Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Pure Natural Healing Summary


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Author: Master Lim
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Chinese Medicine

In the Sampeng-Yaowarat district, along Th Ratchawong, Th Charoen Krung, Th Yaowarat and Th Songwat, you will find many Chinese clinics and herbal dispensaries, though not so much English so bring someone to translate. Larger is the Huachiew General Hospital (Map pp52-3 2223 1351 hch 665 Th Bamrung Meuang), a medical facility dedicated to all aspects of traditional Chinese medicine, along with modern international medicine. The team of licensed acupuncturists at Huachiew are thought to be Thailand's most skilled, though there isn't much English spoken here.

Seeing the sights

The stretch of the Nanming River southeast of the city center is worth a couple hours' stroll. From Renmin Guangchang (People's Square) on Zunyi Lu, where a giant gleaming white statue of Mao Zedong presides over tai-chi practitioners, kite flyers, and young lovers, head north to Yangming Lu, where there's a colorful outdoor market. Watch for the Buddhist temple Qianming Si off a side street and also for the Chinese-medicine doctors practicing moxibus-tion and cupping healing techniques. At the end of the market, cross the traffic circle, head down the street, and walk along the river to the Fuyu Bridge on

Island Life Walking Tour

3 Pak San St & San Hing St You'll pass traditional Chinese houses and several shops selling traditional Chinese medicine, incense and paper hell money to be burned in memory of the dead. Further south, and on the left at the intersection of Pak She St and Kwok Man Rd, is a small Tou Tei shrine, dedicated to the overworked earth god.

Organized tours cultural activities

SPECIAL-INTEREST TOURS The Land Between Tour, which takes visitors through the vast New Territories with stops at a temple, a traditional rural market, a bird sanctuary, and a fishing village and the Heritage Tour, which covers historic Chinese architecture in the New Territories, including an ornate mansion, an ancestral hall, a walled village, and a temple, can by booked through the HKTB (& 852 2368 7112 for both tours). MEET THE PEOPLE Through this unique program of free, 1-hour tours, lectures, and seminars, visitors can meet local specialists and gain in-depth knowledge of Hong Kong's traditions. Programs change, but examples of past offerings have covered Chinese antiques, the language and lore of tea, Hong Kong's contemporary art scene, traditional Chinese medicine, fung shui (geo-mancy), and thijiqudn (shadow boxing), with something going on virtually every day of the week. For details on what, when, and where, pick up a Meet the People brochure at HKTB.

Central District Attractions

Hong Kong Museum of Medical Sciences & Finds This museum charts the historical development of medical science in Hong Kong. It's located in the century-old, Edwardian-style former Pathological Institute, which was founded to combat the colony's most horrific outbreak of bubonic plague. Back then, British patients were treated upstairs, while the Chinese were relegated to the basement rooms. Several rooms remain almost exactly as they were, including an autopsy room and a laboratory filled with old equipment, while others serve as exhibition rooms devoted to such areas as the development of dentistry and radiology (note the X-ray of the bound foot). But what makes the museum particularly fascinating is its unique comparison of traditional Chinese and Western medicine, and its funding of research into Chinese medicine. Included are displays on acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbs. Depending on your interest, you can spend up to an hour here.

Coming Soon In Singapore More

12 South Bridge Rd Along nearby South Bridge Rd there are also the traditional Chinese medicine shops. Also worth stopping by on South Bridge Rd are the Sri Mariamman Temple (p61), Singapore's oldestHindutemple, and the nearby Jamae Mosque (also known as Chulia), built by Indian Muslims from the Coromandel Coast of Tamil Nadu between 1830 and 1855.

Diep Dong Nguyen House

(586 Nguyen Thai Hoc admission free S 8am-noon & 2-4.30pm). The front room on the ground floor was once a dispensary for thuoc bac (Chinese medicine) the medicines were stored in the glass-enclosed cases lining the walls. The owner's private collection of antiques -which includes photographs, porcelain and furniture - is on display upstairs. Two of the chairs were once lent by the family to Emperor Bao Dai.

Traditional Folk Medicine

Traditional medicine in Korea is known as Oriental medicine and is based on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Although Korean traditional medicine is heavily influenced by TCM, it has developed its own unique methods Be aware that natural' doesn't always mean 'safe', and there can be drug interactions between herbal medicines and Western medicines. If you are utilising both systems, ensure you inform both practitioners what the other has prescribed.

Hong Kong Tourist Board Hktb Specialinterest Tours

MEET THE PEOPLE Moments Through this unique program of free 1-hour tours, lectures, and seminars, visitors can meet local specialists and gain in-depth knowledge of Hong Kong's traditions. Programs are often updated and revised past offerings have included such subjects as Chinese antiques, the language and lore of tea, Hong Kong's contemporary art scene, traditional Chinese medicine, fung shui (geomancy), and tai chi (shadow boxing), with something going on virtually every day of the week. Reservations are not necessary. For details on what, when, and where, pick up a Meet the People brochure at a HKTB Visitor Information and Services Centre.

Eu Yan Sang Medical Hall

Map pp62-3 Chinese Medicine The venerable Eu Yan Sang is one of the stalwarts of the Chinese medicine industry, which has been given a boost in recent years by overt government support and promotion. Looking like a modern Western chemist, the goods on the shelves are anything but familiar to Western eyes. Pick up some Monkey Bezoar powder to relieve excess phlegm, or Liu Jun Zi pills to dispel dampness - or just stop guessing and ask the resident herbalist.

Traditional Medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) views the human body as an energy system in which the basic substances of qi (vital energy), jing (essence), xu (blood, the body's nourishing fluids) and tiy (body fluids blood and other organic fluids) function. The concept of Yin and Yang is fundamental to the system. Disharmony between Yin and Yang or within the basic substances may be a result of internal causes (emotions), external causes (climatic conditions) or miscellaneous causes (work, exercise, sex etc). Treatment modalities include acupuncture, massage, herbs, diet and qigong, and aim to bring these elements back into balance. These therapies are particularly useful for treating chronic diseases and are gaining interest and respect in the Western medical system. Conditions that can be particularly suitable for traditional methods include chronic fatigue, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and some chronic skin conditions. Be aware that 'natural' doesn't always mean 'safe', and there can...

Chinatown Thecbd

For a fine Asian antique, statuette or magnificent wardrobe, modern hip homewares or just a cheap souvenir, Chinatown is the place to come. Pagoda St and its immediate surroundings have become a byword for tourist tat, but behind and beyond the stalls crammed with 'Fine City' T-shirts and two-minute calligraphers, there are small shops selling everything from modern Asian homewares to old furniture, though it pays to know your Khmer antique from your Javanese sweatshop knock-off. The area is also famous for its Chinese medicine centres, if you're feeling a little unhealthy.


In Hong Kong, its quite easy to find a doctor any time from early morning to late evening, and there's always the emergency surgery in the public hospitals. Usually patients can be supplied immediately with prescribed medicines by their doctors. Most doctors can speak English, but there are some doctors practising traditional Chinese medicine who may not speak English. Unlike the doctors of Western medicinc, these natural therapists usually prescribe mixtures of Chinese herbs, generally very strong and sometimes repulsive smelling, which can usually be bought in shops next door to the clinics.

Around Shexian

Yuliang (ifilg admission Y30) is a historic riverine port village on the Lian River (Lian Jiang). Cobbled Yuliang Jie (iJJUciij) is a picturesque alley of buildings and former transfer stations for the wood, salt and tea that plied the Lian River and was shipped to north China the tea shop at No 87 is an example. Note the firewalls separating the houses along the road. Pop into the Yuanhetang Chinese Medicine Shop at No 40 to admire the original flooring with the floral design and examine the traditional Huizhou arrangement of the Baweizu Museum (eitilg ft Baweizu Jinianguan), also on Yuliang Jie.

Walk Facts

Browse the craft stalls, then pop over the road for a top-notch roti canai (flat bread with curry sauce) and a mug of teh tarik (tea with evaporated milk) at Restoran Yusoof Dan Zakhir (3 pi 10). Continue north on Jin Hang Kasturi and take a peek at the aromatic Soon Hing Cheong Ginseng shop (4) on the corner of Lebuh Pudu, a popular centre for traditional Chinese medicine. Next, cross Lebuh Pasar Besar into

Endangered Species

However, all these species are facing extinction from habitat loss and poaching for the lucrative trade in skins and body parts for Chinese medicine. There are thought to be fewer than 3500 tigers, 1000 snow leopards and 300 Asiatic lions still out in the wild. Spurious health benefits are linked to every part of the tiger, from the teeth to the penis, and a whole tiger carcass can fetch upwards of US 10,000. Government estimates suggest that India is losing 1 of its tigers every year to poachers.

Meet The Locals

What do you tell visitors to do and see when they come to Hong Kong Head up the Mid-Levels escalator, explore Lan Kwai Fong, Soho and Sheung Wan. You experience so many different layers of Hong Kong culture old and new tourist spots, trendy places, tucked-away art galleries, traditional retail stores, such as Chinese medicine tea houses, and ancient architecture.


CHINESE MEDICINE Chinese herbal medicine remains very popular in Hong Kong and seems to work best for the relief of common colds, flu and for chronic conditions that resist Western medicine, such as migraine headaches, asthma and chronic backache. The pills on sale in herbal medicine shops are generally broad-spectrum, while a prescription remedy will usually require that you take home bags full of specific herbs and cook them into a thick, vile-smelling broth.


The literature that came out of the 1990s was certainly a far cry from the Maoist tracts of earlier years. The 1990s saw an explosion of experimental writing, with many works probing the boundaries of risky and often controversial subjects. Wang Meng, former minister of culture, became famous for his stream-of-consciousness style of writing and his satirical take on everything from politics to Chinese medicine. His collection of short stories, The Stubborn Porridge and Other Stories (1994), translated by Zhu Hong, is a smart, scathing look at modern Chinese society. The composer, playwright and author Liu Sola, who began writing in the mid-1980s, became internationally recognised a decade later with her novel Chaos and All That (1994), translated by Richard King, about a Chinese woman in London who writes a novel about growing up in Beijing during the Cultural Revolution.

Public Transport

Public buses and minibuses run by TCM ( 2885 0060) and Transmac ( 28771122) operate on 40 routes from 6.45am till shortly after midnight. Fares - MOPS2.SO on the peninsula, MOPS3.30 to Taipa Village, MOP 4 to Coloane Village, MOP 5 to Hac Sa Beach -are dropped into a box upon entry there's no change given.

Kowloon Attractions

You can peer inside a fishing junk, see what Kowloon Walled City looked like before it became a park, see the backstage of a Chinese opera, read about the arrival of European traders and the Opium Wars, study a map showing land reclamation since the 1840s, and see how Hong Kong changed under Japanese occupation (surprisingly, the section on Japanese occupation is quite extensive, considering that it takes up less than 4 years of Hong Kong's history). There are small movie theaters spread throughout, though showings in English are limited. One of my favorite parts of the museum is a re-created street of old Hong Kong, complete with a Chinese herbal-medicine shop actually located in Central until 1980, and reconstructed here. There are also 19th- and early-20th-century photographs, poignantly showing how much Hong Kong has changed through the decades. You can easily spend 2 hours here.

Grand Street

While Grand Street used to be the city's Main Street in the mid-1800s, nowadays you will find outdoor fruit, vegetable, and live seafood stands lining the curbs, offering snow peas, bean curd, fungi, oriental cabbage, and dried sea cucumbers to the passersby. Ribs, whole chickens, and Peking ducks glisten in the storefront windows, alongside those of Chinese herbalists.The roots and powders in their boxes, drawers, and glass bottles are century-old remedies but, to those accustomed to Western medicine, may seem like voodoo potions.

Before You Go

Western medicine can be in short supply in Mongolia. Most medicine comes from China and Russia and the labels won't be in English, so bring whatever you think you might need from home. Take extra supplies of prescribed medicine and divide it into separate pieces of luggage that way if one piece goes astray, you'll still have a back-up supply.

Church On A Sunday

Premissionary religions have a minimal public profile, but many superstitions still hold strong. Tevolo (devils) are feared and graveyard protocol retains the trace of ancient rituals. One such belief is that if a family member is suffering from a terminal or chronic illness, it is because the bones of their ancestors have been disturbed. Many will return to old family burial sites, dig up remains and rebury old relatives to remedy their own ill health. Faito'o (traditional Tongan medicine) is also practiced in every village, and for many it is the preferred alternative to Western medicine.


Tibetan Buddhist areas have their own herbal medicine tradition - amchi - based on a mixture of astrology and treatments with herbs from the Himalaya. Despite the arrival of Western medicine, amchi is still the most popular form of medicine in many parts of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. You can arrange amchi treatments in McLeod Ganj (p324), Leh (p368) and Kaza (p342).

Tiger Trouble

Sadly though, it seems the fate of the big cats lay in the black market. Tiger parts are highly valued for their use in Chinese medicine - tiger claws are used to treat insomnia and tiger fat to combat rheumatism - and a dead tiger can fetch up to US 40,000. Even the gruesome prospect of tiger farming has been suggested as a way to combat this highly profitable illicit trade.


Chinese Taoists and Buddhists believe in ceasing to use protected animals in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which they maintain is traditionally based on achieving a balance in nature. What is bad for the environment is bad for the soul. Before you swallow that time-honoured remedy, ask for the ingredients. Despite laws banning their capture, protected and endangered animals continue to be led to the chemist counters of China. As traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) makes it big globally, international laws prohibiting the trade of many species have forced practitioners to seek out alternative ingredients. The difficulty lies in getting Chinese consumers to accept such alternatives. Rodent bones just don't come close to the prestige of the tiger bones they're meant to replace.


Several sizeable pharmacies on Wangfujing Dajie stock both Chinese (tfiW zhdngydo) and Western medicine (S3 xiyao). You do not necessarily need a prescription for the drug you are seeking in Beijing, so ask at the pharmacy first. In other parts of China, however, you will probably need a prescription issued by a doctor. As with many other large shops in Beijing, once you have chosen your item, you are issued with a receipt which you take to the till counter (fettlci shduyintdi) to pay, and then return to the counter where you chose your medicine to collect your purchase. Note that many chemists are effectively 24-hour and have a small window or slit through which you can pay for and collect medicines through the night. Chemists stocking traditional Chinese medicine can be found all over town. The best known is Tongrentang Yaodian (Map pp268-9 6308 5413 24 Dazhalan Jie). Branches of Watson's (Map p264 1st fl, Full Link Plaza, 19 Chao-yangmenwai Dajie Map pp268-9 CC17,...

Kos kqe

Archaeology buffs will find their niche in the home of western medicine. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, lived and practised here. The island has a good balance of amenities and attractions, and oodles of room to spread out. Kos certainly grows on you, but it needs a little more time than you might at first believe.

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