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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:425037. doi: 10.1155/2015/425037. Epub 2015 Apr 8.

Developing traditional chinese medicine in the era of evidence-based medicine: current evidences and challenges.

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1
Traditional Medicine Information Service, Department of Pharmacy, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore.
2
Department of Haematology, Singapore General Hospital, Academia, 20 College Road, Singapore 169856.

Abstract

Evidence-based medicine (EBM), by integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available clinical evidence from systematic research, has in recent years been established as the standard of modern medical practice for greater treatment efficacy and safety. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), on the other hand, evolved as a system of medical practice from ancient China more than 2000 years ago based on empirical knowledge as well as theories and concepts which are yet to be mapped by scientific equivalents. Despite the expanding TCM usage and the recognition of its therapeutic benefits worldwide, the lack of robust evidence from the EBM perspective is hindering acceptance of TCM by the Western medicine community and its integration into mainstream healthcare. For TCM to become an integral component of the healthcare system so that its benefits can be rationally harnessed in the best interests of patients, it is essential for TCM to demonstrate its efficacy and safety by high-level evidence in accordance with EBM, though much debate remains on the validity and feasibility of applying the EBM model on this traditional practice. This review aims to discuss the current status of research in TCM, explore the evidences available on its efficacy and safety, and highlight the issues and challenges faced in applying EBM to TCM.

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