http://www.100md.com 2007年9月17日 中国中药材GAP网
作者：Kevin Voigt 来源：Wall Street Journal [美]《华尔街日报》报道
关键词: Herbal Industry Traidtional Chinese Medicine acupuncture alternative medicine
After two unsuccessful attempts to have a child through in vitro fertilization, Melbourne resident Michelle Harrison was willing to try anything. So while getting fertility treatments at Melbourne IVF clinic, she also visited the Melbourne Holistic Health Group for a course of acupuncture. The results were two-fold: the birth in January of Caitlin Aleisha Harrison and, unexpectedly, newfound relief from her annual allergy attacks.
在两次试图通过试管婴儿胚胎植入术受孕均告失败后，墨尔本的居民米歇尔·哈里森什么其他方法都想试试。所以她一面在墨尔本试管婴儿胚胎植入诊所继续尝试人工受孕，一面又到墨尔本的Holistic Health Group接受了一个疗程的针灸治疗。其结果是双喜临门：她不仅在今年1月生下了女儿凯特琳·艾丽莎·哈里森，出乎意料的是，她每年都要出现的过敏反应也找到了对症治疗的新方法。
Caitlin Aleisha Harrison's Photo of daily life
"The hay fever treatment was fantastic," the 35-year-old mother says of the acupuncture therapy. "For the first time in my life, I went through a whole hay fever season without any drugs."
Helping make babies and cutting down on Kleenex costs are two small parts of the growing consumer appetite for products and services derived from ancient Asian medicines. Researchers from consumer-products companies such as Estée Lauder Cos. and Coca-Cola Co. of the U.S., and Japanese cosmetics maker Shiseido Co. are increasingly mining folk medicine to create modern products and treatments.
"The reality is existing Western medicine can't meet current medical needs," says Edmund Lee, executive director of the Hong Kong Jockey Club Institute of Chinese Medicine, which was set up in 2001 and has a $64 million endowment for research into traditional treatments.
Often termed "complementary" or "alternative" medicine in the West, disciplines ranging from Ayurveda in India to traditional Chinese medicine are finding more fans outside Asia. According to data from the alternative medicine division of the National Institutes of Health in the U.S., a 2004 survey showed that more than a third of American adults above the age of 18 use some form of alternative medicine including herbal remedies, acupuncture and meditation. The World Health Organization says that a 2003 survey showed that 75% of people with HIV/AIDS in London and San Francisco were using traditional medicines to augment their standard treatment.
According to figures compiled by the WHO, global sales of herbal remedies totaled more than $21 billion in 2004, the latest year for which data are available. As the number of users of traditional medicines has increased, so have world-wide efforts to regulate their sale. The WHO says that in 1988 only 14 of its member nations regulated the sale of herbal medicines. By 2003, that figure had climbed to 53 countries, with another 42 in the process of developing regulations.
Governments, meantime, also are trying to capitalize on growing popularity of indigenous treatments. Last year, for instance, the Vietnamese government opened the Traditional Medicine and Pharmacy Institute in Ha Tay province. It has started with 100 students and intends to enroll more than 300 next year. The institute plans to study both traditional and Western medicines, and promote medical research into traditional Vietnamese medicine with the aim of encouraging its wider use.
In Malaysia, Borneo Plant Technology Sdn. Bhd. is working with the government-run Forestry Research Institute of Malaysia to develop health supplements based on the medicine of the Iban tribe in Sarawak.
在马来西亚，Borneo Plant Technology Sdn. Bhd.这家企业正与国营的马来西亚森林研究所合作，以沙劳越Iban部落的传统药物为基础开发保健品。
"This indigenous medicine has been around for years, but no one has really tested it," says Borneo Plant's Chief Executive Officer Graeme Brown. His company is developing three products derived from Iban remedies that purport to lower blood pressure, eliminate kidney stones, and "a local medicine that they say is the equivalent of Viagra for women," Mr. Brown says.
Healthcare professionals aren't the only ones digging into Asia's traditional medicine cabinet. Shiseido set up a research and development center in Beijing in 2002, and expanded those operations last November. In Japan in 2004, the company began marketing a line of 24 cosmetics and food supplements made from Chinese medicine called "Sinoadore," promoting it as "fusion of traditional Chinese medicine and Western science."
Says Hiroko Ozeki, a spokeswoman for Shiseido, "the major part of ingredients (in the line) are from Chinese plant extracts" such as tea oil, Chinese angelica and safflower that address various skin conditions based on qi, the flow of energy in the body.
New York-based Estée Lauder opened its own research center in Shanghai last November, and has released a number of products world-wide that derive some of their ingredients from Chinese medicine, such as reishi mushroom in its "Origins Plantidote Mega-Mushroom Face Serum." Its "Re-nutriv Ultimate Lifting Serum" contains the root of astragalus, used as an anti-irritant, and berry extract from ligstrum, an herb traditionally used to treat fever and back pain that the company says is effective in preventing the degradation of the skin's elastin and the formation of wrinkles.
雅诗兰黛去年11月在上海开设了自己的研究中心，目前已经在全球推出了许多含有中药成分的产品。例如，其产品Origins Plantidote Mega-Mushroom精华露就含有日本灵芝的成分，另一产品“双重滋养白金级紧肤精华液”则含有黄芪以及女贞果萃取成分。黄芪抗过敏，而女贞传统上则被用来治疗发热和背痛。雅诗兰黛说，女贞可以有效防止皮肤中弹性蛋白的退化以及皱纹的形成。
Estée Lauder® Origins Plantidote Mega-Mushroom® Series
"We look at what are the elements that are active in Chinese herbs that make them so potent," says Harvey Gedeon, executive vice president of research and development for Estée Lauder. "For example, the polyphenols we extract from white tea in China which we use in our Perfect World Night Mask have tremendous antioxidant power," he maintains.
Beverage giant Coca-Cola also is investing in Chinese medicine. In December, the company signed a 15-year deal with the China Academy of Chinese Medical Science to research health drinks. It also purchased last year the international distribution rights for the Hong Kong-based HealthWorks' line of ready-to-drink beverages, made from traditional Chinese herbs such as chrysanthemum flowers and myrobalan, a prune-like fruit rich in antioxidants. And last week it rolled out two health drinks in China that are derived from traditional Chinese medicines.
"In China, there is a more arbitrary separation between food and medicine," says Zhang Huaying, Asia director at the Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness, a wholly owned division of Coca-Cola. "If you're using an ingredient to fight a bug, it's a medicine; if you're using it for your meal, it's food."
The number of traditional Chinese medicine practioners outside China is also on the increase. Take Virginia Scarff, the Melbourne herbalist and acupuncturist who treated Ms. Harrison during her fertility treatments and pregnancy. Ms. Scarff is one of 500 graduates of RMIT University's Chinese medicine school in Victoria state.
The school began in 1995 with a two-year program that attracted mainly Asian students, says program director Charles Xue. Now the school -- named last year as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Traditional Medicine -- offers degree programs of up to five years, and most graduates are Westerners like Ms. Scarff. Previously trained as a medical laboratory scientist, Ms. Scarff was attracted to Chinese medicine "because it makes the patient the focus ... it's individualistic treatment, so you have to spend a lot of time getting to know your patient," she says. "And as a scientist, it's fascinating because as a new (discipline) in the West there are constantly new studies and new information coming out."
Lyndon Hale, chairman of Melbourne IVF, says that over the past five years, he's seen "quite a lot of people interested" in trying acupuncture to increase their chances of having an IVF baby. The clinic doesn't have an acupuncturist on staff, but refers its patients to providers. Dr. Hale says there could be several reasons why acupuncture may work. "It could reduce stress, which would have a positive impact," he notes. And it "could be the endocrinology of it, how it impacts neuropathways back to pituitary glands and endocrine control centers of the brain," he says.
Melbourne IVF的董事长林登·黑尔说，过去5年中，他看到许多人都有兴趣尝试通过针灸来增加怀上试管婴儿的机会。虽然Melbourne IVF没有针灸医生，但它会介绍自己的病人去其他地方接受针灸治疗。黑尔说针灸治疗能够见效的原因或许是它能缓解压力，而这会对患者产生积极影响；还有可能是针灸的内分泌学机理，针灸可能会对通向脑垂体和内分泌控制中枢的神经产生影响。
According to a study published in May by the University of Adelaide in Australia involving 1,000 women undergoing IVF, those who received acupuncture were twice as likely to give birth as those who were given a placebo needle treatment. Rob Norman, who helped coordinate the study, says researchers don't know why it seems to work. What is clear, he says, is acupuncture "isn't harmful and there is certainly strong evidence to suggest it's quite helpful."
There are some hurdles alternative medicines face to get on the world's shelves, though. For instance, earlier this year, the Indian government introduced testing for levels of heavy metals such as mercury, lead and arsenic in Ayurvedic products for export after the Journal of the American Medical Association showed high levels of metals in traditional medicines shipped from India.
"In traditional Chinese medicine, it's difficult to know which compounds are effective and which can be harmful," says Yang Yongping, deputy director of the Kunming Institute of Botany, which studies ancient Chinese remedies. "Chinese medicine is criticized by some people because (practitioners) have no idea which chemical compounds are bioactive."
Also, regulations and enforcement vary widely from country to country. "Standardization (of Eastern medicine) is going to be key," says Borneo Plant's Mr. Brown. "At the end of the day, you have be sure (companies) aren't just selling sawdust in a capsule."
Among the array of promising prospects under development is an old-time remedy for the menopause. Nearly 500 years ago, a Chinese doctor named Jin-Yue Zhang wrote down his recipes for various ailments, including an herbal remedy known as Zuo-Gui Wan, which he gave to women suffering from the menopause.
Three years ago, teams at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and Shanghai Innovative Research Center of Traditional Chinese Medicine took the Zhang formula, included in the 1624 volume, "The Complete Book of Jin-Yue," and replaced four of eight active ingredients -- two from plants banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and two from endangered tortoises and deer antler -- with substances from modern pharmacology.
In preclinical animal tests, this new version of the Zhang menopausal prescription was found to enhance memory and decrease depression: In short, "it showed an estrogen-like effect," says Wang Jun, a biochemist at Chinese University who is leading the project and says it has "tremendous market potential" given the aging female population globally. The drug is awaiting approval from authorities in China to undergo clinical trials there.
As for Ms. Harrison in Melbourne -- who decided to try Chinese medicine after reading it could assist becoming a mother -- she is a true believer. "I used to think Chinese medicine was something for witch doctors," she says. "But the results for me have been amazing."