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kuenjato

Chinese Medicine - Has anyone used it? Opinions on effectiveness?

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3 hours ago, Isis said:

But when we take asprin it's a synthetic version not a herbal remedy. Same as, we don't use tree bark to treat malaria, we use synthetic chloroquine. 

 

They might be "synthesized" as purified molecules, but that's because dose consistency and reliability matters. 

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19 minutes ago, TrueMetis said:

Right it's synthetic now, after we tested the old herbal remedy version, identified and purified the active ingredient, and started using just that instead of the whole thing. No reason we can't do the same thing with TCM to identify what actually works.

Absolutely. You need to identify the active ingredient and synthesise it into a useful format AND THEN you can start testing its efficacy to treat particular conditions. So, yes, it can be done theoretically. Whether there is the financial incentive for anyone to do it remains to be seen. It costs a lot of money to trial drugs for human use, people generally only do it when there's a substantial profit to be made at the other end of it. 

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Posted (edited)

14 minutes ago, Aemon Stark said:

They might be "synthesized" as purified molecules, but that's because dose consistency and reliability matters. 

Aemon,

What if it is the wholistic effect of the herb with all the different parts?  If we reduce food to the "effective ingredients" will it be just as good as what we normally eat?  If not, why not?

Perhaps some things don't lend themselves to easy study via reductive empricism?

Edited by Ser Scot A Ellison

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11 minutes ago, Ser Scot A Ellison said:

Aemon,

What if it is the wholistic effect of the herb with all the different parts?  If we reduce food to the "effective ingredients" will it be just as good as what we normally eat?  If not, why not?

Perhaps some things don't lend themselves to easy study via reductive empricism?

That sounds a bit like sympathetic magic to me. It's a bit like hops (when I'm not identifying causative agents of infectious disease as a registered Biomedical Scientist I'm brewing or writing about beer): the active ingredients in hops are the essential oils, they give you the bitterness and the hundreds of different flavour and aroma compounds, but the glands containing the oil are something tiny like 4% of the hop cone by weight. The rest of the vegetable matter of the hop contributes nothing.

So long as you can identify and purify the compound in any given 'herb', which is responsible for the therapeutic effect you can study it. If you can't synthesise an artificial version of the compound though it's going to be a lot more difficult to study its effects. 

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2 hours ago, Isis said:

That sounds a bit like sympathetic magic to me. It's a bit like hops (when I'm not identifying causative agents of infectious disease as a registered Biomedical Scientist I'm brewing or writing about beer): the active ingredients in hops are the essential oils, they give you the bitterness and the hundreds of different flavour and aroma compounds, but the glands containing the oil are something tiny like 4% of the hop cone by weight. The rest of the vegetable matter of the hop contributes nothing.

So long as you can identify and purify the compound in any given 'herb', which is responsible for the therapeutic effect you can study it. If you can't synthesise an artificial version of the compound though it's going to be a lot more difficult to study its effects. 

So, why make beer with the whole hop?  Shouldn't it be the same if all you use is the essential oil?

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Well, cost and ease of use, essentially. It takes technology to process hops. It's quicker and cheaper to use them whole. Of course you can get hop extract for bittering (people use that for cost and ease of process reasons in stronger beers). You can also get hop pellets and pure hop powder for flavour and aroma purposes, but it's more expensive. Whole hops also play certain roles in the brewing process, e.g. prevent boil over or provide a basic filtration function.

tl;dr because it's more expensive 

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On 4/22/2017 at 7:19 AM, TrueMetis said:

Right it's synthetic now, after we tested the old herbal remedy version, identified and purified the active ingredient, and started using just that instead of the whole thing. No reason we can't do the same thing with TCM to identify what actually works.

Sometimes, it's possible that what works is not a single or even two isolatable chemicals. 

 

Over 97% of the world's bacteria are unculturable in our labs because we do not what food they need to grow on. We don't know this because identifying one or two major components of their diet wasn't enough to sustain them. 

 

In cases where the efficacy of treatment stems from one or two major chemicals, then I think we will be able to discover what they are, eventually. 

I just don't know that this true in all cases or in many cases. Hard to say. 

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