Traditional Chinese medicine is a beautiful science of healing ailments using nature’s power . This culmination of eternal medicine can assist and support progress and development in any phase of life: physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual.
Chinese Medicine, unlike Ayurveda, centres on the balance of the Chi energy of a person. In simple words, Chi is the force that a human being harnesses from their surroundings, including food, and uses to stay alive and healthy. The same concepts in Indian Meditation and Ayurveda are not as distinctive and all-encompassing as this one. Achieving a balance in the outgoing and incoming energy for a human being is the prime motive in Chinese Medicine which is accomplished through a culmination of herbs, acupuncture, ointments and physical exercises.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) consists of several elements, including acupuncture, qigong, massage, Chinese herbs, and a five-element theory diet[1,3].
ACUPUNCTURE:-It is an age-old healing practice of traditional Chinese medicine in which thin needles are put at specific points in the body. It’s primarily utilized to alleviate pain but also has been used to treat other conditions.
QIGONG MASSAGE:-It is a Chi cultivation technique, a Qigong Movement exercise called “Dao Yin” . It needs gentle tactile stroking, rubbing and tapping to move the Chi through the body’s meridian pathways. This hand-operated manipulation of Chi removes stagnation and blocks and restores strength, circulation and harmony.
CHINESE HERBS:-This includes astragalus, cinnamon, ginger, Gotu kola, etc., to treat various ailments.
FIVE ELEMENT THEORY DIET:-Traditional Chinese Medicine acquires much of its wisdom from understanding patterns present in nature. Nature is based upon five elements, and humans are the manifestation of these elements. These elements are Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water that play an essential role in many forms of our daily lives.
In Feng Shui, they are used to obtain balance so that a room may heal and nurture.
According to this theory, a person should plan their diet according to what comes under the element.
Wood elements include green vegetables, fewer fats, green apples, kale, spinach, some sour foods.
Fire elements include beets, grass-fed beef, cherries, coffee, cayenne, red-coloured vegetables etc..
Earth elements include Pumpkin, cinnamon, sweet potatoes, turmeric, oranges etc..
The metal element includes Scallions, ginger, tangerine peel, American ginseng, almond etc..
Water element includes black sesame seed, ginger, He Shou Wu etc..
TCM has its stand-alone cancer care program. Some of these elements are utilized as an alternative solution to complement western cancer treatment, managing symptoms, and promoting quality of life[1,3].
Traditional Chinese medicine is probably the most commonly used medicine by cancer patients in the US among all conventional therapies[1,3]. Many patients claim the proven effects of TCM as they undergo chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or cancer surgery[1,3].
Basic principle:-essential life force, termed as Qi, is gushing into the body. Any imbalance in Qi can contribute to malady and disease. This difference is generally believed to be due to a change in the opposite and complementary forces that make up the Qi. These forces are called yin and yang.
Ancient Chinese believed that human beings are microcosms of the greater world surrounding them and are tangled with nature and subject to its powers. The main principle is the stability between health and disease. TCM therapy strives to regain equilibrium by individual-specific care.
Regaining balance treatment includes-
- Acupressure:- pressure by fingers is applied over acupuncture points and meridians.
- Cupping therapy:- It is practised using warmed glass to create suction at some point on the body.
- Diet and nutrition:- Foods are thought to possess warming/cooling properties and have special healing properties.
- Herbal medicine:- Herbs and herbal tea may be recommended.
- Moxibustion:- A practice requires burning a herb near the skin to warm the area over acupuncture points.
- Tuina:- a type of bodywork that couples massage and acupressure.
- Relaxation and concentration exercises such as tai chi and qi gong.
TCM IN MANAGING SYMPTOMS
Substantial scientific research has found that specific Chinese Medicine therapies are effective and safe in supporting or complementing traditional treatments[1,2]. During radiotherapy and chemotherapy, this treatment can decrease toxic side effects such as these:
- Myelosuppression i.e.suppression of bone marrow[1,2].
- Anorexia i.e. loss of appetite[1,2].
- liver or kidney impairment[1,2].
- Gastrointestinal reactions such as nausea and vomiting[1,2].
- Skin and mucosa radiation injuries[1,2].
- White blood cell reduction[1,2]
TCM AND ITS ANTICANCER EFFECTS
After establishing the People’s Republic of China, domestic scholars have conducted scientific research on the use of TCM to prevent and treat cancer, clarifying the distinct effects of TCM on different stages of cancer. TCM, united with modern medicinal means, could ameliorate symptoms, enhance the quality of life, stop recurrence and metastasis, and prolong patients’ survival.
Several CHM‐derived compounds have displayed anticancer properties that inhibit the development, proliferation, angiogenesis, and metastasis of human cancer. Mainly, resveratrol, curcumin, and berberine have all been assessed in many clinical trials to treat various cancers.
A study of pancreatic cancer showed that combination therapy of 8 g oral curcumin daily with gemcitabine‐based chemotherapy was safe and fit for patients. Cisplatin is regarded to be among the most efficient chemotherapeutic drugs. In human hepatoma cells, resveratrol displays to improve cisplatin toxicity through apoptosis. The main aim of chemotherapy was to induce apoptosis in cancer cells, inevitably resulting in numerous adverse effects, such as gene mutation, drug resistance and cellular toxicity. TCM can perform an essential role by decreasing the harmful effects of chemotherapy, thus improving therapeutic outcomes and quality of life for patients.
Furthermore, radiotherapy has the problem that it necessarily involves the exposure of noncancerous tissues to radiation, leading to unwanted effects such as xerostomia, hepatotoxicity etc.. TCM is a promising traditional therapy, having been adopted inconsistently to manage radiotherapy‐induced adverse effects. TCM works as a radiosensitizing agent for treating cancer. For example, curcumin can sensitize nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells to radiation by regulating ROS generation, Jab1/CSN5, and noncoding RNA expression. Resveratrol and berberine have exhibited improved radiosensitivity in nasopharyngeal carcinoma cells.
effects of other herbs on cancer include:-
- apoptosis of cancer cells (Garlic, cinobufacini, Bu-Zhong-Yi-Qi-Tang, Sho-Saiko-To).
- Enhance the immune system (Mylabris, ginseng).
- Encourage lymphocyte activity, macrophages, natural killer cells by astragalus.
- Inhibiting cancer incidence in patients with precancerous lesions and conditions (quercetin, curcumin, ginseng, rutin, etc.).
- Improve tumour response to therapy (astragalus).
- Prevent tumour growth (Bu-Zhong-Yi-Qi-Tang, Sho-Saiko-To, garlic).
- prevent angiogenesis (Ginkgo biloba extract, Scutellaria barbata D., YZXJ formulation)
- lessen mortality (astragalus).
- Prevent and treat recurrence and metastasis (Juzen-Taiho-To, YZXJ formulation).
In sum, evidence shows that Chinese Medicine is worth considering as part of integrative cancer care.
WHO SHOULD APPROACH TCM
That’s more of one’s choice. People are utilizing TCM for everything from carpal tunnel syndrome to stress relief. It can be applied with western medicine occasionally. That could be a bright idea if you:-
- Have various symptoms and no apparent explanation.
- Want to treat unwanted effects from medications.
- Have tried traditional medicine but failed to find progress.
TCM should not be utilized as a substitute for conventional or allopathic medicine, particularly for severe disorders, but it can be of value when used as a supportive therapy . Because certain herbal TCM medicines, when combined with Western medication, may interfere or be dangerous, you should tell your doctor if you are using TCM.