TCM Becomes More Popular in the USA
While the world is turning to green energy, there is a trend in the United States to take "green medicine." "Green medicine," which refers to herbal and Chinese medicine, has become another choice for Americans to keep them healthy. Naturopathic medicine includes traditional China medicine, such as herbal medicine, natural treatment and acupuncture. However, there are different ways to use herbal medicine for treatment from Europe, Mid-East, and Asia. But traditional Chinese medicine is absolutely very influential in the United States and other countries.
It is not easy to become a naturopathic doctor since it requires four years of medical education at postgraduate level medical schools. A naturopathic doctor has to pass exams to get a doctor's license to practice in California and receive additional education to provide herbal medicine and other treatment, such as acupuncture for patients. In California and many other U.S. states, doctors can prescribe drugs and patients have to go to the pharmacy to buy drugs. However, naturopathic doctors can have their own stores to provide herbal and Chinese medicines to the patients.
The requirements for any naturopathic doctors to take four years of postgraduate medical schools have stopped many experienced Chinese medicine doctors from China from practicing in the United States, and some Chinese Americans who have Chinese medicine experience can only practice acupuncture since the acupuncture license is relatively easy to get approved.
A study showed that herbal products have gained increasing popularity in the United States in the last decade, and are now used by approximately 20% of the U.S. population. Herbal products are complex mixtures of organic chemicals that may come from any raw or processed part of a plant, including leaves, stems, flowers, roots, and seeds. However, under the current U.S. law, herbs are defined as dietary supplements, and manufacturers can therefore produce, sell, and market herbs without first demonstrating safety and efficacy, as is required for pharmaceutical drugs. Actually, most of the herbal and Chinese medicines are used in the country in the form of dietary and nutrition or food supplements. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), annual sales of nutritional supplements exceed 23 billion dollars in the country. Therefore, it is a big business.
Prescription drugs are not versatile while herbal and Chinese medicine can play some role in treatment of certain diseases. More Americans have now turned to alternative medicines, and Chinese medicine is one of them. Most prescription drugs are from chemicals and have side effects. When people are turning to green energy to save the earth, more Americans like to try a more natural way to treat diseases, and herbal and Chinese medicines are their choices. However, since the U.S. law defines herbs as nutritional supplements, herbal and Chinese medicine can only be sold and marketed here in the form of nutritional supplements but not in the form of drugs.
Although Chinese and herbal medicine is not listed as drugs, that does not mean that the United States has no quality control over it. The FDA will check all the herbal and Chinese medicines to see if they are up to the U.S. food standard. Manufacturers in the country have to be more careful to avoid any lawsuit. Any lawsuit will make the manufacturers go bankruptcy. Therefore, they have to stick to the FDA requirements and make sure that those herbal and Chinese medicines will not cause any health problems.
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