The products were removed from the pharmacopoeia of traditional Chinese medicine — not only in response to massive poaching, but also for their lack of medical value. Yet there is no scientific evidence that the animal parts have any therapeutic value for humans: rhino horn is made of keratin, the exact same material as our hair and fingernails. While the announcement only applies to animals bred in captivity, this will inevitably stimulate demand and the trafficking of such products. Experience with ivory has shown that the legal trade provides ample opportunities for traffickers to launder their poached animal parts.
Lifting the trade ban sends a terrible signal to poachers and the organized criminals behind the trafficking of endangered species. The only way to stop the billion-dollar business of wildlife trafficking is to curb demand with a complete, unconditional ban — no exceptions, no loopholes. Legalizing the trade is a serious blow to worldwide efforts to protect these endangered species and could lead to their extinction. Rhinos in particular are hanging on by a thread. Please tell the Chinese government to reconsider this disastrous move and maintain its trade ban. The black rhinoceros is listed as critically endangered , the final stage before extinction.
The Western black rhinoceros, a subspecies of the black rhinoceros, was listed as extinct in The tiger and its various subspecies are also endangered. Movie star Steve McQueen, diag- nosed with a rare form of lung cancer, went to Mexico for laetrile treatments, which failed to save him, and the laetrile phenomenon subsided. His case is an example of peo- ple willing to try anything when they learn that the wonders of modern Western med- icine have failed them.
Die of cancer or try something—anything—that might save you? This is in no way to be considered a blanket criticism of the principles or practices of traditional Chinese medicine, but rather it points out that some irresponsible people, often perverting the funda- mentals of this venerable tradition, bear a large responsibility for the destruction of some increasingly endangered species. Of course there are millions of people in China, Southeast Asia, and elsewhere with little or no access to education on science who are ignorant of the composition of the potions they so eagerly consume and who know very little about the endangerment of animals.
A wider understanding of the traditions, the medications, and the status of the endangered species might possi- bly save even more lives—human and animal. Between and Hobson became a sort of medical missionary, trying to blend the two traditions by combining the spirituality of the Chinese with the science of the West. He published five textbooks, including one on gynecology and obstetrics, but his emphasis on sur- gical intervention rendered his procedures irrelevant to the practices of elite Chinese doctors, who totally rejected the idea of invasive sur- gery.
Almost a century later, in , the young Mao Zedong was highly critical of Chinese medical practice as well. In some areas, Western medicine now appears to be supplanting traditional Chinese medicine, but the shift has been gradual, and many traditional practi- tioners remain. While Chinese medical practices now include elements of Western medicine, it is clear that a substantial number of courses will be devoted to traditional Chinese medicine TCM , and there are still many prac- titioners who rely heavily on older, time-honored practices, such as acupuncture, herbal remedies, diet, exercise, and massage.
Traditional Chinese medicine is thousands of years older than its Western counterpart and founded on completely different principles. TCM looks at the bodily system as a whole; Western medicine looks at the structure and function of the parts. Western medicine manages dis- ease; TCM works to maintain health.
Western medicine is standardized; TCM is individualized. Western medicine is the result of laboratory experimentations; TCM is a summary of clinical observations. Western medicine mainly relies on medication and procedures; TCM emphasizes the role of the body in healing. Where TCM prescribes herbs and natu- ral agents, practitioners of Western medicine emphasize chemical com- pounds—often derived from natural agents. While Western medicine is intended to be strictly science-based, TCM is considered a healing art. In the modern era of science and technology, it is not surprising that West- ern medicine has become the predominant system while TCM is regarded as an alternative or complementary form of healing.
Within Chinese cosmology, all of creation is a function of two polar principles, yin and yang: Earth and Heaven, winter and summer, night and day, cold and hot, wet and dry, inner and outer, body and mind. Harmony of these principles means health, good weather, and good fortune, whereas disharmony leads to bad luck, disease, and disaster.
In medicine, the concept of the necessary interdependence of yin and yang is used in explaining physiology, pathol- ogy, and treatment. Every person has a unique terrain to be mapped, a resilient yet sensitive ecology to be maintained. Just as a gardener uses irri- gation and compost to grow robust plants, the doctor uses acupuncture and medicinals to recover and sustain health. Qi is the animating force that gives humans the capacity to move, think, feel, and work.
Moisture is the liquid medium that protects, nurtures, and lubricates tissue. Blood is the material foundation out of which bones, nerves, skin, muscles, and organs are created. In TCM, the goal of treatment is to adjust and harmonize yin and yang—wet and dry, cold and heat, inner and outer, body and mind. This is achieved by regulating the Qi, in the Organ Networks: weak organs are strengthened, congested channels are opened, excess is dispersed, tightness is loosened, agitation is calmed, heat is cooled, cold is warmed, dryness is moistened, and dampness is drained.
The duration of treat- ment depends on the nature of the complaint, its severity, and how long it has been present. Response varies; some need only a few sessions, whereas others need sustained care to reverse entrenched patterns estab- lished over time, practitioners say. In origin, Chinese medicinals can be animal, vegetable, or mineral, in most cases simply prepared. A neutral agent is one that is neither hot nor cold. The substances affect the parts of the body through which the channels are believed to pass and can affect other agents in those regions.
Functions of the medicinal agents are described in terms of restitution of aspects of the body e. Tiger bones, for example, are occasionally included in traditional Chi- nese prescriptions, but their uses are not particularly notable. Directions: Oral: decoct 9—15g , steep in wine, or use in pills or powders. Nothing about enhanced virility. They made a lot of money until a couple of researchers pointed out that sharks do get cancer—they even get cartilage cancer—and besides, taking shark-cartilage extract to prevent cancer was a little like eating the sawdust from redwood trees to make yourself taller.
Its unique theories and miraculous therapeutic effects have fascinated more and more people in the world. Xenotransplant technology is still in the research stage, but if and when it is perfected, it will establish a further link between Western high technology and tradi- tional Chinese use of animal parts in medicine. As some of the traders attempted to hide their stash of wild animals, others insisted that theirs were captive bred—seemingly ignoring the fact that many animals showed bloody stumps, where their limbs had been severed in leg-hold traps in the wild.
The Chinese seem to have a special fond- ness for turtles; the Hong Kong and Guangzhou markets have special sections devoted to the display of various species, all of which are sold as food. In an Asian market in Cleveland, I saw live turtles and frogs offered as food items. Some patterns of animal consumption may change in response to the threat of SARS.
The civets more than likely contracted the disease from other, more exotic species in the markets or some other place where they were in close contact.
China’s conservation image tarnished by tiger bone decision - Environmental Investigation Agency
The consumption of wild animals is not analogous to tra- ditional Chinese medicine, however, although both have been practiced for ages. TCM is three thousand years of carefully researched and tested practices. Though some of these may understandably appear strange to Western eyes, many of the innovations usually ascribed to Western physicians or medical researchers may actually have occurred in ancient China. For example, most Westerners believe that William Harvey dis- covered the circulation of the blood.
In his Anatomical Essay Concerning the Movement of the Heart and the Blood in Animals, he deduced that there was only one circulatory system and that the blood was circulated through the heart muscle by the ventricles, and not absorbed and replenished by the liver, as Galen had suggested. Some authorities cling to the BC date, but research by Chinese medicine scholar Wang Chi-min suggests that it was composed around BC, which would make its author or authors contemporaries of Hippocrates.
The works of the Greek tradition were composed to serve as text-books for the practitioner, yet the practical value of their contents was superseded centuries ago. On the other hand. Veith summarizes: Man, according to the system propounded in the Nei Ching, was subdivided into a lower region, a middle region, and an upper region, and each of these regions was subdivided three times, each subdivision containing an element of heaven and an element of man. Except in marriage, contact between the sexes was prohibited, and doctors, all of whom were men, were forbid- den to examine women.
The female patient would often extend her arm through the bed curtains for the doctor to take the pulse, which was by far the most important element in Chinese diagnosis. Sometimes acupuncture is combined with moxibustion, which consists of holding a stick of burning moxa a variety of mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris over the needled area, or when applied alone, placing on the skin powdered leaves of moxa, which are then ignited.
This can be effected with the leaves directly on the skin or in a closed capsule that is heated and applied to the affected area. Perhaps the most important idea contained in Chinese medicine is the one that suggests that prevention is more important than cure. Sick kidneys have the tendency to harden; then one should eat bitter food to strengthen them. One uses bitter food to supplement and to strengthen them and one uses salty food to drain them and to make them expel. Along with acupuncture, the pharmacopoeia served as the founda- tion of Chinese medicine, and many of the precepts delineated in the ancient Huang-ti Nei Ching are in practice today, not only in China, but around the world.
Centuries would pass before the subject of using herbs and animal sub- stances for medicinal purposes was published, but it is likely that it had been going on long before it was encoded in books. It would be another one thou- sand years before the Shen Nung Materia Medica was written, detailing the pharmacological use of three hundred substances, including antipyretics, cathartics, diuretics, emetics, sedatives, stimulants, diges- tive remedies, antidiarrheal medicaments, and mercury and sulfur for skin diseases.
It had an enrollment of some students, specializing in med- icine, surgery, or acupuncture—then considered the three divisions of traditional medicine. One thousand of the drugs were of vegetable origin, four hun- dred were zoological, and the remainder were mineral. The Origins of Western Medicine At the outset, early Chinese and early Western medicine were not that different; for the most part, the origins of diseases were a mystery, and we have no way of knowing how effective either system actually was. In the West, clinically similar to the teachings of the Nei Ching were those of Hippocrates, the Greek physician and scholar born around BC on the island of Kos near the western coast of Asia Minor.
It is unlikely that the Corpus Hippocraticum, which includes sections on anatomy, physiol- ogy, pathology, therapy, diagnosis, prognosis, surgery, gynecology and obstetrics, mental illness, and ethics, was written by one man, however. Scholarly ink galore has been spilt as to which were authentic and which spurious; the controversy is futile. As Sherwin Nuland wrote in Doctors: The Hippocratic physicians saw diseases as events that happen within the context of the life of the entire patient, and they oriented their treatment toward restoration of the natural conditions and defenses of the sick person and the re-establishment of his proper relationship to his surroundings.
It was the basically holistic clin- ical approach of Hippocrates that provided the clear light which led Greek medicine out of the mire of theurgy and witchcraft. This, of course, was not very different from the pre- cepts of early Chinese medicine, even though the details were different. The Greeks, with few available pharmacological remedies, believed in diagnosing the condition of the patient and, where necessary, prescribing such things as purgatives, emetics, baths, bloodletting, wine, bland drinks, and a calm atmosphere, all designed, as Nuland points out, to aid nature in its attempts to rid the body of excessive humors.
Despite his elaborated view of bodily processes, Hippocrates recog- nized that there was more unknown than known about healing. It is necessary for the physician not only to provide the needed treatment but to provide for the patient himself, and for those beside him, and to provide for his outside affairs. It begins with pledges to the gods and to teachers as well as future students.
The prohibitions are against harm to the patient, deadly drugs, abortion, surgery, sexual congress with the patient or his household, and revelation of secrets discovered while ministering to the sick. The duties are to act with purity and holiness. In his teens, Galen became a therapeutes, an attendant upon the healing god Ascle- pius, and upon the death of his father, he inherited enough money to allow him to travel and broaden his medical horizons. In , he left Pergamum for Rome, where he continued to write, lecture, and practice medicine, numbering the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Commodus among his patients.
In addition to summarizing the state of medicine at the height of the Roman Empire, Galen reported his own important advances in anatomy, physiology, and therapeutics. He made a special study of the pulse and showed that arteries carried blood, not air as many believed, and he made important discoveries about the spinal cord and nervous system that would not be appreciated until the nineteenth century.
Like the Chinese, Galen believed in the use of animal parts as well as herbs in treating illness. Muslim science was a reposi- tory upon which Western societies drew again and again. Islamic medicine favored cauterization for internal and external diseases and prescribed drugs of all kinds, many of which—for example, nutmeg, ambergris, camphor, cloves, tamarind, myrrh, and senna—had to be imported from India or China.
Throughout the Middle Ages, during which the Europeans seemingly avoided any reminiscences of the ancient world, they prayed to God and to assorted saints, who sometimes let them down. Despite their prayers, smallpox was rampant throughout Europe, and in , the bubonic plague, or Black Death, killed at least one-quarter of the popu- lation of Europe. Take then mugwort and everlasting and boil these three in several kinds of milk until they become red.
Let him then sup a good bowl full of it, fasting at night, sometime before he takes other food. Make him rest in a soft bed and wrap him up warm. The leading pharmacological text for sixteen centuries and the fore- most classical source of modern botanical terminology was De materia medica, the work of Dioscorides c.
Along with painstakingly accurate illustrations of various botanicals were found descriptions of their medicinal or magical properties much like their Chinese counterparts.
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Mandrake Atropa man- dragora , a member of the nightshade family, which includes belladonna, henbane, and tobacco, however, was the plant most infused with magi- cal properties. The long root, which can sometimes resemble a human form, has been used since ancient times to arouse ardor, overcome infer- tility, and even increase wealth. It is poisonous, a narcotic, an anes- thetic, and a preventative against demonic possession. It was reputed to grow only under the gallows of murderers. It screamed like a human when pulled from the ground, and whoever heard it was killed or driven mad.
The only way to pull it out of the ground was to tie a dog to it; the dog would die, but at least you had the root. How they were used was important too. To fend off demons or cure diseases, herb drinks were mixed with ale, milk, or vinegar; many of the potions were made with herbs mixed with honey. Ointments concocted with herbs and butter were prescribed for common ailments such as bleeding noses, bald- ness, sunburn, loss of appetite, and dog bites. Herbs were also utilized as amulets or charms against evil and diseases. One of the most important herbals of the Elizabethan era was Histo- rie of Plants by John Gerard — For his botanical descriptions and remedies, Gerard depended on his own observations, but he also consulted earlier authorities.
Artfully blending herbalism, alchemy, and astrology, Nicholas Culpeper —54 gave us an insightful, often amusing glimpse of European medicine in the seventeenth century. Like those in medieval China, most Western herbals emphasized botanical preparations. Neither, at the time, did those of the Chi- nese, given the scale of medications prescribed and the number of ani- mals that would have to be killed to provide them. While both English and Chinese apothecaries used a surprising abundance of animal parts and excrements , it was still the botanicals that dominated both materiae medicae.
Of course, the plants differed according to what was available. Where the English materia medica included bracken, cowslip, elm, heather, lavender, and woad, the Chi- nese version includes ginseng, lotus root, mung bean, sandalwood, cin- namon, and gardenia.
TIGER BONES, BEAR BILE, RHINOCEROS HORN AND CHINESE MEDICINE
Galen was not translated into Latin until The medical faculty of the University of Paris adopted his works as their standard text and stuck to his words as if they were gospel. But the man known as Paracelsus soon completely changed the way medicine was taught in Europe. Born in Switzerland around as Theophrastus Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombast von Hohenheim, Paracelsus was well-versed in alchemy, chemistry, and metallurgy, but his fame lies in his boisterous and argumentative rejection of traditional theories of medicine.
Herbs were too imprecise or crude. But where his predecessors had watched from on high while a barber-sur- geon pulled organs out of a cadaver, Vesalius performed his own dissec- tions and eventually produced four large anatomical charts. In , he produced Institutiones anatomicae, an anatomical manual for his stu- dents, in which he began to question some of the Galenic precepts. Was there cross-fertilization between Western and Chinese medicine before the modern age? Did Marco Polo bring back news of Chinese med- icine when he returned to Europe in ?
They carried cargoes of silks, porcelains, and lacquerware to trade for ivory, pearls, and spices, but their main pur- pose was to impress local rulers with the riches of the Chinese empire and the grandeur of its emperor. The seventh expedition —33 was the most ambitious of all, carry- ing forty thousand men to every port from Java to Mecca and returning with tributes collected from the Asian and Arab states, including horses, elephants, and a giraffe, but without Cheng Ho, who had died at sea.
With med- icine, as in other areas, the Europeans would have to work things out for themselves. In his chapter on Chinese medicine, Roy Porter wrote: From the wider perspective there is a key difference between the eastern and western medical traditions. Both initially shared com- mon assumptions about the balanced and natural operations of the healthy body and these were inscribed in hallowed texts. Western medicine alone radically broke with this. Contrasting early Greek and early Chinese science, Geoffrey Lloyd and Nathan Sivin scholars of each, respectively together wrote The Way and the Word , a book in which they discuss how knowledge of the natural world was acquired, propagated, and disseminated in each of the two cultures.
Where Greek inquirers strove to make a reputation for themselves as new-style Masters of Truth, most Chinese Possessors of the Way had a very different program, namely to advise and guide rulers. Although most Europeans believed that bubonic plague, which ravaged Europe from to and arose spo- radically until , was caused by bad air miasmas or bad faith, there was an inkling of belief that it might be spread by contagion. It would be another three hundred years, however, before the germ theory of disease would become prevalent in the West. What caused diseases in the early Chinese view?
Once the temporal cycles of susceptibility to illness and the seasonal epidemic chhi stimulate it, the disease will unfailingly break out. If one waits to deal with it until it has broken out, because epidemic chhi is already rampant the symptoms will generally be unmanageable. Although without the germ theory, the Chinese nevertheless seem to have invented variolation, the practice of implanting live variola into an incision, which often resulted in a milder form of the disease with a much lower fatality rate than if the disease had been transmitted through the respiratory tract. One Taoist hermit came from O-Mei Sand, and brought the technique of inoculation and intro- duced it to the capital.
The Western version of variolation came later, probably not influ- enced by the Chinese. Her husband had been appointed ambassador to Constantinople, and while there, she had her own children successfully inoculated. They all became free men. With variolation, the fatality rate was reduced from 30 percent to about 1 percent. And the procedure spread to America, where John Adams was successfully variolated in and Thomas Jefferson like- wise in It was not until , when Edward Jenner inoculated eight-year-old James Phipps with cowpox which was harmless to humans and found that the lad became immune to smallpox that vaccination was accepted in England and western Europe.
Western belief in person-to-person transmission as distinct from miasmatic transmission was also strengthened by the introduction of smallpox to Europe by returning crusaders and by the later introduction of syphilis to Europe by travelers to the New World. The interesting parallels of variolation aside, while Chinese medi- cine maintained continuity over the centuries to the present, the further development of Western medicine of bacteriology led to increasing divergence between the two practices.
Leeuwen- hoek had learned to grind lenses, made simple microscopes though the more powerful compound microscopes had already been invented , and began observing with them. The biggest sort. Moreover, the other animalcules were in such enormous numbers, that all the water. Five years later, Koch revealed before the Berlin Physiological Society the bacillus that causes tubercu- losis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and in , in India, he demonstrated that Vibrio cholerae, the bacillus that causes cholera, was communicated by polluted water.
The freshly isolated microorganism, when inoculated into a healthy laboratory animal, should cause the same disease seen in the original animal. The microorganism can be retrieved from the inoculated ani- mal and cultured anew. But, as we shall see, a cure for malaria came straight out of the pharmacopoeia of China. Herbal and animal-based substances continue to be prescribed in China for a wide range of conditions, based largely on the ancient prin- ciples of TCM. Among the more commonly treated disorders are skin diseases, including eczema, psoriasis, acne, and rosacea; gastrointestinal disorders, including irritable bowel syndrome, chronic constipation, and ulcerative colitis; gynecological conditions, including premenstrual syn- drome, dysmenorrhea, and infertility; respiratory conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, chronic coughs, and allergic and perennial rhinitis and sinusitis; rheumatological conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis; urinary conditions such as chronic cystitis; psychological problems such as depression and anxiety; and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Chinese herbals describe the use of every plant from ginseng and alfalfa to sas- safras, cloves, myrrh, frankincense, cannabis, parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme; and of course, various parts of various animals are still high on the list of curative substances. A list of the substances used in TCM and the conditions for which they are applicable occupies most of the page Fundamentals of Chinese Medicine. There was one widespread and deadly disease for which TCM pro- vided no treatment; indeed, the Chinese government was even reluc- tant to acknowledge its existence.
Studies in China and Thailand, where TCM has almost universal acceptance and a record of use going back several thousand years, have found that many people have successfully used TCM for addressing other HIV factors including fatigue, general energy loss, and declining mental powers. What does TCM say about cancer? One TCM Web page that I consulted noted that cancer can be caused by air pollution, food, and radiation— in agreement with Western medicine.
The Cameron Clinic of Chinese Medicine www. A third pattern is when Qi Stagnation and Phlegm accumulation lead to excessive Heat toxins, which then turn to hard breast lump masses. Despite theories that cancer was caused by irritation, trauma, and parasites a Nobel Prize was awarded in to Johannes Fibiger of Denmark who demonstrated that cancer in mice was caused by a worm , clinical experimentation has shown that the disease could be caused by carcinogens such as coal tar, benzene, aniline dyes, asbestos, radiation including sunlight , hydrocar- bons particularly in tobacco smoke , and, most recently, viruses.
In any discussions, Chinese or Western, the reasons that cancer strikes some people and not others is largely unknown. We know that cancer develops when cells in a part of the body begin to grow out of control, and instead of dying, as normal cells do, cancer cells continue to form abnormal cells. The process known as metastasis occurs when cancer cells get into the bloodstream or lymph nodes and begin to replace normal tissue.
Galen consid- ered cancer incurable, but by the early twentieth century, the some- times successful removal of tumors by surgery was the prevailing treatment in Western medicine. It has now been shown that a diet high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans, when combined with regular exercise, reduces the risk of cancer. Not smoking, staying out of the sun, and avoiding excessive radioactivity such as nuclear explosions do the same. If a balanced diet can reduce the risk of can- cer, it now appears that the TCM theory about correcting an imbal- ance of yang and yin can presumably also have validity after all.
Arguments about risk and cause aside, the application of the right ani- mal, vegetable, or mineral pharmaceuticals could probably cure a number of diseases or ameliorate the symptoms, even if the explana- tion is 2, years old. For example, Artemesia annua, known in English as sweet wormwood and in Chinese as qinghao, has been shown to be a cure for malaria. It was only in a recent study by scientists at St. It has the ability to destroy the malaria parasite by releasing high doses of free radicals that attack the cell mem- brane of the parasite in the presence of high iron concentration.
In fact, over one million malaria patients have been cured via this method. Their symptoms also subsided in a matter of days. Research is now being conducted on claims that Artemisia may also kill cancer cells. So far, the most extensive study on the use of artemisinin as an anticancer agent has been carried out by bioengineering scientists Narenda Singh and Henry Lai of the University of Washington, as reported in in the journal Life Sciences.
They concluded that artemisinin kills malaria but it can also be used to treat various cancers. Most cancers have more iron-attracting transferring receptors on their cell surface than normal cells. On the other hand, the normal cells remained vir- tually unharmed. Perhaps, in this instance at least, the combination of TCM and modern science can accomplish what neither could accomplish separately.
There is, then, some overlap in the principles and practices of Chi- nese and Western medicine. Although acupuncture had a small following in nineteenth century France and Britain, only in the last generation has it made great inroads into some aspects of Western treatment. This is due partly to a new multiculturalism and partly to rejection in some quarters of high- tech values; but it also results from explanations of acupuncture anes- thesia in terms of endorphins and other neurotransmitters.
As with all traditional Chinese medications, herbal medicine seeks primarily to correct internal imbalances rather than to treat symptoms alone, and therapeutic intervention is designed to encourage the self-healing process. Of course, Western medicine is not the polar opposite to this. Despite such overlaps in the principles and practices of Chinese and Western medicine, many differences remain, largely because of the rationales that created them and in the way they developed. For some centuries, practitioners of early European and Chinese medicine were nonetheless roughly analogous, emphasizing herbal treatments and a number of humors or elements that had to be kept in equilib- rium.
Joseph Needham identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the two systems: When we turn to look at traditional Chinese medicine, we have to recognize at once that the concepts with which it works—the yin and the yang, and the Five Elements—are all more suited to the times of Hippocrates, Aristotle and Galen, than to modern times.
A feature in which traditional Chinese medicine is extremely good is its organic approach to illness. Two patients with identical symptoms may be given quite different treatments, depending on their backgrounds, which the physician has enquired about, and the general pictures of their body processes as ascertained in the exam- ination. Another excellent feature of traditional Chinese medicine is the notion of disease as a process that passes through several stages.
This can lead to some very sophisticated cures. Generally speaking, a strength of traditional Chinese medicine lies in curing chronic diseases. How innovations were absorbed into the two systems made a sub- stantial difference in the way medicine was practiced. The organization of the profession in Europe around medical schools may have been deci- sive in producing more systematic responses to new diseases.
In a hospital, a cure that worked once could be tried again on the next patient, and professional colleagues were on hand to observe the result. European practitioners, therefore, were encouraged to try new cures. It is not, therefore, surprising that European doctors reacted to new diseases by altering major elements of the older theory and practice.
By contrast, Asian medical experts, who did not operate in hospital environments, met new disease experiences by hold- ing fast to ancient authorities—or claiming to do so even when some- thing new crept in McNeill Aspirin, which is composed of acetylsalicylic acid, is an important ele- ment in modern Western medicine, but for a long time its employment was closer to that typical of a TCM substance. People took aspirin sim- ply because they knew it worked. There is no question that prescriptions in Western medicine often do not accomplish what they are prescribed for, or that even with a sub- stance as ubiquitous as aspirin, there are sometimes unexpectedly serious side effects.
Lots, as it turns out. Eating the bulbs of hyacinth, narcissus, or daffodils can be fatal; the branches of oleander are extremely poisonous; the leaves of foxglove can cause dan- gerously irregular heartbeats; all parts of laurels, azaleas, and rhododen- drons are deadly; jasmine, mistletoe, and yew berries can kill you; and everybody knows what Socrates drank to commit suicide.
A survey conducted in by David Eisenberg and his colleagues found that The supplements may thus be mis- or self- prescribed, and some may contain undetected toxic material. A study conducted by Robert Saper and his colleagues, including Dr. Over-the-counter herbs and supplements with high levels o heavy metals are simply dangerous. There is no question that many components of the TCM pharmacopoeia are successful in suppressing fever, reducing swelling, curing headaches, nausea, dizziness, and toothache, elimi- nating pain, assuaging the agony of gallstones, or easing childbirth.
The number of laboratory mice and rats that die every year in the name of medical research must be astronomical. In many cases, these prescriptions do not work, or do not work as well as some synthetic pharmaceuticals. Not all animal-based prescriptions of TCM require that an animal die. There are some parts of some animals that may or may not work as pharmaceuticals, but at least do not require that the animal be killed. The growing antlers are warm to the touch and very sensitive.
By late summer the antlers have attained their maximum size, and the thin skin Package of deer antler. The large tuber to the left of the tree is ginseng. Deer antler and deer antler velvet are said to cure joint stiffness and arthritis, boost energy levels, aid muscle recovery, balance cardiovascular activity, strengthen the immune system, increase libido, and heighten general vitality. It assists the growth of perma- nent teeth.
A good tonic for weak people. For arthritis and back- ache. It is a diuretic. For vesicular calculi, osteomyelitis. To quieten the placenta. For nymphomania, menorrhagia. Was this just some weird sixteenth-century prescription? The deer are raised on special farms where, in the spring, their velvet antlers are sawed off; and as with all deer, the antlers will grow back the next year.
Plants can be picked; leaves can be plucked, fruits, vegetables, and nuts can be harvested, and seeds can be collected without threatening the species, but some animals must be killed in order that the valuable parts can be harvested for use in TCM. Both systems were holis- tic in that they involved the treatment of the whole person, not just the symptoms, and sought somehow to restore the natural balance of the body. But because some exotic conditions called for exotic reme- dies, medical practitioners sought unusual animals whose parts might have uncommon curative powers.
There are few animals stranger than a rhinoceros, a lumbering giant with horns growing where no other ani- mal has horns, so it is not surprising that rhino horn became an integral part of early Chinese medicine. The use of rhino horn, however, can be traced to the unicorn, another animal with a horn growing from a totally unsuspected place. One of his tales describes certain wild asses that are as large as horses, and larger. They have a horn on the forehead about a foot and a half in length. Those who drink out of these horns, made into drinking vessels, are not subject to the holy dis- ease epilepsy.
Indeed, they are immune even to poisons if, either before or after swallowing such, they drink wine, water, or any liquid from these beakers. After Ctesias—and probably based largely upon his description— other authors included the unicorn in their studies of natural history. These creatures have a horn in the middle of their head. It makes a deep lowing noise, and one black horn two cubits [about 40 inches] long projects from the middle of its fore- head. This animal, they say, cannot be taken alive.
Of course, much of ancient natural history was based on twice- told tales, because so few people were able to travel far in search of wild animals they had heard about. No one in mediaeval Europe ever saw a lion or an elephant or a panther, yet these beasts were accepted without question upon evidence in no way better or worse than that which vouched for the unicorn. There are a lot of mammals much more unlikely: the platypus, the giraffe, the elephant, the kangaroo, the armadillo, the anteater, the manatee and the narwhal are much too weird to exist—and yet they do.
Indeed, there is a living animal that does have a single horn—or maybe even two—growing out of its nose, and few people question the validity of the rhinoceros. Canst thou bind the uni- corn with his band in the furrow? Or will he harrow the valleys after thee? Wilt thou trust him because his strength is great? Nothing about it suggests that it was supernatural, a creature of fancy, for it is linked with the lion, the bullock and the calf, yet it was mysterious enough to inspire a sense of awe, and powerful enough to provide a vigorous metaphor.
Long before the unicorn achieved its preeminence in Europe, it was thriving in China. King of the animal species then recognized, chi-lin was reputed to reach years of age. See what's been added to the collection in the current 1 2 3 4 5 6 weeks months years. Your reader barcode: Your last name:. Cite this Email this Add to favourites Print this page. You must be logged in to Tag Records. Broken link? Machine derived contents note: Contents Preface 1. Tyger, Tyger 2. Suffer the Animals 3. Chinese Medicine, Western Medicine 4. Where Have All the Tigers Gone? Rhinos, Tigers, and Bears, Oh My!
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