Which One should you use; Western medicine or Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)?

Medicine aims to promote and maintain health and wellbeing. Both the Western medicine and TCM promote the same objectives. Medicine is the field of healing and health but if we narrow it down to substance that is used to treat disease then the Western medicine and TCM would appear to be poles apart.


Western medicine

Drug, the key substance in Western medicine that is used to treat disease, is strictly regulated and controlled. It needs to pass the high-quality evidence that it is safe and effective for treating disease. It is also manufactured in a controlled environment and in a specified process.

Drug is chemical compound, usually synthesized of bio-active originated from plant, animal, marine origin, fungi or bacteria. Drug synthesis usually involves the mixing of several chemicals to form the structure of the selected bio-active. The process also requires other chemicals to hold and stabilize the structure in place.

Drug is a product of scientific research that supports their claims for health improvement or in treating specific disease before it is released for manufacturing.


Chinese medicine

Chinese medicine used for health improvement or treating disease is based on more than 3,500 years of Chinese medicine practices. It hasn’t had the same stringent scientific research that supports the claims but has stood the test of time and millions of patient applications.

The Chinese medicine uses a combination of ingredients and usually involves low heat slow brewing to extract the medicinal elements in the ingredients to promote well-being or treat the cause of the illness.

The Chinese medicinal ingredients can be sourced from plants, animals, marine origins, fungi and even insects. It is based on the TCM principle that the key medicinal element can strengthened and supported by adding other synergistic elements, just like the king of a country needs to be supported by ministers and officials.

Modern Chinese medicine is a combination of Western medicine and TCM. These day people want convenient, hassle free and effective services. Low heat, slow brewing just doesn’t cut with the modern life. That is why most Chinese medicines are now in some form of extractions and made into tablets, capsules and even in tinctures. There are also increasing numbers of Chinese medicines made with modern advanced technologies and in a controlled environment with specific processes.


Western medicine or Chinese medicine?

Consider these:

  • To treat symptom or the “cause”
  • Synthesized compound or natural ingredients
  • Research vs. thousands of years of practices
  • Clinical tests vs. millions of patient applications
  • Risk of side effects


In conclusion

The border in term of Western and Chinese medicine for treating disease is increasing less distinct. Synthesized compound and a combination of several medicinal ingredients (or bio-actives) remain the key distinction of the two. Which one is better or more suitable for you would depend on your belief and need! Personally I believe that prevention is better than cure. In order to prevent getting the illness you need to have a healthy body with healthy mind, healthy lifestyle and healthy environment which are increasingly hard to get these day. That is why we need “assistance” in appropriate substance to help promoting our well-being. The choice is yours.