of the human body can be well understood. For treatment of disease, western medicine uses drugs and surgery. (It doesn’t give much concern to factors like nutrition, the wellness of the mind etc.)
Eastern medicine (traditional / indigenous medicine) is a type of medicine which was practiced in the east for a very long time. (For over 5000 years) This is based on the trial and error method. And was improved and brought to the standard now, mainly through experience. (Scientific research is limited.) It believes that the human body can only be understood through the synergistic functioning of its parts. Chinese medicine is one of the oldest types of eastern medicines. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) believes that an ailment is caused due to the imbalance of the body. (Yin and Yang theory) This theory states that if the body is not physically, mentally and spiritually balanced illness will occur. A dynamic balance between Yin and Yang should be present to be healthy. Therefore treatment of disease in traditional Chinese medicine mainly focuses in bringing the body back to equilibrium. This is achieved through acupuncture, acupressure, cupping, Tui Na massage, herbs, diet, exercise and lifestyle advice.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Unlike western medicine which considers the body to be a closed system, eastern medicine believes that the body is an open system which reflects its environment. And believes the mind and the body are largely interconnected. Even though western medicine treats the diagnosis, Traditional Chinese Medicine treats underline symptoms. Therefore by using TCM undiagnosed diseases can be treated and even cured. Traditional Chinese Medicine is widely distributed in the east in countries like China, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, and Korea. And also used as an alternative or complimentary medicine form in the west.
TCM almost never uses a single herb for treatment of a disease, but uses a wide selection of them. Usually about 2-16 herbs are used. The core rule herb formulae in Traditional Chinese medicine is “Jun Chen Zuo Shi.”
1st principle ingredient is Jun (Emperor) — provides the main therapeutic thrust.
2nd principle ingredient is Chen (Cabinet member) — Enhances / amplifies /assists the first ingredient.
The rest contains ingredients which perform one or more of the following functions.
• Reduces / moderates toxicity.
• Treats symptoms.
• Directs the medicine to the proper organs.
• Exerts a harmonizing effect.
An important factor of TCM is that medicines are custom made to suit each patient. Even if it’s the same disease -The classical formula is used as a base and herbs are added or removed, to/ from the base.
Traditional Chinese medicine is safer and has lesser side effects. As popularly known, western medicine usually uses only one chemical / drug at once, it can impose side effects although it might be efficient in treating the specific disease. But eastern medicine comprises of more than one herb and the side effects imposed by one herb are usually cancelled using another)
Integrative Chinese and Western Medicine (ICWM)
Interacting Chinese traditional medicine and western medicine was first implemented in China. Thus they formed a new type of medicine called integrative Chinese and western medicine (ICWM). They proved that the results of using these synergistically give better results than either used separately. Research regarding the efficacy of this is done at present by scientists, because of the high demand for ICWM. Synergy of western and eastern drugs can be harmful or useful, and should only be used after testing the effects. The proportions mixed, the herbs and western drugs combined, and even the place where the herb was extracted effects the results.
Synergistic effect of western and eastern medicine is used to treat conditions like cancer, diabetes mellitus, hepatitis B, thrombosis, heart diseases, obesity, backaches etc. And it is also thought to help to find a cure for diseases like HIV AIDS.
Cancer is said to respond better to western medicine and eastern medicine used synergistically. And the results improve dramatically with a suitable diet, Chinese Qigong and therapeutic exercise. Anticancer drugs can easily penetrate the carcinogenic cells when used along with herbal medicine and therefore can treat drug resistant tumors. Pancreatic, liver, gastric, cervical, breast cancers can be treated like this.
Dang gui (Angelica sinensis ) has anti tumor effects and has given very good results for cervical and breast cancer treatment when used together with western anti cancer medicine.
Treating Blood Clots / Thrombosis
Kangen – Karyu (KGK) is a collection of 6 herbs used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to invigorate the blood and dispel blood stasis, which arises from poor blood circulation. And warfarin is used to remove blood clots in western medicine. When KGK and warfarin are used together KGK suppresses the metabolism and elimination of warfarin, making warfarin remain in the system of the person over a longer period of time. And thus results in the efficient removal of blood clots. Therefore it produces a cure for thrombosis.
• Ketoconazole and estragole (active ingredient in essential oil Agastachae rugosa) when used to together has a good fungicidal effect against Blastoschizomyces capitatus.
• Diabetes is thought to occur due to a problem in insulin production according to western medicine, and is thought to occur due to collapse of yin in the kidney, spleen, and lungs. Treatment involves acupuncture, bitter melon, exercise, and counseling to make them active.
Both Chinese medicine and western medicine has their own advantages and disadvantages. Chinese use ICWM for treatment of most diseases. And the western nations use it to treat special / untreatable diseases.
For the last four decades western and Chinese medicine was used synergistically. Its efficacy is validated and some research has been done to prove it through animals, biological assays and clinical trials. If both eastern and western medicine are fully integrated and not just used as complimentary or alternative medicine, tremendous improvements can be done in the medical field.
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