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Chinese Healing Secrets Get a Nobel Nod

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It’s a wonderful story.

Tu Youyou, 85, has been awarded a 2015 Nobel Prize in medicine for her work mining the archives of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to find a new treatment for drug-resistant malaria. Her work has saved millions of lives, and the award is a huge nod to the effectiveness of “non-Western” medicine.

Back in 1967, Dr. Tu, a pharmacologist, screened 2,000 TCM herbs to isolate artemisinin from the herb qinghao (Artemisia annua, sweet wormwood). After initial failure, her breakthrough came from “A Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies,” written in AD 340. The result: Artemisinin, a medical drug that today saves 100,000 lives each year—in Africa alone. Her anonymous work was discovered only in 2007.

Writes Dr. Tu: “It is my dream that Chinese medicine will help us conquer life-threatening diseases worldwide, and that people across the globe will enjoy its benefits for health promotion.”

That dream is already coming true. We’ve reported on TCM-based treatments for arthritis pain, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, COPD, psoriasis, sinusitis, rheumatoid arthritis and more minor ailments. To learn more, see our Bottom Line guides to acupuncture and TCM.

And congratulations, Dr. Tu.

 

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