Terminologies of traditional medicine should no longer be lost in translation.
The world's first document listing international standard terminologies of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) was jointly launched in Beijing yesterday by the World Health Organization (WHO) and China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences (CACMS).
The document contains nearly 4,000 terms covering eight categories including basic theories, disease, acupuncture, and medical treatments, each with English rendering, definition and descriptions and a Chinese version, up to 90 percent of which are commonly used TCM today.
"It's a great pioneering undertaking and a milestone for the promotion of TCM globally," said Cao Hongxin, the director with CACMS, which was entrusted by the Western Pacific Region Office (WPRO), WHO to compile the works.
He said uniform terminologies would be applied in present day education, practice, research, and information exchanges.
Originated from ancient China, TCM has developed and thrived in neighboring countries of the Western Pacific Region, sometimes with certain variations in accordance with local languages and practices.
That's why some 10 percent of the terms included in the document are from traditional Korean medicine, Kampo medicine of Japan, and traditional Vietnamese medicine, Xie Zhufan, a TCM professor with Peking University, told China Daily.
Xie participated in the work with counterparts from other countries.
"Given the recent rapid increase in the worldwide use and exchanges of time-honored medical science, the document just meets the pressing need of traditional medicine practitioners for a common language," Seung-hoon Choi, regional traditional medicine adviser at WPRO, said.
Considering constant updates to the rapidly developing science, the terminologies would be renewed every three to five years, Choi said.
"Notably, standardization of traditional medicine is a key step to facilitate the science, which is proved by the past experience to be safe, effective, easy, and cost-efficient, going worldwide and benefiting the human race," Choi said.
A great number of foreigners nowadays turn to TCM for disease prevention and health maintenance, when modern medicines don't work well enough.
However some foreign quarters have downplayed the benefits of TCM and said they should be used in tandem with modern medicines.
"However, that doesn't alter one of our long time missions, to promote traditional medicines among member countries," Choi said, "It heals diseases."
Choi is one of four out of 3,000 health experts with WHO, who specialize in traditional medicine.
(China Daily October 17, 2007)