Chinese medicinal therapies can help fight obesity
LOS ANGELES, July 31 – For the past decade China has been fighting an increasingly tough battle against obesity but a report has suggested that perhaps the most effective ways of fighting the flab have been known to the nation all along.
A Hong Kong Hospital Authority-commissioned study out this spring has apparently found that traditional Chinese medicine and medicinal therapies are not only as effective in treating obesity as their Western equivalents, in some cases they even have few side effects.
The World Health Organisation claims that obesity affects almost six per cent of Chinese, while a report from Johns Hopkins University in the US earlier this year claimed that 20 per cent of China’s children were overweight.
As part of the Hong Kong study, the city’s Chinese University poured through around 100 previous studies on Chinese weight-loss treatments that were designed not to help people who simply wanted to become slimmer, but for those who wanted to reduce the health risks, such as the onset of diabetes, which are associated with obesity.
According to the report, the studies – written in both Chinese and English and undertaken in a number of countries including China – found that the herbs most commonly and successfully used in such treatments included “huang quin” (Baical skullcap root) and “shanzha” (hawthorn fruit).
The most successful acupressure points used were those in the ear aimed at the spleen and the stomach, and the points in the leg known as “Sanyinjiao” (near the ankle) and “Zusanli” (just below the knee).
The researchers claimed that treatments can result in weight loss of around 5.8 kilograms if the herbs are used and 4.1kg if the acupuncture is used, both over a period of up to four months.
“A Western approach was used to show Western scientists that Chinese medicine methods work,” Chinese University’s assistant dean of medicine, Professor Juliana Chan Chung-ngor, told the South China Morning Post.
Professor Chan, who led the research, said she found the results “encouraging.”
Other Chinese media claimed Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority would now collect data – such as weight, height and waistline measurements – from around 50,000 patients at its Chinese medicine clinics as it prepares to undergo a large scale clinical trial, scheduled to begin next January.
Professor Chan said some drugs commonly used to fight obesity in Western countries had been known to cause blood pressure or even emotional problems.
Like most modern cities these days, Hong Kong itself has an obesity problem too, with its Department of Health estimating that one in five people aged between 18 and 64 are obese. – AFP/Relaxnews