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NAME Paweena Chongrungsakulroj (Noon)

STUDENT ID 6161056

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Unit 4 Research Report

Health and Medicine:

Is oriental medicine (traditional Chinese medicine) more medically
effective to cure diabetes than orthodox western medicine?

Paweena Chongrungsakulroj (Noon)

Teacher Mr Matt Allsopp
School Mahidol University International Demonstration School


Introduction 3

Methodology 3-4

Findings and Discussion 4-5

Conclusion 5

References 6


Appendix A 7

Appendix B

Appendix C 9

Appendix D 9

Appendix E 10-11


Do you know that needles inserting through the skin is one type of medical

treatments to cure diabetes? In fact, the injection originated from Traditional Chinese

Medicine that has evolved for more than thousand years along with Conventional

Western Medicine but the latter has obviously been predominant. However, nowadays

the emerging trend suggests that patients suffering from diabetes have started

consulting unorthodox doctors practicing and a number of organizations are more prone

to supporting alternative healing methods such as acupuncture, herbal therapy,

moxibustion or cupping. Since there has been global debates over which treatments are

better than the other, this research will clarify side effects associated with the

aforementioned methods and suggest the more effective cure for diabetes.


Methodology in this section encompasses both surveys and interviews in order to

obtain the most reliable results. Firstly, scope of the survey and area of focus are

clarified, followed by the reasons for selecting the data collection method.

The sample selection of the survey was 40 students, half of which were from

grade 10 and the other half were grade 11, and 5 MUIDS teachers. Because these

samples were not intimately familiar with medical studies, the answers derived from

them might sound generic and, somehow, incorrect. However, some of them might be

considered useful information in the other perspective different from that of medically

qualified professionals and shed some light in medical treatment. Such data will be

compiled and analyzed in association with the data collected from medical students.

According to Nature International Journal of Science, the number of TCM

proponents has been steadily increasing, including WHO and president xijinping, because

of its numerous medical applications that are able to cure myriad disorders including

diabetes. However, many physicians doubt that the various components of TCM might be

potentially dangerous. (Grollman, 2009) Because of this controversial issue, I decided to

carry out this research to explore thoroughly. Data were collected by both interview and

survey in order to provide knowledge adequately conclusive to make deductions and

produce reliable research findings.

This research proposal embraces a survey and qualitative approach to collect the

data because a wide range of data can be collected from the experts and ordinary

samples in a deeper manner as interview allows for respondents to provide explanations

of their opinions towards the subjects surveyed. The online questionnaire, in the Google

form, used for survey is in multiple-choice questions for ordinary samples, as shown in

(Appendix A), while the interview form via Line, to obtain deeper information from the

medical experts, are provided in (Appendix B).

Findings and discussion

In this section, the results from surveys and interviews will be analyzed. Firstly,

the surveys can conclude that the majority of respondents strongly believe that western

medicine (WM) is better than traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), because the former is

more reliable, effective and provide more research paper. (Appendix B).

In fact, TCM usually uses various herbs in order to lessen the glucose levels. The

most prominent example is momordica charantia, which has been used in China to cure

diabetes by inhibiting the absorption of carbohydrates from the intestinal tract.

(Welihinda, 1986)

The research suggests that though TCM is usually safe, they are not as potent as

WM. But the latter, at the same time, carries more hazardous side effects. To treat the

diabetes, the insulin is injected through bloodstream for controlling the sugar level. This

method is highly effective but if overdosed patients will develop hypoglycemia, leading to

death. The chart demonstrated (Appendix C) that WM yields more side effects than TCM.

These results agree with other research that I did. The percentage of patients that are

treated and having side effects by using WM and TCM are 20% and 5%, respectively.

(Wong, 1993)

Carrying less harmful side effects, TCM is, however, prone to be less effective

than WM. This study is actually similar to the survey collected in (Appendix D). Plus, the

University of Maryland asserted that none of the TCM practices could reach the standard

quality leading to the poor effectiveness of itself. (Cyranoski, 2018) Nevertheless, in

order to maximize the effectiveness in curing patients, TCM and WM should be applied

hand in hand so that their efficacies could complement each other’s (Wang, 2016). One

of the medical respondents also proposed that both types of medication should be

applied together along with the change of patient’s behavior, which is the most

significant part of the treatment (Appendix E). However, the respondent is a western

medical student who can give the biased answers. So, if I had a chance to continue

working on this, I would like to investigate more on TCM experts to get the unbiased


In sum, TCM is having less side effects than WM. However, it also has less

effective than the latter. So, both of them should be used together to complete the

missing piece.


Neither TCM nor WM is better than one another because they all have both

advantages and disadvantages. Hence, both of them should be employed together to

maximize the effectiveness in curing patients. In my opinion, I could access to the

crucial information about the side effects of both types of treatment. However, the

survey could be improved by adding more open-ended questions in order to obtain

deeper information from respondents’ points of view.


Cyranoski. D. (2018). Why Chinese Medicine is heading for clinics around the world.

Retrieved from

Grollman. A. P. (2009). Chapter 7 Aristolochic Acid Nephropathy: An Environmental and

Iatrogenic Disease. Retrieved from

Wang. Y. (2016). The Effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Treating Patients

with Leukemia. Retrieved from

Welihinda. J. (1986). Effect of Momordica charantia on the glucose tolerance in maturity

onset diabetes. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Retrieved from

Wong. T. W., Wong. L. S. and Donnan. P.B. (1993). Traditional Chinese medicine and

Western medicine in Hong Kong: A comparison of the consultation processes and side

effects. Retrieved from




Appendix A - Questions from the Survey

Appendix B - Questions from the Survey

Appendix C - Statistics Data from the Internet

Appendix D - Questions from the Survey

Appendix E – Medical Student Interview

A medical student (year 5) Mr. Sethakij Posirisuk

Translated from Thai language

Me: What is diabetes?

Mr.Sethakij: Diabetes is the condition in which the body of a person has a high

amount of sugar in the bloodstream. In general people, if the body

has high blood sugar, it may result in signs of various dangers such

as frequent urination, slow healing wounds, numbness, and fatigue.

Me: Can diabetes be cured and how is it cured?

Mr.Sethakij: For the treatment of diabetes, initially, types of diabetes can be

divided into 2 main categories: 1. DM type I 2. DM type II which

are different in the process. If it is the first type, a protein builder

storing no sugar (insulin) from birth, it can be treated by injecting

insulin into the blood to help store sugar but if it is type II, the

insulin in the body is normal. But there is no insulin receptor to

work, still can be solved by using drugs that able to increase the

response to insulin. In summary, both types can be modified

together with the patient helping to control food intake.

Me: Do you think that traditional Chinese medicine can treat diabetes?

Mr.Sethakij: Chinese medicine is considered a modern medicine that is highly

regarded. But I think that there is not enough research to support

that Chinese medicine treatment, such as acupuncture can cure

diseases like diabetes.

Me: Which type of medicine do you think having less side effects

Mr.Sethakij: Modern medicine has many side effects. Well, actually, neither TCM

nor WM can be comparable.

Me: Do you think that these two treatments should be used together?

Mr.Sethakij: Agree because some modern medicine doctors are unable to

maintain 100 percent of curing. The opening of new things may

help to continue to build on what we have. So, TCM only needs

more research in order to guarantee its effectiveness.