Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chinese Herbal Medicine must be good because so many say it is good.

Dear Dr. Phil.

Last year you came to my AP Psychology Class at Shasta High. You were very informative and funny. You said that we could email you if we had a question... so here goes.

My friend's mom has gone 100% mental over Chinese medicine. She has an herb solution for everything. She is positive that there is a conspiracy keeping the truth about the power of Chinese medicine a secret so that doctors can get rich.

Is Chinese medicine better than American medicine?

Thanks, Sara

Is Chinese medicine better than American medicine?

Great question Sara,

The fact is that Chinese and American medicine are the same. Medicine is based in scientific fact, and in China if you can afford medicine you get the same treatments as you get in this country. Alternative medicine was (is) only used in poor, rural areas where there is little access to modern medicine. In fact, in the middle of the last century China was in the forefront of medical research. So, how come so many Americans believe that Chinese folk remedies are better than medicine (American, Chinese or French)?

It is important to look at how this phenomenon entered American culture. To help you get this information please take the time to listen to the podcast linked below. It is from Their motto is Skeptoid: Critical Analysis of Pop Phenomena. I find Skeptoid's analysis of a subject to be scientifically sound and educational.

Mao's Barefoot Doctors: The Secret History of Chinese Medicine (Skeptoid #259) - Westerners' belief that Chinese have long relied on alternative medicine is due in part to being duped by book publishers.
Read | Listen (12:51)

The transcript (Read) is a synopsis, so I recommend listening to the podcast for the whole story.

May I recommend:

While I'm on the subject to of, I highly recommend their award winning web site: Skeptoid: Critical Analysis Podcast

and specifically their podcast on critical thinking: The Importance of Teaching Critical Thinking

Be well,
Dr. Phil Copitch

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