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Concept: Traditional Chinese medicine


Health economists have largely ignored complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) as an area of research, although both clinical experiences and several empirical studies suggest cost-effectiveness of CAM.

Concepts: Scientific method, Medicine, Ayurveda, Acupuncture, Alternative medicine, Traditional Chinese medicine, Traditional medicine, Edzard Ernst


BACKGROUND: Tinnitus is the perception of a sound in the absence of an objective physical source. Up to now, there is no generally accepted view how these phantom sounds come about, and also no efficient treatment. Patients are turning to complementary or alternative medical therapies, such as acupuncture. Based on the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, acupoints located on both the adjacent and distal area of the disease can be needled to treat disease. Furthermore, the way of combining acupoints is for strengthening the curative effect. We aim to evaluate the efficacy of acupuncture at local points in combination with distal points in subjective tinnitus patients. METHOD: This trial is a randomized, single-blind, controlled study. A total of 112 participants will be randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups receiving acupuncture treatment for 4 weeks. The primary outcome measure is subjective tinnitus loudness and annoyance perception, which is graded using the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). The assessment is at baseline (before treatment initiation), 4 weeks after the first acupuncture session, and 8 weeks after the first acupuncture session. DISCUSSION: Completion of this trial will help to identify whether acupuncture at local acupoints in combination with distal acupoints may be more effective than needling points separately.Trial registrationInternational Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number Register: ISRCTN29230777.

Concepts: Medicine, Randomized controlled trial, Effectiveness, Efficacy, Acupuncture, Alternative medicine, Traditional Chinese medicine, Acupuncture point


Coptis chinensis Franch has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for treating infectious and inflammatory diseases for over two thousand years. Berberine (BN), an isoquinoline alkaloid, is the main component of Coptis chinensis. The pharmacological basis for its therapeutic effects, which include hepatoprotective effects on liver injuries, has been studied intensively, yet the therapy of liver injuries and underlying mechanism remain unclear. We investigated the detoxification mechanism of Coptis chinensis and berberine using metabolomics of urine and serum in the present study. After the treatment with Coptis chinensis and berberine, compared with the cinnabar group, Coptis chinensis and berberine can regulate the concentration of the endogenous metabolites. PLS-DA score plots demonstrated that the urine and serum metabolic profiles in rats of the Coptis chinensis and berberine groups were similar those of the control group, yet remarkably apart from the cinnabar group. The mechanism may be related to the endogenous metabolites including energy metabolism, amino acid metabolism and metabolism of intestinal flora in rats. Meanwhile, liver and kidney histopathology examinations and serum clinical chemistry analysis verified the experimental results of metabonomics.

Concepts: Bacteria, Amino acid, Ammonia, Metabolism, Biochemistry, Metabolomics, Traditional Chinese medicine, Coptis chinensis


Globally, there has been an increase in the use of herbal remedies including traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). There is a perception that products are natural, safe and effectively regulated, however, regulatory agencies are hampered by a lack of a toolkit to audit ingredient lists, adulterants and constituent active compounds. Here, for the first time, a multidisciplinary approach to assessing the molecular content of 26 TCMs is described. Next generation DNA sequencing is combined with toxicological and heavy metal screening by separation techniques and mass spectrometry (MS) to provide a comprehensive audit. Genetic analysis revealed that 50% of samples contained DNA of undeclared plant or animal taxa, including an endangered species of Panthera (snow leopard). In 50% of the TCMs, an undeclared pharmaceutical agent was detected including warfarin, dexamethasone, diclofenac, cyproheptadine and paracetamol. Mass spectrometry revealed heavy metals including arsenic, lead and cadmium, one with a level of arsenic >10 times the acceptable limit. The study showed 92% of the TCMs examined were found to have some form of contamination and/or substitution. This study demonstrates that a combination of molecular methodologies can provide an effective means by which to audit complementary and alternative medicines.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Medicine, Toxicology, Alternative medicine, Traditional Chinese medicine, Heavy metal music, Heavy metal, Traditional medicine


Obesity is a growing public health problem, which has now been considered as a pandemic non-communicable disease. However, the efficacy of several approaches for weight loss is limited and variable. Thus, alternative anti-obesity treatments are urgently warranted, which should be effective, safe and widely available. Active compounds isolated from herbs are similar with the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which has a holistic approach that can targets to several organs and tissues in the whole body. Capsaicin, a major active compound from chili peppers, has been clearly demonstrated for its numerous beneficial roles in health. In this review, we will focus on the a less highlighted aspect, in particular how dietary chili peppers and capsaicin consumption reduce body weight and its potential mechanisms of its anti-obesity effects. With the widespread pandemic of overweight and obesity, the development of more strategies for the treatment of obesity is urgent. Therefore, a better understanding of the role and mechanism of dietary capsaicin consumption and metabolic health can provide critical implications for the early prevention and treatment of obesity.

Concepts: Medicine, Health, Epidemiology, Cancer, Nutrition, Obesity, Weight loss, Traditional Chinese medicine


Headaches, including primary headaches such as migraine and tension-type headache, are a common clinical problem. Complementary and integrative medicine (CIM), formerly known as complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), uses evidence informed modalities to assist in the health and healing of patients. CIM commonly includes the use of nutrition, movement practices, manual therapy, traditional Chinese medicine, and mind-body strategies. This review summarizes the literature on the use of CIM for primary headache and is based on five meta-analyses, seven systematic reviews, and 34 randomized controlled trials (RCTs). The overall quality of the evidence for CIM in headache management is generally low and occasionally moderate. Available evidence suggests that traditional Chinese medicine including acupuncture, massage, yoga, biofeedback, and meditation have a positive effect on migraine and tension headaches. Spinal manipulation, chiropractic care, some supplements and botanicals, diet alteration, and hydrotherapy may also be beneficial in migraine headache. CIM has not been studied or it is not effective for cluster headache. Further research is needed to determine the most effective role for CIM in patients with headache.

Concepts: Medicine, Evidence-based medicine, Randomized controlled trial, Acupuncture, Alternative medicine, Headaches, Traditional Chinese medicine, Chiropractic


The use of complementary and alternative medicine has increased over the past decade. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether homeopathy influenced global health status and subjective wellbeing when used as an adjunct to conventional cancer therapy.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Randomized controlled trial, Alternative medicine, Traditional Chinese medicine, Homeopathy, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Edzard Ernst


The use of complementary and alternative medicine by children with autism and the association of its use with child comorbid symptoms and parental stress was studied in an ethnically diverse population, in a cross-sectional study with structured interviews. The sample included 50 families of children with autism and 50 families of children with other developmental disabilities, matched by age/gender. Interview included the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Questionnaire, Gastrointestinal Questionnaire, Children’s Sleep Habits Questionnaire, Aberrant Behavior Checklist, and Parenting Stress Index. In this ethnically diverse sample, the use of complementary and alternative medicine was significantly higher for the autism group. In the autism group, use was significantly related to child’s irritability, hyperactivity, food allergies, and parental stress; in the developmental disabilities group, there was no association with child comorbid symptoms or parental stress. The results contribute information to health care providers about families of children with autism who are more likely to use complementary and alternative medicine.

Concepts: Health care, Medicine, Ayurveda, Allergy, The Association, Child, Alternative medicine, Traditional Chinese medicine


The earliest records of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) prevention and treatment of epilepsy dated back to famous “Huang Di Nei Jing.” TCM “spasmolytic powder” (equal-ratio compatibility of scorpion and centipede) is a famous prescription which was recognized as a useful add-on drug for refractory epilepsy in clinical observations. Multidrug resistance gene (mdr1) product Pgp overexpression in blood-brain barrier and blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier is well recognized as the drug resistance mechanism of refractory epilepsy. Here, we established the drug-resistant epilepsy Sprague-Dawley rat model induced by Coriaria Lactone and treated these rats with topiramate and verapamil and low dose, middle dose, and high dose of spasmolytic powder by intragastric administration for 1 week. Electroencephalogram, real-time PCR, and immunohistochemistry were respectively used to detect epileptic discharge frequencies and amplitudes and expression of mdrl mRNA and Pgp on hippocampus and temporal lobe of rats. The results showed that the seizure decreases significantly in the high- and middle-dose groups of spasmolytic powder and topiramate group; in addition, mdr1 mRNA and Pgp expressions on hippocampus and temporal lobe of these drug intervention groups were significantly less than the model group (P < 0.05). These findings indicate that inhibition of intracephalic Pgp expression is possibly one of mechanisms of spasmolytic powder treating refractory epilepsy.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Gene expression, Temporal lobe, Epilepsy, Acupuncture, Temporal lobe epilepsy, Traditional Chinese medicine, P-glycoprotein


Angiogenesis is crucial for cancer growth and metastasis and inhibition of angiogenesis has been recognized to be a promising strategy for the treatment of cancer. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been used for thousands of years to treat cancer. Jiedu Xiaozheng Yin (JXY), a polyherbal formula of TCM, has been used to treat various tumors in China. However, the mechanism of its anticancer activity has yet to be fully elucidated. Using human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), chick chorioallantoic membrane (CAM) and a hepatoma mouse xenograft model, we investigated the underlying molecular mechanisms of ethanol extract of Jiedu Xiaozheng Yin (EE-JXY). EE-JXY treatment significantly inhibited tumor cell growth both in vitro and in the mouse xenograft model (P<0.05). Moreover, EE-JXY reduced tube formation of HUVECs and angiogenesis in the CAM (P<0.01) and microvessel density (MVD) of tumor in vivo (P<0.05). Further studies showed that EE-JXY was able to suppress the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR-2) in both HepG2 cells and HUVECs (P<0.01) and in tumor (P<0.01). Thus, JXY suppressed tumor growth at least by inhibiting angiogenesis.

Concepts: Cancer, Oncology, Angiogenesis, Tumor, Neoplasm, Umbilical vein, Traditional Chinese medicine, Chinese classic herbal formula