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TCM Steps up Fight Against AIDS

The influence of traditional Chinese medicine is growing, particularly when it comes to treating and dealing with HIV/AIDS.


This growing influence was in evidence in Beijing this weekend during the Third International Congress on Traditional Medicine.


A number of research papers were put forth at the congress, several of which focused on new AIDS treatments.


The Guang'anmen Hospital, which is affiliated to the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Beijing, announced that its Ailing-1 granule (AI-1 granule) made from herbal medicine may help maintain or even improve the immune systems of HIV-infected patients.


After six months of testing on volunteers, researchers found that the AI-1 granule can improve clinical symptoms like coughing, weight loss and pain, greatly improving the quality of life of the patients.


Researchers divided a group of 55 volunteers in two groups, treating one with AI-1 and the other with regular methods.


Clinical data showed AI-1 was effective on 43.48 percent of patients. By contrast, the regular treatment was effective on 26.32 percent of patients, according to a research report.


Another research project by Tiyan Pharmaceutical Technology Co.Ltd of Yunnan Province, found that some herbs may help improve treatment of HIV/AIDS.


Most of the 20 test patients who took a compound herbal wine developed by the company saw most symptoms and signs of infection -- such as skin rashes, oral fungus infections and diarrhea -- disappear or improve.


Traditional Chinese medicine has a long history of treating diseases. There is a complete theoretical system and abundant clinical experience behind it.


When it comes to treating AIDS, a multi-medicinal approach of effective remedies may be the answer, said Wang Jian, a researcher at the Institute of Basic Theory of China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, in a research paper.


Wang said herbal medicine can help enhance the immune system and inhibit the HIV virus.


"The key point of traditional Chinese medicine is to enhance and maintain the immune functions of patients with HIV/AIDS," he said.


It can help slow down the virus within the body and relieve visible symptoms, Wang wrote.


These were some of the ideas brought forward during the congress which ends today.


Some 1,500 delegates from 33 countries attended the academic gathering sponsored by the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies and organized by the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine.


More than 800 research papers were submitted, including 100 from overseas. Topics covered basic research, education, clinical research, pharmacological research, administration of traditional medicine and the industry.


"Traditional medicine is a valuable treasure and heritage of world culture, equivalent to modern medicine. It is an important resource for the treatment of diseases and promoting health," Vice-Premier Wu Yi said in a letter to the conference.


This is the third global traditional Chinese medicine congress. The last two were held in 1991 and 2000.


(China Daily November 15, 2004)


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