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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2005 Apr;83(4):321-34.

Emerging issues in traditional Chinese medicine.

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Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, National Centre for Agri-Food Research in Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has many beneficial effects and has been practiced for several thousand years. It is known to treat the cause of a disease rather than to alleviate its symptoms. Based on a belief that TCM is natural, safe, and of lower cost, consumers worldwide are spending more out-of-pocket money on this form of therapy. This increased spending, and reports of adverse reactions, has drawn the attention of many regulatory agencies. Scientists have called for more evidence-based and scientific research on the risks and benefits of TCM. In Canada, the Natural Health Product Regulations came into effect January 2004. TCM herbal product manufacturers will need to provide products of reputable quality to the market. Many will apply modern technology and good science to support their products. The issues facing producers, scientists, and consumers alike are quality control and assessment, standardization of bioactive components, mechanisms of actions, and integration of the evolved modern Chinese medicine into the healthcare system. Solid science, better regulation of the final product, and better education of consumers are necessary to extract the best of TCM to complement existing conventional medicine to deliver the best healthcare.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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