Valienska Magfira

Progressiveness in Traditional Chinese Medicine

The age old debate around Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is that its a form of alternative medicine that has been practiced since ancient times. There is little to no scientific evidence of the medicinal benefits it provides yet so many confidently stand by it. And pragmatically speaking, if people feel like it works, who are we to say that it’s nonsense?



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Tiger Penis by Kuang-Yi Ku -

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The longevity of TCM despite going through tough times over the years, suggests that it should be protected as an intangible cultural heritage! But controversy enters this story when parts of endangered animals are the primary ingredients to these traditional medicines. Thus, alternatives are much needed, but these have not really been appreciated by the TCM community.

If the resources for TCM continue to decline, it’s possible that TCM will have to resort to new technological alternatives. Artist Kuang-Yi Ku offers an interesting approach to the future of TCM and infuses traditional practices and principles with the procedures of synthetic biology. This is illustrated with his version of the Tiger Penis, a product out of synthetic biology that aims to stimulate virility based on the combination of the virility attributes of octopus tentacles, oysters, and tiger penises. Based on the procedures of Kuang-Yi Ku’s Tiger Penis, one can argue that its a hybridisation of Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine. The question now is, will his changes to TCM still be considered as alternative medicine?