Category Archives: Chinese Medical Theory

How Chinese medicine works.

Do You Have A “Bug” Lurking Deep In Your Body?

My herb teacher was ecstatic, “You just made a Gu Syndrome formula!” I had never heard of Gu Syndrome, so I was in for an education that day.

It was my third year of Oriental medical school and the beginning of my second year in student clinic. My patient had Epstein Barr Syndrome and had experienced brief periods of remission followed by low energy and body pain. I had enough education to figure out that Epstein Barr was a virus, and viruses must be expelled from the body according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The tricky part is that

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Chinese Herbs for Pain, Trauma & Sports Injuries

The history of treating injuries with acupuncture and herbal therapy is centuries old and time-tested by martial artists and Chinese warriors. The theories and practices are practical and quite easy to comprehend.

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Ice constricts the flow of blood and lymph fluid and slows down swelling; the thinking behind the RICE treatment was that it would lessen tissue damage. However, a study published in The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that the practice of icing delayed the recovery of muscle damage and should not be the first choice of treatment for traumatic and sports injuries. Continue reading

Spleen Qi Deficiency – How long to reverse?

Customer Asks:

I have recently ordered your middle way herbal blend for spleen qi deficiency. Spleen qi def. and stomach problems tend to be two of the biggest issues that my acupuncturist has been working on. I am now traveling and unable to get care from my acupuncturist as much as I would like and was hoping that by ordering your herbal blend that it could help keep me on track. Do you know of any signs that I should be aware of to show that I am making progress on the middle way blend and how long should it take to see some results in the sluggishness, heavy limb feeling that comes with the spleen qi def?

Sounds like you have developed some Internal Dampness due to your Spleen imbalance; obviously, you would notice a lessening of the symptoms you have mentioned, but if it has developed this far, it is going to take many months. It is not like taking echinacea to get over a cold, as you are rebuilding organ health.

Best Regards,
Catherine

Wind Cold Damp Invasion Chinese Medicine

A Website Visitor Asks:

inever had any type of sinus problems, live in new york and went to visit someone in the mountains, the air was colder and i felt something in the air get in my body and from then on i have been severly congested,  cannot sleep at night, constantly blowing nose, mucous is white, no tinges of yellow or green, had some coughing not much, but when i did cough it was deep and some mucous came very minute amount of a yellow and green tinge looked up the causes for this and found stagnant yang qi, wind and dampness etc.

what can be reccommended,  i am into acupunture and chinese herbs, tried the traditional but perhaps i will get some acupunture.  what herbs can you reccommend, i need both nasal passages clear, it is either one or the other that is clear and it shifts from one nasal passage to another,  thanks

Sounds like a Wind-Cold-Dampness Invasion; I would suggest that you consider a warm soup of broth with green onions and ginger. Pick up some mullein tea bags at your local health food store for the congestion. You could also dilute some cinnamon, lavender, and thyme essential oil in olive oil and add it to your bath (5% EO).

Hypothyroidism, Thyroid Removal and Chinese Medicine

A Website Visitor Asks:

Can Kidney Yang Tonic help with  hypothyroidism, after the thyroid has been removed?

That is an interesting question. In Chinese medicine, the “Kidney” is an energetic organ system relating to various functions, and the energetic channel that acupuncturists utilize and is also part of the system. Hypothyroidism is typically related to the Kidney Yang Deficiency in TCM, and if you have indications of Kidney Deficiency, than the tonics will be of benefit. Note that one indication, such as hypothyroidism, is not enough to make a diagnosis of Kidney Deficiency; you would have several that begin to form a pattern. Take care when utilizing a Kidney Yang tonic such as our Ancestor Treasure formula. What we typically do in clinic in this situation is utilize Yin Valley and Ancestor Treasurer formulas together. Please peruse the Yin/Yang article to understand how to balance Yin and Yang in the body, and why it is important.

Ma Huang: quite literally a miracle?

A website visitor asks:

Do you have a product with pinyin: ma huang? The ingredient helped with my energy level, my appetite and my sex drive and was quite literally a miracle. Then I think it was taken off the market. Now I am reading it is back with specific parts of the plant removed. Is it still effective? It seems if the FDA is requiring the active compound to be removed it will no longer be useful. I am confused and looking for a solution.

In traditional Chinese medicine, ma huang was not used an energy stimulant, it was used for lung and breathing problems. The misuse of the herb as an energy stimulant is what led to it being removed. You would do better to utilize Qi tonics such as our Sea of Qi formula and benefit your health rather than utilizing ephedra this way. It is said that using stimulants is like stealing vitality from your future health; ask anyone with adrenal fatigue. By utilizing a Qi Tonic, you are actually helping to build your energy and support the organ systems that help you maintain healthy energy levels.

Oh! I like that reasoning! That makes perfect sense! Thank you!! I will go find the appropriate Qi  tonic and be grateful to hang onto the healthy energy I have!
Thank you so much. grins

Yin Yang Theory Chinese Medicine – Can you be just Kidney Yang Deficient?

A website visitor asks:

If I’m mostly Kidney Yang deficient and taking Ancestral Treasure formula , should I also take Kidney Yin deficient herbs such as Yin Valley formula to balance the Yin/Yang? I don’t seem to have any of the symptoms listed on the Yin deficient list except constipation. I always feel cold and never sweat and it seems like Yin deficiency causes people to be hot and sweat a lot.

Hi,

Yin/Yang theory is a bit tricky, and it sounds like you may have read the related article on our website that explains, in this situation, a Yin tonic supports the “substance” of the body. You will likely be able to tolerate the AT by itself for a time, but as you heal the Yin Deficiency will likely show itself as Deficient Heat signs develop. This is why we sell the two formulas separately, as every individual will have different levels of Yin and Yang deficiency, and the formulas can be adjusted as needed. Yin is a relative term that has to be used in reference to something Yang. It could be cold to hot (so you are correct), or substance to activity.

Kind Regards,
Catherine

How Long Does it Take to Reverse Hair Loss with Chinese Herbs?

Customer writes:

 hello I’ve just ordered my second bottle of Return to Spring formula and I was wondering how long it takes to grow your hair back. My hairline is receding but it looks like little hair is starting to grow.

There is information located on the  Hair loss article relating specifically to this. If some hair is starting to come back after just 6 weeks or so, that is a good sign that you are dealing with hair loss due to Kidney Deficiency and that this is the correct product; most people do not see new hair growth for a few months. You should be thinking at least 6 months to a year, but I have no idea what your specific situation is or the level of your deficiency.

Kind Regards,
Catherine Browne, LAc, MH, DiplAc

Constant Sinus Drainage and Running Nose – What Herbs Will Help?

Website Visitor Asks:

I HAVE A CONSTANT SINUS DRAINING, MY EAR CANAL STAYS FULL ALL THE TIME, WHICH CAUSES BALANCE PROBLEM. I’VE TRIED ALL MEDICAL MEDS, AN DIET RESTRICTIONS, IS THERE ANY HERBS, OR ANY COMBINATION OF HERBS. OR TEAS THAT MAY HELP. THIS IS NOT RECENT, I’VE HAD THIS PROBLEM FOR ABOUT 30 YEARS. I CONSTANTLY BLOWING MY  NOSE, AN CONSTANCE RUFF VOICE. THANK YOU.

Hi,

What you are describing is often described as Internal Dampness according to Chinese Medicine. Most often, the root of this Dampness is related to Spleen Qi Deficiency. The Spleen energetic system in TCM is not the same as the spleen organ of Western medicine; rather, it is a functional organ system that fits in to the larger theories of Chinese medicine. The Spleen is the Organ overseeing the “transformation and transportation of foods and fluids”, thus insuring that nourishment and fluids are utilized efficiently in the body.

The Spleen can be damaged by inappropriate dietary choices, chronic worrying, or ongoing exposure to damp conditions. You could also have a familial (genetic) disposition leading to Spleen Imbalances which I suspect in long standing Dampness developing very early in life. Many of the influences of our modern Western culture lead to Spleen Qi dis-harmonies including the over consumption of iced drinks, cold foods, raw foods, fried foods, and sweets. The Ageless Herbs formula Restore the Middle Way formula is a Spleen Qi Tonic and addresses these issues.

Kindly,
Catherine Browne, LAc, MH, Dipl.Ac

What is the Difference Between Detoxing the Liver and Soothing the Liver?

Website Customer Asks:

I bought the peaceful warrior to detox the liver in the past what is the difference between Free and Easy Wanderer and Peaceful Warrior?

Our Peaceful Warrior formula is used to detox the Liver and contains several very bitter and cold herbs. Bitter herbs stimulate bile flow and removes “Toxic Heat” , or “Liver Fire”, according to Chinese medicine. A Liver Detox has its place, but is too cold energetically to use over a long period of time as it would disrupt the Yin/Yang balance of the body and possibly damage the Spleen. It should be limited to 2-4 months use, and should only be used once per year (ideally in the Spring as this is the Wood Element Season). Exposure to toxins is a common culprit with Liver Fire.

Our Free and Easy Wanderer formula is more neutral (not so cold) and can be taken over a longer period of time to soothe Liver Qi Stagnation. Liver Qi Stagnation is a much more common condition; very few patients come in to clinic without an element of Liver imbalance in the states. Since anger and frustration can lead to Liver Qi Stagnation, it is no surprise that our stressed out society suffers from this condition.

Hope this clarifies,

Catherine