Traditional Chinese medicine takes root in Brazil

International Exchanges

Medical workers and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) lovers in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, don't have to fly halfway around the globe to learn Chinese medicine anymore.

XinhuaUpdated: November 15, 2019

Medical workers and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) lovers in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil, don't have to fly halfway around the globe to learn Chinese medicine anymore.

In September, China-Brazil International Cooperation Base of Chinese Medicine Products began its trial operation in the city of Sao Paulo, the capital of the state of Sao Paulo.

The base offers Brazilian medical workers the chance to learn TCM while providing related treatment for local residents in Sao Paulo, where most people of Chinese origin live. They believe in TCM and attach much importance to the therapeutic and health-preserving functions of TCM.

The Affiliated Hospital of Gansu University of Chinese Medicine in northwest China's Gansu Province, which led the construction of the base, began preparation for its overseas base in Brazil in May 2018.

"We finalized the project plan, decided on the base site, got related business certificates and licenses done within just four months," said Zhang Xiaogang, head of the hospital.

The medical equipment was soon shipped from China to Sao Paulo. Two Chinese clinicians were also sent to work with four local staff. The test run began on Sept. 17.

So far, more than 200 patients have been treated at the base, which operates more than 20 therapeutic programs, including massage, moxibustion, cupping and scraping. More than 50 Brazilian medical workers have received training from the two Chinese doctors at the base, said Pang Yan, director of the hospital's international exchange department.

In the meantime, 20 Brazilian medical workers from local health departments, public hospitals and private clinics went to Gansu University of Chinese Medicine for a three-week training in May 2018. Paulo Cesar Varanda, with the National Health Council of Brazil, was among the trainees.

Compared to modern western medicine, TCM focuses on the prevention of illnesses and can relieve pain, which has earned trust among Brazilian people, said Paulo Cesar Varanda, adding that the professional training has helped improve his understanding of TCM.

Pang said the popularity of TCM among Brazilians shows that it has great development potential not only in Brazil but South America at large.

Gansu has a long history and culture of TCM and is renowned for abundant Chinese medicinal herbs and reputable experts in TCM. In 2019, the planting area of Chinese medicinal herbs across the province reached about 306,667 hectares.

China and Brazil are also pushing for legislation of TCM in Brazil.

"Brazil adheres to the EU standards on food and drug supervision and regulation," said Zhou Qiang, director of the base. "In many countries, however, Chinese medicinal herbs are not regarded as medicine but as a dietary supplement."

Fortunately, some progress has been made in Brazil.

In recent years, Lanzhou Foci Pharmaceuticals Co. has been actively promoting the TCM legislation and standardization by providing references for quality standards of medicinal-herb-based medicine written in the Pharmacopoeia of China and adverse drug reaction monitoring reports to the National Congress of Brazil and the country's health and drug authorities.

"We hope the departments promoting TCM legislation in Brazil can have a better understanding of TCM when they see different forms of training and proper treatment," said Pang. "I believe with efforts from both sides, the promotion work can achieve substantial progress and more people will benefit by it."