Foreign TCM interest growing

09:00, December 23, 2010      

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Mohammed Imran Khan (right), an Indian student with Jiangsu University, talks with a member of Chinese Herbal Association while collecting herbs in Zhenjiang Nanshan National Forest Garden recently. Photo: Courtesy of Yang Tongtong

"Hello! May a friend and I join your student herbal association?" asked Nagarjuna Mudiala, an Indian student with Zhenjiang-based Jiangsu University, when he phoned the pharmacy school's association recently to ask about traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

The association, Baicaoshe (Chinese Herbal Association) was established by the dean of the School of Pharmacy, Zhao Ming and a teacher, Yang Tongtong in 2009. It was formed to give students practical experience from the knowledge they learned in textbooks and to promote TCM.

High on herb gathering

Mudiala and his friend Mohammed Imran Khan, also an Indian student, have studied Western medicine for five years at the university. They both are keenly interested in TCM and became active Baicaoshe members this year.

"It's a lot fun to collect herbs in the mountains," said Khan, who picked and studied herbs with his fellow TCM enthusiasts in Zhenjiang Nanshan National Forest Garden in October.

He said they explored bamboo groves, digging herbs with hoes or simply examining them and learning more.

"Looking at herbs which I thought were common, I discovered that they are very useful in various Chinese medicines," said Khan.

He said there were many Chinese traditional herbs in the area, such as tuber fleece flower root and bracken, which are valued in TCM.

Learning more

He said even he did not know much about how Chinese herbal medicine works, but he believed that TCM will receive more international recognition just as acupuncture has.

Khan said he would return to India in early January after he graduates from the university. "But maybe I will come for TCM courses," he added.

Mudiala said that he would like to join the association members if they organize another herb collecting trip.

New overseas interest

"We never expected foreign students would be so interested in our activities," Yang, the association cofounder told the Global Times.

Yang said the group had at least seven similar activities this year, either to make field herb studying trips or sponsoring lectures.

But they had never had foreign TCM fans join them. "Since July, some students from Germany and Pakistan have also joined our 30-member association," Yang said.

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