Monday, February 11, 2008

Science Magazine Reports Disputed Research in TCM

The current issue of Science has a report titled "Lifting the Veil on Traditional Chinese Medicine". You can read Fang Zhouzi's translation, as well as the original English, here. It's about the new "Herbalome Project" in Dalian, China, a "15-year effort to identify the constituents of herbal preparations used as medications for centuries in China".

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has long been an ultra-controversial issue in Fang Zhouzi's fraud-busting efforts, as he believes that TCM is a practice of pseudoscience that has detrimental side-effects to public health. For many years, he has advocated a rational approach to abolish TCM as a medical practice but examine the medicines for their true effects and side-effects (废医验药).

In this report, Fang was quoted as stating that "TCM is not based on science but based on mysticism, magic, and anecdote" and the Herbalome Project is "a waste of research funds". Reflecting the current status of TCM, the report says:
Since the Mao Zedong era, the government has strongly supported TCM, in part because it was too expensive to offer Western medicine to the masses. It remains taboo for Chinese media to label TCM as pseudoscience. "Criticizing TCM is unthinkable to many Chinese and almost like committing a traitorous act," says Fang.

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