In this letter to Science, Tianhan Xue and Rustum Roy take a stand against the claim that it is wishful thinking to rely on traditional Chinese medicine texts for suggestions of effective remedies for specific diseases.
They report that a number of recent studies support the efficacy and safety of some herbal formulas used in traditional Chinese medicine. Furthermore, they say, these remedies worked effectively in some instances in which conventional Western therapies failed.
In addition, they argue that the reductionist approach of isolating a single active compound is not always appropriate for traditional Chinese medicine, which often works due to the synergistic interactions of multiple ingredients.
Source: Science 300, 740 (2003)