For centuries, Chinese medicine has reigned supreme when it comes to promoting and supporting man’s good health. It has almost never failed everyone who tried it and until today, many people still put their faith in age-old Chinese recipes that has cured diseases in the past in the absence of modern medicine. The problem is that many claims it is not as effective as it once was as there has been one casualty after the other – all of which took a Chinese medicine of sort to relieve them of a medical condition they have. The likely reason why this happened is that as recipes are passed down from generation to generation, some may tweak it a bit that results in a change in efficacy or may even trigger some adverse reactions in this case.
Other factors we need to consider is that what’s in Chinese medicines with herbs aren’t as well documented as any medicine you can buy from the pharmacy. You can’t really tell how its ingredients react to one another. And then there is the possibility that an individual is also taking other supplements or drugs that can react to the Chinese herb. Sometimes, side effects are minor and can be tolerated, other times it can cost you your life. It’s probably what happened to these poor people who unknowingly got treated with Chinese medicine and they happen to be allergic to some components of the medicine.
Early on a snowy, winter morning in January 2012, Wu Xiaoliang, a 37-year-old farmer, stopped by his local doctor to remedy a headache. At a small clinic near his village he received two injections made from traditional Chinese herbs. Hours later, villagers saw him struggling to prop himself up on his moped as he drove home. By noon, he was dead.
What killed Wu was later described in an autopsy report as a “drug allergy.” But doctors couldn’t pinpoint what he was allergic to because the shots he was given contained dozens, if not hundreds, of different compounds extracted from two herbs.
For centuries, Chinese have bought plant and animal parts from traditional clinics, and boiled them into bitter soups to treat colds, strokes and even cancer. But the Chinese medicine sector has modernized along with the rest of the country, with local manufacturers turning age-old recipes into fast-acting injectable drugs.
Another major difference to how Chinese medicine is delivered in the past is that before, ancient Chinese had to drink soups or teas with these medicinal herbs. But today, Chinese drug makers have leveled up their game and they likewise upgraded these traditional medicines by giving them a modern feel – in injection form. Let’s not forget the fact how fast the effect of intravenous drugs are since they are directly injected into the bloodstream. For an ancient medicine with insufficient (if none at all) clinical trials to prove its safety and efficacy, the results can be disastrous.
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) is warning the public not to buy or consume two products promoted in Malaysia as traditional Chinese medicine, after two elderly women fell ill after taking them.
The two products – Wan Ling Ren Sem Chin Kuo Pill and Chong Cao Dan – contain undeclared Western medicinal ingredients, including a potent steroid called dexamethasone, HSA said in a press release on Thursday (Nov 2).
A woman in her 70s who had taken Wan Ling Ren Sem Chin Kuo Pill daily for four to five years for rheumatism and pain was hospitalised in the intensive care unit after experiencing severe breathing difficulty.
While we have nothing against traditional medicine, just keep in mind that it has its risks too. Its ingredients are often undeclared. Most people who take Chinese medicine do not consult with a real doctor to get them assessed properly and determine if the products they are taking is not doing them more harm than good. Most of the danger comes from the continued modernization of this ancient practice. What those people who dabble with alternative medicine do not realize is that you don’t just develop a drug and formulate it into a preparation that is highly untested such as Chinese medicine shots because the dangers are fatal and can kill a person like what we are already witnessing now.