Quick Links to Global News in Traditional, Alternative, and Integrative Health and Medicine for February 2015

This monthly Global Integrator feature highlights links to more than 50 media clips in traditional medicine and alternative and integrative health globally during February 2015. The excitement following India Prime Minister Modi’s declaration of a Department of Ayush is picking up steam as that nation moves toward a health program that better integrates traditional methods. Huge growth in a Singapore integrative medicine concern with 28 offices, a Seattle biotech engineer working on faux rhino horn, natural medicine for Ebola (and an attempted exorcism), and much, much more. For January’s links, click here.

  • President of Malaysian Chinese Medical Association Tan Khai Hee calls for more Malaysian practitioners of Chinese medicine and an end to the consumption tax on them.
  • The website for Modern Muslim Living provides a breezy overview of Muslim contributions to medicine.
  • The University of Kashmir has a project “Assessing Medicinally/Dietary Important Plants of Kashmir Valley Proven To Possible Adulteration Through ‘Quality By Design’ Approach And A Search For Biologically Active Constituents From Them.”
  • The Global Wellness Institute, featured here in the Global Integrator Blog, connected with Scientific American for this symposium on the science of wellness.
  • A Chinese herbal medicine is discovered to be a potent anti-Ebola agent by a Texas research team.
  • A very different traditional medicine–Ebola story from Guinea: an herbal healer Kalifa Lengo returned to perform an exorcism to remove the curse at what many consider “ground zero” for the virus.
  • The Guardian reports that a Nigerian herbal cocktail may be useful in India and elsewhere against the spread of drug-resistant malaria.
  • The WHO’s focus on urging traditional medical means for combatting diarrhea is referenced in this Nigerian article on the use of mango leaves.
  • Singapore’s Eu Yan Sang Integrative Health, now with 28 clinics, reports a 40% increase in business in recent years.
  • A TCM Master and a Malaysian entrepreneur have a business for treating eczema with natural products.
  • In Rwanda, traditional healers in the Aga Rwanda Network are seeking to recruit young people to revive their industry. The president of the network, Daniel Gafaranga, says they are targeting those with science backgrounds and hope to have 300 on board by the end of 2015.
  • A research project looking at the whole system of Chinese medicine to support women undergoing in vitro fertilization found a positive correlation.
  • The deputy director general at the South African Department of Health, Yogan Pillay, and a practicing traditional healer who is president of the South African Traditional Healers Association, Sazi Mhlongo, speak to the challenges when some traditional healers urge people to stop their pharmaceutical HIV medications.
  • A UK regulator has successfully held a case against claims made by Herbalveda on three products.
  • US Public Broadcasting Systems reports that tiger farms are stimulating poaching.
  • While in Nepal there is a conference against illegal poaching, across the globe in Liverpool a mother-son team are running a half-marathon to protest bear bile medicinal use.
  • AYUSH minister Shripad Naik says that the traditional medicine agency is coming up with a whole new health policy that elevates traditional practices. In a related story, Naik calls it “a matter of pride” that the nation boasts “519 AYUSH educational institutions including 191 postgraduate colleges where about 35,000 students are admitted annually.”
  • A strategy for linking 15 Indian hospitals in one state to do research on traditional medicine is urged here.
  • The Indian state of Odisha’s chief minister Naveen Patnaik speaks to his state’s commitment to a system that integrates Ayurveda. Similarly, the Telangana state health minister C. Laxma Reddy called for support to set up more AYUSH centers to expand access to traditional methods. Leaders in Kerala also put in a pitch for their getting Indian federal support for an AYUSH center in their state.
  • This China Daily piece features a talk at UC Davis on how few people in the United States understand the way Chinese use foods as medicine.
  • The return of a USC management consultant to help run his family’s herb business is the feature of this Straits Times story.
  • Good news for pangolins regarding this Global Integrator Blog story: the army in Chang Mai, Thailand seized 150 of the scaly creatures, alive, that were bound for medicinal use.
  • A Seattle biotech engineer (pictured, left) has a startup to make faux rhino horn. He reports 45% of Vietnamese rhino horn medicine users would take it from rhino horn made in a lab. The real stuff runs $100,000 per kilogram on the black market.
  • This article on the killing of rhinos for medicine notes the following believed medicinal applications from the horn: snakebites, hallucinations, typhoid, headaches, carbuncles, vomiting, food poisoning, and “devil possession.”
  • Human hands believed to have been severed for medicinal use were found with traditional medicines by the side of this South African river. The LA Times featured an article on the taking of albino limbs for medicinal purposes in Tanzania.
  • This article in The Hindu focuses on the business of bringing Amway’s Nutrilite products to India.
  • A Malaysian program MamaCare trains workers to integrate traditional and Western methods in postnatal care, following a 2002 WHO program.
  • The West African nation of Burkina Faso reports a survey on the widespread use of local plants in traditional medicine.
  • The head of Agbeve Herbal Hospital made a similar pitch for inclusion of these facilities in the insurance scheme.
  • In Ghana, Christian Kwasi Agyeman (pictured), National Chairman of Universal Ghana Herbal Manufacturers’ Union (UGHEMU) and CEO of Taabea Company expresses concern ”over the seeming neglect of the herbal industry by the government.” The company has received a WHO award.
  • A Lancet Psychiatry article on use of diverse traditions in mental health is described here.
  • The University of Toronto’s new integrative medicine program, run by Linda Balneaves, MD, is featured here.
  • A business is advertising a “Global Equipments of Traditional Chinese Industry Report 2015.”
  • The International Business Times UK version speaks to the use of maggots and leeches medicinally.
  • Musings in Customs Today on efforts to stimulate Vietnam’s traditional medicines.
  • The Greater Accra Chairman of Traditional Medicine Practice Council, Oscar Asamaoh Donkoh, has appealed to government and the national health insurance authority to include traditional herbal medicine in the national health insurance scheme as indicated in the Scheme’s Act.
  • In Angola, the Professional Therapists Chamber of Traditional, Natural, Alternative and Non-Conventional Medicine claim 3600 registrants since December 2014.
  • Professor Emeritus Joseph Okogun of Nigeria’s University of Ibadan urged scientists and clinicians to collaborate with the traditional practitioners to ensure standardization of herbal drugs.
  • A brief audio interview highlights the focus of traditional medicine research in Palau.
  • Uganda herbalists (pictured, with regulator) are asking the government for enforceable standards that will support export of herbal products. The article notes an estimate of one traditional health practitioner for every 200-400 Ugandans; for medical doctors it’s one per 20,000.
  • A call for more research in Botswana on indigenous medicine included notice that the University of Botswana created a Centre for Scientific Research, Indigenous Knowledge and Innovation “which attempts to link scientific research with indigenous knowledge systems.”
  • The troubles over regulating traditional practitioners discussed in this Global Integrator Blog piece on Zanzibar are further explored here.
  • Loss of traditional medicine in the United States’ indigenous culture is mourned in this Indian Country article.
  • The business magazine Forbes puts tongue in cheek in reporting the decision of the US FDA to not regulate devices meant to “increase the flow of Qi.”

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