A new research collaboration focusing on Traditional Chinese Medicine has launched in Beijing. Four universities across the globe pooled their resources to form the Global Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, that plans to understand and examine TCM via “research, clinical testing, policy development, market analysis and commercialization.” The institute is described as a collaborative research initiative, involving The University of Adelaide, the Jiangxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Shanxi University of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine.
“Traditional Chinese Medicine has been practiced in China for over 2,000 years and is already a massive global industry worth billions of dollars,” said the director of the Global Institute of Traditional Medicine, Professor Julie Owens, the University of Adelaide’s Pro Vice-Chancellor.
“There is increasing evidence of therapeutic benefits from these medicines, but for a truly sustainable global market and widespread adoption in western countries, we need scientifically rigorous testing of the safety and efficacy, or not, of these medicines,” Owens said. “There also needs to be new ways of standardizing and optimizing production of the plants and herbs used. “There are traditional Chinese medicine therapies for most of the leading chronic diseases in the world—potentially we all have a lot to gain from the incorporation of these treatments or related products into modern western medicine.”
Attempts to better understand Traditional Chinese Medicine are happening more frequently across the globe. The Herbalome Project, started in 2008, involved a comprehensive study of the herbs used in TCM, focusing particularly on their efficacy and how to isolate those chemical components to craft better medicines. The Mayo Clinic in 2006 and 2009 conducted several clinical trials to see how acupuncture affected chronic pain, with successful results. Last year, the Li Shizhen Traditional Chinese Medicine Culture Foundation in Beijing began planting the world’s largest Chinese herbal medicine garden.
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