Herb is the Word

New studies are moving Chinese herbs into the spotlight as an effective form of medication.

With the ever-increasing debate over the rising costs of healthcare, consumers are shifting the direction of the industry to focus on prevention and the use of integrative medicine. Oriental Medicine is rapidly gaining mainstream acceptance as patients turn to acupuncture and massage, but now the lesser known method of treatment with herbs is finally getting exposure for their beneficial properties and how they can be incorporated into western medicine.

One recent study published in the Biological Trace Element Research Journal found that hawthorn extract, when added to eye drops and administered to rats, helped fight cataracts by increasing antioxidant activity. Previously, hawthorn had only been known as a natural remedy for heart health, as it helps maintain blood pressure and prevent the build-up of fat in the arteries.

Another new study from the Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, found that emodin extract that comes from Chinese herbs including rheum palmatum and polygonum cuspidatum, shows potential for reducing the impact of type 2 diabetes by lowering blood glucose levels and improving insulin resistance.

Chinese herbs can even be incorporated in the treatment of cancer, according to researchers at Yale University, stating that a combination of herbs reduced the gastrointestinal side effects of chemotherapy in mice. "This combination of chemotherapy and herbs represents a marriage of Western and Eastern approaches to the treatment of cancer."

Here at Pacific College, our students receive extensive training in the study of Chinese herbs. As a major component of Oriental medicine, a thorough knowledge of herbs is crucial to the success of the practitioner, as well as the success of the medicine and its validity in the western world of healthcare.
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