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A victory to Chinese Medicine

Nobel Prize Winner Professor Tu YouyouTraditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) researcher Professor Tu Youyou was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine in 2015 for her role in creating a drug that helped slash malaria mortality rates in Africa and Asia, saving millions of lives. The remedy was created through her endless efforts in the research of a TCM herb called Qinghao. Her insight derived from her study of a TCM classic text that is hundreds of years old, The Manual of Clinical Practice and Emergency Remedies by Ge Hong of the East Jin Dynasty.

Professor Tu Youyou works for the China Academy of Chinese Medicine Science in Beijing. Professor Tu is the first and only person to receive the Nobel Prize in the TCM community and in the natural medicine industry as well. It is inspiring news for all natural medicine practitioners.

Professor Tu said in her speech at the ceremony, ‘Chinese medicine and pharmacology are a great treasure house, which should be explored and raised to a higher level… Since Tasting a Hundred Herbs, by Shen Nong, China has accumulated substantial experience in clinical practice, integrated and summarised medical application of most nature resources over the last thousands of years through Chinese medicine.’ Shen Nong was a legendary pioneering TCM doctor in ancient Chinese times. ‘Adopting, exploring, developing and advancing these practices would allow us to discover more novel medicines beneficial to the world healthcare,’ Tu stressed.

Tu quoted a poem from China’s Tang Dynasty in her speech: ‘The sun along the mountain bows; the Yellow River seaward flows; you will enjoy a grander sight; by climbing to a greater height!’   ‘Let’s reach to a greater height to appreciate Chinese culture and find the beauty and treasure in the territory of traditional Chinese medicine’, she said.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been practised in China for over 3,000 years and has proven to be highly effective in treating a great range of conditions. As western medicine emerged in China some 150 years ago, people in China started to doubt the efficacy of TCM. However, in the last few decades , as western medicine has sometimes been associated with adverse effects, more and more people have started to understand and experience the benefits of TCM, and its clientele has expanded considerably. Professor Tu Youyou’s winning the Nobel Prize is a reflection of the standing and contribution of TCM to global health. Chinese medicine is still something of a hidden treasure that has been relatively little used by the health professions. Tu Youyou’s recognition has inspired TCM and acupuncture practitioners around the world and highlighted its contribution to both natural and mainstream medicine.

Adapted from a 2016 article by Daniel Zhang, Director, Australian Traditional Medicine Society