A Detailed Discussion about the Philosophy & Culture of Traditional Chinese Medicine


in this episode

In this episode we sit down with a Practitioner and Researcher from China who has dedicated herself to fully understanding the manufacturing of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and what lies ahead for this critical pillar of Chinese culture.

If you are wondering what TCM is, you’re not alone.  We begin the discussion by breaking down the philosophy behind TCM and how it is used in China today.  In fact, you’ve likely used TCM-based approaches to healing in the past. Be it from acupuncture, or more likely using tea, herbs, and rest to treat the common cold.  TCM takes a holistic approach to healing the body and offers a lot of benefits.

However, TCM also utilizes a lot of animal products, particularly products derived from wildlife or wildlife farming.  And while this makes up a small percentage of TCM remedies, which are predominately plant and herb based, it’s massive scale in China and globally makes this small percentage highly problematic to the trafficking of wildlife and unethical practices such as captive breeding.

In order to discuss these things, we needed to talk to someone directly from China who works in the field.  We need to understand the culture of TCM and to talk openly and honestly about how to make it more environmentally and ethically sound.  You’ll learn a lot from this episode.


3:15 – Meet Wei

3:45- Understanding TCM and why you probably have practiced it

7:30 – How does TCM compare to religion vs. medical science?

12:00 – TCM vs. Western Medicine applications in China

14:02 – Wei’s personal relationship with TCM

17:30 – The use of wildlife products in TCM

24:50 – A growing divide of animal product usage within the TCM community

32:25 – Unpacking the Chinese approved COVID treatment using bear bile

35:00 – Would TCM spread globally better without animal usage?

38:15 – TCM is based on energy balance to overly simplified, so how do TCM loyalists make sense of our imbalance with the natural world?

41:40 – Comparing TCM animal usage to Livestock Farming

48:10 – Changing Culture

58:20 – The importance for Americans and Chinese to have a relationship built on trust to tackle the most important issues