nutrachampion podcast episode 24

LISTEN: Uncover vast potential of integrative medicine by improving trials, quality control of herbal formulas – TCM expert Prof Aiping Lyu

By Tingmin Koe

- Last updated on GMT

LISTEN: Uncover vast potential of integrative medicine by improving trials, quality control of herbal formulas – TCM expert Prof Aiping Lyu

Related tags TCM Hong kong RCT

Integrative medicine offers vast opportunities to improve the diagnosis and treatment of patients, but more randomised clinical trials, better quality control, and clearer health indications are required, according to veteran TCM researcher Professor Aiping Lyu.

Professor Lyu, the guest of our latest episode of Nutrachampion, is the Dean and Dr Kennedy Wong Endowed Professor/Chair Professor of the School of Chinese Medicine at Hong Kong Baptist University.

An advocate and expert in the use of integrative medicine, he believes in the use of different traditional and herbal formulas to complement modern medicine – which has shown efficacy in clinical trials involving patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. 

Prof Lyu Aiping
Professor Lyu Aiping

Citing the research that he has done on, he said that the standard medicine, sulfasalazine, usually produce a response rate of about 60 to 70 per cent – which meant that the remaining 30 to 40 per cent of the patients were not responsive to the medicine.

Using molecular biology data, he has identified herbal compounds – in this case, ligustrazine from the TCM herb Chuan Xiong (Ligusticum chuanxiong​) – which could potentially work synergistically with sulfasalazine to improve treatment response.

The effects of ligustrazine and sulfasalazine were then tested in cell models, animal models, and subsequently RCTs.

Results showed that the combination had increased treatment response to 89 per cent, he said. 

“That’s why I do not like to separate Chinese and Western medicine…For me, what’s important is what type of benefits we can give to the patients through our research,” ​he said.

However, there are still a number of hurdles which integrative medicine and herbal medicine will need to overcome, including the implementation of more large-scale randomised controlled trials worldwide, improving the quality control and health indications of herbal medicines.

Prof Lyu also discussed the use of TCM in COVID-19 patients.

Listen the podcast to find out more.

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