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|The rest of the
lecture is organized primarily into five parts. The first section gives a brief
introduction of how Chinese herbal medicines (CHM) are used worldwide, including the long
history of their popularity in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Also provided is the
basic definition of the Chinese herbs used in China.
The second section deals principally with their toxicological or side effects, which are much overlooked, especially by lay consumers. In TCM, herbal products are used primarily for medicinal purposes. Like all other substances, they could potentially produce side effects if used improperly or for a long enough time.
Beyond the therapeutic effects, many Chinese herbs have nutritional values which again are often neglected. Their beneficial effects on health prevention and health maintenance are the focus of the third section.
In the fourth section, some controversies surrounding the use of Chinese herbs are highlighted. It is primarily due to these controversies that a great number of people are still quite skeptical about the merits of alternative remedies prepared from these herbs.
The lecture then closes with a quick look at the worldwide academic institutes and research programs that are now in place to advance the use of CHM.