Unconventional Chinese Medical Treatments and How They Work

Chinese medicine has been around longer than history dictates, and it is still practiced throughout China and many parts of the world to this day. While many people don’t agree with some of its methods, there is some evidence that it works, however unorthodox it may seem. From using tiny needles for chronic pain to using caterpillar fungus for kidney problems, here’s a list of strange Chinese medical treatments and how they work. 

1. Cupping

If you could just look past the tentacle-like bruises left behind by cupping, a lot more people would be open to the procedure. Apart from helping with athletic performance, cupping has quite a variety of uses from chronic pain management, high blood pressure, arthritis, and several cardiovascular diseases. Recent research shows that cupping increases circulation by causing vasodilation and it also allows the body to rid itself of waste and toxin at a faster rate. Cupping has also been shown to help with pain by increasing blood flow to the site. 

2. Acupuncture

Over the last few centuries acupuncture is becoming more and more widely accepted and is currently performed all over the world. The practice of inserting small needles into the skin is used to treat many conditions, the most common of which is chronic pain. In some parts of China, it is being used as a form of anesthesia. Several studies prove that chronic pain and fibromyalgia patients have had a good response to treatment. In some parts of the world, it is being used as supplemental therapy. 

3. Ginseng

Ginseng has been a staple ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine from its inception and the potent antioxidant has been used to treat several ailments. Ginseng, a name which translates to “person plant root”, for its resemblance to a human limb, is believed to cure inflammatory conditions, improve brain health and aid in cancer prevention, among other things. According to research, ginseng works by reducing oxidative stress in the body which promotes longevity.

4. Cockroaches

Most people don’t usually have good things to say about cockroaches, after all most people see them running around street corners or trying to get into their garbage. Well, the ones used in traditional Chinese medicine are a bit different from the ones viewed as pests. In China, there are hundreds of farms raising cockroaches for medicinal purposes and they can be found in everything from cosmetic products to treating burns. One Chinese pharmaceutical company made a cockroach-infused product that promises to help treat duodenal ulcers and gastroenteritis. 

5. Caterpillar Fungus

Also known as worm grass, caterpillar fungus is a bizarre fungus that has a scary life cycle. It starts off as a single spore that infects the backs of moth caterpillars living near mountaintops. The unsuspecting animal dies, and the fungus grows out of its host’s body in what looks like alien fingers. Fortunately for humans, the fungus’ properties do not affect humans and it is now being used to treat various kidney and liver conditions. Research even shows that it has some activity against lung and skin cancers by reducing the size of tumors.


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