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Why Ancient Food-Based Traditional Indian and Chinese Medicines Remain Popular

The origins of medicine can be traced as far back as when humans discovered food as sources of energy, heat and everything that brings feelings of wellness. Two ancient originators of food-based medicines, China and India remain as living proofs of the healing capabilities of traditional medicines.

Up to the present, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) and traditional Indian medicine (TIM) continue to attract global interest as alternative forms of medications. However, China has been more active in promoting its line of TCMs. Chinese pharma companies have been backing up the efficiency of ancient therapies with evidence gathered from scientific researches and lab-based approaches. India’s Ayurveda on the other hand is still wanting in extensive scientific studies to provide research-based proofs of TMI efficiency.

Traditional Medicines and Why They Remain Prevalent in Modern Environments

Generally, food and medicines are interconnected, which the early indigenous ancestors learned that certain types of plant-based food have healing effects. The most popular are spices like ginger, perilla, garlic and chile; fruits like berries, grapefruits and bananas as well as root crops like onions, ginseng, turnips, beets, carrots and the likes. They all have medicinal properties and at the same time, have flavors that they can use in cooking savory dishes.

The Advent of Western Medicines

During the Age of Industrialization, traditional medicines lost their dominance. Proponents of Western medications made a breakthrough discovery of penicillin. It served as the key component of potent and fast-acting treatments against new and emerging infectious diseases.

While herbal medicines are known to provide cure for ordinary chronic diseases, modern medicines went on to study and synthesize molecules. Doing so led to the development of specific treatments against different kinds of infectious diseases caused by viruses. Western medicine also provided drugs that can bring instant relief to chronic ailments, enabling individuals to avoid being absent from work.

The Revival of Traditional Medicines Amidst the Detriments Posed by Western Medicines

Yet in the past decades, the Western medical world discovered that certain treatments can have debilitating side effects and in some cases, result in mind-altering drug dependency. Even more detrimental are the soaring prices of medications and the need to obtain prescriptions, to ensure proper drug administration.

In recent decades, some manufacturers of pharmaceutical products took to reviving the public’s interests in traditional medicines. The promotion of herbal medicines and supplements, strategically focused on disease-prevention as a way to avoid costly medications and hospitalizations. The renewed use of plant-based indigenous treatments saw to their formulations as dietary supplements; whilst promoted as a safer and less costly approach to staying healthy.

Some pharma companies in Europe and other Asian countries, also gave importance to the chemistry of natural products in the development of new treatments. Traditional Chinese medicine has regained popularity through China’s promotion of evidence-based and licensed natural treatments.

In India, the government through the Ministry of Chemicals, has been promoting the importance of traditional knowledge in medicines. Recently, the ministry introduced scientifically sound evidence to back the effectiveness of traditional Indian medications.

Moreover, the Indian government addressed the economic and health problems involving the procurement of Western medicines. The government allowed the production and sale of generic medications across the country through a system called PCD pharma franchise to keep the prices of medicines affordable to all Hindustanis. PCD stands for Propaganda Cum Distribution, which accredits qualified individuals with marketing and distribution rights by working with an authorized Pharma franchise company.