Author(s): Konkimalla VB, Efferth T
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Abstract In contrast to western medicine (WM), traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) does not focus on a single target but on multiple targets involved in a particular disease condition by applying diverse modalities, such as herbal medicine, acupuncture, moxibustion, etc. There is no pre-determined treatment procedure in TCM, and every patient condition is handled individually. Such patient-tailored treatments have a millennia-old tradition in TCM. Illustrative examples of the power of TCM have been documented in cancer research, i.e., camptothecin, homoharringtonine, or arsenic trioxide. On the other hand, one major reason for reluctance of western academia towards TCM is due to the lack of clinical studies of TCM receipts. This situation is changing very recently, and a number of clinical studies were conducted on TCM providing convincing evidence for the first time to gain credibility and reputation outside China. Clinical trials with TCM remedies focus on three major fields in cancer research: (1) improvement of poor treatment response rates towards standard chemo- and radiotherapy, (2) reduction of severe adverse effects of standard cancer therapy, and (3) unwanted interactions of standard therapy with herbal medicines. Efficacy and safety of TCM treatments depend on the quality of TCM products. Appropriate quality assurance and control of TCM products as well as sustainable production methods are pre-conditions for the implementation of TCM in cancer therapy at an international level. In conclusion, the most important question for recognition and implementation of TCM into WM concerns the clinical evidence for the efficacy of TCM and international quality standards for TCM products.
This article was published in J Ethnopharmacol
and referenced in Medicinal & Aromatic Plants