The Mechanism of Chinese Herbal Medicine(1)

TCM is an inheritance of Chinese culture. It has been used for the prevention and cure of diseases throughout the long history of China. Over thousands of years, Chinese herbal medicine has played a crucial role in the healthcare of the Chinese people. However, CWM has predominated ever since it was introduced into China and TCM has been unprecedentedly challenged.

The current development of TCM in China is falling behind. But this situation could change if the challenges of world medical development are faced and the opportunities are grasped, to take advantage of the specific features of TCM. In the past few decades, the obvious side effects of chemical medicines, the expansion of new diseases in the world, the change of healthcare systems, and the trend toward natural approaches and restoring natural medicine have welcomed a different approach that could provide many opportunities for TCM. However, the Chinese medical administration did not make an effort to take the lead, but instead followed a Western medical framework. Moreover, Chinese herbal medicine has been evaluated according to the criteria of Western medical drugs. It has to be stressed that restoration of the balance of the entire body is the core of TCM. Herbal medicine is intended to help restore the normal functional states of each organ, to expedite recovery around each viscus of the meridian system of the body, and to promote the self restoration of tissues.

The modernization of Chinese herbal medicine is an urgent priority in today’s TCM development. Such modernization would require it to keep its specific features and basic theories as opposed to following or resembling the scientific approach of Western chemical medicine. The fundamental theories, i.e. the Yin–Yang theory and the five phases theory, are applicable to both Chinese herbal medicine and TCM. Nowadays, people usually misunderstand the Yin–Yang theory. In life science, this theory implies that the natural environment determines the individuals who live in it. It also implies that the inner environment reflects the whole will, which determines the individual cells. Therefore, the TCM characteristics for curing diseases are the adjustments of the inner environment, which help achieve a balance between the human body and its surroundings.

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