Top US Hospital Opens a Chinese Herbal Therapy Center



On April 21, 2014 Wall Street Journal reported that Cleveland Clinic opened a Chinese herbal therapy center. The following are excerpts from the article.



(Wall Street Journal) The Cleveland Clinic, one of the country's top hospitals, is a surprising venue for the dispensing of herbs, a practice that is well established in China and other Eastern countries but has yet to make inroads in the U.S. because of a lack of evidence proving their effectiveness. The herbal clinic, which opened in January, has one herbalist who sees patients on Thursdays. Patients must be referred by a doctor and will be monitored to ensure that there are no drug-herbal interactions or other complications. The herbal clinic is part of the hospital's Center for Integrative Medicine, whose offerings also include acupuncture, holistic psychotherapy and massage therapy.


"Western medicine does acute care phenomenally.… But we're still struggling a bit with our chronic-care patients and this fills in that gap and can be used concurrently," says Melissa Young, an integrative medicine physician at Cleveland Clinic.


While acupuncture programs have sprouted across the U.S., there are only a handful of herbal clinics. Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Northwestern University and NorthShore University HealthSystem, affiliated with the University of Chicago, both include herbal medicine among their offerings.


"I'm getting more and more physician referrals [for herbal treatments], which to me is a sign of greater acceptance," says Leslie Mendoza Temple, medical director at NorthShore's Integrative Medicine Program. "When I first started here we were pounding on doors to prove we're not crazy and we're legitimate and safe." Referrals come from neurology, oncology, gastroenterology and rheumatology, among other departments, she says.


Natural News Article "Breakthrough as Cleveland Clinic Begins Using Chinese Herbal Medicine"




The following are excerpts from this article:


(Natural News May 5, 2014) One of the leading academic and research hospitals in the country has just opened its first Chinese herbal therapy center, a breakthrough in the mainstream advancement of what is commonly referred to as "alternative," or natural, medicine. The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, according to new reports, will now treat patients for pain, indigestion, inflammation and many other chronic health issues using traditional Chinese remedies, affirming the legacy of this holistic approach to healing.


Much to the chagrin of America's pill-pushing "skeptics," the new center will rely on herbs and combinations of herbs rather than pharmaceuticals to provide long-term healing and relief. Patients who have found little success in Western medicine's drugs and surgery approach will now have access to remedies that have been safely and effectively used for thousands of years in the Far East, but that are only just now catching on here in the West.



Still, Western medicine has a long way to go in fully accepting Chinese herbs as legitimate medicine. While some studies do exist showing their efficacy, randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind studies involving many individual herbs are lacking. Besides the fact that funding for such studies is minimal, as Chinese herbs cannot be patented, the Chinese herbal protocol is built on the idea that herbs work synergistically with one another, an elusive concept in Western thinking.


"Traditional Chinese medicine is an experience-based medicine, which has existed for millennia," explains a 2007 study on the synergistic effects of Chinese herbal remedies that was published in the Asian Journal of Chemistry. "[S]ome, particularly in the West, doubt the effect and synergy of traditional Chinese medicine as its mechanisms are less definitive than western-style scientific medicine."


But the system works because it approaches health from a holistic perspective that addresses physical, emotional, mental and spiritual elements. The goal of Chinese herbal medicine, in fact, is to restore balance within each of these unique states of being rather than just treat individual symptoms, something in which an increasing number of patients are eager to take part.


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