Chairman Mao Invented Traditional Chinese Medicine

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In case you missed it, Oct. 7–13 was designated Naturopathic Medicine Week, according to a Senate resolution sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski and passed by the Senate with unanimous consent. Among the reasons the Senate cited:

  • Naturopathic physicians can help address the shortage of primary care providers in the United States.
  • The profession of naturopathic medicine is dedicated to providing health care to underserved populations.
  • Naturopathic medicine provides consumers in the United States with more choice in health care.

“Even though I believe we should promote Chinese medicine,” Mao told him, “I personally do not believe in it. I don’t take Chinese medicine.”

Mao’s support of Chinese medicine was inspired by political necessity.  In a 1950 speech (unwittingly echoed by the Senate’s concerns about “providing health care to underserved populations”), he said:

Our nation’s health work teams are large. They have to concern themselves with over 500 million people [including the] young, old, and ill. … At present, doctors of Western medicine are few, and thus the broad masses of the people, and in particular the peasants, rely on Chinese medicine to treat illness. Therefore, we must strive for the complete unification of Chinese medicine. (Translations from Kim Taylor’s Chinese Medicine in Early Communist China, 1945-1963: A Medicine of Revolution.)

 

Written By: Alan Levinovitz
continue to source article at slate.com

17 COMMENTS

  1. I actually have a copy of that little red book ‘Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung’ 1966

    Lot’s of wise words within.But all just posturing so as to be seen to be a wise leader. Practical application apparently was less impressive.

    According to this photo of Mao his alternative to alternative traditional chinese medicine seems to be western capitalist style cigars. At least traditional chinese rhino horn medications possess the scientifically measurable property of eradicating rhinos. Tobacco has a more direct impact of eradicating the consumer rather than the supplier. So technically the cigar approach is the be more effective. Mao was apparently in favour of population reduction in China. Though mostly among potential political opponents, such as all the peasants.

    There was a science show on ABC Catalyst last night (Australia public channel) about how the cholesterol and saturated fat theory of heart disease may be the greatest scientific mistake (possibly even fraud) of the 20th century, and may even have become permanently entrenched scientific dogma. One of the interviewees provided an interesting response to the question as to how it was ever possible that people were told for so long by so many expert authorities that they needed to avoid saturated fat and cholesterol, despite the acknowledged absence of substantive evidence. The idea was that you have to give physicians something that they can tell patients, otherwise health practitioners would lose credibility. (Presumably in competition to the real quacks.)

    A good example of emulating Mao’s strategy.

    • In reply to #1 by Pete H:

      I actually have a copy of that little red book ‘Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung’ 1966

      Lot’s of wise words within.But all just posturing so as to be seen to be a wise leader. Practical application apparently was less impressive.

      According to this photo of Mao his alternative to alternative tr…

      I watched the Carayst program about cholesterol and heart attacks, as well. I think it was worthy of a thread of its own.

      • Nutrition topics probably need to be in the ‘religion’ category, along with macroeconomics and politics.

        Similar psychological mechanisms may be at play. All being areas where the combination of vociferousness of opinion and an overwhelming sense of certainty seems to be inversely proportional to the depth of real knowledge.

        In reply to #4 by Nitya:

        In reply to #1 by Pete H:

        I actually have a copy of that little red book ‘Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung’ 1966

        Lot’s of wise words within.But all just posturing so as to be seen to be a wise leader. Practical application apparently was less impressive.

        According to this photo of Mao his al…

        • Honestly…lumping nutrition into the “religion” catagory has the intellectual honesty of claiming that androgenic steroids have no effect on muscle growth and that it’s all a placebo effectIn reply to #7 by Pete H:

          Nutrition topics probably need to be in the ‘religion’ category, along with macroeconomics and politics.

          Similar psychological mechanisms may be at play. All being areas where the combination of vociferousness of opinion and an overwhelming sense of certainty seems to be inversely proportional to t…

          • Most food taboos have their origin in religion. Probably for economic reasons. Initially involving attempts to secure a monopoly over scarce foods for the privileged elite. Mainly meat, including human meat.

            All of nutrition science is pretty much just a big squabble about vegetarianism. Forms of vegetarianism originated in Asian religions, among the most populated areas with greatest environmental pressure on grazing animals compared to rice and other crops. It became popular in western culture around the time of the hippies. Possibly related to the decline of traditional Christian religion following the Great War in Europe and World War 2, plus other cultural changes in western society.

            I think that vegetarianism, plant-based diets etc, and the link with health claims are more likely to be religion based rather than science based. Many nutrition scientists are vegetarians and may have originally entered their field for similar reasons that many people chose to study psychology. (It’s regarded as a less competitive ‘easy’ science plus they’re slightly nuts already. And many western nations provided ‘free’ university education back in the mid to late 20th century. So there were large numbers of new scientists entering these fields, which became heavily driven by confirmation bias.

            But my comparison of nutrition with religion is more based on similarities in the style of arguments you tend to see in blog responses to news articles about nutrition.

            With steroids you now find that pretty much all the young and single male idiots are consuming these drugs, and others. Yet not that many of them are obtaining the results expected. Many are also taking various kinds of metabolic stimulants and expensive dietary supplements to burn fat and help them look more athletic. The proven science for getting fit and strong – doing actual hard physical hard work is not generally accepted as a relevant suggestion. Some actually believe that if they work out they will burn their muscle tissue for energy and lose bulk in the process. Possibly there is a placebo effect, but which works by encouraging physical training. The steroids enabling harder physical training stresses by maximising tissue regrowth following the damaging stresses that trigger the muscle growth.

            In reply to #12 by wdbailey:

            Honestly…lumping nutrition into the “religion” catagory has the intellectual honesty of claiming that androgenic steroids have no effect on muscle growth and that it’s all a placebo effectIn reply to #7 by Pete H:

            Nutrition topics probably need to be in the ‘religion’ category, along with macroec…

      • When I was in Indonesia, I saw all kinds of toddlers smoking cigarettes. The mothers assured me this was “medicine”.

        I later met a very handsome guy from the Philippines. He smoked. I tried to explain this would wreck his vibrant health and good looks. He assured me it was “medicine”. I later learned that tobacco companies we are familiar with sell tobacco as medicine for children in the Philipines. The parents use it as we might use a vitamin supplement.

        Oddly, even North Americans who do not smoke, buy happily other products from tobacco companies. Why would you trust them?

      • In reply to #4 by Nitya:

        In reply to #1 by Pete H:

        I watched the Carayst program about cholesterol and heart attacks, as well. I think it was worthy of a thread of its own.

        My room mate said she had seen an article that suggested low cholesterol made Alzheimer’s worse.

        It is quite shocking how “science” keeps changing its mind about optimal diet. It suggests corporations are corrupting the results based on what they have to sell.

        • In reply to #10 by Roedy:

          In reply to #4 by Nitya:

          In reply to #1 by Pete H:

          I watched the Carayst program about cholesterol and heart attacks, as well. I think it was worthy of a thread of its own.

          My room mate said she had seen an article that suggested low cholesterol made Alzheimer’s worse.

          It is quite shocking how “…

          The name of the program is “Catalyst”…another typo, sorry. We do our best to follow the right advice, though it’s often hard to know what the right advice is. The motivations of Chairman Mao were just a bit more obvious than most, though most believed him.

  2. It’s faintly depressing to think about how many elephants have been slaughtered for their tusks, to feed this wacky racket of “alternative” medicine.

    Let’s be grateful that there isn’t an alternative aeronautical industry.

  3. Accepted that the camera almost always lies, that picture of Mao Zedong has finally made me realize that all these “leaders” – Zedong, Adolf, Joe, Francisco, Pot, Franco et al – were probably just inadequate attention seeking manipulators with no propensities what so ever for thinking sub specie aeternitatis or long term.

    In other words, devious, opportunistic, parasitic prats; the trouble is how to ascertain as much before the events; I’m put in mind of Anthony Blair, who completely fooled yours truly.

    Bit off the mark mod’s, sorry; I felt it time to have my daily rant!

    • In reply to #5 by Stafford Gordon:

      Accepted that the camera almost always lies, that picture of Mao Zedong has finally made me realize that all these “leaders” – Zedong, Adolf, Joe, Francisco, Pot, Franco et al – were probably just inadequate attention seeking manipulators with no propensities what so ever for thinking sub specie aet…

      I don’t consider Mao to be in the same category as the others you listed. All those other tyrants I agree were ruthless and quite possibly sociopathic, in any case they were concerned only with power and with getting as much of it in any way that they could. I think the case of Mao is more complex. I agree where he ended up was a tyrant, in fact I think it is a good example of how absolute power inevitably corrupts, but if you look at his early years, when he first formed the communist party in China, it was originally a nationalistic party with similar goals as the US revolution, the Chinese wanted to govern themselves and not be ruled by imperial powers from Japan or the West. And from what I remember of Mao’s early life he showed great concern for the poor of China at first. I do agree though that he ended up just another tyrant.

    • In reply to #5 by Stafford Gordon:

      I’m put in mind of Anthony Blair, who completely fooled yours truly.

      My mum thought him a Nice Man. But then she also rooted for the eminently sensible Mrs. Thatcher.

  4. Mikulski and the rest of the Senate may be surprised to learn that they were repeating 60-year-old justifications of Chinese medicine put forward by Chairman Mao.

    “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

  5. Naturopathic physicians can help address the shortage of primary care providers in the United States.

    And radio control plane enthusiasts can step in if we ever have a pilot shortage.

    Stupid

    adjective ˈstü-pəd, ˈstyü-

    not intelligent

    having or showing a lack of ability to learn and understand things

    not sensible or logical

    slow of mind

    given to unintelligent decisions or acts

    acting in an unintelligent or careless manner

    lacking intelligence or reason

    marked by or resulting from unreasoned thinking or acting

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