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Chinese medicine, though already practiced for thousands of years in China, is still seeking to gain acceptance in much of world. But now Europeans are likely to beat everyone else in enjoying more of its benefits in the future, as the compilation work of a Chinese medicine encyclopaedia by the EU picks up speed.
While western medicine has become the treatment of choice for most physicians in China. Traditional Chinese medicine is also gradually making its way to the world's most developed continent.
For many Europeans, medicinal herbs served more as a supplement than alternative. But now experts in Western medicine are not shy about supporting an Eastern cure.
Prof. Jan Van Der Greef, Leiden University, said, "Chinese medicine can work very effectively in curing some chronic diseases and diseases in the early stages."
In March this year, a traditional Chinese medicine used for heart diseases became the first ever herbal remedy to be produced by a non EU member and to receive authorization to market itself in the bloc.
And now the icing on the cake, the compilation of a Chinese medicine encyclopaedia by the EU is likely to be completed sooner than expected. The first compilation is to include 100 herbal medicines officially recognized by the EU, with another 160 expected to follow in a second edition.
The initiative was first brought up in 2011 when the European Parliament signed a cooperation agreement with the Chinese Administration of Traditional Medicine. But according to Wang, it's more the result of foresight & opportunity than arbitration.
Although the listing of a medicinal herb in the compilation doesn't automatically grant access to the European market, experts say it helps with getting a foot in the door.