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FROM TRADITIONAL TO MODERN TIME, NATURAL MEDICINES ARE THE CHOICE FOR THE FUTURE.

The more science develops, the more humans are proud of profound knowledge about nature and conquer peaks of technology. In the context, Pharmaceutical industry plays a crux role in the mission of tending and protecting people’s health. New active pharmaceutical ingredients are continuously discovered and thoroughly studied to apply in treating several deseases of modern time such as heart deseases, diabetes, cancers, AIDS, etc. Thus, on which position do natural medicines stand to accompany with people in the struggle of pushing back ailments and approaching a joyful and healthy life?

From traditional time...............................................................Nowadays

Reviewing the milestones in the development of Pharmacy, it is recognized that natural medicines are the root of all therapies. Originally, living close to nature helped humans discover species of plants, animals or minerals having the ability to adjust some health disorders, from which the ancient people came up with the idea to use such natural agents for therapeutic purposes by simple preparation processes like decoction to achieve the extract and remove the residue. 

Such an extraction method is able to select ingredients that the human body can easily absorb, elliminate components difficultly digested by the body such as suberin, chlorophil, resin, cellulose, etc. Especially, Our ancestors found out methods to process materia medicas for medical purposes based on strict dialectical laws of nature like “The law of yin and yang and the five Taoist elements”“The theory of visceral manifestation”, according to specific physiological properties of patients, pathological features of the deseases as well as the weather of the four seasons. Many years later, thanks to the development of technology related to fundamental sciences, people found ways to extract, isolate pure compounds with high content, and more thoroughly analyze chemical structures in order to semisynthesize chemical pharmaceutical ingredients for faster therapeutic effectiveness.

From traditional time...............................................................Nowadays

From an initial mixture of active pharmaceutical ingredients, people derived only one or a couple of substances with high content for medical use, which bring about faster and stronger therapeutic effects to adjust some malfunction of certain organs and thus are highly trusted by people but cause unpredictable harmful effects by their highly selective impacts. 

However, there are also many cases that in a natural mixture, the main components effectively affecting a certain organ exist in harmony and balance with other ingredients whose effects are supportively balancing the body and reducing side effects of the main components, but in the processes of isolation and purification or semisynthesis the chemical pharmaceutical substances we have to consider trading them off. 

This is one of the reasons why using Western Medicines results in faster effects but there arise concerns about  unwanted impacts on the body, while most natural products can be used for a long period of time with no or very few risks of adverse reactions to the body.

From traditional time...............................................................Nowadays

In fact, Western Medicine also combines drugs according to their mechanism of pathogenesis to increase the therapeutic effectiveness and minimize side effects such as the treating regimen for stomachache caused by the bacteriaHelicobacter Pylori including antacids combined with antibiotics, or some treating regimens for hypertension using betablockers in combination with the anti-clotting drug aspirin and the antihyperlipidemic agent statins. Nevertheless, in Western Medicine, it is difficult to create a prescription having ingredients in balance since not conforming to the laws of nature but depending on knowledge and elaborate and costly scientific researches.

Goethe, a famous German poet once commented: My friend, all theory is grey, and green the golden tree of life”. Therefore, it doesn’t matter which theory we count on, the effectiveness certified practically is persuading and trustworthy the most. Both Oriental and Western Medicine have been clinically applied for a long period of time and on the process of amending and accomplishing. Oriental Medicine has classical remedies with long-standing experience of clinical application by famous physicians such as Liuwei bushen yin (Six ingredients including Rehmannia for tonifying kidney yin)Bawei bushen yang (Eight ingredients including Cinnamomum and Aconitum for tonifying kidney yang), etc., but in accordance with the specific situation the remedy can be adjusted to improve the effectiveness and be most advantage for the patients, similar to Western Medicine with the mechanism for treating gastric ulcer from initially only using antacids to later complementing regimens with antibiotics to kill the bacteriaHelicobacter Pylori, etc.

Based on different foundations of theory, for every situation of body malfunction, both Western and Oriental Medicine recommend different mechanisms of pathogenesis and particular treating methods. In clinical application, Western Medicine has achieved several miraculous accomplishments, helping basically deal with a host of illnesses from popular to incurable especially for surgical and acute disorders of the body. Nonetheless, it is also believed that there exist deseases for which mechanisms of Oriental Medicine tends to be more effective and results in less side effects on the body when being used in the long run.
Minh mang pill

Kidney yin
tonifying pill


Kidney yang tonifying pill
 
For example, the conceptions of the kidney in Oriental and Western Medicine are different. Western Medicine takes it for granted that the kidney plays the role of filtering the blood, excreting harmful and poisonous substances out of the body, as well as the endocrine function of adrenoglands. On the other hand, Oriental Medicine says that the kidney has a lot of important functions including excretion, endocrine, reproductive functions, energy metabolism and tonifying bones and hairs, and thus interprets several disorders of the body such as reproductive disorders like impotence in men and premenopausal syndrome in women, autonomic nervous system disorder (caused by deficiency of the kidney yin), nocturia, alopecia or premature graying of hair, all are related to the kidney and correlative remedies bring about positive effects.

As a consequence, some of OPC’s products are selected and trusted by consumers in treating such health problems: Minh mang pill, OPCalife Geng nian an tablet (Climacteric-syndrome relieving tablet), Kidneyton Liuwei bushen yin (Capsule of six ingredients including Rehmannia for tonifying kidney yin), Kidneycap Bawei bushen yang (Capsule of eight ingredients including Cinnamomum and Aconitum for tonifying kidney yang), Ha sam pill (Pill of Streptocaulon and Panax ginseng), Extracap hair blackening capsule, just to name a few.

For children who are likely to have cough because sensitive to weather and environment, in which the using of Western Medicine may negatively affect the children’s health, adopting such natural products as HoAstex or “Thuoc ho tre em OPC” (OPC’s antitussive for children) are the effective selection.

 Even in pharyngitis which sometimes accurs after some very greasy meals causing heat in the body, Western Medicine cannot reasonably interpret whereas Oriental Medicine classifies the problem as pharyngitis caused by heat and for such cases Niuhuang Jiedu Cabovis (Bezoar antidotal capsule) works well through the mechanism of clearing heat and expelling miasma, not having to use anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics of Western Medicine yet.

 

In treating sleep depravation, through combining several herbs with hypnotic and sedative effects such as Binh voi (Tuber Stephaniae glabrae), Trinh nu (Herba Mimosae pudicae), Lac tien (Herba Passiflorae), la Sen(Folium Nelumbinis), la Vong nem(Folium Erythrinae), Mimosa sedative tablet is quite a safe selection for sleep loss or difficult sleep (sleep coming late), mental asthenia, especially used as an  alternative therapy for diazepam in the patients with diazepam dependence, because abusing diazepam for a long period of time increases the risks for Alzheimer and sudden fall in the elderly. Mimosa induces comfortable sleep, not tired after waking up by resembling the natural sleep.

Oriental Medicine is highly potential, has a strict theoretical system; however, if only contented with what have been achieved, therapeutic effects of a number of remedies would still lack quantitative elements for evaluating the effectiveness.

Nowadays, modern medicine often mentions the placebo effect, that people’s beliefs in the treating methods plays a significant role in medication adherence and effectiveness of the method. With knowledgable technical staffs and modern progressive technology invested, what has OPC done to not only inherit remedies from ancient herbalists but also take advantage of accomplishments of modern science at the same time in order to strengthen beliefs of customers in therapeutic effectiveness of Oriental pharmaceutical products?

The selection and assuring long-term supply ability of input materia medica resources with high quality are the key factors making the products’ quality. Because materia medicas are special materials that are easily confused, falsified resulting from the fact that there are several different genus and species with similar or even the same appreance but significant difference in chemical compositions and therapeutic effects as a consequence; for example, the herb Trinh nu hoang cung (“The virgin in the Royal Palace”) used in the product OPCrilati gives total alkaloid strength and content of the main alkaloid Criamidin significantly differently according to the place it is raised, in Dong Nai or Tay Ninh province as an instance; and to assure the “clean herbs”, the process of collecting and storing mustn’t cause any microbial contamination, especially the fungi toxic metabolite Aflatoxin which is detrimental to the liver, or don’t use preservatives harmful to people.

 Cultivation of Kim tien thao
 in OPC Bac Giang
Cultivation of Leonurus heterophyllus in
OPC Bac Giang

OPC has carried out standardizing for the herbs, combined with analysing the appearance and typical microscopic structures of the herbs, examine the moisture content and other important specifications of the herbs. Especially, OPC has coorperated with several institutes and universities to isolate markers in the herbs, as well as use modern machine and technology to indentify and quantify ingredients and find out alient substances deceptively soaked into the herbs.

Moreover, OPC has count on impact mechanisms of Traditional Medicine and properties of botanical chemical ingredients of the materia medicas to recommend the suitable methods for processing and extracting the materials, not only according to phylosophies of Traditional Medicine but also maintaining ingredients with important effects based on pharmacology researches about the materials, and taking advantage of modern manufacturing technology to make remedies become appropriate, convenient and effective for the users.

On the other hand, OPC has coorperated with institutes and universities to examine pharmacology effects with models based on treating mechanisms of Western Medicine such as the anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anticancer, lipidemia-lowering models, etc. in an effort to affirm the safety and therapeutic effects of the materia medicas and products. One of the most typical examples is the pharmacological research to evaluate the preventing and treating effects of OPC’s Lingzi extract and Lingzi OPC soft capsule in the decrease of leukocytes resulting from chemotherapy of cancer treatment, etc.


(Lingzi in nature, Lingzi OPC, OPC’s Lingzi-Ginseng extract)

Simultaneously, thanks to the development of Epidemiology and Evidence-based Medicine, OPC has connected with large hospitals to conduct clinical research procedures according to the regulations. Most typical of all are clinical research of Fengshi OPC and Liverbil coorperated with National Institute of traditional medicine and pharmacy, and especially the clinical research of Hoastex conducted at The Children hospital 1 which is the product listed in the top best-selling products of Pharmaceutical Corporation of Vietnam for several consecutive years.

As musician Duc Huy once passionately praised the beautiful way of living: “I love all everything from the nature, all truly words, and shining days,…”, OPC- undergoing a long way of 40 years of establishment and development accompanied with the mission of caring for the public health - has been always adopting the harmonization of “Nature and life” as the guideline because it is not only a philosophy but it is also a healthy way of living in line with the natural laws to which people are approaching day by day.

From herbs which are invaluable gifts from the nature, OPC has confidently developed the essence and tradition of Vietnam medicines thanks to modern science and technology, in order to accompany with the mission of tending and protecting the public health, and has been achieving several proud achievements, proud to strongly step on the “Vietnam medicine roadmap”.

 2035   
Pharmacist Phu Tran Ho Thanh
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