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The challenges of integrating a historical perspective of Chinese medicine into clinical research investigating the treatment of recurrent urinary tract infection

The challenges of integrating a historical perspective of Chinese medicine into clinical research investigating the treatment of recurrent urinary tract infection
The challenges of integrating a historical perspective of Chinese medicine into clinical research investigating the treatment of recurrent urinary tract infection
Ethnopharmacological relevance

Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) has a recorded history of over 2000 years that may be used to authenticate and guide modern treatments for disease, and also identify neglected but potentially useful treatment strategies. However this process is often based on over-simplistic conceptions of tradition and history that fail to take into account the dynamic nature of these ‘traditions’ and underestimate the importance of contextual factors in their interpretation.

Materials and methods

As part of a process of defining good practice for a clinical trial of CHM for recurrent urinary tract infections, a selective review of classical Chinese medical texts was undertaken to investigate the historical treatment of urinary diseases specified by the traditional category of Lin diseases.

Results

The historical review provided interesting insights into the evolution and meaning of Lin diseases and how pertinent data may be found, precisely, outside the boundaries of the categories on which the original investigation was premised. Although there were interesting parallels and continuities in the classical and modern understandings of the aetiology, pathophysiology and treatment of urinary diseases, there were also important divergences.

Conclusions

It became apparent, in the search for ‘traditional’ herbs to treat a particular modern syndrome it is essential to contextualise remedies, including as far as possible the intertextual, social, cultural, and gender context, and conditions of practice. Historical ethnopharmacology adds a level of subtlety and complexity to over-simplistic attempts at bioprospecting. Some insights that emerged from this historical review could inform the proposed clinical trial but these had to be filtered through the constraints of modern regulatory procedures. Further research is required on how best to integrate the wealth of data that exists in historical texts with the desire to produce effective herbal products for the modern world.
chinese herbal medicine, historical review, clinical trial, urinary tract diseases, bioprospecting, historical ethnopharmacology, history, pre-modern, food
0378-8741
1-11
Lo, V.
334e2563-cd47-465c-a789-84e8401b93f4
Flower, A.
5256a2c8-6e74-49be-acc8-463ed3c18c6a
Barrett, P.
6708ce04-ccc1-4804-ac9d-b0f8e6525d19
Lo, V.
334e2563-cd47-465c-a789-84e8401b93f4
Flower, A.
5256a2c8-6e74-49be-acc8-463ed3c18c6a
Barrett, P.
6708ce04-ccc1-4804-ac9d-b0f8e6525d19

Lo, V., Flower, A. and Barrett, P. (2014) The challenges of integrating a historical perspective of Chinese medicine into clinical research investigating the treatment of recurrent urinary tract infection. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 1-11. (doi:10.1016/j.jep.2014.11.014). (PMID:25460588)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Ethnopharmacological relevance

Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) has a recorded history of over 2000 years that may be used to authenticate and guide modern treatments for disease, and also identify neglected but potentially useful treatment strategies. However this process is often based on over-simplistic conceptions of tradition and history that fail to take into account the dynamic nature of these ‘traditions’ and underestimate the importance of contextual factors in their interpretation.

Materials and methods

As part of a process of defining good practice for a clinical trial of CHM for recurrent urinary tract infections, a selective review of classical Chinese medical texts was undertaken to investigate the historical treatment of urinary diseases specified by the traditional category of Lin diseases.

Results

The historical review provided interesting insights into the evolution and meaning of Lin diseases and how pertinent data may be found, precisely, outside the boundaries of the categories on which the original investigation was premised. Although there were interesting parallels and continuities in the classical and modern understandings of the aetiology, pathophysiology and treatment of urinary diseases, there were also important divergences.

Conclusions

It became apparent, in the search for ‘traditional’ herbs to treat a particular modern syndrome it is essential to contextualise remedies, including as far as possible the intertextual, social, cultural, and gender context, and conditions of practice. Historical ethnopharmacology adds a level of subtlety and complexity to over-simplistic attempts at bioprospecting. Some insights that emerged from this historical review could inform the proposed clinical trial but these had to be filtered through the constraints of modern regulatory procedures. Further research is required on how best to integrate the wealth of data that exists in historical texts with the desire to produce effective herbal products for the modern world.

Full text not available from this repository.

More information

Published date: 22 November 2014
Keywords: chinese herbal medicine, historical review, clinical trial, urinary tract diseases, bioprospecting, historical ethnopharmacology, history, pre-modern, food
Organisations: Primary Care & Population Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 372674
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/372674
ISSN: 0378-8741
PURE UUID: 5d7ed9e7-8ad8-4d45-9d3a-e21717b5e648

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 11 Dec 2014 16:52
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 21:35

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