The Great Herbs: Foreign traditional Chinese medicine doctor in China
By Gao Yuxin

When thinking of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) doctors, what image comes into your mind? This doctor may challenge your assumptions! 

The doctor, who speaks fluent Chinese, is Diarra Boubacar. Hailing from the African country of Mali, he is the first foreigner to complete a PhD in TCM in China and has studied and practiced it for more than 30 years.

Boubacar initially studied general surgery, but his love of TCM led him to change course. This was the start of his TCM journey.

From reading ancient Chinese books and understanding the nature of TCM to putting theory into practice, learning TCM is not easy, and it's even more difficult for a foreigner.

But Boubacar didn't give up and put what he learned into practice. His early patients didn't believe in his medical skills, but were later attracted by his fame, as he was accepted by more and more patients.

Diarra has also worked to bring TCM to Africa and the rest of the world.

"In recent years, we can see the role of TCM in the world, especially in epidemic prevention and control. The development of TCM will also drive the development of traditional medicine around the world. Traditional Chinese medicine is borderless, regardless of cultural background," he said.

Check out the video to see Boubacar's TCM story.

About 'The Great Herbs' series:

Chinese herbal medicine is the precious legacy of the Chinese people's struggle against diseases for thousands of years and the essence of Chinese culture accumulated over this time. The "Compendium of Materia Medica," written by Li Shizhen, is a valuable heritage of ancient Chinese medicine and botany that has played a significant role in promoting the development of medicine and pharmaceuticals in China and even the world. In this series, CGTN explores some of the great herbs mentioned in the book. 

For more:

The Great Herbs: The first of China's nine immortal herbs

The Great Herbs: The buster of blood

The Great Herbs: Flowers with two colors

The Great Herbs: The king of hundreds of herbs

The Great Herbs: Ancient 'mushroom of immortality' on rotten woods

The Great Herbs: Herb with a fishy taste

The Great Herbs: Licorice 'the old man' in the kingdom of medicine

The Great Herbs: Red arrows

The Great Herbs: Heal-all herb withers in summer

The Great Herbs: From natural dye to herbal medicine

The Great Herbs: The malaria buster

The Great Herbs: Female ginseng

The Great Herbs: Medicinal value behind the beautiful flower

The Great Herbs: Miracle herbal 'sweet potato'

(The video was filmed by Wu Jinjing and edited by Gao Yuxin. Images via screenshot.)

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at

Search Trends