I spent two years working on a book about Dr. Li’s work, Food Allergies: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western Science, and the Search for a Cure. The cover image of Yin and Yang sums up the contributions of both. On one side we have the Yin -- TCM -- which has produced herb-based medicine with powerful mitigating and curative effects. Dr. Li’s Food Allergy Herbal Formula-2 is based on a “classical” treatment for intestinal parasites. But laboratory science is the Yang, which shows how that medicine can retrain the immune system to not be allergic anymore. The person who made this happen is Dr. Li, whom I call the Rosetta Stone of medicine for being able to make this leap. The drug is now the most advanced investigational alternative drug in the history of the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Li’s Mount Sinai colleague Scott Sicherer, MD, points out that the Western model is to test one molecule’s effects on one other molecule, whereas in TCM we can study how multiple molecules can affect multiple other ones. Thus, we may be entering a new era of medical research based on Chinese medicine. Already, these herbs have spawned research into asthma, environmental allergies, Crohn’s disease, organ transplantation, and even cancer.
Is this a revolution in medicine? I hope so, and I have had the good luck and privilege to tell this story.
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