A journal argues that traditional therapies have been unfairly condemned by western medicine. Former medical doctor turned philosopher Paul Biegler examines the evidence.

Much like politics, raising the subject of complementary medicine at a dinner party can pose a serious threat to congenial discussion. Dropping like a meteorite into that polarising fray comes a commentary on regulation of Traditional and Chinese Medicine (TCM), published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine(JACM).

Its authors, Nadine Ijaz, from the Arts and Science Program at McMaster University, and Heather Boon, from the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto, both in Canada, argue that regulating TCM under a western “biomedical model” is not only wrong-headed, but extends the predatory nation-gobbling of European colonialism to the medical arena.

The result, they contend, is that traditional health practices such as moxibustion (burning mugwort over acupuncture points), Ayurveda and Unani (medical systems tracing back to Indian and Hellenic cultures respectively) risk being absorbed by a dominant therapeutic culture that could, ultimately, wipe them out.

Read the full article in Cosmos magazine here