How Japanese view herbal medicine


Have you ever been to a Chinese Medicine doctor? graph of japanese statisticsThe web site Kampodesk, a Chinese (herbal) medicine (called “kampo” in Japan) information site, conducted a survey into the image of Chinese medicine.


Between the 23rd and 26th of January 2015 853 users of the web site Kampo Desk completed a private internet-based questionnaire. 3% of the sample were 19 or under, 37% aged between 20 and 34 years old, 48% between 35 and 49 years old, 10% between 50 and 64 years old, and 1% aged 65 years old or more.

Given the site doing the survey, there is most likely going to be a bias towards favouring Chinese medicine, and of course the questions will be chosen to give a favourable image of Chinese medicine.

For me, I think it is mostly quackery, and some of the stuff which might have science behind it would be better served by real medicine with exact dose measures, not imprecise “natural” cures. I’ve been prescribed some foul-tasting powder once or twice, but I couldn’t help noticing a real pill mixed in that perhaps supported the placebo effect.

Research results

Q1: Do you know of a Chinese Medicine doctor near your home? (Sample size=853)


Q2: Have you ever been to a Chinese Medicine doctor? (Sample size=853)

Yes (to SQ1)24%
No (to SQ2)76%

Q2SQ1: What was your impression of the Chinese Medicine doctors you have visited? (Sample size=205, multiple answer)

They listened closely to what I had to say10752%
Overall they were very polite8140%
They explained fully about my illness, medicine6331%
They didn’t really explain much, didn’t understand them4723%
Not as dodgy as I thought it would have been3216%
Method of diagnosis was surprising2713%
Method of diagnosis was surprising ordinary2311%
They didn’t listen to me, but instead pushed treatment on me63%
Overall they were impolite52%
Dodgier than I thought42%

Q2SQ2: Would you want to visit a Chinese Medicine doctor? (Sample size=648)

Yes (to SQ4)83%
No (to SQ3, SQ4)17%

Q2SQ3: Why don’t you want to visit a Chinese Medicine doctor? (Sample size=116, multiple answer)

Fees seem expensive9279%
Don’t know whether I can use health insurance5749%
Too busy so don’t have time4337%
Just seems dodgy2723%
Don’t have any particular health problems1715%
Already getting treatment from another clinic109%

Q2SQ4: Why haven’t you visited a Chinese Medicine doctor? (Sample size=684, multiple answer)

Don’t know where any clinics are36954%
Too busy so don’t have time11717%
Fees are expensive10115%
Don’t have any particular health problems9314%
Already got treatment from another clinic335%
Clinic was busy so I couldn’t make an appointment132%

Q3: Do you have a regular (family doctor/GP-like) Chinese Medicine doctor? (Sample size=205 (?not clear))


Q4: What image do you have of Chinese Medicine doctors? (Sample size=853, multiple answer)

They listen closely to what I had to say25029%
Can talk to them about anything20524%
Just seems dodgy14317%
Can also handle difficult patients12114%

Q5: What expectations do you have for Chinese Medicine doctors? (Sample size=853, multiple answer)

Appropriate diagnosis and selection of correct medicine44652%
Advice for everyday life29535%
Regular check-ups in the role of a family doctor24128%
Explanation of Chinese medicine, treatment method, etc21826%
Second opinion for Western medicine diagnosis17821%
Handling of cancer and other problematic diseases476%
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