Zhang Boli, president of China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, said 70 percent of TCM practitioners based outside the country are non-Chinese. Also, 70 percent of patients seeking TCM therapies abroad are also non-Chinese.
However, TCM is not fully realized abroad because some countries regulate herbs with medicinal properties -- widely used in TCM preparations -- as dietary supplements instead of medicines. As a result, some overseas TCM clinics can not prescribe medicines to patients.
Richard Angus, who runs a TCM clinic near a university-affiliated sport center in Cardiff, Wales is affected by such regulations.
Unable to prescribe medicines, Angus uses acupuncture and massage to treat sport-related injuries.
"Some herbs with a bitter and astringent taste can help clear excessive heat in our body," Angus said. "But I can't prescribe them to patients."
To address this problem, China has been working with international organizations to standardize TCM in terms of informatics, the quality and processes in medicine production and devices used in TCM treatment.
China's five-year plan for the period of 2011 to 2015 also seeks to enhance the global profile of TCM and its use outside the country.
In 2009, the International Organization of Standardization established a technical committee to standardize Chinese medicines in terms of terminology, quality and production of herbal ingredients and medical devices such as acupuncture needles.
Also that year, the 62nd World Health Assembly adopted a resolution on traditional medicine, urging member states to promote appropriate, safe and effective use of traditional medicine and integrate it into countries' primary health care systems.
"All these efforts are signs of progress," He said. "The standardization and concretization of TCM will make it better understood and practiced around the world."
Traditional Chinese Medicine