Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Chinese traditional medicine

Traditional Chinese medicine is based on ancient Chinese practices and includes acupuncture, tai chi, herbal medicines and various other mind body practices.

Chinese medicine treatments such as acupuncture (if performed with sterile, single use needles), qi gong, and tai chi are generally considered safe. Some herbs used in Chinese herbal products may be safe but others may not be. Some can interact with medicines and have serious side effects. Always inform your doctor if you are taking Chinese herbal products.

For most conditions there are not enough clinical trials to know if traditional Chinese medicine methods are effective. 

Follow the links below to find trusted information about Chinese traditional medicine. 

Last reviewed: July 2016

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 13 results

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. It involves inserting fine needles into specific points on the skin or applying various other techniques to the acupuncture points to restore balance and encourage the body to heal itself.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Acupuncture for schizophrenia | Cochrane

Although acupuncture or Traditional Chinese Medicine has been practised for over 2000 years in China and the Far East, especially in Korea and Japan, it is a relatively new form of treament for physical and psychological conditions in the West. Acupuncture inserts needles into the skin to stimulate specific points of the body (acupoints). The aim is to achieve balance and harmony of the body.

Read more on Cochrane (Australasian Centre) website

Chinese medicinal herbs for sore throat | Cochrane

Sore throat is a widespread acute respiratory tract illness which affects all age groups. In China, many Chinese herbal medicines are used to treat this illness. Because the majority of clinical research into traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) as a treatment for sore throat failed to meet world standards of clinical research reporting, the authors could not recommend any preparation or formulation for clinical use in the previous published version.

Read more on Cochrane (Australasian Centre) website

Acupuncture for chronic asthma | Cochrane

Acupuncture is a treatment originating from traditional Chinese medicine. It consists of the stimulation of defined points on the skin (mostly by insertion of needles). The objective of this review was to assess whether there is evidence from randomised controlled trials that asthma patients benefit from acupuncture. The studies included in the review were of variable quality and had inconsistent results. Future research should concentrate on establishing whether there is a non-specific component of acupuncture which benefits recipients of treatment. There should be an assessment not merely of placebo treatment, but also of 'no treatment' as well. There is insufficient evidence to make recommendations about the value of acupuncture as a treatment for asthma based on current evidence.

Read more on Cochrane (Australasian Centre) website

Acupuncture for mumps in children | Cochrane

Acupuncture has been used to treat children with mumps for hundreds of years in China. Benefits attributed to acupuncture include decreased swelling and pain, and shortening of the disease duration. According to traditional Chinese medicine, health is achieved by maintaining an uninterrupted flow of Qi, or energy, along 14 meridians. Mumps is caused by 'wind warmth evil' (epidemic heat) and 'pyretic toxicity' accumulated in the Shaoyang and Yangming meridians, thus the flow of Qi, sputum and 'heat evil' stagnate in and around the ears and the cheeks. Acupuncture can help expel 'wind warmth evil', clear pathogenic heat, remove toxic substances, act as an anti-inflammatory, alleviate pain and re-establish the normal flow of Qi, thus restoring internal balance.

Read more on Cochrane (Australasian Centre) website

Acupuncture for depression | Cochrane

Depression is widely experienced in our communities. In clinical depression, people report a lack of interest in life and activities which they otherwise normally enjoy. This can be accompanied by other symptoms including weight loss, over-eating, feelings of uselessness, sleep disturbance, self neglect and social withdrawal, insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much), loss of energy, low self esteem and poor concentration.

Read more on Cochrane (Australasian Centre) website

Medicines and poisons

When medicines and poisons are used properly they can be of great help, for example in treating illness, controlling agricultural pests and making effective household cleaning products

Read more on WA Health website

Using medicines

Medicines are an important part of healthcare. Here are some useful links to help you with your use of medicines

Read more on Consumers Health Forum of Australia website

Complementary Treatment Approaches for Eating Disorders

There are many other treatment approaches that people with eating disorders have found helpful in their process of treatment and recovery.

Read more on NEDC - National Eating Disorders Collaboration website

Endometriosis fact sheet | Women's Health Queensland Wide

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to that which normally lines the uterus grows in other parts of the body. Studies suggest that it affects 5 10% of menstruating women in Australia.

Read more on Women's Health Queensland Wide website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback