Many patients use herbal medicines, often without telling their physicians. In order for doctors to advise their patients responsibly, they should know the basics of efficacy, safety, and quality of herbal medicines. As one herbal medicine is different from another, there can be no generalizations.
Key words: herbal medicine, efficacy, safety, quality, evidence.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a distinct and comprehensive medical system deeply rooted in Chinese philosophy. It is composed of fundamental theory, unique diagnostic methods, and a variety of treatment modalities primarily including acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, tuina massage, and taiji qigong. Traditional Chinese medicine has a wide range of clinical applications encompassing health promotion, disease prevention, and treatment and may be used for pain management either as an alternative or complement to allopathic medicine. An advantage of TCM is that it improves the patient’s general health in addition to controlling pain; therefore, it usually provides long-lasting effects and results in the relief of other accompanying symptoms such as fatigue, poor circulation, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, which are common comorbidities of pain in older adults.
Key words: traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), acupuncture, herbal medicine, tuina massage, taiji qigong, chronic pain.
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