Health — 13 August 2014

256px-RegQi (1)Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been used for thousands of years to prevent and treat disease and promote wellness.  But, in many western countries, there had been historic resistance to its use because it “was not supported by rigorous scientific study.”

That’s not true today.

It’s clear that TCM is now an important part of many westerner’s lives who swear by its benefits.  Its legitimacy was more fully established when the National Institutes of Health established the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) in 1991.

Dr. Xiu-Min Li, of Mount Sinai, told Time Warner News that Chinese medicine takes the approach of overall well-being — mind and body.

He explained that “Traditional Chinese Medicine sees the human body as a whole system, like a network. So each organ system is connected. So one organ system will affect another.”

A big component of TCM is natural foods and ingredients that promote wellness and combat disease.

The market for TCM is exploding as more people globally turn to natural solutions to health problems.  China exports TCM ingredients to over 160 countries, generating over $1 billion in revenues annually.  The broader herbal supplement marketplace is expected to reach $93 billion by 2015, according to “Herbal Supplements and Remedies: A Global Strategic Business Report”

There has been a global and concerted effort to monitor the quality of traditional herbal medicine. The NCCAM is the lead U.S. agency devoted to rigorous study of these medicines. The WHO has been creating guidelines for natural medicines.

Consumers lay their trust on the companies that import and formulate the ingredients in these herbal medicines.

One such company, Trilogy Essential Ingredients, Inc., partners with companies that manufacture and distribute herbal remedies.  They are the critical link with China’s cultivators of ingredients and are responsible for high quality.  They are leaders in the market because, according to their website, they have:

  • “Ongoing, well established access to substantial supplies of unique raw materials,
  • Vertical integration with leading suppliers of basic materials,
  • Long term relationships with manufacturers of plant extracts, phytonutrients and nutritional supplements,
  • Strategic partnership with traditional Chinese medicine experts in Nantong, China, and a newly established affiliate, Trilogy Flavors Shanghai Limited.”

World-renowned physician and herbal medicine proponent, Dr. Andrew Weil, says on his website that “because of the many unsubstantiated claims made for herbal remedies, and because the market is not well regulated, he recommends that consumers follow these guidelines:

  • Don’t buy whole dried herbs from bins or jars in stores. These loose herbs are probably worthless because dried plants deteriorate upon exposure to air, light and moisture and the more finely chopped the plant parts are, the faster they lose their desirable qualities.
  • Buy reputable brands that advertise the purity of their ingredients.
  • Buy Chinese herbal products only from reputable sources and avoid those that do not list ingredients. (Some herbs from China have been contaminated with toxic metals.)”

With increasing scrutiny and greater emphasis on quality ingredients, consumers are gaining more benefit from Traditional Chinese Medicine.

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