that their patients are already taking, and should be taught about the more popular ones in their
Usage of traditional medicine is a part of many cultures: Chinese traditional medicine,
Indian Ayurvedic, and others have existed for thousands of years and “traditional Chinese
medicine ha[s] accumulated enormous effective experiences in the thousands of years of its
practice” (Fan, 216). From both a cultural and medical standpoint, it would be negligent to
ignore the cures and treatments of traditional medicine merely because they have not been tested
in “randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled” trials (Normille, 189). The scientific method
is a relatively modern innovation, and it is not reasonable to expect that discoveries made
thousands of years before to all be investigated instantaneously. History and anecdotal evidence
is the proof of the validity of the treatment.
Denying the possible efficacy of medicine by “choos[ing] the simple course and
advis[ing] the patient to discontinue or moderate its use” can hurt the patient-doctor relationship
(Ergil, et. al., 277). If I were told to quit using even my topical Chinese ointments because they
are worthless, I would simply not tell my doctors that I am using them for minor ailments. I do
not need a study to prove to me that they work and without the side-effects that an over-the-
counter medication would have. It would also make me suspect that the physicians may not value
the long history and achievements of my culture and decrease my respect for them. A Western-
trained physician skepticism of traditional medicine’s contributions is often because the model of
medicine is so different, and the physician knows so little about it. Chinese traditional medicine
relies on clinical observation, and treatment plans are inconsistent for similar maladies.
Practitioners of Chinese traditional medicine often come to similar diagnoses but treatments may
vary or conversely, the treatments may be the same, but the diagnoses are different (Zhang, et.