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Mao triumphant: The World Health Organization officially embraces traditional Chinese medicine quackery

Seven decades ago, Chairman Mao Zedong began promoting traditional Chinese medicine and its “integration” with science-based medicine. His long game has paid off, and he has triumphed, thanks to WHO, which has formally approved integrating mystical and pseudoscientific TCM codes to the new ICD-11.

I must admit that, these days, a lot of the topics for this blog show up on Twitter, such as when I see a link to a news story, health claim, editorial, or scientific study Tweeted. So it was when I saw this story on CNN, Chinese medicine gains WHO acceptance but it has many critics. The first thought I had when reading the article was that Chairman Mao Zedong must be smiling from beyond, wherever he is, because the World Health Organization’s acceptance of TCM into the eleventh version of its International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11). I’ll explain why in a moment. First, here’s the story:

Herbal remedies have been used by healers around the world for centuries to prevent and treat disease. But it’s in China that the practice has been most extensively used and documented. Advocates have campaigned to integrate Traditional Chinese Medicine into mainstream global health care and those long-standing TCM efforts have paid off: The World Health Assembly, the governing body of the World Health Organization, on Saturday formally approved the latest version of its influential global compendium, which includes a chapter on traditional medicine for the first time. However, not everybody is happy with the controversial move. Some in the biomedical community say WHO overlooked the toxicity of some herbal medicine and the lack of evidence it works, while animal rights advocates say it will further endanger animals such as the tiger, pangolin, bear and rhino, whose organs are used in some TCM cures. In a strongly worded editorial, Scientific American magazine called the move “an egregious lapse in evidence-based thinking and practice.”

I’ve discussed WHO’s plan to integrate a section on TCM in the ICD-11 twice now, going back over a year before now, which is when I first heard of the scheme. I should have been aware of it long before that, to be honest, given that the development of ICD-11 has been in the works since the 1990s and had undergone field testing in 2017. So now the World Health Assembly has made the International Classification of Traditional Medicine (ICTM) officially part of the ICD-11.

World Health Organization and ICD-11 (and Mao)
World Health Organization and ICD-11

You can tell that even WHO is a bit sheepish regarding this new addition to the ICD-11 just by seeing the outright dissembling WHO representatives engage in when asked about it:

While traditional medicine originated in ancient China, today it’s widely used throughout Asia, including in Japan and Korea, and it took the WHO more than a decade to get representatives from Asian countries to condense thousands of years of knowledge into one neat classification system. Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesman for WHO, said traditional medicine diagnosis is poorly documented or not documented, and its inclusion in the ICD will “link traditional medicine practices with global norms and standard development.” However, he added the inclusion of traditional medicine was “not an endorsement of the scientific validity of any Traditional Medicine practice or the efficacy of any Traditional Medicine intervention.”

I rarely use language that rises to even PG-13 level, but I’m sorry. This is pure, unadulterated bullshit. Of course WHO’s inclusion of TCM diagnoses as formal codes in the ICD-11 confers the impression of scientific validity to the diagnoses! That’s exactly why China has been lobbying for this development for so long! Once ICD-11 is adopted, TCM quackery and science-based medical diagnoses will be featured side by side. Sure, the ICTM is not (yet) co-equal with the regular diagnoses in the ICD-11. For now, it is “optional.” Indeed, Chapter 26, the chapter of ICD-11 covering TCM, states, “This supplementary chapter is a subclassification for optional use. This chapter is not intended for mortality reporting. Coding should always include also a category from the chapters 1-24 of ICD.” Anyone want to bet how long that disclaimer will hold, particularly with China pushing so hard for normalization of TCM?

This brings us to why I entitled this post “Mao Triumphant.” It goes all the way back to the beginnings of Communist China under Chairman Mao Zedong. For, you see, Mao was the true originator of TCM. Indeed, the very history of TCM was retconned, beginning with Chairman Mao and continuing to this day, to produce a revisionist history in which there is one unified system of “traditional Chinese medicine,” complete with a clear philosophical basis and scientific support, rather than the real situation. In reality, there was no such thing as “traditional Chinese medicine.” Rather, there were traditional Chinese medicines. For many centuries, healing practices in China had been highly variable. Attempts at institutionalizing medical education were mostly unsuccessful and “most practitioners drew at will on a mixture of demonology, astrology, yin-yang five phases theory, classic texts, folk wisdom, and personal experience.” Mao realized that TCM would be unappealing to foreigners, as even many Chinese, particularly those with an education, understood that TCM was mostly quackery. For instance, in 1923, Lu Xun realized that “Chinese doctors are no more than a type of swindler, either intentional or unintentional, and I sympathize with deceived sick people and their families.” Such sentiments were common among the upper classes and the educated. Indeed, as we have seen, Mao himself didn’t use TCM practitioners. He wanted scientific “Western” medicine. The same was true of educated Chinese. It still is.

Mao’s strategy to deal with these criticisms and thus popularize TCM was quite deliberate—and clever. It consisted of two strategies, both designed to mythologize TCM as being a scientifically sound and harmonious “whole medical system” and to provide “evidence” in the form of testimonials that it worked. The second part of his strategy was to disseminate the most spectacular anecdotes he could find to “prove” that TCM works. The most famous of these was the case of James Reston, a New York Times editor who underwent an emergency appendectomy while visiting China in 1971. As I’ve related about Reston before, the surgeons there used a fairly standard anesthetic technique, as related by anesthesiologist Kimball Atwood. As I’ve described before (albeit not recently), acupuncture was used to treat Reston’s cramping on second evening after the surgery, which I interpreted as being the evening of postoperative day one. This clinical scenario is familiar to any general surgeon. About a day and a half after surgery Reston had some cramping, likely due to postoperative ileus that kept the gas from moving through his bowels the way it normally does. It passed after an hour or so. Around that time, the staff at the hospital used acupuncture to treat his discomfort, and the logical fallacy known as post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy (and a bunch of credulous Westerners, eager to believe that some magical mystical “Eastern” wisdom” could do what “Western medicine” could not) did the rest. Most likely what happened is that Reston finally passed gas spontaneously (which is how postoperative ileus nearly always resolves), letting the built-up gas move through and relieving the cramps and bloating. About a day or two after an uncomplicated appendectomy is about right for that.

In any event, basically, Mao didn’t have enough trained physicians to take care of his people. So he decided to promote TCM to fill in the gaps. In addition, he instructed his medical and scientific authorities to begin a campaign to “integrate” TCM into medicine, thus originating “integrative medicine” 40 years before it became a thing in the US in the late 1990s. Again, Kimball Atwood has the story in his epic “Acupuncture Anesthesia”: A Proclamation from Chairman Mao (Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V) for the detailed version. Of particular interest to students of “integrative medicine” is Part III, in which Dr. Atwood has an entire section entitled “From ‘Co-operation’ to ‘Integration,'” in which he lists the five main party slogans about TCM from the late 1940s through the 1950s:

  • 1945-50 ‘The Co-operation of Chinese and Western Medicines’
  • 1950-8 ‘The Unification of Chinese and Western Medicines’
  • 1950-53 ‘Chinese Medicine studies Western Medicine’
  • 1954-8 ‘Western Medicine studies Chinese Medicine’
  • 1958- ‘The Integration of Chinese and Western Medicines’

Unification, integration, it’s all the same thing, and it’s something that Mao had been working for since the late 1940s, although, pointedly, Mao did not use TCM himself:

Mao was under no illusion that Chinese medicine—a key component of naturopathic education—actually worked. In The Private Life of Chairman Mao, Li Zhisui, one of Mao’s personal physicians, recounts a conversation they had on the subject. Trained as an M.D. in Western medicine, Li admitted to being baffled by ancient Chinese medical books, especially their theories relating to the five elements. It turns out his employer also found them implausible. “Even though I believe we should promote Chinese medicine,” Mao told him, “I personally do not believe in it. I don’t take Chinese medicine.”

That didn’t stop Mao from promoting TCM as part of his plan to extend his healthcare resource sand also, it should be noted, out of a nationalistic pride in TCM. Indeed, nationalistic pride in TCM is a big reason why the Chinese government still promotes TCM, as the CNN article correctly notes:

Chinese leaders have been lobbying for the move. For them, it’s a huge win and the push has come right from the top: When President Xi Jinping visited WHO headquarters for the first time in Geneva in 2017, he brought along a bronze statue showing acupuncture marks on the body. The country has been promoting TCM on the world stage, both as away to burnish its global image and influence, and for a slice of a growing market internationally. In China, TCM is worth $130 billion, according to the country’s State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

It’s also about the money, of course.

I wrote about a law passed by China over two years ago that was custom-designed to promote TCM, both in China and throughout the world. According to the law, county-level governments and above must set up TCM institutions in public-funded general hospitals and mother and child care centers. As I put it at the time, what the Chinese government did then was the equivalent of a situation in which the German government mandated homeopathy clinics because homeopathy was invented by a German and is therefore a “national treasure” for its “unique theories and practices” (I was quoting the Chinese government) or if Greece mandated the opening of clinics utilizing the four humors theory to treat disease because Hippocrates taught humoral theory, making it a “national treasure” for its “unique theories and practices.” Of course, humoral theory is not so unique; it resembles TCM quite a bit in the basic concepts underlying it. While it’s true that the new law also mandated tighter regulation of TCM practitioners, regulating magic never works.

The end goal:

To this end, the new law said China puts TCM and Western medicine on equal footing in China, with better training for TCM professionals, with TCM and Western medicine learn from each other and complementing each other. The state will support TCM research and development and protect TCM intellectual property. Special protection will be given to TCM formulas that are considered state secrets, it said. Use of technology and expansion of TCM in dealing with emergency public health incidents and diseases prevention and control should increase. The state will protect medical resources including protection and breeding of rare or endangered wildlife, the law said. The law went on to pledge enhanced supervision of raw TCM materials, banning the use of toxic pesticides.

If you think that the acceptance of TCM diagnoses as part of the ICD-11 by WHO is not a major victory for China in legitimizing TCM on the world stage, I have a couple of bridges I’d be willing to sell you. It’s the sort of thing Mao could only have dreamed about, which is why China lobbied so hard for this change in the ICD-11 over so many years. Remember, in China, TCM is big pharma. It’s a favored industry, with state protection and promotion. Indeed, a year and a half ago, China took even more steps to promote TCM, including exempting traditional Chinese medicines from the requirement to pass safety and efficacy trials in humans in China, as long as manufacturers prepare ingredients using essentially the same method as in classic Chinese formulations. Never mind that the Chinese themselves are not nearly as enamored of TCM as China’s leaders. The educated among them recognize it for the quackery that it is.

Meanwhile, “Western” medical journals are falling all over themselves to prostitute themselves to TCM interests. For instance, Nature published an advertising supplement on traditional Asian medicine paid for by a Japanese supplement manufacturer, in essence shilling for TCM. Science hasn’t been immune either. It published a three-part series of supplements arguing for the “integration” of TCM with science-based medicine. In another example, the European Atherosclerosis Society published a cringe-inducing article arguing for the validity of TCM as a treatment for atherosclerosis. Meanwhile, TCM propagandists have done everything they could to misrepresent a recent Nobel Prize as a triumph for TCM rather than a triumph of standard old boring pharmacognosy, or natural products pharmacology.

Now, Mao’s efforts have been rewarded, nearly 70 years after he started promoting TCM as co-equal with science-based medicine. The WHO has provided us with diagnostic codes like:

  • SD70 Qi goiter disorder (TM1): “A disorder characterized by diffuse swelling at both sides of the thyroid commonly soft with normal skin colour, sometimes accompanied by nodules. It may be explained by depression of liver system qi, qi stagnation, or yang deficiency, yin deficiency, or heat in the liver or heart systems, disharmony of the thoroughfare and conception meridians, or drinking contaminated water with associated accumulation of phlegm and qi in the throat.”
  • SD71 Wasting thirst disorder (TM1): “A disorder characterized by increased thirst, excessive eating and increased urination with glycosuria, as well as by potential emaciation. It may be explained by factors which deplete yin fluids in the lung, spleen or kidney systems and generate fire and heat in the body, such as improper food intake, febrile disease, exhaustion, emotional factors.”
  • SD86 Dementia disorder (TM1): “A disorder characterized by impairment or loss of intellectual capacity or personality. It may be explained by age related deficiency of qi and blood, blood stasis and a build up of turbid phlegm obstructing brain function, mental disturbance, or brain damage.”
  • SD87 Repressed fire disorder (TM1): “A disorder characterized by sensation of heat, stuffiness, dry mouth, anxiety, depression, irritability, headache, dizziness, loss of appetite, or epigastric distension. It may be explained by chronically repressed anger inducing mental and physical symptoms.”

Yes, thanks to WHO, we’re “integrating” diagnoses based on magic and prescientific concepts of how the body works into the system that’s been used for decades to categorize illnesses. Yes, if there’s an afterlife, Mao is smiling. If there isn’t, his descendants and the Chinese government are, not to mention the Chinese traditional medicine industry.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

75 replies on “Mao triumphant: The World Health Organization officially embraces traditional Chinese medicine quackery”

“…thus originating “integrative medicine” 440 years before it became a thing in the US in the late 1990s.” Geez, I didn’t remember Mao being in power that long. Correction, maybe?

You know what I think of typo flames, comments that are nothing more than a jab at an obvious typo, don’t you? They’re the lamest of the lame. Usually I just delete them with extreme prejudice, but I thought I’d take this opportunity to reiterate my longstanding policy again, as I haven’t done so in a while.

Dr. Lok Yee Kung First Acupuncturist in Nevada and my late father in Heaven both are smiling too.
I have been very passionate to able to sustain and treat Oncology Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Pain. MD told all my patients there are no known cure. ! Look outside the box.

Al Kwan, are you saying that you have cured Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Pain? Where is your treatment published?
If you haven’t published your treatment, why not?

Because withholding an actual cure would be immoral, unethical and monstrous.

I can’t even.
Once upon a time, I had respect for WHO. I learned about it in grammar school. Was I incredibly credulous, or have they indeed, morphed into a different entity over the years?

Not to mention that the WHO’s IARC division – contrary to the findings of very other organisation that has looked at the issue – classed glyphosate as a probable carcinogen which led to a $300 million dollar, and now a $2 billion dollar individual judgement, against Beyer, followed by a 30,000 class action lawsuit.

What’s even worse is that those judgements are being used to validate further demonization of glyphosate, et al,–not only in the quackosphere, but in almost anything you read in media or online. There’s not even false balance anymore, just, “these lawsuits prove that we are all being poisoned by evil Beyer and the like”.

As I took two aspirin for the headache I got reading this news (because thankfully I don’t have to go find some healer for willow bark to chew on), I was thinking that at least chiropractors and naturopaths don’t have their own ICD10 codes–and they don’t. But chiropractors have three CPT codes for spinal “manipulation” (whatever that is) they can use that are acceptable to Medicare. I think all that matters to most of them is they get their money, but unfortunately now they might actually start making up their own nonsensical diagnosis codes for ICD 12 or whatever version they are now creating.

In the Netherlands it looks like some politicians are more annoyed by the fact TCM uses parts of animals, that are in danger, than by the fact TCM is quackery.

What will be next? The WHO embracing ayurveda?

WHO already embraces Ayurveda to some extent. After all, the new ICD codes are called “traditional medicine,” not TCM, and most of the traditional medicine encompassed by it is Asian traditional medicine.

I wouldn’t be surprised. Oddly, since Ayurveda really is ancient (I think) it would at least be more factual to use it on that basis! (Not to imply that such a thing is justified!)

In the Netherlands it looks like some politicians are more annoyed by the fact TCM uses parts of animals, that are in danger, than by the fact TCM is quackery.

It’s a start. It’s also a serious consideration in its own right. If it works to discredit the WHO’s acceptance, I’m all for this approach.

That’s true, but if some people start suggesting alternatives for these animal products, by replacing them with parts from other animals, that aren’t endangered,it doesn’t help much.

I saw this piece on the BBC last year talking about China’s Belt and Road initiative in sub Saharan Africa and its impact on the wildlife of the area, basically they have built some very good roads into the heartlands of Africa and one of the uses is to funnel huge amounts of Ivory and other body parts direct to China. They showed seized containers full of this stuff, they are effectively stripping parts of the continent to fuel their TCM market.

While it may be difficult to see a silver lining in this now, is it possible by having codes to track the usage that TCM this may generate raw data to discount it in their eyes? How does the medical establishment erase flawed codes from the system at present?

“This chapter is not intended for mortality reporting.” I don’t see why not, could generate some useful data. Such as, used this herb for blocked qi and patient died of liver failure. I guess that would maybe mean using two codes perhaps? Tracking adverse reactions to TCM use would only help in further discrediting it. Maybe I’m optimistic…

I don’t think the writer here is knowledgeable enough to write about this topic. TCM did not stem from MAO. TCM has been in practice for a long time since ancient China where there were still emperors running dynasties. I don’t see MAO to have lived that long.

Overall, this article is biased, and had made a perverse attempt to malign traditional Chinese medicinal practice with a very perverse governor. It is true that TCM has no conventional studies, but they have been well received in a country for many centries. In my humble opinion that holds a good amount of weight for it to be used for those who wants to give TCM a try when well documented studies of Western medical approaches have failed. In fact, many Western medicine are beginning to open up to study approaches for new therapies beginning with studying traditional Chinese herbs.

TCM using animal near extinction, who could very well nulify and still prohibit those prescriptions that calls for these ingredients. Just because some treatments use this kind of ingredients, doesn’t mean the entire field of practice uses it it would be a waste when many treatments only use plants or small common insects to treat an illness.

Heavy metal poisoning, that is a problem that could eventually be addressed once the scope of practice is recognized and eventually be open for study. I’m hoping that can be improved over time. Keep in mind, this is even an ingredient is used for a long time in a body and accumulation causes toxicity. This is also true for even some food we eat. As with all consumables, there exists a dose related toxicity.

Nope. Before Mao, there were many Chinese folk medicine traditions. There was no unified “traditional Chinese medicine,” per se. As I wrote in the post to address that very point and as you clearly didn’t bother to read:

This brings us to why I entitled this post “Mao Triumphant.” It goes all the way back to the beginnings of Communist China under Chairman Mao Zedong. For, you see, Mao was the true originator of TCM. Indeed, the very history of TCM was retconned, beginning with Chairman Mao and continuing to this day, to produce a revisionist history in which there is one unified system of “traditional Chinese medicine,” complete with a clear philosophical basis and scientific support, rather than the real situation. In reality, there was no such thing as “traditional Chinese medicine.” Rather, there were traditional Chinese medicines. For many centuries, healing practices in China had been highly variable. Attempts at institutionalizing medical education were mostly unsuccessful and “most practitioners drew at will on a mixture of demonology, astrology, yin-yang five phases theory, classic texts, folk wisdom, and personal experience.” Mao realized that TCM would be unappealing to foreigners, as even many Chinese, particularly those with an education, understood that TCM was mostly quackery. For instance, in 1923, Lu Xun realized that “Chinese doctors are no more than a type of swindler, either intentional or unintentional, and I sympathize with deceived sick people and their families.” Such sentiments were common among the upper classes and the educated. Indeed, as we have seen, Mao himself didn’t use TCM practitioners. He wanted scientific “Western” medicine. The same was true of educated Chinese. It still is.

The point is that Mao told his medical authorities to take all the varied strains of folks medicine that existed in China at the time and to create from them a unified system that he could promote to the world, even if they had to make things up. I’d say that it is you who are not very knowledgeable about the history of TCM.

It wouldn’t matter in the slightest if TCM were truly ancient and it doesn’t matter if many people think it works. What matters is whether it can be clearly demonstrated to produce benefit beyond placebo effects and appeal to what amounts to superstition.. There is no good evidence to support it.

It there are problems with heavy metals in the “remedies” and there is any shred of scientific approach behind what is supposed to be ancient, then the problems should have been revealed in the distant past. But again, there is no science in TCM.

I don’t see MAO to have lived that long.

Eighty-two years isn’t bad for those years in China. Of course, he didn’t use TCM.

You know what else was “well received in a country for many centries [sic]”? Bloodletting. Purging. ‘Balancing’ the four humors.

That doesn’t mean any of it worked. Just that it was popular.

Here are some other things that have been popular: pet rocks. Beanie Babies. Polyester bell bottom pants. Witch burning.

It’s so annoying when someone writes a comment to an article that they have clearly not even read. READ THE ARTICLE FIRST.

Lol you know much of what you are saying here is factually inaccurate? This is what happens when you get too angry. You start framing things to fit your predetermined beliefs. Try some Qigong, it will help with your stress hahahahahahhaha

Try some Qigong, it will help with your stress hahahahahahhaha

Language skills, on the other hand, seem not to be honed by this practice.

“much of what you are saying here is factually inaccurate”

Provide one or two examples. You can, can’t you? I predict you cannot, or more likely is that you’ll run away.

There are numerous references in this post, and the references contain further numerous references. The statements contained in this post is based on all those references and the facts contained within them. Have you read them all? If not, please withdraw your statement that what was said in the article is factually incorrect. If you have, please put in some effort to correct what you see as factually incorrect.

“This is what happens when you get too angry”

Unless there is an audio version of this article, how could you possibly know if the author is angry. Also, it is possible to be both angry and rational. You can be angry based on your rational assessment of, in this case, TCM and the harm it is actually doing.

“You start framing things to fit your predetermined beliefs”

Nope that’s what you have done. You’ve framed your response to the article around your unjustified claim that the article is based on anger and not on rational assessment, or even a combination of the two.

Western medicine kills and injures hundreds of thousands of people every year in the US. Think of the opioid deaths, hospital aquired pneumonia, C diff., Etc.. . Drug interactions, antibiotic resistance etc.
Who are the real quacks? Drug companies gouge their patients while sick people die around the globe from preventable deaths. Hope you enjoy your drugs and the problems they create in your life. Unfortunately Western medicine is not scientific, it’s capitalism at it’s worse.

So what is your sure fire proven methods to deal with Type 1 Diabetes, cystic fibrosis, rabies and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Just post the PubMed indexed studies showing what you do works much better than modern medicine.

I look forward to reading the scientific research on to accurately detect and measure the five elements.

“Hope you enjoy your drugs”

Why, yes! I do appreciate the drugs that have helped cure serious infections I’ve had and the ones that make chronic conditions bearable.

Well, I always noticed that when I fart, I feel better.

Mao did instigate a brutal gun control so Most ***tards would approve, I guess.

ps. I’ve removed a skin skin lesion of three years by applying povadone iodine to it. It has been a little spot that I would scrape off every morning until one recent day it decided to mound up rapidly.

I got scared and used iodine (hard to come across now since 2011 when we (a.) had Fukushima blow up and (b.) had the DEA restrict it so people have to know more chemistry to make meth). It is gone after three days. I’ve used iodine on these things three times in the past and it seems to work. I’ve also used the juice of polk/poke* weed on one and it dried up the next day.

Any thoughts?

I find it disturbing that I can not recall what I called that plant by… I did not know it as ‘polk salat’ until I was 23 or so. It has been ubiquitous throught my life and now I don’t remeber its name. Hmm. A few year back, a neighbor in a wheel chair was admonishing me not to cut a big one down on the property line. I wasn’t going to cut it down, I was watering it. It was huge, like a tree. He told me he makes a wine out of it and it was good for his pain. I only knew them as poisonous. He died that year, anyways. We live under the power lines. So we get bone cancer.

Why can’t I remember the name of the plant with the deep purple berries that birds would shit out all over my tomatoes? I can’t properly google it because I just updated a forked browser and it forbids me to add google to its search list. For that matter, I now have a facebook like button on this site so fuck this version of PaleMoon. It tells me ABP is allready installed, yet here is this FB like button. It tells me Ublock Origin is corrupt. I. Fucked. Up.

Why can’t I remember the name of the plant with the deep purple berries…

Are they the ones you’ve been eating for six or seven weeks new? Haven’t got sick once?
Probably keep us both alive…

Sorry, couldn’t resist…

Yeah, a fat lot of good that this traditional Chinese medicine did my father. He scoffed at science-based medicine and found a TCM practitioner somewhere that sold him some strange “medicines”. Around five years ago he had a stroke that paralysed half his body and took away most of his mental faculties. This despite being a strict vegetarian as well as a martial arts teacher. When real doctors finally had a look at him after the stroke they found he had ridiculously high blood pressure and cholesterol, and now that he has no choice in the matter, the hospice where he lives today is going to give him his amlodipine and statins, and I will only tolerate any of this “alternative medicine” from his well-meaning friends and family only if they will 1. not interfere with any science-based treatment his physicians recommend (which basically means no more faux medicine, among other things), and 2. they pay for it themselves. I’m not spending any of the funds I’ve earmarked for his welfare on any more of the quackery that got him into this mess to begin with.

I’ve already lost one parent dead to this “alternative medicine” and the other one has half his body paralysed and his mental faculties reduced to that of a small child thanks to it.

About a day or two after an uncomplicated appendectomy is about right for that.

Yeesh. Six days for some? I mean, I know a guy who didn’t poop for three weeks, but… wafer-thin mint.

turbid phlegm obstructing brain function

When I have turbid phlegm — which is pretty much every morning — my brain tells me to go to the bathroom and hawk it up. I wish there were cars that ran on mucus.

Your arrogance is oppressive. Too bad Western Science hasn’t figured out how to cure biased self righteous fools such as yourself!

Let TCM first prove it works. There is no such thing as western science, versus eastern science. Your computer works with science. If it is made in China, it works with the same science as when it was made in the US, Germany, or any other country.

I’m inspired to come up with the design of an Eastern Computer. Instead of 0’s and 1’s it will use yin and yang. Data buses will be replaced by meridians. Every computer has a unique set of meridians, the locations of which may, or may not, be included in the manual. Main input is by qi-board. Instead of a mouse we give you a set of needles that you poke into those aforementioned meridians. You’ll have to practice. Insulated needles are optional. You don’t require a display since you can rely on your inner eye.

Your outrage is groundless unless you can provide valid scientific evidence supporting the precepts, diagnostic methods, and treatments offered by TCM.

Here in Nevada those who practice Integrative Medicine must also hold a valid Physician License. That means they are proficient in both ‘worlds’. This is some really cray cray stuff that’s being written here, and mostly statements that completely ignores facts and history. What the hell does Mao have to do with any of this? Cray cray.

The fact that you use the expression “cray cray” not just once but twice in a four sentence post would incline most people to discount anything you had to say.

“Cray cray”
Did you mean the Cockney gangsters, the Kray twins? They were cruel and evil in the extreme, and I don’t think it’s fair to compare anyone here to them.
Or are you referring to that first-rate blues guitarist, Robert Cray? That’s a nice and flattering comparison, and I’m sure it would make Orac proud – he’s as good at his craft as Robert Cray.with his.

I really don’t understand the alt-med attitude. They tell you you’re wrong but won’t provide actual corrections. They’re unable to realise that if a treatment works then it can also be shown to work objectively, rather than anecdotally. They are unwilling to carry out well designed trials that would be able to silence critics despite there being plenty of money in the alt-med pool.

It’s almost as if they want to feel special, on the edge, superior.

I think that you have something there:
the need for superiority.

I have always imagined that the leaders of alt med/ anti-vax especially ( followers to some extent) need to prove themselves as being above standard SBM/ science – they will become the paradigm-shifters that disprove the old ways and replace them with newer, more spiritual practice and innovation.
.
Perhaps the leaders once had dreams of being scientists ( which they often label themselves despite lack of credentials/ meaningful degrees/ training)** and failed to be accepted into universities, etc. and later, resent those who did achieve. Adams calls himself a scientist who “runs a lab” despite having only an undergraduate degree in technical writing ( despite how he pads his resume with various decorative elements); Null recites his degrees, his work as a “research fellow”, “director of addiction services”, professor of graduate studies et al. but complains when Wikipedia basically cites none of the same and discusses instead his degrees’ lack of merit ( respectively, non-related 2 year, alternate study and un-accredited mail order ).

The vitriol they hurl at SBM reeks of sour grapes.

I think that the promises of edginess and future I-told-you-so stem from a need to engage followers emotionally so that they too have a stake in their “progress” and will eventually also reap the benefits of righteous triumph. As I’ve mentioned before, followers sometimes become apprentices, setting up on their own, selling books, speaking publicly, clogging up facebook with mis-information and fan fiction.

** although a few are MDs/ DOs or have standard degrees- AJW, Mercola, etc

Charles Lo: “Drug companies gouge their patients while sick people die around the globe from preventable deaths. Hope you enjoy your drugs and the problems they create in your life.”

By all means, avoid insulin and other anti-diabetes drugs, turn up your nose at antibiotics if septic, avoid clot-busting drugs in impending stroke and enjoy a nice attack of shingles by doing without shingles vaccine. Make it TCM or nothing.Teach those gouging We$tern Pharma swine a lesson!

Orac recently told us an intriguing (and rather disturbing) story of how TCM in China is at least as evil as what Big Pharma in the occident is frequently accused of:

https://respectfulinsolence.com/2018/05/08/tan-qindong-traditional-chinese-medicine-big-pharma/

I will be the last person to deny that Big Pharma does have very many grievous sins to answer for (the opioid crisis, the ridiculous practice of direct to consumer marketing for prescription drugs, “disease mongering”, price gouging, lobbying, etc.). Yet, for all of that evil, at the very least there is a better chance that their drugs will actually do what they are said to do, and there is some degree of oversight over them, imperfect though it is. The same cannot be said for TCM, and “alternative medicine” in general.

Show one significant error of fact or interpretation in this post and why it is wrong. Include verifiable evidence. Or shut up.

Your lack of understanding of history and medicine makes me sad.
The WHO has a long history of evaluating affordable health care world wide, not just the technology privileged.
Further more, TCM has been accepted by many advanced health care systems in European countries
Granted, I do not appreciate the cruelty in using endangered animals, the principal and focus of TCM is based on balance, flow, mind, body ànd spirit.
When you write an article without full understanding on the very topic, you are no better than the ignorant people who ruin the reputation of TCM by abusing endangered animals

Show one significant error of fact or interpretation in this post and why it is wrong. Include verifiable evidence. Or shut up.

We could discuss tongue diagnosis, for instance.

Also, the abuse of animals by harvesting them for parts IS part of TCM, whether you like it or not.

“SD71 Wasting thirst disorder (TM1): “A disorder characterized by increased thirst, excessive eating and increased urination with glycosuria, as well as by potential emaciation. It may be explained by factors which deplete yin fluids in the lung, spleen or kidney systems and generate fire and heat in the body, such as improper food intake, febrile disease, exhaustion, emotional factors.”
Back in the days of my youth, when all we had to rely on was that silly science-based Western medicine,with its primitive reliance on things like “facts” and “evidence”, we would have missed the correct diagnosis of Wasting Thirst Disorder and would have called it by the quaint name of “diabetes mellitus.” We would test for it with such mystical divinations as “blood glucose testing”, and the mystifyingly named “A1C”, We would test the urine with chemicals instead of the proper method of tasting it for sweetness, and we would treat it with the dangerous arcane concoction called “insulin”, which would be forced under the skin with needles that weren’t even inserted on the proper meridians.
How lucky we are now to have the benefit of practices developed long before we had such madness as “laboratory testing”, “pharmaceuticals” – substances which had to proven on animals before they could be used by humans, and the superstitious rot of “randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trials”.

Sorry all for the truncated nom de net, the apostrophe is so close to the enter key, and that damned essential tremor erased that distance before I could stop it.

AS a frequent reader/ listener of alt med critics, it always makes me laugh whenever they critique the intelligence or ability of an SBM advocate.. “SO ignorant”, “uneducated”. lacking in “understanding” of medicine or history. ( see prn.fm list of articles- Orac is included) Usually, these are people without an adequate level of general education as well as specific studies. Believe me, I can tell.

So I ask? How can THEY tell? What gives them an overview of the fieldS of medicine, health etc? Did them study these areas?
Did they study psychological testing and cognitive development to be able to easily divide people into groups based on differing levels? Well, people do study this. There are specific clues to higher levels of learning and ability.

WE know that even small kids can tailor messages to perceived levels of abilities in others ( if you ask a primary school student to describe rules of a video game to a younger child or an adult, they’ll simplify for the child). So why can’t alt med folk perceive that they’re in over their ( overly swollen) heads when they talk with or about Orac?

BECAUSE ( I’ll venture) they are so focused on their woo that they can’t see the larger world of SBM beyond their ken. AND they are too self-assured to seek out new sources of information. They are happy being experts in their own camp- big fish in their very shallow little pool. Often, even a non-medical person, like me can see how WRONG their basic premises are.( cure allergies by ramping up the immune system? cure Aids with vitamins? Cure ASDs with bleach?) SRSLY

I could go on but won’t.
Let’s just say that the relationship is not reciprocal : Orac has the background ( medicine, general ed, general science ) to review them but they haven’t enough medicine, etc to critique him ( and they don’t know it)

BECAUSE ( I’ll venture) they are so focused on their woo that they can’t see the larger world of SBM beyond their ken. AND they are too self-assured to seek out new sources of information.

Thus explaining why they don’t even read the damn article that they’re commenting on!

I’m in the camp that’s more alarmed by wildlife abuse/extinction threats associated with TCM than by its notably quack aspects. There’s plenty of other quackery that also is detrimental to human health, but doesn’t harm other forms of life.

“Some conservationists worry that the WHO’s decision, on top of TCM’s growing popularity, may seal the fate of endangered species historically used for traditional curatives—and even send ones not currently threatened into a death spiral because of elevated demand.

“It would be totally wrong if respecting the cultural beliefs of one country, China, led to the extinction of Africa’s biological heritage,” says Cathy Dean, chief executive officer of Save the Rhinos, a London-based charity that raises money for rhino conservation. Rhinos and pangolins, she says, are among the beleagured species trafficked to Chinese markets for TCM, and she hopes that the WHO “will take a strong line against the use of animal products, let alone those from endangered species.”

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2018/12/traditional-medicine-decision-threatens-wildlife/

While photogenic animals get most of the attention (the harvesting of bile from captive Asiatic black bears is especially appalling), TCM is also decimating plant species, even in the U.S. (i.e. through overharvesting of ginseng).

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