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Arthritis: Clinical Research on TCM

In 1989, Tao administered an extract of the TCM antiarthritis herb T-2 (Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F) to 70 patients with rheumatoid arthritis of at least six months' duration which had not responded to standard treatment. T-2 produced very positive results, better than the results produced by any antirheumatic drug.

One innovative TCM study involving moxibustion was reported in the 1998 special CAM issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers from Italy and China tested an ancient Chinese practice, moxibustion, which has been used to reposition fetuses incorrectly oriented in the womb before birth. Moxibustion involves burning an herb near the body so that the smoke stimulates particular acupuncture points. The report said that moxibustion increased fetal movements and was effective in repositioning a significant number of fetuses who had been in a breech, feet first, presentation in the womb.

Because of the dearth of randomized, double-blind, controlled trials published in English, Chinese herbal interventions are still in a "gray area" in terms of their proven clinical success. Thousands of clinical trials have been done, but most did not meet Western standards of clinical research. However, when these clinical studies are considered in relation to the extensive pharmacological and chemical research that has confirmed the activity of constituents of Chinese herbs, these herbal treatments appear to represent reasonable therapeutic interventions.

Furthermore, these studies can only serve as illustrations of the possible efficacy of Chinese herbs, and cannot reflect the entire breadth and scope of TCM.

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From THE BEST ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE: WHAT WORKS? WHAT DOES NOT? by Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier.
Copyright © 2000 by Dr. Kenneth R. Pelletier, Inc.
Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc., New York, New York.


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