BioScience Trends. 2016;10(3):163-170. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2016.01105)
Traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine: Focusing on research into traditional Tibetan medicine in China.
Song PP, Xia JF, Rezeng C, Tong L, Tang W
As a form of traditional, complementary, and alternative medicine (TCAM), traditional Tibetan medicine has developed into a mainstay of medical care in Tibet and has spread from there to China and then to the rest of the world. Thus far, research on traditional Tibetan medicine has focused on the study of the plant and animal sources of traditional medicines, study of the histology of those plants and animals, chemical analysis of traditional medicines, pharmacological study of those medicines, and evaluation of the clinical efficacy of those medicines. A number of papers on traditional Tibetan medicines have been published, providing some evidence of the efficacy of traditional Tibetan medicine. However, many traditional Tibetan medicines have unknown active ingredients, hampering the establishment of drug quality standards, the development of new medicines, commercial production of medicines, and market availability of those medicines. Traditional Tibetan medicine must take several steps to modernize and spread to the rest of the world: the pharmacodynamics of traditional Tibetan medicines need to be determined, the clinical efficacy of those medicines needs to be verified, criteria to evaluate the efficacy of those medicines need to be established in order to guide their clinical use, and efficacious medicines need to be acknowledged by the pharmaceutical market. The components of traditional Tibetan medicine should be studied, traditional Tibetan medicines should be screened for their active ingredients, and techniques should be devised to prepare and manufacture those medicines.