The efficacy of Chinese medicine – The Erabu Sea snake
Type of Spiritual Experience
Background - no claims of healing, but an interesting observation
A description of the experience
China, with one of the oldest continuous accumulations of documented medical observations, offers the biggest trove for scientists to sift through.
The Chinese record dates back to the third century B.C., when healers began analyzing the body, interpreting its functions, and describing its reactions to various treatments, including herbal remedies, massage, and acupuncture.
For more than 2,200 years, generations of scholars added to and refined the knowledge. The result is a canon of literature dealing with every sort of health problem, including the common cold, venereal disease, paralysis, and epilepsy. This knowledge is contained in books and manuscripts bearing such enigmatic titles as
· The Pulse Classic (third century),
· Prescriptions Worth a Thousand Pieces of Gold (seventh century), and
· Essential Secrets From Outside the Metropolis (eighth century).
Traditional medicine remained the primary form of health care in China until the early 20th century, when the last Qing emperor was overthrown by Sun Yat-sen, a Western-trained doctor who promoted science-based medicine. Today Chinese physicians are trained and licensed according to state-of-the-art medical practices.
Yet traditional medicine remains a vibrant part of the state health care system. Most Chinese hospitals have a ward devoted to ancient cures. Citing traditional medicine’s potential to lower costs and yield innovative treatments, not to mention raise China’s prestige, President Xi Jinping has made it a key part of the country’s health policy. He has called the 21st century a new golden age for traditional medicine.
Long synonymous with swindling, snake oil actually refers to a traditional Chinese ointment derived from the fat of the Erabu sea snake. Historians believe that such ointments were introduced to the U.S. during the 1800s by Chinese immigrants building railroads, who used them to treat aching joints and muscles. The substance acquired its shady reputation when American hucksters began selling mineral oil as Chinese snake oil.
But here’s the rub: Studies have shown that fat in the Erabu sea snake, an ingredient in some traditional Chinese remedies, contains higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than salmon. Omega-3s are known to reduce inflammation and harmful cholesterol, improve cognition, and help alleviate depression. They are now used in several skin care products. In the 2000s Japanese scientists fed Erabu fat to mice and observed that their ability to swim and to learn their way around mazes improved.