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Americans distrusting Big Pharma seek traditional Chinese cures

Amid opioid epidemic, US practitioners promote herbs and acupuncture for pain relief

A specialist at Chinese herbal dispensary Kamwo rations out herbs. (Photo by Ariana King)

NEW YORK — When uninitiated Americans think of traditional Chinese medicine, their first thoughts might be of an elderly Asian man performing acupuncture behind a curtain, or someone’s grandmother dishing out a questionable concoction of pungent herbs.

But the contrast between the old images and current reality is as different as yin and yang, as mass-produced herbal remedies can be ordered at the click of an app by Western practitioners of Eastern medicine who may have never set foot in Asia.

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