Will mainstreaming traditional Chinese medicine threaten wildlife?
Conservationists worry that an upcoming World Health Organization decision may endanger animals.
Traditional Chinese medicine is going global. Earlier this year, Chinese state media reported that 57 traditional medicinal centers were under development in places as far-flung as Poland, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, and France. By some counts, TCM can now be found in more than 180 countries—almost all the world’s recognized nations—and the industry is worth more than $60 billion a year.
Now, for the first time, the World Health Organization (WHO) is planning to include traditional medicine diagnoses in its influential medical compendium—making it easier for a traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis such as “wood overacting Earth” to come to a clinic near you. The condition involves stress-related indigestion and is often treated with acupuncture and herbal medicine.