Science is beginning to prove what traditional Chinese medicine has claimed for millennia: rather than masking symptoms, Chinese medicine provides curative effect, only now measured at the cellular level!
A recent double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial out of New York, NY by Drs. Li and Brown turned out some ground-breaking results. It showed firstly that a combination of Chinese medicinal herbs had only slightly lesser anti-inflammatory effect than that of the corticosteroid Prednisone, the allopathic drug most commonly used for the treatment of asthma. None of the common side effects of steroid use were observed in those treated with Chinese herbs.
Atopy denotes a condition in which inflammation of a specific tissue of the body occurs as an autoimmune hyper-response to some external stimulus. In the case of asthma, the walls of the lung’s airways become swollen causing a reduction in the space through which air travels in and out of the lung, resulting in the typical symptoms of difficult breathing and wheezing. Studies have shown that people with atopic conditions have an imbalance of the T Helper cells of the immune system. T Helper cell 1 (TH-1) is shown to by abnormally elevated, whereas T Helper cell 2 (TH-2) are shown to be abnormally decreased, causing the auto-immune hyper-reactivity seen in atopic conditions.
Prednisone causes a complete drop in both TH-1 and TH-2 cells, effectively reducing the hyper-immune response of inflammation, but leaving the body susceptible to other harmful external agents. The study showed that patients treated with the Chinese medicinal herbal formula not only showed an appropriate decrease in TH-1, but an equally appropriate increase in TH-2! This was shown to result in a balanced immune system, no longer over-reacting to benign stimuli, while keeping an appropriate strength to fight off potentially damaging agents. These patients were further observed to retain this T Helper cell balance and it’s concomitant health benefits for an extended length of time after cessation of herbal treatment.
This ground-breaking trial opens the door for further research of this kind as science begins to measure, by its own terms, what traditional Chinese medicine has touted for three thousand years. The gap between eastern and western medicines is being breached. Stay tuned!
Written by Dr. Peter Wood