Tag Archives: Chinese herbal medicine

Cordyceps for stamina, against cancer

Cordyceps ophioglossoides

Cordyceps sinensis has been part of my anti-cancer formulas for many years, since Thai doctor Santi Rosswong suggested that I add it to my reishi formulas for stamina.  It appears from recent research that the herb stops cell proliferation as well.

Cordyceps is a strange herb, a fungus that colonizes then kills an insect, as shown in a BBC  video (with one of the other 680 described cordyceps species found on 6 continents.)  When the Cordyceps sinensis fungus attacks a Continue reading Cordyceps for stamina, against cancer

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Endometriosis and Chinese Medicine

Endometriosis of Abdominal Wall

Endometriosis is a painful condition where the tissue normally inside of the womb, the endometrium, is found in other parts of the body. The endometrial cells build up blood for pregnancy, which is shed during menstruation. However if this tissue is found outside of the womb, it can cause bleeding in areas where blood is not supposed to be shed and it can cause major pain and inflammation. Typically Continue reading Endometriosis and Chinese Medicine

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Don’t Use Echinacea for This Season’s Flu

echinaceaIt looks like last year’s rather mild flu may turn more virulent this season.  It already is killing large numbers of people in unusual ways, especially those of Asian or Native American descent.  The most vulnerable seem to be not the aged or the young, but healthy young adults.  And it has killed people during the summer, a time when influenza deaths are all but unheard of. The 1918 flu pandemic which killed millions worldwide started out mild too.

If the flu acts like the 1918 pandemic, it will cause a cytokine storm, where your immune system can overreact, rapidly killing you.  In cases like this you do not want to use immune system stimulants like echinacea.  You are better off with Vitamin D and immune modulators which will not hype up your system if you don’t need it. Continue reading Don’t Use Echinacea for This Season’s Flu

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How Chinese Herbs Help the Heart

This study only looks at one mechanism, but it is quite interesting, and found that Chinese herbal patents (OTC herbal formulas, confusingly referred to as “TCMs”) helped produce nitric oxide to widen blood vessels.  heart zoomAll of the herbal patents tested reveal nitric oxide bioactivity. Many of the TCM extracts contain a nitrite reductase activity greater by 1000 times that of biological tissues.

Scientists help explain effects of ancient Chinese herbal formulas on heart health

New research at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston suggests that ancient Chinese herbal formulas used primarily for cardiovascular indications including heart disease may produce large amounts of artery-widening nitric oxide. Findings of the preclinical study by scientists in the university’s Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases (IMM) appear in the Sept. 15 print issue of the journal Free Radical Biology & Medicine. Continue reading How Chinese Herbs Help the Heart

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The Sweet Herbal Blog Party

Each month herbalists are encouraged to submit articles to the Herbal Blog Parties, hosted by various herbalists.  The August party had as its theme sweet ways to use herbs, including herbal honey’s, glycerites, elixirs, electuaries, melomels and the like.  If you need definitions, go down to Kiva Rose’s article which has an overview.

Kiva'w Wild Rose Tincture
Kiva's Wild Rose Tincture

While we generally want to keep sugars low in our diet, there are legitimate uses for sweet herbs.  Sugar in its various forms is used in a variety of traditional medicines.  In Chinese medicine it strengthens the Spleen/pancreas function (in judicious quantities) and formulas often use dates, honey, longan fruit, or licorice to engage the digestive function.  Ayurveda makes medicinal honey and ghee preparations like Chayawanprash. Continue reading The Sweet Herbal Blog Party

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Turmeric, Sweet Turmeric

Turmeric is  an extraordinary herb.  An orangey-yellow root that looks something like a riotous ginger, turmeric is beloved in Indian culture for its abilities to soothe the GI tract, reduce inflammation, stop bleeding and fight infection.  In China, huang jian “yellow ginger” is used to move qi and blood and to stop internal wind, which means it is a great circulatory tonic while being antispasmodic, valuable properties for arthritis indeed!Turmeric root

By itself turmeric is bitter, dry, spicy, and warming.  Dry turmeric is more warming and somewhat less aromatic than the fresh root that I find in Indian grocery stores but both are strongly anti-inflammatory and I find tinctures made with dried root to be stronger. Continue reading Turmeric, Sweet Turmeric

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Erectile Dysfunction and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Erectile dysfunction can be discouraging for men at any stage of life.  Side effects  like Viagra headaches, interactions between ED drugs and statins or anti-arthritic drugs, and the potential blindness for those who suffer from macular degeneration or diabetes may mean that alternative strategies should be considered.

An article in the Shandong Journal of Chinese Medicine,  titled, “A Clinical Audit of 58 Patients with Erectile Dysfunction Treated with the Methods of Fortifying the Spleen & Supplementing the Kidneys,” showed that Chinese herbal medicine can be quite effective at improving erectile dysfunction from a variety of causes.worried_man28

Fifty-eight men from their 20s to 70s with ED lasting from 1 to over 5 years were given herbal formulas made of codonopsis, astragalus, dioscorea,  rhemannia, attractylodes, poria, eucommia, morinda, epimedium, goji fruit, praying mantis egg cases, scolopenda, actinolitum, cyperus tuber and cistanches.  Dianthus, patrinus and another dioscorea were added for those who also had prostatitis, for a 20 day course of treatment.  When evaluated, 46 out of 58 patients were judged cured, 10 improved, and two got no effect, for a total effectiveness rate of 96.5%.

According to Dr. Wang, ED is primarily due to weakness in the functions of the Kidney and Spleen meridians, which are not identical to the functions of the organs in western medicine.  Kidney meridian function is a major player in sexual activity, and can be inherently weak or exhausted by excessive use.  Stress can cause Spleen qi deficiency.  Further Spleen qi depends upon the warming of Kidney yang, and if the Kidney function is weak, it will fail to nourish the penis with qi and blood.  So the herbs were chosen to reinforce those functions of Chinese medicine, with the result that  most men responded favorably.

Issue #7, 2004 of the Shandong Journal of Chinese Medicine pp 415-416, Wang Wei-ping, “A Clinical Audit of 58 Patients with Erectile Dysfunction Treated with the Methods of Fortifying the Spleen & Supplementing the Kidneys.” Translated by Bob Flaws.  http://www.goldenneedleonline.com/blog/?p=33

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Chinese Medicine Treats Seizures in Dogs

Only veterinary acupuncturists can work on animals, but acupuncture works on seizures in both people and animals.  In fact Chinese Medicine is very good on neurological problems.dog-cat2

Chinese Veterinary Medicine Aids Seizures

By Dr. Connie Clemons-Chevis
McClatchy Newspapers
Sunday, July 5, 2009

There are many causes for seizures in animals. The overall incidence of seizures in dogs is estimated at 1 percent, but goes up to 15-20 percent in purebred dogs. Continue reading Chinese Medicine Treats Seizures in Dogs

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The Energetics of Emotional Eating

I was listening to Jeffrey Yuen speak about how heat turns into  fire toxins unless the body damps it down, and it suddenly hit me why people with long term heating emotions might eat the way they do.

In Chinese medicine, the seven emotions are considered causes of disease.  If you are feeling chronically stressed or anxious, it can cause a condition of internal heat in the body.   Heat can turn into fire, which can harass the heart, causing anger or mental illness, depending upon the situation.  Fire, if unaddressed, can turn to fire toxin, a truly toxic situation that can lead to abscesses, ulcerations and even cancers.

What does the body do to prevent this?  Fire can be cooled, but the human body lacks internal refrigeration.  So the more likely response is to dampen the fire with fluids.  Fluids in the body are generated primarily by food and drink.

And what kinds of foods do we look for when we eat emotionally?  Sweets, breads, chocolate, ice cream, perhaps with a glass of milk- all the foods that tend to generate dampness when consumed.  We rarely have cravings for bell peppers or mustard greens or shitake mushrooms when we are comfort_foodemotionally spent.

Continue reading The Energetics of Emotional Eating

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New Herb for Weight Loss

turmeric-rootTurmeric has been used as a major anti-inflammatory herb, and is considered a panacea herb in Ayurveda. Now research, both in vitro and in vivo, shows that it may have another benefit. The May, 2009 issue of the Journal of Nutrition reported the discovery of researchers at Tufts University in Boston that that mice given curcumin experienced a reduction in the formation of fat tissue and the blood vessels that feed it. Curcumin is the major polyphenol in the spice turmeric.

Continue reading New Herb for Weight Loss

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What is Fatty Liver and How Can Chinese Medicine Help?

fatty_liver_diseaseFatty liver is now recognized as the most common cause of abnormal liver function tests in the western world. Around one in five persons in the USA has a fatty liver and it is poised to be as big a disease as diabetes.  Fatty liver is usually associated with abdominal obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.  Fatty liver may be associated with or may lead to inflammation of the liver. This can cause scarring and hardening of the liver. When scarring becomes extensive, it is called cirrhosis, and this is a very serious condition which can lead to liver failure. Continue reading What is Fatty Liver and How Can Chinese Medicine Help?

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Darwinian Disease: What is the Adaptive Value of Illness?

We all know people who push themselves until they collapse with a flu, or who suddenly come down with a disease when faced with a wedding where they would come face to face with an ex.  We have seen people with chronic stress develop autoimmune disease or chronic fatigue.  Perhaps disease is the body’s way of dealing with stresses that might otherwise overwhelm it.  Perhaps we should reconsider the adaptive value of disease.

In febrile disease we should look at the value of fever and how it can help.  In children over one year of age, fever has the value of increasing the temperature to fight the pathogens, making the child tired enough to get sleep and to challenge the immune system and strengthen it.  So what should the strategy be?  Continue reading Darwinian Disease: What is the Adaptive Value of Illness?

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Chinese Herbal Medicine Used in Outer Space

The Shenzhou Vll spacecraft successfully lifted off from China carrying traditional Chinese herbal medicine to prevent the astronauts (taikonauts) from getting motion sickness.  taikanauts-to-take-herbal-medicine

Taikong Yangxin, or “space heart-nourishing” capsules, are “made of more than 10 types of Chinese herbs and have proven to be effective in improving the astronaut’s cardiovascular condition,” according to Li Yongzhi, director of the medical arm of the country’s astronaut training centre.

She told Xinhua News Agency that TCM pills are superior to western motion sickness cures because they do not have side-effects.  The herbs will be taken in granule form which can be diluted with water and taken to treat motion sickness during the space flight.

Astronauts Yang Liwei, Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng, who flew in 2003 and 2005, took the herbal medicines before and after their spaceflight but not during it.

Li said the pills on the spacecraft will be particularly useful for the two astronauts who are schehawthornduled to carry out the extra-vehicular activities. “The medicine will boost their physical conditions and improve their adaptability in an extreme environment,” she said.

Li said that the herbal pills, which have previously been found effective in rats, will be mass-produced for market sales in the future.  Ingredients have not been disclosed but it is likely that they contain ginger and Chinese hawthorn.

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