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

Image of globe with computersThis monthly Global Integrator Blog entry highlights developments in traditional medicine and alternative and integrative health during a 1-month period. Here are 65 selections from around the globe—various with indigenous people in North America (including a huge integrative cancer center), challenges with regulation in Malaysia, an action on homeopathy by the US FDA, and much more—for the month of March 2015. What a wealth of activity!

  • The WHO recognition is announced in the Chinese publication with comments that TCM is practiced in 164 “countries and regions and includes 300,000 employees.”
  • A skeptical writer on the Obsession site notes that the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies has established WHO relations.
  • A collaboration between Indian national network Doordashan and the Indian department of AYUSH founded by Prime Minister Modi is leading to the launch of a weekly television call-in show on traditional medicine. A related article is here.
  • The Canadian Broadcasting Company has teed off against the way natural medicines are regulated.
  • One of 5 cooperation agreements signed between Mauritius and India relates to homeopathy and traditional medicine that “envisages exchange of experts, supply of traditional medicinal substances, joint research and development and recognition of the traditional systems of health and medicine in both countries. It also aims at promotion and popularisation of the various Indian traditional systems which fall under AYUSH.”
  • An inside look at the generations of traditional healers in the Hajji Rashid Lukwago herbal family, including real estate and herb school entrepreneur Sara Rashin Lukwago (pictured).
  • Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has completed an extensive review of homeopathic literature and declared that no studies of sufficient size and design show homeopathy to be better than placebo: “From this review, the main recommendation for Australians is that they should not rely on homeopathy as a substitute for proven, effective treatments.” See Global Integrator article: Homeopathy on Trial (Again): Australian Report and Now USFDA April 20-21 Hearings.
  • When Fijian Minister of Health Jone Usamate visited India recently in a follow-up to signing a variety of accords, he briefed his Indian counterparts on Fijian interests in traditional medicine.
  • A Zambian man has died from herbs taken to cure infertility.
  • The creation of the AYUSH department in India has led to a call by “the Siddha fraternity” for stakeholders “to put a strong demand before the state government and to the central Ayush ministry for establishing a separate Ministry for Siddha.”
  • The first Mind, Body and Soul conference in Istanbul took place March 13-15, 2015.
  • President Pranab Mukherjee of the All Indian Ayurvedic conference speaks to how Ayurveda and Siddha are “believed to have” treated diseases like HIV and tuberculosis. He notes that “some modern hospitals are additionally offering Ayurveda in the name of integrative medicine.”
  • Chart gives state-by-state numbers of “manufacturing units” of traditional medicine in India. There are 9,000 total.
  • Research from the Institute of Traditional Medicine of National Yang-Ming University in Taipei suggests Chinese formula “Six Flavor Rehmanni” is useful for reducing kidney failure in people with type 2 diabetes. The study was a retrospective review of insurance records.
  • In the absence of Western medical help in a cholera outbreak in Nigeria, traditional medicine practitioners were “squeezing water from bitter-leaf and giving to our children to stop further vomiting and passing of stool.”
  • The Beijing Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, the first of its kind in China, was recently established.
  • This is a lengthy interview with entrepreneur Shahnaz Husain (pictured) on the global Shahnaz Husain Group’s “concept of Ayurvedic beauty care and cure.” Husain pushes for a UN “Ayurveda Day” to go with the June 21 International Day of Yoga.
  • The Federation of Chinese Physicians and Acupuncturists Association of Malaysia says a number of traditional Chinese medicine schools have closed shop for failing to meet the requirements of the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA).
  • “Eat, Pray, Leeches” is the title of this feature overview on the rise of AYUSH in India under Prime Minister Modi.
  • The National Association of Nigerian Traditional Medicine Practitioners (NANTMP) will have a March 23, 2015 summit “to discuss the way forward for traditional medicine practitioners in Rivers State.”
  • A relatively balanced look at the challenge to homeopathy in Australia.
  • A Global Times extract from Xinhua on Chinese government priorities includes a promise to “actively develop traditional Chinese medicine and the traditional medicine of ethnic minorities, and advance the reform of family planning services and the way they are managed.”
  • The American Botanical Council gave its annual publication award to a book on indigenous uses of herbs in the Pacific Northwest.
  • The department of integrative oncology was launched at India’s Mazumdar Cancer Centre, Narayana Health City (NH Health City).
  • This article in The Sowetan speaks to the growing numbers of South African whites who are exploring tradition African medicines and “magic.” An estimated 200,000 traditional healers are in the 53-million population.
  • The five animals pushed to near extinction in part due to their killing for traditional medicinal use are described in this One Green Plant blog.
  • In the United States, Columbia University professor Norman Doidge explores why “faith healing” and other traditional medicine practices may work.
  • Also in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has announced a 2-day hearing to review its regulatory practices relative to homeopathy. See Global Integrator: Homeopathy on Trial (Again): Australian Report and Now USFDA April 20-21 Hearings.
  • Miao medicines are expected to be an economic driver for Guizhou in southwest China where modern labs now make traditional medicines.
  • The Daily Express of East Malaysia includes a note that there are more than 12,000 registered traditional products in a piece on “unscrupulous” behavior of unregulated traditional healers.
  • The Puyallup tribe in Washington State has announced plans for the first ever tribal-owned integrative oncology center in what will be a 8200–square foot facility (pictured).
  • An  Ayurvedic steam treatment less expensive than a spa is among the traditional medicines featured at the fair in India.
  • India has more than 2,300 spas generating $400-million in revenue and the market is growing 20% a year, according to this report.
  • Prince Charles’ visit to the United States provoked a diatribe from an anti-“CAM” and anti-homeopathy blogger David Gorski, MD, at Slate.
  • Malaysian traditional medicine practitioners are having a tough time with a new tax system.
  • TCM got a big boost for treatment of infertility from U.S. News & World Reports.
  • Traditional medicine exploration was promoted at the 2015 meeting of the Indian Society of Pharmacognosy.
  • This Chinese scientist is looking at mixing herbs with stem cells in regenerative medicine.
  • A yew bio-pharm group in China has signed a multi-million dollar agreement to make a yew extract for the US market.
  • This article is an interview about the development of a small Nigerian natural products company.
  • Tensions over the role of natural medicine sellers in Saudi Arabia are revealed in this article.
  • Taiwanese researchers report positive findings in a traditional medicine approach to reducing the risk of kidney failure in diabetes treatment.
  • This long feature explores the work of Kahuna Lapaau (Master Healer) Ikaika Dombrigues (pictured) who also serves as a consultant to the Hawaiian government on the Big Island.
  • This page includes Australian resources and scientists from an institute devoted to complementary and alternative medicine research.
  • The use of alcohol alone or with herbs as medicine among Kenyans is reported here.
  • An article on the surprise death of a Hong Kong woman following acupuncture treatment led an integrative medicine specialist to state that he “advise(s) patients who were pregnant, suffering from cancer or using anticoagulants to avoid acupuncture. Nor should acupuncture patients be too hungry, tired, or nervous.”
  • The opening of the first TCM clinic in Palestine is featured here.
  • The Wikwemikong Health Centre held a gathering titled “Celebrating and Achieving Mino Mbaadiziwin”—the good health; mind, body and spirit—exploring the intersection of indigenous and Western medicine. The Wikwemikong “unceded reserve” is next to southern Ontario, Canada. A long-time, recently deceased, Western-educated family doctor who practiced on the island is honored here.
  • This article on functional foods in a Goshen, Indiana, paper honors the traditional use of foods as medicine in Chinese medicine.
  • This Kashmir paper includes an article describing cupping, leech therapy, and other traditional methods.
  • Endangered medicinal plants are the feature of this story that touches on the creation of the National Medicinal Plants Board in the AYUSH Ministry.
  • A Canadian doctor, Karen Hill, MD, (pictured, center), who was instrumental in standing up for individual rights and aboriginal medicine for a family that did not wish to use chemotherapy, received an award from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada “for her dedication to bridging the gap between indigenous health values and the practice of western medicine.” The award decision was made prior to the highly publicized controversy.
  • Also in India, the JSS University, Mysor,e and the Centre for Science and Technology of the Non-Aligned and other Developing Countries organized a March 30-31, 2015 joint international training workshop on “herbal drug discovery: herbs—approaches, innovations and applications.”
  • The president of Tanzania’s Dedza Herbalists Association, Masiyambuyo Njolomole, has taken a strong position separating con men from traditional healers when it comes to trade in Albino body parts: “A true herbalist is supposed to protect life and not terminat[e] it.”
  • Potential health benefits of venom from Australian cane toads may turn what was viewed as an invasive pest into an export to China as a medicinal product.
  • In a turnabout from an earlier decision and against public wishes, the British deputy chief medical officer has decided to not register herbalists, claiming insufficient evidence that herbs work, despite support for the measure from Prince Charles.
  • This is a strong editorial arguing that the government of Indonesia needs to crack down on the sale of pig-nosed turtles for traditional medicinal and other purposes.
  • The traditional medicinal practice and customs of the Dayaks are at risk of getting into trouble if the Traditional and Complementary Medicine (TCM) Act 2013 is to be fully implemented this year.
  • A publication on Roseroot for depression stimulated many news accounts, including this.
  • The Indian government today gave its approval for signing of an agreement with Mauritius on cooperation in traditional medicine systems and homeopathy.
  • A $3 million grant will allow naturopathic physician researchers at Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and at Bastyr University in the United States to explore the value of integrative naturopathic care in cancer treatment.
  • This piece, Dr Prozac, Meet Dr Vodou, is a respectful look at the growing merging of traditional and pharmaceutical methods.
  • A Vietnamese man from a family of traditional medicine practitioners reaching back 400 years was honored for treatment of people from the most countries (102) with traditional Vietnamese medicine.

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