Asian Ginseng is one of the most highly regarded of herbal medicines in the Orient, where it has gained an almost magical reputation for being able to promote health, general body vigour, to prolong life and treat many ailments including depression, diabetes, fatigue, ageing, inflammations, internal degeneration, nausea, tumours, pulmonary problems, dyspepsia, vomiting, nervousness, stress, and ulcers.
Asian Ginseng has a history of herbal use going back over 5,000 years. It is one of the most highly regarded of herbal medicines in the Orient, where it has gained an almost magical reputation for being able to promote health, general body vigour and also to prolong life. The genus name Panax is derived from the Greek word meaning "panacea" or "all-healing"; the species ginseng is said to mean "wonder of the world". Both terms refer to the medicinal virtues of the plant. In the last decade it has gained popularity in the West and there is extensive literature on the beneficial effects of ginseng and its constituents.
Panax Ginseng is thought to be even more beneficial when taken with Ginkgo Biloba.
Ginseng has been listed by some as useful in the treatment of anemia, cancer, depression, diabetes, fatigue, hypertension, insomnia, shock, effects of radiation, effects of morphine and cocaine use, environmental, physical and mental stress, and chronic illness. It has been said to act as a stimulant, promote endurance, increase life expectancy, relax the nervous system, improve mental awareness, encourage proper hormonal functions, improve lipid levels, lower cholesterol, improve nerve growth, and increase resistance to disease. It has been used to increase the appetite and bodily energy, regulate menses, ease childbirth, increase fertility of women, and treat periodontal disease
Research has shown that ginseng may have the ability to act as an "adaptogen", prolonging life by combating viral infections and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Research continues to support ginseng's protective role against anti-cancer treatments and drugs, perhaps even countering the side effects of chemotherapy.
There is some thought that ginseng may be useful for the prevention of abuse and dependence of opioids and psychostimulants.
Ginseng has been used to both stimulate and relax the nervous system. It increases capillary circulation in the brain and decreases the effects of stress. Though there are many kinds of ginsengs in the world but they cannot rival Asian Ginseng in ingredients and medicinal effects. It contains as many as 29 different ginsenosides while the others contains 8-9.
Asian Ginseng contains anti-ageing substances such as anti-oxidants and insulin-like substances which are not found in any other type of ginseng.
Ginsenosides are a diverse group of steroidal saponins, which demonstrate the ability to target a myriad of tissues, producing an array of pharmacological responses. However, many mechanisms of ginsenoside activity still remain unknown. Since ginsenosides and other constituents of ginseng produce effects that are different from one another, and a single ginsenoside initiates multiple actions in the same tissue, the overall pharmacology of ginseng is remains remarkably complex and esoteric.
In western herbal medicine, Panax ginseng's regulating effects on the immune system have been studied for potential effectiveness in preventing colds, flu, and some forms of cancer. In clinical studies, Panax Ginseng has been shown to lower blood levels of both sugar and cholesterol, therefore it may help treat type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol. Its other potential uses are not as well defined, however. In separate studies of laboratory animals and humans, Panax ginseng had a relaxing effect on muscles in the lungs. The resulting airway expansion may help relieve asthma symptoms and other lung conditions that result from constricted airways.
In other studies, a combination of Panax Ginseng and gingko biloba is believed to boost memory and thinking processes. Early results from laboratory study may show that chemicals in Panax ginseng promote the growth of blood vessels, which could be valuable in treating extensive injuries.
Recent reports on the pharmacology of ginseng indicate a wide range of effects, including influence on the central nervous system, endocrine and adrenocortical systems, internal, organs, metabolism, blood pressure and sugar, gonadotropic activity, cellular ageing, tumours, and stress. Ginseng appears to relieve stress, increase sexual activity, and facilitate mating in laboratory animals. The herb has been reported to be effective in prolonging survival time during cardiac arrest. It is reported to show hypoglycemic activity. Asian Ginseng has also been identified to protect the testis against 2,3,7,8-tetrachloro-di-benzo-di-p-DIOXIN inducing testicular damage. This particular dioxin is the most dangerous of perhaps the most toxic chemical group known to science. Dioxins are known to cause cancer in humans.
Other data shows it works not only in preventing adult diseases including cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and impotence but can also aid in treatment.
German Commission E monograph and WHO support the use of ginseng as a prophylactic and restorative agent for enhancement of mental and physical capacities, in cases of weakness, exhaustion, tiredness, and loss of concentration, and during convalescence (WHO, 1999). In general, ginseng is used as a tonic, stimulant, aphrodisiac, immune booster, blood pressure modulator (lowers and raises, depending on needs), and a modulator of blood sugar level (lowers or raise, depending on needs).
Ginseng Herb Notes
Asian Ginseng, Chinese Ginseng, Guigai, Jiln Ginseng, Korean Ginseng, Ninjin, Oriental Ginseng, Panax schinseng, Red Ginseng, Ren Shen, Seng, Shen Lu, Shen Ts'Ao, Tane-Ninzin
adaptogen, alterative, anti-complement, auto-immune stimulant, anti-oxidant, anti-tumour, anti-viral, aphrodisiac, carminative, demulcent, emetic, expectorant, nervine, phagocytic, psychotropic, somnogenic, stimulant, stomachic, tonic.
Atherosclerosis, adrenal insufficiency, ageing, anemia, cancer, chronic illness, depression, diabetes, dyspepsia, effects of radiation, effects of morphine and cocaine use, encouraging proper hormonal function, fatigue, heart problems, hypertension, impotence, increasing energy, infertility, inflammation, improving abstract thinking, reaction times and mental awareness, improving lipid levels, improving nerve growth, increasing life expectancy, increasing resistance to disease, insomnia, internal degeneration, lowering cholesterol, mental wellbeing, nausea, nervousness, periodontal disease, physical wellbeing, poor memory, poor circulation, pseudomonas aeruginosa, pulmonary problems, relaxing the nervous system, regulating menses, shock, stress (environmental, physical and mental), stimulating appetite, tiredness, tumours, ulcers, vaginal dryness, viral infections, vomiting, weakness.
Ginseng should not be taken, without prior consultation with a doctor, if you:
* Are pregnant or breast-feeding
* Have diabetes
* Have high blood pressure
or are taking:
* Diabetic medicine
* Heart medicine
* Hormone replacement therapy
* Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
* Nervous system stimulants
* Pain killers
Consuming large amounts of caffeine or other stimulants while taking ginseng can result in nervousness, sleeplessness, elevated blood pressure, and other complications.
Avoid ginseng if you have an acute illness, uncontrolled high blood pressure, an irregular heart rhythm, or if you are pregnant.
Higher than commonly recommended doses may cause nervousness, insomnia, headache, skin eruptions, stomach upset, and increased menstrual bleeding and breast tenderness. If you experience any of these reactions, reduce your dose or stop taking the herb.
Panax ginseng is different from American ginseng and Siberian ginseng. They are not interchangeable.
There is a long recorded history of Chinese herbs being used in the treatment of infertility. In fact, records indicating herbal treatment of infertility and miscarriage date back to 200 A.D., including mention of formulas that are still used for those same purposes today. The first book devoted solely to gynecology and obstetrics, "The Complete Book of Effective Prescriptions for Diseases of Women," was published in 1237 A.D.
Alternative TCM treatments have become increasingly popular in Western countries as more and more couples find out firsthand how effective and safe they are. It is with good reason that more than a quarter of the world's population regularly uses Chinese medicine as part of their health care regimen and that TCM is the only form of classical medicine that is regularly used outside of its country of origin.
According to Maciocia (1998, p. 691) infertility is defined as “…the inability to produce offspring in a woman who has been trying for two years, who has a normal sexual life and, of course, whose partner has normal reproductive function”. If a woman has never been pregnant and has been trying to fall pregnant for 2 or more years than this is considered primary infertility, if however a woman has previously been pregnant (even if she miscarried) and has been trying for 2 or more years than this is considered secondary infertility.
A woman’s optimal period of fertility is between 18 and 35 years of age, during this time there are between 1,000,000 (18 yr) and 100,000 (35 yr) follicles left in the woman’s ovaries (Annon., 2010). However, many factors can hinder or interfere with a woman’s ability to become pregnant, including endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, absence of ovulation, etc.
Both Western medicine (WM) and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) recognise infertility as a gynaecological disorder, however, the methods of diagnosis and treatment are considerably different. IVF and assisted reproduction therapy (ART) are preferred choices of treatment in WM while in TCM, Chinese herbal medicine and/or Acupuncture are the treatments of choice.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Biomedical Aetiology and Treatment of Infertility
Causes of Infertility include: constitutional weakness, overwork, excessive physical work, excessive sexual activity at an early age, invasion of cold, dietary inadequacies, any of which can result in either an empty or full condition. According to Maciocia (1998, pp. 695-696) infertility is either an empty or full condition, but can manifest in an individual as a combination of both full and empty patterns. For example, a woman may have an underlying Kidney deficiency as well as Liver Qi stagnation, which may lead to Blood becoming stagnant.
A combination of one or more of the following patterns is the root of many fertility problems:
1. Deficiency Pattern - which effects the hormonal system, impairing sexual and reproductive functions.
2. Stagnation Pattern - which has the effect of restricting circulation of qi and blood to the reproductive organs.
3. Heat or Cold Pattern - which causes the affected organs to function abnormally, by altering the mucous membrane, or raising or lowering the local temperature. In all cases, the aim of treatment is to harmonize the underlying imbalances to restore normal physiological functions.
Commonly Used Herbal Formulas in fertility treatments:
Why choose TCM over conventional fertility treatments?
While health is said to be the common goal of both TCM as well as conventional medicine, their ideas on the etiology of disease, disease in itself and the process used to recover and maintain wellness are decidedly different. The Western medicine physician learns that disease should be cured by prescribing medicine or using invasive and often dangerous surgical intervention. The physician trained in TCM, however, focuses on healing the patient not by treating the disease but rather by treating the whole person, taking into account the various combined attributes of an individual that account for that individual's state of health. According to the tenets of TCM, a person is much more than their pathology; treating the pathology may produce desired results, yet, they are usually temporary.
For female infertility, the key therapeutic factors in TCM are focused on re-establishing balance and reducing stress while regulating hormones and menstruation. TCM recognizes that many cases of infertility stem from a problem that may be more functional than structural. In contrast, Western medicine treatment techniques like IVF are not only invasive and expensive but are often stressful for the patients, and stress is not conducive to the achievement of a healthy pregnancy.
Fertility management has been extensively studied and well-developed in Chinese medicine. Doctors in modern China have reported up to a 70% success rate in treating both female and male infertility with herbs, and the results of large scale clinical trials are reported in Chinese medical journals. Hundreds of different herbs are used frequently in the treatment of infertility, often given in complex formulas comprised of multiple ingredients. Herbal medicine is often used in combination with acupuncture, massage, diet and lifestyle modifications for treating fertility. TCM fertility techniques are relatively non-invasive and can often offer a better success rate for significantly less cost.
We shall discuss the following topics:
Allergic rhinitis in Western medicine;
The theory of Bi Yuan in Chinese medicine;
Differences between allergic rhinitis and Bi Yuan;
A new theory of allergic rhinitis in Chinese medicine.
1. ALLERGIC RHINITIS IN WESTERN MEDICINE
The main clinical manifestations of allergic rhinitis are nasal congestion, a watery nasal discharge and sneezing. In a few cases it affects the eyes and the conjunctiva may become red and itchy. In 20% of cases there is also asthma in conjunction with the rhinitis.
Allergic rhinitis is due to an antigen-antibody reaction in the nasal mucosa. If the antigens responsible are only pollen particles then it is called seasonal allergic rhinitis (hay fever). If the antigens are dust, house-dust mites’ faecal matter, fungal spores and animal dander, it is called perennial allergic rhinitis. As for furry animals such as dogs and cats, the most allergenic substances are protein from their skin, urine and saliva. In perennial rhinitis the nose becomes more reactive to non-specific stimuli such as cigarette smoke, petrol fumes, perfumes and, in the case of acupuncturists, moxa smoke.
Allergic rhinitis develops as a result of the interaction between the inhaled allergen and adjacent molecules of IgE antibodies. These adhere to the surface of the mast cells which line the nasal epithelium with the first exposure to the offending allergen. After the first exposure, the mast cells are ‘primed’, i.e. high levels of IgE antibodies adhere to their surface. With subsequent exposure to allergens, the IgE antibodies provoke an "explosion" in the mast cells with the massive release of histamine. Histamine itself causes an increase in permeability of the epithelium allowing allergens to reach IgE-primed mast cells. Sneezing results from overstimulation of the afferent nerve endings and starts within minutes of the allergens entering the nose. This is followed by a greatly increased nasal secretion and eventually nasal blockage about 15-20 minutes after contact with the allergen.
The grossly swollen mucosa in allergic rhinitis may obstruct drainage from the sinuses causing sinusitis in half the patients. Thus, infection of the paranasal sinuses is a frequent complication and consequence of allergic rhinitis. This is an important point to remember when discussing the differences between allergic rhinitis and Bi Yuan. Some individuals may also lose the sense of taste and smell.
The Western treatment of allergic rhinitis relies mostly on the use of antihistamine agents. These work by preventing histamine from reaching its site of action, i.e. the H1 receptors and hence they are called H1-receptor blockers. Side-effects include sedation, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, nervousness, and gastro-intestinal disturbances. Failure to respond to antihistamines is due to the fact that active substances other than histamine are released in allergic states.
Steroids by nasal inhalation are also used for allergic rhinitis: these do not seem to have the same general, systemic effect of oral steroids.
2. THE CHINESE THEORY OF ‘Bi Yuan’
The main clinical manifestations usually mentioned in connection with Bi Yuan are a purulent nasal discharge with a foul smell, a stuffed nose, a runny nose, headache and sneezing.
"Bi Yuan" is due to repeated invasions of Wind-Cold in the Lung channel which are not treated properly. After some time, Cold turns into Heat, the Lung cannot diffuse and descend Qi and local stagnation of Qi and Blood develops in the nose. All these factors lead to nasal discharge. The Gall-Bladder channel carries Heat upwards to the brain, and as the Governing Vessel also flows into the brain and the nose, this therefore causes a purulent yellow nasal discharge. In Chinese medicine this condition was in fact also called ‘brain flooding’ or ‘brain discharge’.
Thus two channels and organs are involved: Lungs and Gall-Bladder. After several years, the Spleen will usually also become involved and a Spleen deficiency leading to Dampness further aggravates the condition.
The Manifestation of this condition consists of symptoms of Wind-Cold or Wind-Heat. The Root of the condition is a deficiency of the Lung in diffusing and descending Qi and, in some cases, Gall-Bladder Heat.
The treatment is variously aimed at expelling Wind-Cold, clearing Gall-Bladder Heat or clearing Spleen-Heat according to the pattern involved.
The main patterns encountered in Bi Yuan are:
Lung invaded by Wind-Heat
Liver and Gall-Bladder Heat
Stomach- and Spleen-Heat
In chronic conditions, there may be any of the above patterns of Heat plus or one of the following patterns:
Qi and Blood stagnation
Liver- and Kidney-Yin deficiency
Lung- and Spleen-Qi deficiency
3. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ALLERGIC RHINITIS AND Bi Yuan
I shall explore first the differences between allergic rhinitis and Bi Yuan and then the Chinese theory of Bi Qiu (‘Stuffy Nose’).
a) DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ALLERGIC RHINITIS AND Bi Yuan
The use of the theory of Bi Yuan to treat allergic rhinitis presents several problems.
The theory of Bi Yuan presents no clear explanation of the allergic nature of rhinitis and no explanation of its aetiology. Some of the patterns described in Bi Yuan are not allergic rhinitis but sinusitis. In fact, all of them, except for Lung invaded by Wind-Cold, include runny nose with a yellow, sticky, purulent and foul-smelling discharge. This is very clearly a symptom of sinusitis, not rhinitis, as it is the infection of the sinuses, not rhinitis, that produces the yellow and purulent discharge.
b) THE CHINESE THEORY OF Bi Qiu (‘STUFFY NOSE’)
All modern Chinese books equate allergic rhinitis to Bi Yuan but this disease corresponds more to sinusitis rather than to allergic rhinitis. There is, in fact, an ancient Chinese disease entity called Bi Qiu which actually corresponds more closely to allergic rhinitis. Bi Qiu means ‘Stuffy Nose’ and it is characterized by a profuse, thin, clear nasal discharge, stuffed nose and sneezing. Another Chinese disease category which may correspond to allergic rhinitis is called Qiu Ti which may be translated as ‘Stuffy Nose and Sneezing’.
The only exception is the modern book ‘New General Outline of Chinese Medicine’ by the Guangzhou Army Health Department which attributes the pathology of allergic rhinitis to a Kidney deficiency and a deficiency of the Governing Vessel (as I do). The book also says specifically: "The Kidneys control sneezing. The Governing Vessel flows to the upper lip. Sneezing, stuffed nose, runny nose with a watery, clear nasal discharge is due to a deficiency of the Kidneys and of the Governing Vessel. Itchy nose is due to Wind."
This book mentions four patterns for allergic rhinitis, two clearly ‘borrowed’ from the theory of Bi Yuan and two different ones that are a deficiency of the Kidneys and of the Governing Vessel and a deficiency of the Spleen with Dampness.
Bi Qiu ("Stuffy Nose") is characterized by itchy nose, sneezing, profuse, white-watery nasal discharge, and stuffy nose. On examination, the nasal mucosa is swollen but not inflamed. The patterns of Bi Qiu are:
Lung-Qi deficiency and weakness of the Defensive Qi
Kidney-Yang deficiency and weakness of the Governing Vessel
Qi deficiency and Blood stasis
4. A NEW THEORY OF ALLERGIC RHINITIS
Allergic rhinitis is due to an over-reactivity of the immune system to certain allergens. Like asthma, this is due, from the Chinese point of view, to a deficiency of the Lung’s and Kidneys’ Defensive-Qi systems, a deficiency of the Governing Vessel combined with retention of chronic Wind in the nose.
The deficiency of Lung’s and Kidneys’ Defensive-Qi systems is either hereditary or due to problems during the pregnancy or childbirth. The aetiological factors are exactly the same as for asthma.
Repeated invasions of Wind which are not treated properly, combined with a pre-existing deficiency of Lung and Kidney's Defensive-Qi systems, lead to the retention of what could be described as chronic Wind in the nose, similar to what happens in asthma when Wind is retained in the chest.
Allergic rhinitis is therefore characterized by two factors: a deficiency of Lung’s and Kidneys’ Defensive-Qi systems and retention of Wind in the nose. As mentioned for asthma, a deficiency of the Kidney's Defensive-Qi system involves only this particular aspect of its function and not others. One would not expect therefore to see symptoms such as tinnitus, dizziness, night-sweating, weak back and legs, etc.
Even more than asthma, a Kidney deficiency is involved in the pathology of allergic rhinitis. This is so because, in allergic rhinitis, the Kidneys are involved not only in the Root of the disease, but also in the Manifestation through the Governing Vessel. The Governing Vessel emerges from between the Kidneys and flows up the spine to the top of the head and then down to the nose and lips. It is therefore the channel connection between the Kidneys and the nose. For this reason the Kidneys are responsible not only for breathing, due to their function of grasping Qi, but also sneezing. Sneezing itself is also directly linked to the Kidneys and not necessarily due only to Wind. Chapter 23 of the ‘Simple Questions’ says: "The Kidneys control sneezing." Chapter 64 of the ‘Simple Questions’ discusses the consequences of inserting a needle into an organ and, for the kidneys, it says: "If we pierce the kidneys, this will cause sneezing and death will ensue within 6 days."
Thus the hyper-reactivity of the immune response of allergic rhinitis is due to a deficiency of the Kidney's Defensive-Qi system and Governing Vessel. With regard to the role of the Governing Vessel in allergic rhinitis, it is interesting that many of the herbs which Li Shi Zhen connected with this vessel are expelling-Wind herbs which act on the nose. These herbs are Fang Feng Radix Saposhnikoviae, Cang Er Zi Fructus Xanthii, Jing Jie Herba Schizonepetae, Qiang Huo Rhizoma seu Radix Notopterygii, Xi Xin Herba Asari and Gao Ben Rhizoma Ligustici.4
The symptoms and signs of allergic rhinitis are those of Wind-Cold as the nasal discharge is always white and watery. This indicates a deficiency of Defensive Qi which is spread by the Lungs but has its root in the Kidneys5. Thus, although some books do refer to a Kidney deficiency as the Root of allergic rhinitis, the Kidneys are responsible not only for the Root of this disease (because of the deficiency of the Kidneys’ Defensive-Qi system), but also for the Manifestation through their direct connection with the Defensive Qi and sneezing and with the Governing Vessel (which flows through the nose).
Allergic rhinitis often starts in early childhood but it may also start later in life, with a progressive decline of Kidney-Qi or perhaps with a decline of Kidney-Qi connected to the beginning of sexual activity. In fact, in men over 40 suffering from allergic rhinitis there is often a direct connection between sexual activity and an attack of rhinitis. Thus, although rhinitis is obviously a much less severe disease than asthma, when compared with it, it indicates a more severe deficiency of the Kidneys.
As for the difference between seasonal and perennial allergic rhinitis (hay fever), the latter simply occurs when there is a more severe Kidney deficiency. Obviously, in patients aged 50 or over the pathology will be complicated by other factors, the most common of which is a Spleen deficiency which produces more mucus and therefore a runny nose. Also, allergic rhinitis causes a congestion of the nasal mucosa which may prevent proper drainage from the sinuses: this may lead to a secondary sinus infection complicating the clinical manifestations as the patient will display the symptoms of both allergic rhinitis and of sinusitis.
As for the Manifestation, the main pathogenic factor is Wind invading the Lung channel in the nose. However, this is due not only to repeated invasions of Wind, as in the theory of Bi Yuan, but primarily to the inherent deficiency of the Kidneys’ Defensive-Qi system and Governing Vessel in the nose which mimics symptoms of invasion of Wind-Cold. As mentioned above, sneezing itself is also directly due to the Kidneys and not necessarily only to Wind.
5. TREATMENT OF ALLERGIC RHINITIS
As for treatment, it is important to distinguish seasonal from perennial rhinitis. In seasonal rhinitis we should apply different principles of treatment according to the season. In perennial rhinitis, the principle of treatment is irrespective of the season.
The discussion of the treatment will therefore be structured in the following way:
a) Seasonal allergic rhinitis
Treatment of the Manifestation
Treatment of the Root
iii. Deficiency of Lung’s and Kidneys’ Defensive-Qi systems and the Governing Vessel
b) Perennial allergic rhinitis
Simultaneous treatment of the Manifestation and Root
a) SEASONAL ALLERGIC RHINITIS
i. Treatment of the Manifestation
In seasonal rhinitis one must adapt the treatment according to the season. During the pollen season, attention is directed at treating the Manifestation, i.e. expelling Wind-Cold or Wind-Heat. Outside the summer season, attention is directed at treating the Root, i.e. tonifying the Lung and Kidney's Defensive-Qi systems and strengthening the Governing Vessel.
Three Treasures remedy
To treat the Manifestation of allergic rhinitis, I use the remedy "Jade Screen". In case of seasonal allergic rhinitis, I use Jade Screen during the hay-fever season in a relatively high dose, i.e. 9 tablets a day or more (for adults).
Jade Screen can be taken both for the manifestations of Wind-Cold and Wind-Heat.
ii. Treatment of the Root
In seasonal rhinitis, attention should be directed at treating the Root of the disease at any time outside the pollen season. The best time to do it is actually towards the end of the summer and beginning of Autumn, i.e. August, September and October.
In treating the Root, the aim is to tonify the Lung’s and Kidneys’ Defensive-Qi systems and strengthen the Governing Vessel. As the rhinitis is seasonal, there is no need to treat the Manifestation.
iii. Deficiency of Lung’s and Kidneys’ Defensive-Qi systems and the Governing Vessel
Pale complexion, weak back, propensity to catching colds, Pale tongue, Weak-Deep pulse.
Tonify the Lung’s and Kidneys’ Defensive-Qi systems and strengthen the Governing Vessel.
Three Treasures remedies
To treat the Root in seasonal allergic rhinitis I use the remedy Herbal Sentinel of which there are two variants, i.e. Herbal Sentinel-Yang or patients with a tendency to Yang deficiency and Herbal Sentinel - Yin for patients with a tendency to Yin deficiency.
I generally prescribe Herbal Sentinel during Autumn and Winter with the dosage of 4-6 tablets a day (for adults).
b) PERENNIAL ALLERGIC RHINITIS
Simultaneous treatment of the Manifestation and Root
To treat perennial rhinitis one must treat both the Root and the Manifestation simultaneously because the symptoms are evident the whole year round.
Tonify the Lung’s and Kidneys’ Defensive-Qi systems, strengthen the Governing Vessel, consolidate the Exterior and expel Wind.
Three Treasures remedies
In perennial allergic rhinitis I treat both the Root and the Manifestation simultaneously. To treat the Root, I prescribe Herbal Sentinel (Herbal Sentinel-Yang for those with a tendency to Yang deficiency and Herbal Sentinel - Yin for those with a tendency to Yin deficiency).
To treat the Manifestation, I prescribe Jade Screen. Generally speaking, when I use two remedies I ask the patient to take at different times of day. Thus, if I was using Herbal Sentinel-Yang I would prescribe that to be taken in the morning and Jade Screen in the afternoon. If I was using Herbal Sentinel - Yin I would prescribe that to be taken in the afternoon and Jade Screen in the morning.
By Giovanni Maciocia
How Does TCM View Obesity and Its Causes?
As early as in the Han dynasty, TCM practitioners recorded the symptoms, mechanism and risk factors of obesity. The Suwen (The Book of Plain Questions) states in chapter 28: "If obesity occurs in the nobleman and rich people, they must be over consuming heavy and greasy foods." Similar to the modern understanding of obesity, associated risk factors include undesirable eating habits, under exercising, body constitution and mental state. The ancient Chinese also knew obesity has close links with metabolic disorders such as diabetes and other conditions such as stroke or chest pain.
The spleen is said to be at the root of all phlegm production.
TCM does not treat "excess weight" per se; rather it deals with the underlying body condition that may have led to the excess weight. Once the body's balance is restored, the metabolism will process food properly and excess weight should no longer be a problem provided correct foods are eaten in moderate quantities. Specifically, TCM holds that fat or adipose tissue is mostly due to phlegm and dampness evils. The spleen is said to be at the root of all phlegm production and is involved in the transportation and transformation of body fluids and foods. If the spleen becomes damaged by eating too many sweet foods and getting too little exercise, it will fail in its duty to move and transform waste fluids and foods. Instead these metabolic wastes will gather, collect and transform into dampness evils. If dampness evils endure over time, they will congeal into phlegm, and become fat tissue.
TCM takes a holistic approach to obesity by focussing on the underlying changes in the body. According to TCM principles, development of obesity is due to the following pathological changes.
1. Dyspepsia causes stomach heat and poor spleen functioning
Over consumption of heavy, greasy and spicy foods or alcohol facilitate production of heat evils in the stomach. Meanwhile, inadequate exercise after eating these types of foods damages the spleen function. The over-heated stomach will ripen an excessive amount of food.Therefore, the stomach will digest food easier and make an individual feel hungry, but the spleen cannot handle an excessive food load causing it to under function and be unable to carry out its transformation and transportation functions properly. As a result, the spare metabolic products turn into turbid fluid and phlegm which intermix with blood and qi (vital energy) filling up the organs, bones and muscles.
2. Exogenous evils giving rise to obesity
Invasion of exogenous evils or over consumption of greasy foods leads to poor transformation and transportation functions of the spleen. Dampness evils then begin to accumulate in the middle burner, which is part of the triple burner (the passage through which water, food and fluid are transported). When dampness and turbid fat enter these passages, they are further distributed by the lungs, allowing penetration into all the organs internally. Additionally, exogenous evils can also penetrate the skin, subcutaneous tissue and muscles through the body's surface giving rise to obesity.
3. Qi (vital energy) stagnation causes turbid phlegm accumulation
For those who are emotionally disturbed, experience trauma, have menstruation problems or are elderly, the liver can fail to regulate qi (vital energy) flow which in turn affects digestion and blood flow. The resulting sluggish qi (vital energy) and blood flow tend to block the meridians. Therefore, in these people, dampness is likely to endure in the body. Over time, this will congeal into phlegm and result in obesity.
4. Kidney essence exhaustion leads to disharmony
Lifestyles, which consume kidney essence, such as being sexually over active can lead to the excitation of the internal ministerial fire. The excessive ministerial fire is a kind of "evil fire" which makes the body produce an over abundance of heat. This "evil fire" affects the middle burner, leading to a malfunction of the stomach and spleen. When this persists over a long period, the vaporization processes in the bladder and triple burner are impaired causing more evils to accumulate and worsen the obesity condition.
From TCM experience, the clinical status of a person with obesity can change leading to a complex diagnosis during consultation. The above causes of obesity can appear together or separately. In short, the fundamental causes of obesity are spleen and kidney deficiencies, which manifest as an overflow of body fluids, accumulation of dampness and phlegm evils and stagnation in blood flow. Sometimes stomach heat and qi (vital energy) stagnation are associated. Moreover, improper vaporization of body fluids by the triple burner may also appear. All of these factors play an important role in the development of obesity.
The pathological changes in obesity:
Traditional Chinese Medicine Formulas to Lose Weight:
Anyone can get cancer at any age; however; about 77% of all cancers are diagnosed in people aged 55 and older. Since this article focuses only on cancer prevention through diet we need to emphasize the importance of including lifestyle risk reductions in your cancer prevention program as well. We hope the information contained in this article helps you in your quest for maintaining a healthy cancer-free life.
HERBAL AND NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT
• Reishi (Ganoderma), shiitake and maitake mushrooms - contain polysaccharides- plant chemicals that have been found to be effective in preventing tumor growth and in strengthening the immune system. Maitake mushrooms stimulate immune function and also inhibit tumor growth. Shiitake contains the polysaccharide lentinan which is known to boost the activity of the immune system. Shiitake fosters many immune-enhancing activities including stimulation of macrophages, increased cytotoxic activity of macrophages, increased production of interleukin-1 and -2, increased T-lymphocyte production, and enhanced CD-4 cell function.
• Astragalus: A 1990 study found that taking astragalus daily increased the body’s ability to kill cancer cells by tenfold. Shi Quan Da Bu Wan, a Chinese formula containing astragalus and ligusticum, has been proved most effective in enhancing cellular immunity, specifically interleukin production by the body.
• Ginseng (Panax) - can not only stop the growth of malignant liver cells in the test tube, but can turn them back to normal. In animal studies panax ginseng has been shown to inhibit metastases to the lung and liver and to reduce elevated platelet and fibrinogen levels caused by the tumor cell lines.
• Atractylodes- contains 3 cancer-inhibiting components which have demonstrated the strongest activity against esophageal cancer.
• Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) - inhibits many viruses including tumor viruses and the HIV virus by inhibiting reverse transcriptase. It is also anti-inflammatory and induces cell death in a number of cancer cell lines including two sarcomas and cervical cancer. (Yance, 1999)
• Codonopsis stimulates the growth of red blood cells, enhances T-cell trans formation and stimulates phagocytosis.
• Coenzyme Q10 (CoQlO) - is recommended for anyone with cancer who is on the chemotherapeutic drug Adriamycin. Adriamycin depletes CoQlO levels in the heart muscle, which can lead to heart damage (this is a serious side effect of this drug). When CoQlO is administered in conjunction with this drug, heart damage does not occur.(Yance, 1999)
• Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) - contains glycyrrhizin which posses blocking ability against tumor-promoting agents. A recent study in Japan demonstrated that glycyrrhizin can inhibit liver cancer caused by hepatitis. (Yance, 1999; Kumada, 2002)
• Chai Hu Shu Gan San (Minor Bupleurum Formula) . This formula has been found extremely effective at inhibiting cancer by enhancing the immune system, inducing apoptosis and inhibiting angiogenesis. It is most useful in breast and liver cancers, but can also be used to treat colon cancer. Bupleurum saponins exhibit anti-inflammatory activity similar to prednisone. (Yance, 1999)
• Medicinal plants that have exhibited antitumor action due to modulation of programmed cell death and arrested proliferation are trichosanthes, soy, garlic, ginger and green tea.(Thatte, 2000)
• Asparagus- has a cleansing effect on the lymphatic system and kidneys. It contains protein compounds called histones which are believed to act as cell-growth normalizers on cancer-cell division.
• Avocados- are perhaps the best overall source of essential fatty adds and glutathione and are a great source of protein. Avocados are easily digested, making them an ideal food for people recovering from surgery or for the very sick
• Broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, apples, grapefruit, apricots and cherries - contain D-glucarate. a natural compound produced in small amounts by humans and some plants. It encourages the detoxification of environmental carcinogens and estrogenic tumor promoters.
• Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, carrots and green onions contain a potent anticancer compound called sulphoraphane which according to scientists at John Hopkins medical school greatly increases anti-cancer enzyme systems in cells. They also contain isothiocyanates which enhance glutathion S-transferase, which helps in carcinogen excretion. Broccoli sprouts contain up to 100 times more sulforaphane than does broccoli itself. Another compound found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables called indole-3-carbinol has been shown to increase the excretion of a form of estrogen called 2 hydroxyestrone, which is linked to breast cancer.
• Broccoli and onions - contain quercetin. a flavone which has a cancer inhibiting effect by preventing a defect in the tumor suppressor gene p53. Quercetin also inhibits the tumor producing PGE-2 series by blocking proflammatory reactions in the body.
• Broccoli contains dithiolethiones which trigger the formation of glutathione S transferase, which may prevent carcinogens from damaging a cell’s DNA.
• Carrots, sweet potatoes, collard greens, cantaloupe, squash, apricots, fresh pumpkin, kale, spinach, mangos, papayas and yams - contain beta-carotene which is considered one of the most promising anti-cancer agents. In one study the more beta-carotene men got in their diet the less lung cancer they developed. It may also prevent a second tumor in patients who have been cured of an initial cancer but now stand at an increased risk of developing new cancers in the upper part of the digestive tract. Carotenoids are best assimilated if taken with a fat such as flaxseed oil or olive oil.
• Garlic, onions, leeks, and shallots (album vegetables). According to the National Cancer Institute garlic is one of the best foods for protection against cancer. It contains the anti-cancer mineral selenium . which stimulates white blood cell production and induces apoptosis (cancer cell death). Alliums contain compounds that stimulate the production of enzymes that neutralize the free radicals linked with cancer. Alliums contain saponins.which prevent cancer cells from multiplying and they also contain allyl sulfides which increase the production of glutathione S-transferase and other enzymes that enhance carcinogen excretion.
• Garlic, onions, Brazil nuts. whole grains and greens - contain selenium. which causes cancer cells to die before they spread, repairs damaged DNA, protects against free radicals and aids the body’s natural detoxification process.
• Green vegetables, chlorella and spirulina - contain chlorophyll which is an antigenotoxin that inhibits the mutagenic activity of certain chemicals. According to one study published in the journal Mutation Research in 1989, chlorophyll proved to be a more effective antimutagen than all known anticancer vitamins, including vitmains A, C and E.
• Potatoes - are a rich source of alpha lipoic acid – a powerful antioxidant which strengthens and regenerates other antioxidants in the body, especially vitamin E. Biochemist Richard Passwater, Ph.D. suggests that lipoic add may even inhibit the activation of the gene that triggers cancer growth in cells. Potatoes also contain a diverse amount of polyphenolic compounds and protease inhibitors and are a great source of vitamin C.
• Red peppers, fresh orange juice, broccoli, apple juice, green peppers, grapefruit juice, cranberry juice, papaya and fresh strawberries contain vitamin C which fights free radicals. Vitamin C appears to offer some protection against all cancers.
• Tomatoes, watermelons, red peppers, and carrots contain lycopene which may explain a recent Italian study that found that people who ate raw tomatoes at least 7 times a week halved their risk of several cancers compared to those who ate tomatoes no more than once a week.
• Tomatoes, green peppers, strawberries and carrots - contain p-coumaric and chlorogenic acids which hook onto nitric oxides in the foods we eat and spirit them out of the body before they can form cancer causing nitrosamines.
• Watercress, Chinese cabbage and turnips - contain phenethyl isothiocyanate which can prevent nicotine-induced lung cancer.
• Citrus fruit peels - contain a remarkable anti-cancer substance called D-limonene.Small bits of organic orange peel go well in salads or can be added to any tea. Be sure to cover the tea as it seeps so that the aromatic oils don’t escape.
• Cranberry- contains the anti-cancer constituent, proanthocyanidin. which has an anti-oxidant capability ten times greater than that of vitamin E.
• Figs - contain benzaldehyde which has been shown experimentally to decrease drastically the uptake of thymodine and adenine which leads to a decreased level of ATP within cancer cells, while having no effect on normal cells. It appears it can arrest tumor progression and have a paralytic effect on tumor growth.
• Fruit - contains caffeic acid which enhances production of enzymes that make carcinogens more water-soluble. Fruit also contains ferulic add which binds to nitrates in the stomach preventing production of carcinogenic nitrosamines.
• Grapefruit - contains the flavonoid naringenin which slows the growth of human breast cancer cells.
• Grapes, many berries and some nuts contain a phytoalexin component calledresveratrol which has shown cancer chemopreventive activity. Resveratrol has been found to act as an antioxidant, antimutagen and anti-inflammatory. It has also been shown to inhibit the development of breast cancer and induce antiprogression activity in human myelocytic leukemia.
• Pomegranates, grapes, strawberries, raspberries and nuts contain ellagic acid which blocks the body’s production of enzymes used by cancer cells. In one study an extract of Concord grapes was shown to be as effective as the cancer drug methotrexate in slowing tumor growth. Ellagic acid is particularly effective in the inhibition of lung cancer caused by tobacco.
• Red grapes (especially the seeds), blueberries, blackberries, cherries and grapes-contain oligomeric proanthocyanidins. known as OPC’s, which help to protect DNA from free radicals due to radiation and chemicals and slow down the mutation of cancer cells.
• Tangerines - contain tangertin which inhibits cell-endothelial adhesion, a very important step in the metastatic process of cancer.
USEFUL GRAINS, LEGUMES AND OTHER FOODS
• Barley, bran. brewer’s yeast, brown rice, chicken, dates, green leafy vegetables, legumes, lentils, milk, mushrooms, oranges, split peas, root vegetables, salmon, tuna, wheat germ, whole grains and whole wheat contain folic acid which increases the production of white blood cells crucial in the defense against cancer. Folic acid in dark green leafy vegetables, oranges and liver may act together with vitamin B12 to prevent injuries to lung tissue and retard the development of cancer among cigarette smokers.
• Eggs - preferably organic eggs, are one of the best protein foods for people with cancer. Eggs contain all eight essential amino acids and are rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, glutathione, sulfur and phospholipids. They are best prepared slow cooked or poached. One or two can be eaten once or thrice a week.
• Fish. A recent study has shown that omega-3-rich fish oils impede angiogenesis and reduce tumor invasiveness. Although a diet high in animal protein is not recommended for some people moderate portions once or twice a week can contribute to a well-rounded diet.
• Fiber from fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains. Since 1980 25 out of 32 studies have shown that fiber protects against colon cancer.
• Olive oil - does not oxidize easily and is also a good source of squalene. the most potent inhibitor of angiogenesis. Buy only unrefined cold-pressed polyunsaturated vegetable oils but do not use them in cooking.
• Sardines, spinach and peanuts - contain CoQ10 which protects against cancer by strengthening the immune system and zapping free radicals.
• Soybeans, chickpeas and other legumes - contain protease inhibitors which reduce certain enzymes in cancer cells.
• Soy products. Fermented soybean products such as miso, shoyu, tempeh and natto contain cancer prevention properties that exceed that of unfermented soybeans, soy milk and tofu. Fermented soy products are rich in isoflavones, including genistein, which has been shown to block the growth of a number of cancers.
FOODS TO AVOID
• Avoid beef. pork and lamb; processed meats and liver. In a large study at Harvard it was shown that the relative risk of colon cancer in women who ate beef, pork, or lamb as a main dish every day was about two-and-a-half times that of women who ate such foods less than once a month. Processed meats and liver were also associated with increased risk, whereas fish and chicken without skin were related to decreased risk. The conclusion was that a high intake of animal tat increased the risk of colon cancer.
• Avoid all processed fats and oils or any foods containing processed oils including hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated products. Trans fats or hydrogenated oils found in margarine and vegetable oils are linked with an increase in breast cancer. Avoid canola oil, safflower oil, corn oil, soybean oil, sesame oil as well as margarine. Avoid all commercial cookies, crackers, snack foods, frozen foods, deli foods, mayonnaise, fried foods and all foods labeled “partially hydrogenated.”
• Avoid frying, barbecuing or broiling meat, poultry or fish - especially when using polyunsaturated fats such as safflower or corn oil as it can produce potential carcinogens called heterocyclic amines which have been linked with many forms of cancer. If you do occasionally fry food, use olive oil or butter and do not cook to a point where your food becomes burnt or blackened.
• Avoid refined carbohydrates such as white sugar and white flour. They can cause abnormally high levels of blood glucose, a common factor in cancer. The excess glucose feeds the fermentation process of cancer cells and suppresses the immune system. Elevated glucose levels are seen three to eight times more often in people with active cancer. A study on diet and breast cancer showed a relationship between an excess of starch intake (refined pasta and bread) and breast cancer.
• Cancer patients should avoid coffee. For those in good health, however, organic coffee is fine in moderation.
• Cancer patients should avoid alcohol. Alcohol depletes glutathione levels and stresses the liver. For healthy individuals a glass of organic red wine with a meal is fine. Wine is a rich source of two very important anti-carcinogens – PCOs and resveratrol.
• Do not smoke. Countless studies have shown significant increase in the risk for cancers of the lung, bladder, esophagus, stomach and pancreas in smokers as compared to nonsmokers.
Along with the bold yet delicate taste that shiitake, maitake, cordyceps and reishi mushrooms add to soups and other dishes, these gourmet delicacies are prized as herbal medicines. Traditional Asian healers have used them for centuries to strengthen the immune system and promote longevity. Recently, an Extract from a different mushroom altogetherâ, from the Coriolus (Coriolus versicolor) mushroom --was identified as a possible ally in the fight against cancer. While mushrooms other than these may well have specific health-promoting actions, they haven't been as thoroughly researched for medicinal purposes.
Shiitake (Lentinus edodes) mushrooms are low in calories and are a good source of potassium, phosphorous, iron, selenium, Protein, Vitamin D2 (ergosterol, a plant sterol that is converted to vitamin D when exposed to ultra-violet rays), thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, as well as all essential Amino acids, enzymes, fiber, and nucleic acid derivatives. In ancient China, herbalists utilized shiitake for a host of ailments including colds, flu, headaches, measles, gastrointestinal distress, and liver problems, as well as for improving circulation and increasing vitality. Ancient physicians prescribed shiitake to boost chi, or life energy. Now, shiitake are a subject of intense research, and the medicinal capabilities attributed to the shiitake mushroom are so prized that it is now among the most cultivated of the worldâ€™s edible mushrooms.
Maitake (Grifola frondosa) mushrooms are also packed with nutrients and have long been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. They are rich in minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium, vitamins B and D2, and niacin, as well as amino acids and fiber. Maitake mushrooms contain a protein-bound polysaccharide compound called beta-glucan, which has been identified as an active constituent responsible for its immunity-enhancing, anti-tumor properties.
Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) mushrooms also contain beta-glucans and are one of the few known sources of another polysaccharaide group called triterpenes, which are also thought to have potential immunomodulating, anti-tumor, and Antioxidant activities. Reishi varieties also contain vitamins including D2, minerals, and unsaturated fatty acids. Reishi mushrooms have also been touted for immunity-enhancing and regulating activities.
The Coriolus versicolor mushroom contains one of the most-studied mushroom extracts. Since the early 1970s, more than 400 studies have evaluated the extract, PSK (polysaccharide krestin), for its anti-cancer properties. Another polysaccharide found in the Coriolus mushroom, called PSP (polysaccharide peptide), also appears to have cancer-fighting properties. And, like Maitake, PSK extract is high in immune-boosting beta-glucan.
Another medicinal mushroom, the cordyceps species, also contains immune-boosting beta-glucans and triterpenes. The cordyceps grows out of caterpillar larvae in the Himalayas, and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat cough and wheezing and to reduce fatigue and calm nervousness. Although the cordyceps species has been touted for its potential to enhance physical performance, scientific evidence does not support these claims.
All of these healing mushrooms contain polysaccharides, powerful compounds that help in building immunity. Polysaccharides and other compounds in mushrooms may also lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of dangerous blood clots, prevent heart disease, treat diabetes, relieve bronchitis and sinusitis, and possibly fight cancer cells and increase the potency of cancer treatments.
Specifically, mushrooms may help to:
Improve risk factors for heart disease, such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Shiitake and maitake mushrooms contain polysaccharides called lentinan, which may have potential cardio-protective effects, such as cholesterol lowering properties; and other polysaccharides found in reishi and a variety of other mushrooms also may have additional cardio-protective benefits. Several studies in animals have shown the potential of these mushrooms for improving blood pressure and cholesterol levels. For example, in a 1987 study done with rats with high blood pressure, those fed a diet containing shiitake and maitake mushroom powder for nine weeks experienced a decrease in blood pressure and cholesterol levels while no differences in cholesterol levels were seen in control groups. However, the cholesterol decrease was seen in HLD-cholesterol (â€œgoodâ€ cholesterol) and triglycerides, and the mushrooms did not seem to affect LDL-cholesterol (â€œbadâ€ cholesterol) levels in the rats. (1) In a similar experiment in 1989, hypertensive rats fed maitake mushrooms for eight weeks experienced a significant reduction in blood pressure but no changes in cholesterol levels compared to control groups; and those fed shiitake mushrooms for eight weeks showed significantly lower cholesterol levels but no change in blood pressure compared to the control group. (2) A 1996 study compared the levels of cholesterol, phospholipids, and triglycerides in cholesterol-fed rats with or without fortification with 20% maitake mushroom powder. In the maitake-fed rats lipid levels were consistently lower, and the weights of extirpated liver and Fat pads were significantly less. Researchers concluded the maitake mushroom powder appears to alter lipid metabolism by inhibiting the accumulation of liver lipids and the elevation of serum lipids, but further research is needed to determine whether the effect is the same in humans. (3) Another animal study in 2001 found rats fed maitake, shiitake or enokitake mushroom fiber for four weeks showed lowered serum total cholesterol, higher fecal cholesterol excretion, and improved LDL (â€œbadâ€ cholesterol) levels compared to the control group. (4) Other mushrooms, such as the oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus), have also been the subject of studies that indicate cholesterol lowering effects in animals. However, studies are needed to determine the efficacy of medicinal mushrooms for lowering cholesterol and blood pressure in humans.
Treat diabetes. The fruiting bodies of maitake mushrooms contain polysaccharides that appear to have a hypoglycemic effect, possibly by activating insulin receptors, which may be beneficial in regulating type 2 diabetes. Preliminary clinical evidence indicates maitake mushroom extracts may help to reduce symptoms of type 2 diabetes, including reducing blood sugar levels. In a 2001 study, diabetic rats and control groups were fed diets containing either 20% maitake or control diets for 100 days. After 10 weeks, fasting glucose levels were significantly lower and insulin levels were significantly higher in the group fed maitake compared to the control diet alone. (5) And in a 2002 study of insulin-resistant mice, a water-soluble extract of maitake mushroom (FXM) was shown to be as effective as the conventional diabetic medication glipizide. (6) A 2007 study in humans had similar findings when testing oyster mushrooms. In the six-month study, 89 diabetic patients included oyster mushrooms in their diets for 21-day periods (7 days with mushrooms, 7 days without mushrooms, 7 days with mushroomsâ€”the quantity of mushrooms was not described). Blood pressure levels, plasma glucose levels, and other factors were measured at the start of the study and after each 7-day period. Eating oyster mushrooms seemed to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure, as well as significantly lowering blood glucose levels. These levels increased when mushroom was withdrawn and decreased again after restarting eating mushrooms. (7) Also in 2007 in Taiwan, a randomized, double-blind, Placebo-controlled study evaluating the efficacy of an extract of Agaricus mushroom (Agaricus blazei Murill) found that using the extract in conjunction with the conventional medications metformin and glipizide was more efficacious than conventional medications alone. In the study, 72 diabetic patients aged 20 to 75 who had diabetes for more than one year and had been treated with the conventional medications for more than six months were enrolled and randomized to receive either mushroom extract or placebo daily for 12 weeks. At the end of the study, the group receiving mushroom extract showed significant improvement in Insulin resistance compared to the control group, and there was a 20% increase in plasma concentration of the glucose-regulating Hormone adiponectin in the treatment group compared to a 12% decrease in the control group. (8)
Fight cancer. The immunomodulating effects of medicinal mushrooms have been touted for their ability to strengthen the immune system during cancer treatment, improve survival rates and inhibit the spread of the disease. The Coriolus mushroom has shown particular promise in combating breast, lung, stomach and colon cancers; the maitake mushroom and cordyceps mushroom also have shown positive anti-tumor activity. PSK extract has been used as an adjunct to chemotherapy to improve response and survival rate in cancer patients. Hundreds of studies, most of which have been in Japan, have demonstrated this potential use of medicinal mushrooms and their extracts. A 1993 study showed that when PSK was combined with conventional surgery and radiation for lung cancer patients, those receiving the PSK extract had a 5-year survival rate of 39% for stages 1 and 2 and 22% survival rate for stage 3, compared to survival rates of 16% for stages 1 and 2 and 5% for stage 3 without the PSK. (9) A 1997 study found that when used as an adjunct to cancer therapy, PSP seems to improve immune function by increasing white cell, natural killer cell, and antibody levels. (10) A 1998 review of studies evaluating PSP to treat cancer, patients with esophageal, gastric, and lung cancers taking PSP while also undergoing radiotherapy or chemotherapy concluded that PSP helped to alleviate side effect symptoms and prevent decline in immune status. (11) A 2000 review of the Japanese studies of PSP and PSK done since the 1970s found PSP significantly improved quality of life, pain relief and enhanced immune status in 70% to 97% of patients with stomach, esophagus, lung, ovary and cervical cancers. The review also found that PSK and PSP boosted immune cell production, ameliorated chemotherapy symptoms, and enhanced natural killer cell production and function. (12) However, a 2008 review of the immunomodulating effects of mushrooms indicates the majority of studies evaluating the beneficial effects of mushrooms have been of low quality and lack standardization. The researchers claim no scientific basis exists for the use of mushrooms or mushroom extracts in the treatment of human patients, but say there is significant potential for higher-quality studies to understand the potential of mushrooms to treat humans. (13)
Preliminary research indicates the beta-glucan found in maitake mushrooms also has anti-tumor activity. The research suggests that maitake mushrooms can prevent metastasis of experimentally induced tumors as well as prevent tumor occurrence in normal cells. (14-16) The immune-enhancing and anti-tumor properties of cordyceps and reishi mushrooms, which are likely due to the beta-glucan and triterpene polysaccharides, also are studied for their potential to treat cancer. Studies in animals with cancer have shown that cordyceps mushrooms improve immune response, reduce tumor size and lengthen survival time. (17-20) A preliminary study in 36 patients with advanced-stage cancers found that taking cordyceps orally after chemotherapy treatment for cancer may improve quality of life and cellular immunity. (21) A 2003 study found that a specific reishi mushroom polysaccharide extract, Ganopoloy, stimulates immune function in advanced cancer patients. In the study, 34 patients with advanced-stage cancers took 1,800 mg of Ganopoly three times a day before meals for 12 weeks. Patients in the treatment group showed increases in interleukin-2 (IL-2), IL-6, Interferon-gamma, and natural killer cell activity. However, there was a concommitant decrease in IL-1 and tumor necrosis factor-alpha. (22) A 2005 review of studies indicates reishi mushrooms seem to inhibit proliferation of several human cancer cell lines in the laboratory, including, lung, liver, breast, prostate, cervix, and bladder, as well as lymphocytic leukemia. These extracts also seem to have direct cytotoxic activity against human breast, liver and cervical tumor cells, mouse sarcoma. (23) Further high-quality research is needed to establish safety and efficacy in humans.
Relieve viral infections, such as common colds, flu, bronchitis and sinusitis. A 2004 review of the beneficial effects of edible mushrooms found the immune-enhancing properties of mushrooms help to protect against cold, flu, and infections by inhibiting viral replication. However, research is lacking in this area. Studies are needed to determine the potential use of mushrooms and their extracts to treat viral infections.
Today we receive mixed signals from doctors about how to treat common colds and flu. The fear of widespread antibiotic resistance has many people avoiding the doctor altogether when they get sick. Left with over the counter medicines to treat symptoms so that we may continue working or school, it often can take up to two weeks for a cold to resolve. Chinese herbs and Acupuncture can be a valuable resource in the prevention of colds and flu and can also help us recover from them quickly and easily.
It is possible to use Chinese medicine to prevent the infections of colds and flu altogether or when caught early, to prevent them from turning into full-blown infections. Studies have shown that certain acupuncture points are effective in boosting the immune system. Herbal medicine can be prescribed to enhance your immune system. When people around you are getting sick, taking preventive herbs will increase your ability to fight off illness and remain healthy.
Yu Ping Feng San: https://www.eqilibrium.net/en/yu-ping-feng-san.html
Five Mushroom Formula: https://www.eqilibrium.net/en/five-mushroom-formula-peoples-herbs.html
Panax Ginseng: https://www.eqilibrium.net/en/ginseng-ren-shen-pian-en.html
Artemisia Annua: https://www.eqilibrium.net/en/artemisia-annua-qing-hao.html
If you do happen to catch a cold or the flu, Chinese herbs can help lessen the severity and speed the recovery time of illness. If you take action at the first signs of a cold or flu, such as sore throat, earache, fatigue or body aches, herbal medicine will help to relieve symptoms and repair your immunity so that your body can fight off the infection.
Commonly used flue and cold treatment formulas:
Yin Qiao San: https://www.eqilibrium.net/en/yin-qiao-san-pian.html /
Herbal Sentinel Yang: https://www.eqilibrium.net/en/herbal-sentinel-yang-giovanni-maciocia.html
Herbal Sentinel Yin: https://www.eqilibrium.net/en/herbal-sentinel-yin-giovanni-maciocia.html
Expel Wind Cold: https://www.eqilibrium.net/en/expel-wind-cold-giovanni-maciocia.html
Expel Wind Heat: https://www.eqilibrium.net/en/expel-wind-heat-giovanni-maciocia.html
Qing Qi Hua Tan Tang: https://www.eqilibrium.net/en/qing-qi-hua-tan-tang-blue-poppy.html
Xiao Chai Hu Tang: https://www.eqilibrium.net/en/xiao-chai-hu-tang-blue-poppy.html
It is common knowledge in Chinese medicine that it is possible to recover from an illness and be stronger for it. Using acupuncture and Chinese herbs during the recovery stage of infection is a good way to ensure you are completely over the infection and that your immune system is intact and ready to fight off the next bout of sickness that makes its way through your home or work environment. Symptoms like lingering cough or phlegm or an irregularity in your elimination are common complaints after a severe bout with the flu.
Shi Quan Da Bu Tang: https://www.eqilibrium.net/en/shi-quan-da-bu-tang-blue-poppy.html
Ganoderma Lucidum: https://www.eqilibrium.net/en/ganoderma-lucidum-seta-lingzhi-reishi-en.html
Five Mushroom Formula: https://www.eqilibrium.net/en/five-mushroom-formula-peoples-herbs.html
Liu Wei Di Huang Wan: https://www.eqilibrium.net/en/liu-wei-di-huang-wan-blue-poppy.html
The Benefits of an Alternative
Chinese medicine was developed to treat many different illnesses, but made particular advancements in its medical history when doctors began to look specifically at the treatment of viral and bacterial infections. Now, the ancient wisdom of Chinese medicine is combined with what modern acupuncturists know about viral infections such as the flu. Complimentary and alternative medicine is receiving a lot of attention right now because of the fear of a wide-spread flu outbreak. With the benefits of vaccines uncertain, people are wisely looking for other ways to protect themselves against serious illness during the cold and flu months. It is our hope that, after reading this article, you now know that it is easy to use Chinese herbs as an effective way to prevent and treat colds and flu.
In the fight against this pandemic caused by the coronavirus COVID-19, research and testing continues at a frantic pace in order to find effective treatments. Around the world, different research institutions and companies have been working to discover new drugs and create new therapies.
And this is the case of the drugs used in the last decades to fight malaria; according to a recent publication in the magazine ChemRxiv (Liu & Li, April 2020) the coronavirus COVID-19 probably has a mechanism of infection similar to the plasmodium of malaria. In other words, our famous virus could act on the lungs and cause pneumonia not in a direct, but indirect way. And it is that, according to the authors, it seems that this virus, like the malaria parasite, directly infects red blood cells (erythrocytes), attacking the 1-Beta chain of hemoglobin and dissociating iron, and porphyrin, from which it probably gets energy to replicate the virus. Furthermore, said attack on hemoglobin, responsible for transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood; it makes it transport and exchange less and less. This causes the cells of the lungs, where this oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange occurs, to undergo an extreme reaction of poisoning and inflammation; which results in the typical images of lungs with crystallized carbon dioxide so characteristic of many seriously ill patients infected with COVID-19.
The artemisinin molecule, produced in the Artemisia annua plant, is currently recommended by the WHO to combat malaria in ACT (Artemisinin Combination Therapy) format. In addition, in recent years the enormous potential of this molecule, and derivatives, to combat other diseases, such as cancer, autoimmune, inflammatory or parasitic diseases, has been discovered. In addition to the excellent safety index of this plant and its minimal side effects, all these elements make Artemisia annua and its main molecule artemisinin, optimal potential candidates to combat or at least increase recovery rates from this disease.
Different scientific articles published in the last decade have shown the great potential of the molecule. In fact, it has been shown both in vitro and in vivo (Zhang & Gerhard, 2009; Klonis et al., 2011) that the potent activity of artemisinin is dependent on the digestion of hemoglobin. In fact, the heme group (formed by iron and porphyrin) when released by the breakdown of hemoglobin, by a parasite or virus, is the most relevant physiological mediator of artemisinin cytotoxic activity not only against malaria but also against cancer. .
Finally, it has also been seen that Artemisia annua, the molecule artemisinin and its derivatives, exert effects as a stimulator of the immune and anti-inflammatory system (Luo, et al., 2019; Sun, et al., 2019; Zhang, et al., 2019 ). Furthermore, its antiviral properties have been described for various types of viruses (Hahn et al., 2018; D'Alessandro et al., 2020; Ou et al., 2020; Wang et al., 2020) including other types of coronaviruses such as MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV (Nature Plants, March 2020).
The World Health Organization (WHO), in a recent statement on May 4, did not reject the use of this medicinal plant as a prevention and cure treatment for COVID-19, but did ask that clinical trials be carried out beforehand to prove its effectiveness. The WHO added that "medicinal plants such as Artemisia annua are being considered as possible treatments against COVID-19 and their efficacy and side effects should be examined." In fact, the WHO supports scientifically proven traditional medicine and promotes activity in research centers to select natural medicinal products.
In recent weeks the prestigious German research center Max-Planck has started clinical trials to see the potential of both the Artemisia annua plant and the artemisinin molecule against COVID-19. In addition, the Californian pharmaceutical company Mateon Therapeutics announced in April that in its in vitro antiviral detection program they had selected the molecule artemisinin, as one of the two most powerful candidates to inhibit the multiplication capacity of the COVID-19 virus. The intense speed race to find possible treatments to combat this pandemic has sparked a renewed interest in medicinal plants that have been used and studied for decades, such as Artemisia annua; But establishing its efficacy and safety through rigorous clinical trials is crucial.
From Giovanni's file, the presentation of the case of a woman suffering from candida: diagnosis and treatment with acupuncture and herbal remedies.
The 40-year-old patient says he has suffered from candida for "a long time." She complains of redness, pain and itching around the vagina, symptoms that are worse before and after the cycle. Her period is regular, lasts a week and is not painful. She suffers from premenstrual tension which mainly manifests itself in the form of depression and fatigue. She also reports back pain, feeling cold, frequent urination, dizziness, tinnitus, and night sweats. During the anamnesis it was found that she often feels that her mouth is crawling. Her tongue is slightly red on both sides, swollen and with a slimy coating. The pulse is weak on the right and wrinkled on the left.
Candida is evidently due to Damp-Heat, as evidenced by vaginal redness, pain, and itching; The presence of dampness is also confirmed by the swelling of the tongue and the slimy patina. There is an underlying deficit of Spleen and Kidney Yang; the latter, in particular, is manifested by back pain, feeling cold, frequent urination, dizziness and tinnitus.
In cases like this, it is important to decide whether to focus on mitigating the deficit or eliminating the pathogenic factor, specifically humid heat. In view of the intensity of the candida, I decided to focus on the treatment of the Manifestation and, therefore, on the elimination of the pathogenic factor, that is, on the dissolution of the dampness and on the purification of the Heat of the Lower Heater. Therefore, I prescribed Drain the Jade Valley ™ to dissolve dampness, purify heat, and stop vaginal itching. I have also prescribed these herbs to use externally as douches: She Chuang Zi Fructus Cnidii monneri, Ku Shen Radix Sophorae flavescentis, Shi Gao Gypsum, Huang Bo Cortex Phellodendri, and Bai Zhi Radix Angelicae dahuricae.
I also used acupuncture mainly treating the following points:
-LU-7 Lieque and KI-6 Zhaohai to open the Nave dof Conception.
-SP-9 Yinlingquan, SP-6 Sanyinjiao and BL-32 Ciliao to dissolve the dampness from the lower heater.
-KI-7 Fuliu and BL-23 Shenshu to tone the Yang of the kidneys
-Ren-12 Zhongwan to dissolve dampness.
The patient responded well to the treatment and the combination of the internal treatment using Drain the Jade Valley ™ with the external wash resolved the candida problem in 10 months. It is planned to continue the treatment with the toning of the Spleen and Kidney.
By Giovanni Maciocia
CHINESE DIETARY PRINCIPLES:
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine it is Qi, or energy, which is responsible for moving and transforming the food we eat. The Stomach rots and ripens the food and the Spleen transforms and transports the refined Food Essence up towards the Lungs while the Stomach sends the rest of the food down to the Small Intestines. In Chinese Medicine the Spleen extracts Food Qi from food and this forms Blood in the Heart with the assistance of the Original Qi from the Kidneys. The Spleen is therefore the central essential organ for the production of both Qi and Blood.
When we overeat, eat too many hard to digest foods or eat improperly combined foods that food may become stagnant and accumulates instead of being dispersed and transformed. Undigested food can obstruct the Stomach and prevent the Stomach Qi from descending. Such accumulated stagnant food causes stagnant Qi, rebellious Stomach Qi, Stomach Heat and/or Dampness. This results in belching, sour regurgitation, nausea, etc. It may also give rise to or aggravate other conditions such as Blood stagnation and accumulation of Phlegm.
Chinese dietary principles are very old and do not take into account the great changes that have occurred in the growing and production of food in the past few decades. Modern food is subject to considerable chemical manipulation and a great many of the food additives can obviously be a cause of stomach problems and other disorders.Chinese Medicine says that the Qi comes from the purest part of the foods — the flavor or aroma. Its ability to supplement Qi is directly proportional to this aroma. Chinese dietary theory also maintains that food should be freshly made and eaten within 24 hours.
THE NATURE OF FOOD ACCORDING TO CHINESE MEDICINE:
• These include raw vegetables, salads, fruit, cold drinks and ice-cream. An excessive consumption of these foods will tend to create Cold in the Spleen and Stomach and ensuing epigastric pain.
• If food or drink has been stored in the refrigerator it should be allowed to heat up to room temperature before being consumed. This is especially true for persons who tend to be Spleen Qi deficient. Such persons should eat fruit and salads which have been warmed up to room temperature.
• These include curries, spices, lamb, beef and alcohol. An excessive consumption of these foods produces Stomach Heat which may manifest as burning epigastric pain.
Sugar and Sweets:
• An excessive consumption of these may tend to produce both Dampness and Heat in the Stomach and Spleen Qi deficiency. When eaten with hydrogenated oils and sugars which are extremely dampening chocolate tends to foster Damp Heat.
Greasy Foods, Fried Foods and Dairy Foods:
• An excessive consumption of these foods leads to the formation of Phlegm or Dampness in the Stomach.
• Citrus fruits are sweet and sour and these two flavors in combination tend to be very dampening according to Chinese Five Element theory. Persons with a tendency to Dampness should be careful not to combine citrus fruits with other foods and not to overeat them.
• Drinking coffee exhausts the Kidney Yin and Yang and causes Spleen Qi to be lost.
THE PRINCIPLES OF FOOD COMBINING:
Proper food combining is based on the following principles:
1) That the stomach cannot be both acid and alkaline at the same time because acid and alkaline digestive juices will neutralize each other.
2) Fruits require an alkaline digestive environment.
3) Proteins require an acid digestive environment.
4) Starches require an alkaline digestive environment.
What happens if we violate these principles?
The best way to describe what happens if we violate these principles is by way of an example. Suppose we eat a protein such as meat with a starch such as potato. The body must provide aciddigestive juices to digest the meat and alkaline digestive juices to digest the potato thereby neutralizing each other’s digestive juices. This results in neither food getting properly digested. On the contrary most of the protein, being in the stomach for so long putrefies and most of the carbohydrate ferments. Foods that have been putrefied or fermented generate toxic acids in the body. The putrefaction and fermentation is experienced as gas, flatulence, heartburn and acid indigestion.
What happens if we follow good food combining practices?
Improper food combinations, food additives, polluted water, air and stress cause the body to become toxic and acidic. Fruit as well as vegetables have the unique ability to neutralize the acids that build up in our systems. By eating high-water content foods, properly combined foods and eating fruit correctly puts us on the road to better health by promoting better digestion, assimilation and elimination.
• Fruit should not be eaten with protein because fruit acids inhibit the secretion of hydrochloric acid and thus interfere with protein digestion.
• It is best not to combine fruits with vegetables (especially cooked vegetables), proteins or starches because if such a combination of foods is eaten the digestion of the fruit will be delayed and subject to fermentation. All fruits go well with sprouts and we may also combine fruit with lettuce and celery.
• We can eat acid fruits with nuts or cheese.
Acid fruits are: blackberries, grapefruit, lemons, limes, oranges, pineapples, plums, pomegranates, raspberries and strawberries
• Melons are best eaten alone.
• Wait 20-30 minutes after eating fruit before eating other foods.
• Dried sweet fruits should be used sparingly. Use but one kind at a meal – in small amounts. They should be combined only with sweet fruit and/or lettuce and/or celery.
• Citrus fruits are best eaten at monomeals or at bimeals of oranges with grapefruits, pineapple, strawberries, etc.
• It is better not to combine them with starches such as breads, pastas, grains, potatoes, carrots, beets, squash, peanuts etc.
• It is better not to combine them with proteins except with nuts or seeds
.Non Starchy Vegetables (High Water Content Foods):
• Non starchy vegetables do not need their own specific digestive juices. They will break down in either acid or alkaline digestive mediums.
• It is OK to eat protein (but only one type at a time) with non starchy vegetables.
• Examples of non starchy vegetables are: asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, celery, chard, collards, corn, cucumber, eggplant, endive, escarole, green beans, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, okra, parsley, spinach, sprouts, summer squashes, sweet pepper, tomatoes, watercress and zucchini.
Nuts and Seeds:
• Concentrated foods such as nuts and seeds should be eaten with or as part of a vegetable salad. The water content of the salad vegetables offsets the lack of water in nuts and seeds.
• Nuts and seeds are protein-fat foods. Fats are slow to digest and their presence with protein makes nuts particularly slow-digesting. Delayed digestion encourages fermentation and putrefaction.
• After eating nuts three hours should elapse before eating fruit.Avocado:
• Avocado combines well with starches, such as whole grain bread, with all cooked or raw vegetables, and with fruit such as papaya, mango, banana, and orange. Do not combine avocado with protein.
Lettuce and Celery
• Lettuce or celery may be combined with fruits (except melons).
• Lettuce is an excellent combination with more concentrated foods of lower water content such as pecans, sunflower seeds, walnuts, sesame seeds, filberts and pine nuts.
• All vegetables should be soaked at least three hours or overnight to activate the enzymes in them–otherwise they are indigestible.
• The best sources of calcium are: raw sesame seeds, all raw nuts, kelp, dulse, all leafy greens, and concentrated fruits such as figs, dates and prunes. Most fruit contains ample calcium.
• The very nature of a typical sandwich is that it combines a protein with a carbohydrate and therefore it wastes a great deal of digestive energy. Properly combined sandwiches on whole-grain bread, using tomato, avocado, and cucumber, with lettuce or sprouts as fillings are energizing. Always toast the bread lightly to break down the glutens and make it more digestible.
• The following fruits and vegetables contain all the amino acids not produced by the body: carrots, bananas, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, okra, peas, potatoes, summer squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
by John G. Connor, M.Ac., L.Ac., edited by Barbara Connor, M.Ac., L.Ac.
Avery, Phyllis, Stop Your Indigestion, Vista, CA: Hygeia Publishing Co. 1993
Diamond, Harvey and Marilyn, Fit for Life, New York: Warner Books 1985
Dries, Jan & Inge Dries, The Food Combining Bible, London: Element (Harper Collins) 2002
Flaws, Bob, Arisal of the Clear, Boulder, CO: Blue Poppy Press 1991
Maciocia, Giovanni, The Foundations of Chinese Medicine, Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone 1989
Professor Ming Hu from the University of Houston - pharmacy is developing and testing an ancient Chinese herbal medicine formula, first described in AD 280, to improve cancer therapy. Hu believes that Xiao Chai Hu Tang can protect people taking the chemotherapy drug Irinotecan from a deadly side effect: severe late-onset diarrhea.
Our goal with Xiao Chai Hu Tang is to allow more people to benefit from treatment with irinotecan, which is often the drug of last resort for patients with late-stage or metastatic cancer. "
Ming Hu, the Diana SL. Chow Drug Discovery and Development Professor at University of Houston.
The clinical use of irinotecan is severely limited by severe diarrhea that results in poor quality of life, hospitalization, and even death.
Hu and her colleagues Romi Ghose, associate professor of pharmacy at UH and Song Gao of Texas Southern University, received $ 996,162 from the National Cancer Institute to investigate the effectiveness of the ancient formula. They will also work with Lijun Zhu of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine in China to determine the agent's effectiveness in a clinical trial.
Irinotecan is undoubtedly a powerful weapon against cancer, but many who take it develop severe late-onset diarrhea, probably caused by SN-38, the active metabolite of the drug. In the intestine, SN-38 can damage intestinal cells and affect their renewal.
"Intestinal cells have UGT enzymes that detoxify the active metabolite of the drug, but we found that SN-38 can also inactivate and reduce UGT enzymes in the intestine. This creates a vicious cycle. About 1 in 5 patients will fall into this vicious cycle, which it leads to discontinuation of therapy, decreased efficacy, or even death, "Hu said. She has shown that Xiao Chai Hu Tang protects UGT enzymes and reduces severe diarrhea, and with the new grant will develop it further, for testing and approvals.
Xiao Chai Hu Tang is actively used in China, Japan, and Korea for liver protection. This is the first case in which it has been shown to protect the gut from SN-38 (the active metabolite of the drug irinotecan), making UGT enzymes more resistant to the impact of SN-38.
"Our long-term goal is to develop experimental therapies and / or nutritional complementary approaches to reduce severe late-onset diarrhea so that patients can maintain their chemotherapy," Hu said.
Xiao Yao San is a blend of herbs used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe that Xiao Yao San works by clearing stagnation in the liver to improve the flow of qi (energy). Stagnant liver qi is said to affect the blood and contribute to stress / mood swings, pain, irritability, constipation, abdominal pain, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and irregular menstrual periods.
Xiao Yao San can be mixed by hand with the herbs themselves, but it is also sold as a dietary supplement. Although the blends may vary, the herbs that are most frequently combined in Xiao Yao San are:
Chai Hu (Radix Bupleuri)
Bai Zhu (Rhizoma Attraylodis Macrocephalae)
Fu Ling (Poria)
Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis)
Bai Shao (Radix Paeoniae Albae)
Sheng Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis)
Bo He (Herba Menthae Haplocalycis)
Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae)
A variation called Jia Wei Xiao Yao San contains all eight herbs with the addition of peony bark and gardenia fruit.
Although there is limited scientific research looking at the effectiveness of Xiao Yao San for therapeutic reasons, and most of what does exist are animal studies, there are a handful of diseases and conditions for which the herbal blend appears promising.
An animal study published in Phytotherapy Research suggests that Xiao Yao San may help alleviate depression by enhancing amino acid metabolism and altering the intestinal microflora.
An evidence-based review published in Complementary and Alternative Medicine included 26 randomized controlled trials involving 1,837 people with depression. The studies compared Xiao Yao San with a placebo and different antidepressants, and also looked at it as an adjunct to antidepressants.
The review concluded that Xiao Yao San appeared to improve the efficacy of antidepressants.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
In 2009, researchers found that Xiao Yao San reduced stress-induced anxiety behaviors in rats. A later study linked this effect to allopregnanolone, a neurosteroid, a natural hormone derived from progesterone identified as a key player in the development of PTSD.
Again, using stress-induced rats, the researchers found that Xiao Yao San not only reduced anxiety behaviors, but also increased brain levels of allopregnanolone.
The anti-inflammatory compounds in Xiao Yao San may be key to its beneficial impact on PTSD, according to a 2017 study. Researchers found that these compounds, previously shown to alleviate depression, impact neurobiological pathways associated with PTSD symptoms. .
Additionally, a 2017 study found that the blend counteracts oxidative stress using pathways similar to those of the antidepressant Prozac (fluoxetine), a common treatment for PTSD.
Research investigating Xiao Yao San's effect on stress is limited to rodent studies. The stress hormone cortisol impacts neurons in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for concentration, memory, and mood. A study in rats found that Xiao Yao San appears to protect against this.
Xiao Yao San is traditionally used to soothe a "sour" stomach. Current research suggests that the herbal blend helps relieve functional dyspepsia, better known as chronic indigestion.
According to a review of 14 studies published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Xiao Yao San can help relieve stomach discomfort, nausea, bloating, and belching associated with indigestion.
The researchers noted that the herbal preparation appears to work just as well as prokinetic drugs, drugs that increase intestinal motility, such as Motilium (domperidone) and Reglan (metoclopramide).
A 2018 review of Chinese herbal remedies for indigestion also confirmed these results and suggested that Xiao Yao San was more effective than prokinetic drugs.
Formulas based on the Xiao Yao San formula: