Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below

Bioactive Components in Herbal Medicine Experimental Approaches.


In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors.


Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 20.


Modern medicine is a deductive science, whereas traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is inductive. Deductive medicine has a specific focus, but as a consequence the general need of the individual might be neglected. TCM does not relate to very specific targets or problems, but aims at improving the general well-being of the individual by maintaining an effective balance between various physiological functions. This holistic approach, by which the individual is kept in a biologically balanced state, allows the mobilization of biological reserves to take care of physiological problems (Campion 1993). In contrast, the deductive approach relies on accurate targets, mandates specialization, and is largely disease focused rather than patient focused. Neglect of holistic care by modern medicine is one of the important reasons behind the increasing support for alternative care and over-the-counter health preparations (Eisenberg et al. 1993). If the two divergent systems of medical science can be harmonized, more clinical problems can be solved. Holistic care to promote physiological balance to allow spontaneous adjustment and the building up of better bodily defenses could supplement aggressive single-target modern medicine to remove a specific problem. Such harmonization of the two systems could lead to better and more holistic treatment of individuals within a modern medicine setting that is science based and evidence based. This requires research into efficacy that goes beyond specific targets. However, it also requires research to ensure the quality of herbal medicines, which are often misidentified, contaminated, or adulterated.

Copyright © 2011 by Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons
    Support Center