Are Traditional Chinese Medicine Drugs Viable Alternatives In The Treatment Of Cardiovascular Disease?

According to a review published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, traditional Chinese medicine or TCM can be an effective alternative or complement to conventional Western medicine for primary and/or secondary prevention of heart disease.

Despite progress in Western medicine prevention and treatment of heart disease, heart disease still is the leading cause of death throughout the world. This has led to an increase in research on the benefits of traditional Chinese medicine as a way to treat heart disease or as a complement to Western medicine. However, randomized controlled trials are generally flawed and/or of poor quality.

For certain reasons, Western researchers usually do not trust Chinese medicine: a formula is made up of a wide variety of ingredients with several chemical molecules, which makes it difficult to clearly identify its healing mechanism; in China, the drugs are exempt from undergoing the same demanding process as Western medications are subjected to, to guarantee their safety and efficacy; and in China, almost all trials were administered by traditional Chinese medicine doctors with drugs often not available in the United States.

In this review, researchers analyzed studies on randomized controlled trials published over a decade ago of TCM used on patients with chronic heart failure, atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, pre-diabetes/diabetes, dyslipidemia and hypertension to evaluate the safety and efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine.

Overall, certain Chinese drugs demonstrated potential benefits for each of the studied cardiovascular health issues. For instance, eight randomized controlled trials on hypertension and TCM were looked at by the researchers. The evidence suggested that a good safety profile and antihypertensive effects can be seen in Jiangyabao, Jiangya, Qiqilian, Zhongfujiangya and Tiankuijiangya, which potentially makes them a potential viable alternative for patients who cannot afford or are intolerant of Western drugs.

However, it is to be determined by means of long-term trials, whether their benefits can be converted into long-standing beneficial cardiovascular results.

The review’s senior author Yuxia Zhao stated,” we should remember that traditional Chinese medicine drugs are often prescribed as complex remedies, that there usually further modified by the practitioner based on his personal choices.” The underlying mechanisms of certain active ingredients and the pharmaceutical effects of traditional Chinese drugs have been clarified. So, certain drugs can be as an alternative and complementary treatment for primary and/or secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.”

Emily Farish Acupuncture
400 S. Jefferson, Suite 203
Spokane, WA 99204
Phone: 509-217-9262

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