Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Breath of fresh air

By Lu Hong (China Daily)

Engineer Liu Sha spends long days in the office, suffers from shortness of breath and easily catches colds. But her days of anguish are slowly disappearing thanks to "yijinjing", a combination of stretching movements and breathing exercises.

This technique was practiced inside the confines of the Shaolin Temple 1,500 years ago and up until 40 years ago, remained a mystery.

The exercises Liu practices mostly involve standing in a half crouched position raising the arms and breathing slowly.

"Now I have stronger breaths and a bigger appetite," Liu, 31, says. "My neck pain is also getting a little relief."

Under the instruction of Master Liu Yuchao, the 31-year-old professional has learned to control her breathing and can now feel qi (energy) flowing through her body.

Breathing plays an important role in most yijinjing movements, which is similar to taichi, another traditional system of physical exercises.

She learned from a news report that a yijinjing training class had opened in the Lianyang International Neighborhood, just a stone's throw away from her home.

"I learned that yijinjing is also helpful for ordinary practitioners to replenish qi, nourish the blood and calm the nerves," she says. "Then I decided to have a try."

Yijinjing, which means "limbering up exercises for the tendons", is one of the most treasured internal exercises to come out of the Shaolin Temple in Henan province. The temple is also the birthplace of Chinese kungfu.

According to legend, Bodhidharma Ta Mo created yijinjing about 1,500 years ago. It blended Zen Buddhism with martial arts to help strengthen the Shaolin monks, prolong their meditations and get them fighting-fit in order to defend their temple from invaders.

For centuries, the Shaolin monks practiced these exercises in secret and most Chinese were unaware of the techniques until the 1960s, when Louis Cha's martial arts novels became hugely popular.

In these novels, the leading characters began their lives as ordinary men but after practicing yijinjing in the Shaolin Temple they would miraculously grow into top kungfu masters.

"Actually yijinjing is not as mysterious as people think. It's just like yoga, and is good for everyday fitness," says Liu Yuchao, the instructor.

Chinese medicine doctor, Liu Yuchao, from Yueyang Chinese Medicine Hospital, opened the first yijinjing training class in Shanghai in September and Liu Sha was one of his first students.

"In my clinic, I've often taught my patients some movements to practice at home, as a way to coordinate with their clinical therapy," Dr Liu says. "They just don't know that I'm teaching them yijinjing."

Yueyang Chinese Medicine Hospital is now launching a health campaign in the city and Dr Liu is the yijinjing promoter.

Liu massages the neck and spine of each student and can discover their health problems immediately. He then suggests the best movements to cure their pain. Students consult Liu about their health problems after class and ask for advice.

Dr Liu and his promotion team want to promote yijinjing among foreigners in Shanghai.

Their first class was at Lianyang International Neighborhood in Pudong and their second class, which is being prepared, will be held in Gubei International Neighborhood.

Currently, Yueyang Hospital is not the only organization devoted to promoting yijinjing. Shaolin Temple announced a plan in September to open yijinjing training courses across China.

"Our company did have such a plan but everything is still under preparation," says Qian Xiangpeng, a project leader of Shaolin Huanxidi Company, a subsidiary of the temple's commercial arm.

Jane Chen, editor-in-chief of a yachting magazine, has tried yijinjing because she flies to Europe six times a month on average for business and the jetlag leaves her exhausted. Yoga didn't help so she tried something new.

"I've practiced yoga for a long time. It emphasizes body stretching and twisting," she says. "For me, it's too simple because I have a soft body.

"I often feel shortness of breath, yijinjing is an exercise that emphasizes internal breathing, and so it might work on me."

See this article at: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/life/2008-12/30/content_7353791.htm

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

What is Artemisinin?

Coartem, a malaria drug whose potency is derived from a Chinese herb, may soon be approved for sale in the United States.
By Jordan Lite, Scientific American

Coartem, derived from the Chinese herb artemisinin, wipes out malaria in over 96 per cent of patients in regions where malaria has become resistant to older drugs.

See full article at:

Sweet Wormwood or artemesiae annuae (Chinese: Qing Hao) is available at:


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Actor Jeremy Pivens false Claims Blaming Chinese Herbs for Mercury poisoning? You Decide!

Recent articles flying over the Web claim the unsubstantiated “fact” that actor Jeremy Piven's “mercury poisoning” came from “sushi” and “Chinese herbs”.
Chinese herbs laced with mercury are illegal in this country and have been banned for years. Where did Piven get them?
We would hope that Piven's doctor would explain, however, apparently he's a controversial figure in the medical field.
As it turns out, Colker is a “love doctor,” or he was until the Federal Trade Commission called the sex drug he formulated and hawked in infomercials a sham.
Colker was busted in an FTC complaint against a Portland, Maine, company known as Vital Basics, Inc. The company was sued for false and misleading advertising involving a sex drug that Colker had formulated called V-Factor Natural Pack.
Colker, who bills himself as a “doctor and fitness trainer to the stars,” has also been sued in at least four states over another “scientific study” and testimonials in support of the sale and use of ephedra-laced drugs.
Read more about Dr. Colker at:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Authentic Chinese junk boat on the verge of extinction

The Free China is the last authentic Fujian-style junk boat in and on the verge of extinction. If a home is not found by summer 2009, it will be destroyed. Lost forever.

Click on the link below to find out more about the Free China junk and how you can help save it.

Treatment of Recalcitrant Psoriasis using Indigo Naturalis

Clinical Assessment of Patients With Recalcitrant Psoriasis in a Randomized, Observer-Blind, Vehicle-Controlled Trial Using Indigo Naturalis

Yin-Ku Lin, MD; Chee-Jen Chang, PhD; Ya-Ching Chang, MD; Wen-Rou Wong, MD; Shu-Chen Chang, PhD; Jong-Hwei Su Pang, PhD

Arch Dermatol. 2008;144(11):1457-1464.

Objective To evaluate the efficacy and safety of treatment with indigo naturalis in patients with recalcitrant plaque-type psoriasis.

Design Randomized, observer-blind, vehicle-controlled, intrapatient comparison study.
Setting Ambulatory department of a hospital.

Participants Forty-two outpatients with chronic plaque psoriasis were enrolled in the study from May 1, 2004, to April 30, 2005.
Intervention The patients applied either indigo naturalis ointment or vehicle ointment topically to each of 2 bilaterally symmetrical psoriatic plaque lesions for 12 weeks (depending on the date of enrollment in the study).

Main Outcome Measures The outcomes were assessed using the following criteria: the sum of erythema, scaling, and induration scores and the clearing percentage of the target plaque lesion assessed by 2 blinded observers.

Results Significant reductions in the sum of scaling, erythema, and induration scores (P < .001) (mean score, 6.3 after indigo naturalis treatment vs 12.8 in control subjects) and plaque area percentage (P < .001) (mean percentage, 38.5% after indigo naturalis treatment vs 90% in controls) were achieved with topical application of indigo naturalis ointment. Approximately 31 of 42 patients (74%) experienced clearance or near clearance of their psoriasis in the indigo ointment–treated lesion.

Conclusion Topical indigo naturalis ointment was a novel, safe, and effective therapy for plaque-type psoriasis.

See this article at:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Duke Study: Acupuncture Offers Better Headache Relief Over Medication

By Duke Medicine, Press Release, 1 week, 6 days ago

Acupuncture is more effective than medication in reducing the severity and frequency of chronic headaches, according to a new analysis conducted by Duke University Medical Center researchers.

The National Institutes of Health recommended acupuncture as a viable treatment for chronic headaches a decade ago and, while research in this field has increased, there have been conflicting reports about its efficacy.

“We combed through the literature and conducted the most comprehensive review of available data done to date using only the most rigorously-executed trials,” says Tong Joo (T.J.) Gan, M.D., a Duke anesthesiologist who lead the analysis.

Researchers analyzed data from only randomized controlled trials evaluating acupuncture for adults with chronic headaches and were conducted for more than four weeks.

“Acupuncture is becoming a favorable option for a variety of purposes ranging from enhancing fertility to decreasing post-operative pain because people experience significantly fewer side effects and it can be less expensive than other options,” Gan says. “This analysis reinforces that acupuncture also is a successful source of relief from chronic headaches.”

While everyone experiences an occasional headache, more than 45 million Americans (one in six) suffer from chronic headaches, 20 million of whom are women. Medication remains the mainstay of treatment with varying levels of success.

The Duke team looked at studies that compared traditional acupuncture to either medication or a control group who received sham acupuncture. Similar to traditional acupuncture, the sham therapy entails inserting needles into the skin but the acupuncturist avoids meridians or areas of the body that Chinese medicine teaches contains vital energy associated with achieving balance needed for good health.

Researchers analyzed more than 30 studies to arrive at the findings published in the December issue of Anesthesia and Analgesia. The studies included nearly 4,000 patients who reported migraines (17 studies), tension headaches (10 studies) and other forms of chronic headaches with multiple symptoms (four studies).

In 17 studies comparing acupuncture to medication, the researchers found that 62 percent of the acupuncture patients reported headache relief compared to only 45 percent of people taking medication. These acupuncture patients also reported better physical well-being compared to the medication group. In 14 studies that compared real acupuncture to sham therapy, 53 percent of acupuncture patients responded to treatment compared to 45 percent receiving sham therapy. “Acupuncture has been practiced for thousands of years but only recently has started to become more accepted as an alternative or supplement to conventional therapies,” Gan explains.

“One of the barriers to treatment with acupuncture is getting people to understand that while needles are used it is not a painful experience,” Gan says. “It is a method for releasing your body’s own natural painkillers.”

Acupuncture therapy is becoming widely available nationwide and a typical course of treatment for chronic headaches requires 30-minute sessions. Many people begin experiencing relief following five to six visits. Gan also has conducted research to determine the effect of acupuncture on post-operative pain, nausea and vomiting. His research has found that acupuncture can significantly reduce pain and the need for pain medications following surgery. He also found that acupuncture can be as effective as medication in reducing post-operative nausea and vomiting.

The research was conducted in collaboration with Yanxia Sun, M.D. The meta-analysis was supported by Duke's Department of Anesthesiology.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tang dynasty Chinese Medicine Practitioner Sun Si Miao

The great Tang dynasty Chinese Medicine Practitioner Sun Si Miao (孙思邈) once wrote:
Translated, it means: The best doctors treat the disease that is yet to occur; The average doctors treat the disease that is about to occur;The mediocre doctors treat the disease that has already occurred.

'Heat' causes eczema

By Gerard Yeo, Asiaonehealth

Q. My two-year-old daughter has eczema behind her knees, on her elbows as well as dark circles under her eyes. Tests for allergies conducted by doctors are inconclusive. How can TCM help?

A. Eczema is a condition which causes the skin to become itchy and inflamed.
It can appear on any part of the body but is most frequently found on the face, wrists, elbows and knees. The skin may become thick and appear brownish grey.
It is caused by a deficiency in the functions of the lung, spleen and kidney, insufficient yin and qi, as well as poor blood circulation. Pathogenic factors such as wind, heat and dampness also play a part.
In TCM, the lungs are responsible for the condition of the skin. So people with weak lungs or those suffering from asthma also tend to suffer from eczema.
Chinese medicine, cupping therapy and infant tui na massage can improve your daughter's condition by strengthening her organs and dispelling the pathogenic factors.
Chinese herbs such as Mulberry Leaf (sangye) is commonly prescribed for rashes on the face, while Oyster Shell (muli) and Nacre (zhenzhumu) are used to treat eczema with itchiness and redness present.
Your daughter should abstain from sweet food as it causes dampness. She should also avoid spicy food as it creates heat. Also, do not let her eat sour and cold food as it weakens the digestive system.
Cut down on red meat as it is difficult to digest and also creates heat.
Other types of food which may cause allergies are seafood, dairy products such as milk and eggs, and wheat products such as bread.
Dark circles under the eyes point to weak kidneys and a lack of proper sleep at night.
She should get sufficient rest and not sleep later than 10pm to prevent internal heat from accumulating in her body.
Taking showers at room temperature and moisturising after that will minimise skin irritation.
-Information provided by Ms Lim Lay Beng, a TCM physician at YS Healthcare TCM Clinic.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Equine Acupressure Therapeutics

Interested in using Chinese medicine on horses? Read this!

New Book Series: Equine Acupressure Therapeutics Equestrian News Release
An equine acupressure book that really makes sense! Readers benefit from the author's years of combined experience as a licensed acupuncturist, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) consultant and horse owner.
Workbook 1, an Introduction to the Basics, is the first of the Whole Horse Wellness series of workbooks dedicated to providing accurate, useful information and equine health care tools for the horse owner.
This 50 page, spiral bound workbook is easy to use and understand with clear charts and graphics – ideal for the beginner or advanced student.
Workbook 1, an Introduction to the Basics includes:
-Qi, yin & yang
-Five elements
-Meridians & channels
-Tendo-muscular meridians
-Zang fu organs
-Acupoints explained
-Acupoints - Points and their uses
-Meridians - Meridian charts & extensive point explanations

To learn more about acupuncture, acupressure, herbs for horses and to read case histories and articles, please visit http://www.wholehorse.com

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

TCM cure for the common cold?

By Zhang Qian, ShanghaiDaily.com

The common cold is caused by a virus, according to Western medicine. Chinese traditional medicine has a different take - four different takes. Still, no one has a cure, writes Zhang Qian. It's the cold season and many people catch cold as the temperature drops. Sneezing, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, headaches - there's nothing worse than the common cold. And despite the wisdom of the ages and the sages, there's no cure.We all know you're supposed to stay warm. Traditional Chinese medicine also recommends drinking ginger soup - ginger contains hot yang energy - to warm you up inside and fight the invading culprit of "pathogenic cold." "Healthy energy can effectively defend us against ailments like colds," says Dr Fang Hong, chief physician of the Respiratory Medicine Department of Longhua Hospital. "But when healthy energy is weakened by fatigue or other serious ailments, pathogenic elements from outside can easily invade the human body through pores, the nose or mouth, and cause disease. "Many people's immune systems have failed to cope with falling temperatures, he says.Western medicine says colds are caused by viruses - we can see them under a microscope. Antihistamines, cough suppressants, aspirin, throat lozenges and other medicine are prescribed for symptoms. Drink lots of liquids, stay warm and wait it out. TCM divides colds into four categories according to their four basic causes - pathogenic cold, wind, damp and heat. Cold and wind are common in winter and spring; damp and heat in summer, but several elements can occur together. They require different treatments. In cold/wind-caused colds, patients usually have nasal congestion, runny nose, itchy throat, aching limbs, coughing with thin phlegm, but no sweating. They usually have a pale tongue with thin coating.

Dispelling pathogenic cold is the main treatment. TCM patent medicine like zheng chai hu yin chong ji (medicinal granules with Chinese thorowax root as the main ingredient) is often prescribed to relieve symptoms. People with this kind of cold should eat a relatively plain diet with less meat. Foods that promote sweating to dispel pathogenic cold are recommended, including chili, onions, green onions, ginger and brown sugar. Drinking a bowl of hot ginger soup, then going to bed under thick quilts will promote sweating - it's one of the most effective methods to relieve cold symptoms, especially fever. Colds caused by pathogenic heat and wind tend to occur in summer and autumn. Symptoms include congestion and runny nose, sore throat and swollen glands, coughing with thick phlegm, headache, aching limbs, but little sweating. The tongue is often yellow with a thin coating. These cold sufferers need to clear pathogenic heat from their systems. TCM patent drugs like yin qiao jie du wan (pill with honeysuckle and forsythia as the main ingredients) are often prescribed. A plain, low-protein diet is advised. Stay away from hot and spicy foods and alcohol. Drink more sour juice, like hawthorn or kiwi fruit, to improve the appetite. Colds caused by pathogenic summer heat and damp cause fever, vomiting, headache, chest congestion and poor appetite. TCM patent drugs like huo xiang zheng qi wan (pills with ageratum as the main ingredient) are prescribed to dispel pathogenic damp and regulate qi (energy). Flu, though sharing some symptoms with colds caused by heat and wind, is more serious, with high fever, aching muscles and serious headache. There can be respiratory problems. The tongue is red with a yellow coating. Patients need drugs that can help detoxify and fight the virus. See a doctor.

Medicinal food for colds:

Colds caused by pathogenic cold and wind:
Ginger and brown sugar soup
Ingredients: Ginger (10g), brown sugar (15g)
Preparation: Chop ginger into thin slices and cook soup. Add brown sugar. Drink while hot. Function: Relieves cold symptoms like chills and runny nose with watery mucus.

Green tea, ginger and green onion tea
Ingredients: green tea (9g), two slices of ginger and three green onions
Preparation: Cook all ingredients and drink while hot.
Function: Relieves cold symptoms like chills and runny nose with watery mucus.

Garlic (cooked and uncooked) Eat several cooked and uncooked slices of garlic every day - if you don't care about your breath. If you do, take garlic pills.
Function: Boosts the immune system, helps prevent colds due to pathogenic cold and wind.

Colds caused by pathogenic heat and wind
Honeysuckle and black bean sauce congee
Ingredients: Honeysuckle (9g), black bean sauce (9g), rice (60g)
Preparation: Make congee, sweeten with sugar.
Function: Relieves fever, headache and sore throat.

Colds caused by summer heat and damp
Huo xiang (ageratum) drink
Ingredients: Huo xiang (15g), chen pi (dried orange peel) (6g), sugar
Preparation: Cook with water, sweeten with sugar, drink while hot.
Function: Relieves headache, chest congestion, vomiting and diarrhea.

For people susceptible to colds
Green onion, ginger and sticky rice congee
Ingredients: Five green onions, three slices of ginger, and sticky rice (100g)
Preparation: Make congee, eat while hot, eat often.
Function: Helps prevent colds.

Most of the herbs mentioned can be found at http://www.eastearthtrade.com/

yin qiao jie du wan can be bought here:

Liu Yuan serves Chinese herb set menu

From: Taiwan News Page 17

Serving nourishing herbal meals that have been specially formulated to help the body ward off the winter chill and welcome the arrival of winter is a deeply rooted Chinese tradition. The Chinese firmly believe that adding Chinese herbs to produce nourishing dishes is absolutely guaranteed to keep oneself healthy and balance the body's yin and yang and improve blood circulation.
The Westin Taipei's Liu Yuan Shanghainese Restaurant Executive Chef Qiu You-Bin has specially selected various herb ingredients that include the deer antlers of a young stag, erxian jiao, Hua Qi ginseng and other nutrient Chinese herbs.
Over 10 various kinds of Chinese herbs are used in the "Warming Winter with Chinese Herb Set Menu" including lobster, soft-shelled turtle, eel and prepared in the most authentic Shanghainese cooking. The Westin Taipei welcomes guests to sample this nutritious Chinese herb set menu offered at the price of NT$2,500 + 10% per person.
Absolutely appetizing and unforgettable.
One of the Set Menu dishes guests can enjoy is the "Marinated Chicken with Chinese Herb and Yam, Black Bean and Scallop". This appetizer dish includes taro, black beans and scallop marinated together with chicken and Chinese herb. Black bean contains an abundant protein as well as Vitamins E and B, calcium, iron, flax oil and lecithin. Sliced pieces of taro is sprinkled on this appetizer that will enable guests to savor plum jam flavor. The Executive Chef has added his home-made fermented honey with the black bean and scallop that allows guests to relish this mouthwatering appetizing appetizer.
The main course that guests can enjoy is "Doubled Boiled Mutton and Turtle Soup with Chinese Herb." This dish is refreshing and not even oily and makes it an unforgettable dining experience. These main course ingredients include turtle, lobster, and top choice eel. The soup base uses "erxian jiao," roots of Chinese angelica (dang gui), huang qi, yi zhu, guang pi as well as a wide range of nutritious Chinese herbs and are boiled for several hours together with aged female chicken. The turtle and mutton are then added to boil to feature a nourishing dish. Guests will be able to increase their immunity and successfully ward off the winter chill.
Other dishes guests will be able to relish include the "Steamed Lobster with Chinese Herb" and the "Braised Deer Antler with Chinese Herb." Steamed Lobster with Chinese Herb ingredients include tian ma, roots of Chinese angelica (dang gui), and lyceum chinensis (matrimony vine) and steamed together with the lobster. Each bite of this delicious lobster brings out the original tastes and flavors of this delectable dish. One of the ingredients "Tian Ma" is perfect for calming one's nerves and easing the body's pressure. The "Braised Deer Antler with Chinese Herb" ingredients use dried deer antler and hua qi ginseng Chinese herb and braised together with deer antler and fresh eel. Guests can take pleasure in enjoying the smooth, fragrant fleshy fruit. Deer antler is a perfect way to nourish one's vitality and improve blood circulation while hua qi ginseng is able to lower blood pressure which is why it is the perfect dish to fight off the winter chill.
While enjoying the various Chinese herbs delicacies, guests will also be able to sample a tasty Sauted Asparagus, Yam and Gingo nut dish. The ingredients include winter Chinese caterpillar, yam, gingo nut and deep-fried together with the asparagus. Lycium chinensis (gou qi) is then sauteed with the ingredients to produce a perfect nourishing dish and an unforgettable dining experience. The fresh winter Chinese caterpillar contains nutritive value and is an ideal way to adjust feeble bodies while gingo nuts contains lots of protein, fat and sugar.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Chinese Herb May Help Treat Cancer

From Cancer Monthly:

Herbal Remedy May Help Combat Endometriosis and Cancer
The Chinese herb Prunella vulgaris (PV) may prove an effective treatment for women with endometriosis and certain types of cancer because of its anti-estrogen properties, according to research published in the November 5 issue of the journal, Biology of Reproduction.
Although the female hormone, estrogen is crucial to reproduction, it can have some negative side effects, fueling the abnormal cell growth that occurs in diseases such as endometriosis and cancer. To treat these diseases, doctors have turned to tamoxifen and other anti-estrogen medications, but these drugs can have significant side effects.

In their search for an alternative to anti-estrogen medications, researchers in Greenville, South Carolina focused their attention on several possible herbal remedies.They had 20 herbs in the lab that included Prunella vulgaris, says Bruce Lessey, MD, PhD, vice chair of Research, and director of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Greenville Hospital System. PV is found in Europe and Asia and is often used to treat painful periods. "There had been one study previously suggesting that a related herb, Prunella stica, had anti-estrogen properties. So we screened the herbs, and this one really jumped out."

When Dr. Lessey and his colleagues tested the herb on endometrial cancer cells, they discovered that it significantly reduced the cancer cells growth. In mice implanted with human endometriosis, PV also reduced the number of abnormal endometrial tissue growths. The herb was just as potent as a synthetic anti-estrogen drug used in the study. The only side effect researchers have noted in ongoing human studies of PV has been an increase in headaches in some women....

For full article see:

Here's a source of Prunella (Chinese: Xia Ku Cao):

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Chinese Scientists use Herbs to Treat Cows

BEIJING, Nov. 19 (Xinhua) -- Chinese scientists are attempting to keep milk free of chemical residues by using herbal medicines, rather than antibiotics or hormones, to treat bacterial infections in cows and increase their milk production.
Liang Jianping, a leading veterinary pharmacist with the Institute of Modern Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said on Wednesday that his research team produced zero-residue milk at an experimental dairy farm by using herbal medicines to treat mastitis (an inflammation of the udder) and endometritis (an infection of the uterus).
"The milk was supplied to yogurt manufacturers, and the yogurt produced was sold to restaurants and hotels at a price about twice that of regular yogurt," said Liang.
Researchers used the anti-bacterial herbal medicine Liu Qian Su, which is extracted from the plant genus madder. It can be metabolized in a few hours and leaves no harmful residues in milk or other food, according to Liang.
Instead of using female hormones, they used puerarin extracted from the herb kudzu (a member of the pea family native to southeast China) to raise cows' milk production. Puerarin, usually used to treat coronary heart disease and angina, can achieve the desired effect by expanding the blood vessels of cows.
The next step was to provide the technique to dairy manufacturers in the northwestern Gansu Province, where the institute is based, said Liang, also member of a Ministry of Agriculture committee overseeing veterinary drug residues in food of animal origin.
"Overdoses of antibiotics in cows can leave chemical residues in milk, which pose a risk of drug resistance and allergic reactions in humans," said Liang.
Liang noted that overuse of antibiotics is common in China as dairy farmers flout dosage regulations.
Liang, who also led a state-level research program on commercializing safe veterinary drugs in 2002, said that China doesn't currently test for antibiotic or hormone residues in milk.
Stricter standards are urgently needed, according to Liang, whoadded that supervision over the production process is just as important as the product-testing process.

Kudzu, which is mentioned in this article, is also good to reduce cravings for alcohol
See: http://eastearthtrade.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=498

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Indigo Ointment Relieves Psoriasis

From WebMD Health News
Psoriasis Improves With Indigo Naturalis Chinese Herbal Ointment
By Daniel J. DeNoon Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 17, 2008 -- Psoriasis patients showed dramatic improvement after 12 weeks of treatment with an ointment containing indigo naturalis, a Chinese herbal remedy.
The findings come from a study by Yin-Ku Lin, MD, of Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan, and colleagues. For more than five years, the researchers have been using the indigo ointment to treat psoriasis patients who do not respond to standard Western drug therapy.
"We anticipate that indigo naturalis ointment can be an alternative or complementary therapy for psoriasis and believe it will be a great benefit to this patient population," Lin and colleagues suggest.
Indigo naturalis is a traditional Chinese medicine derived from the plant Strobilanthes formosanus Moore. It's typically taken orally, but long-term use has been linked to stomach and liver problems. So Lin's team mixed the indigo powder with a base made of petroleum jelly, yellow wax, and olive oil.
In their study, the researchers gave the indigo ointment to 42 patients whose chronic plaque psoriasis did not improve despite at least two different medical treatments.
All of the patients had bilateral psoriasis -- that is, they had equally severe psoriasis plaques on both sides of their body. The patients spread the indigo ointment on the plaques on one side of the body and the base alone on plaques on the other side of the body.
The dark indigo powder stained the patients' skin but came off after washing. Before regular checkups, the patients washed all the ointment away so that their doctors would not know which side of the body had received the real treatment and which received the base alone.
The soothing ointment base, all by itself, did offer a bit of relief. But the indigo ointment worked much better. After 12 weeks of indigo treatment, 31 of the 42 patients' psoriasis plaques cleared or nearly cleared.
No harmful side effects were seen, although patients were not happy that the ointment stained their skin and clothing, even though it washed off and there was no permanent change in skin color. Also, the ointment has a disagreeable odor. Lin and colleagues suggest that researchers should look for a more potent, more convenient form of indigo ointment than their "crude herb" ointment.
"Indigo naturalis ointment treatment has neither adverse effects, such as those found with corticosteroid treatment, or other toxic effects based on our past five years of clinical observation. Furthermore, it costs much less," Lin and colleagues note.
The researchers report their findings in the November issue of Archives of Dermatology.

Need a source of Indigo? Try:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Letha Hadady conducts Midlife Topics Workshop

From Letha Hadady:

You may know me from my walking tours of New York Asian food and herb markets or my articles and books. I am the author of Asian Health Secrets, Personal Renewal, Healthy Beauty, and Feed Your Tiger: The Asian Diet Secret for Permanent Weight Loss and Vibrant Health. I am also the Ayurvedic health correspondent for Heal India, India's premier health magazine.

Next week, November 17, 2008 I will teach an all day Continuing Education workshop covering midlife topics at:
The Renfield Center
Beth Israel Medical Center School of Nursing
776 Sixth Avenue at W. 27th Street - 3rd Floor
Contact: www.nurse-education.orgor Call: 212 614-6177

Recently, I have posted new articles at my website www.asianhealthsecrets.com. They include:
"More Good News About Mushrooms" It covers their anti-cancer and immune-enhancing properties
"Advice for Finger-Tappers" It describes current brain research and several useful brain-foods
"Strontium the Bone Maker" An important health food store supplement that increases bone mass
"Astragalus a Wonderful Tonic" An Asian herb that increases energy, improves memory and sexuality, and reduces chronic back pain
"The Mother of All Colds is Back" Here is an excerpt from that timely article: This year’s cold and flu season threatens to outdo last year’s sore throat, cough, fever, and chronic asthma, which became so widespread we nicknamed it The Mother of All Colds. Now is the time to protect yourself and family from catching and spreading it. Psychic Edgar Cayce (1877-1945) and traditional Asian herbal doctors agree: Clean up your act by eliminating congestion and germs, and you are safer from colds and flu. Cayce recommended fasting, purging, and sweating treatments to reduce excess mucus and improve breathing and digestion. These may be weakening for people who are run-down, tired, and stressed. However a few adjustments in your diet and herbs can accomplish similar protection. . . Continue reading this article at: http://www.asianhealthsecrets.com/letha/?p=432
***To update your email address, subscribe friends and family to receive announcements of my new articles at www.asianhealthsecrets.com (a beneficial, free holiday gift) or to unsubscribe from my private health newsletter, kindly email me at lethah@earthlink.net.
I never share email addresses.
with my best warm wishes for your health and happiness,
Letha Hadady

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Corrupt Ex-mayor Gets Death Penalty

Liu Zhihua, a former vice mayor of Beijing who supervised the construction of Olympic venues, has been sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve on charges of bribery.
The first-instance court concluded Liu's case on October 18, 2008 accusing him of accepting bribes worth 6.97 million yuan ($1 million) in 1999-2006.
Liu was removed from the post of vice mayor of Beijing in June 2006 and was axed from the Communist party of China at the end of the year. (Beijing Review, October 30, 2008).

In contrast, Wall Street investment bankers who have brought near-total economic collapse to the US and damaged the world banking system have been given a $700 billion bail-out by the Bush Administration. People may suffer in the economic turmoil that follows but not the culprits who caused the problem. People should contact their congressmen and ask them to follow China's lead on taking a stronger stance when dealing with corruption.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Beginner's Chinese

Because I live in an area that does not offer any formal training in Chinese language I have, over the years, bought many books to study on my own. Two books that I've picked up recently that I like a lot and would like to recommend to you are the Beginner's Chinese and Intermediate Chinese books by Yong Ho (published by Hippocrene Books, Inc.)
The first book, Beginner's Chinese, comes with two audio CD's. Each chapter starts with sentence patterns, such as saying hello (Ni3 hao3 [I've put numbers in for tone marks]), then a conversation,, vocabulary and supplementary words, language points, which are an explanation of the grammar, exercises, and finally a brief introduction to certain aspects of Chinese culture.
I think what I like most about the textbook is the Language Points and Exercise sections.
The Language Points give clear explanations of the grammar and examples of use - which I find extremely helpful. The exercises are very good too because they give answers to the questions - something that also is very helpful if you are studying on your own.

The book isn't perfect though. The type is too small for my liking but in the intermediate level book they have corrected this problem. Also, the CD's would be more helpful if they slowed down the pace. The spoken sentences or dialogues are too fast for a beginner. For its minor faults though I still highly recommend this book.

The second book, Intermediate Chinese, as mentioned, has corrected the problem of the small type. Its strengths though, lie in the clear explanations of grammar and usage. Other books explain grammar but for some reason Yong Ho does a better job. Over the years I have had several Chinese people tutor me but unfortunately they were not trained language teachers and did not explain the grammar to me so this book is very helpful. And as in the first book the exercises do have answers which is very helpful also. A CD also comes with this book but I still feel the conversations are too fast on it - at least for me at my level of learning.

Look for these books at your bookstore. Once again, they are:
Beginner's Chinese by Yong Ho (published by Hippocrene Books, Inc.)
Intermediate Chinese by Yong Ho (published by Hippocrene Books, Inc.)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sifu Lew's Cloud Hand Workshop

Sifu Share K. Lew's Cloud Hand workshop had a warm reception in Redding. Even though there was only a short notice that Sifu Lew would give a workshop, the class was quickly filled. Some students came from as far as San Francisco, Red Bluff, and Weaverville to attend. Sifu Lew taught several workshops in Redding over 10 years ago when longtime students and friends, John and Janet Price hosted the seminars and introduced many of us to Sifu Lew's teachings.
Despite the outside temperature hovering at 102 degrees and the inside temperature about 90 degrees in the studio, Sifu Lew and his wife, Juanita, generously shared their knowledge with over 30 men and women who attended the workshop.
We all look forward to Sifu Lew and Juanita hopefully returning to Redding when the weather cools down and helping us refine what we have learned and teaching us more.

Top Right: Sifu Share K. Lew (center), Sifu John Price (right), Michel Czehatowski (left)

Below (left to right): Michel Czehatowski, Steve Lauderdale, Sifu Lew, Juanita Lew, John Garland.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cloud Hands workshop filled

Sifu Lew's Cloud Hands workshop now has the maximum 25 people signed up.
If you are still interested please contact us so we can get your name and contact info for future workshops and we can put you on a waiting list in case someone cannot make it this workshop.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Sifu Lew Cloud Hands Workshop filling fast!

As of this date, we have 20 people signed up for Sifu Lew's Cloud Hands workshop. If you are interested in taking it please sign up as soon as possible. The class is limited to 25 people.
See previous posting for workshop details.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sifu Lew Cloud Hands Qi Gong Workshop

Sifu Lew Cloud Hands Qi Gong Workshop taught by Master Share K. Lew
will take place Sunday, August 24, 2008 in Redding, CA
The exercises that Master Lew teaches are part of the "internal system" of the martial arts, known as Nui Kung or energy cultivation. These exercises strengthen the circulation of the Chi (vital energy), which increases vitality, health, and sensory perception. All of these exercises have traditionally been kept secret. Daily practice of the exercises will give the student a tangible experience of Chi energy.
The Cloud Hands set is the beginning set of Nui Kung (internal energy cultivation) which builds a foundation for both better health and further Nui Kung. The Cloud Hands consist of five relatively non-strenuous movements along with quiet seated meditation. These Taosit exercises help the body maintain good health and increase vitality. The time required for practice will fit into anyone’s schedule.

The Instructor
Share K. Lew, now in his nineties, is a Taoist priest with over 70 years experience in the traditional Taoist arts. Master Lew received part of his education at Wong Lung Kwan, a Taoist monastery on the Luo Fo mountains near Canton, China.
Master Lew studied at Wong Lung Kwan monastery for 13 years. During that time he trained in the full range of Taoist healing and martial arts. At the core of his training was the secret system of cultivation known as Qigong (Chi kung). Master Lew was the first person to openly teach authentic Taoist Qigong to non-Chinese, beginning in Los Angeles in 1970. Master Lew’s monastery style, the Tao Ahn Pai (Taoist Elixir Style), dates back over 1300 years to Lu Dung Bin, who was born during the Tang Dynasty, and became one of the Eight Immortals of Taoism.
For information and reservations call (530) 223-4849 or email: eetw@eastearthtrade.com
Date: Sunday, August 24, 2008
Time: 10:00 to 4:00 pm, with lunch break from 12-2:00 pm
Location: Redding Ju Jitsu Academy
3092 Bechelli Lane
Redding 96002 (behind Village Cycle)
Fee: $100

Reservations: Pre-registration is recommended. A deposit of $100 will reserve your space. Class size is limited.
• Bring a small pillow to sit on
• Make checks payable to Share K. Lew.
• You can sign up in advance at:
East Earth Trade Winds
144 Hartnell Avenue, Redding (in the Raley’s shopping center)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Beijing - the last stop

We left on Saturday morning from Shanghai on a flight to Beijing. Once in Beijing we had a two hour layover in the airport before heading home and we had time to explore the airport.
Top Right: On the tarmac at Beijing airport. Passengers disembark from the plane and then take a shuttle to the terminal. This airport is huge and is set up to handle the immense crowds they expect for the 2008 Olympics in August.
Top Left: View inside the Beijing Airport. When Hannah, my son, Seth, and I first landed in Beijing in 1998 the airport was just dull, gray, plain concrete. It is now a world class airport and probably one of the best in the world.
PS: This is the last entry of our Buddhist Mountain tour. You can read older posts by selecting "older posts" at the bottom of this page or you can click on the small black triangle next to "May" or "June" at your left to see any other entries.

Friday, June 6, 2008


We took the fastboat back to the mainland, followed by a two hour drive to Shanghai. Once in Shanghai we met up with some other friends at dinner, Susan Zhang and her husband David. I met Susan in the summer of 2007 when she taught an immersion class in Chinese language in Redding. Afterwards we took a stroll on the Bund and also in a shopping area.

Shanghai's crowds, traffic and lights were the total opposite of what we had experienced during the two weeks in remote mountainous areas of China but we enjoyed it just the same and it was nice to be able to finish the trip just the way we started - with friends.
Top Right: Right to Left: Hannah and Michel Czehatowski, Susan Zhang and her husband David.
Top Left: View across the river from the Bund.
Bottom Right: On the Bund. The skyscraper on the opposite side is like a huge television screen with commercials played out on the building.
Bottom Left: Mark Van Loan in a Shanghai shopping district.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Putuo Shan - Beaches

Putuo Shan has nice beaches also. We didn't see anyone swimming but the scenery was nice.

More Putuo Shan Sights

Top Right: A 1,000 year old camphor tree that is 20 meters in height and two meters in diameter. Trees of this size are rare.
Top Left: (Lt to Rt) Mark Van Loan, Hannah Czehatowski and Michel Czehatowski in front of the character "xin" or "heart" carved in a large rock.
Center: The characters for Buddha (top of picture) blending into the character for "heart" bottom of picture. This was carved in stone.
Bottom: A balanced stone.

Putuo Shan sights

As with the other areas of China that we traveled in there is an abundance of temples to see. The pictures are highlights from our travels.
Top Right: Metal bell
Top Left: Fish
Center: Characters carved in stone.
Bottom Right: Detail of characters carved in stone. Hai Tian Fo Guo
Hai means "sea", Tian mean "heaven", Fo means "Buddha", and Guo means "Country".
Bottom Left: Dragon wall

Behind the statue of Guan Yin there are temples and a huge stone wall covered in Buddhist art. Here are some of the highligts.
Top right: Picture of the wall which gives you an idea of the size.
Other photo's are details from the wall.

Putuo Shan - Guan Yin

Putuo Shan is considered the place of enlightenment for the bodhisattva Guan Yin.

For more information on Putuo Shan see this link:

Top Right: 100 foot tall (33m) statute of Guan Yin.
Top Left: Close up of Guan Yin.
Bottom Right: Statue found at the entrance to the temple.
Bottom Left: View taken from the base of the Guan Yin statue looking out to sea.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Putuo Shan

Putuo Shan is known as the place of enlightenment for the Bodhisattva Guan Yin. It is a small island in Zhejiang Province whose main industries are tourism and fishing.
Top: Scenic Island views
Bottom Right: Temple.
Bottom Left: Detail of stonework window at a temple.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Leaving Jiuhua Shan

We left Jiuhua Shan in the afternoon and headed to Tongling. Once there we had lunch and then headed to the train station. We took a soft-seat train to Shanghai. Fortunately for us the boarding wasn't as crazy as in Beijing. The trip was uneventful but did take a long time. We arrived in Shanghai late at night and taken to our hotel. We got up early the next morning to drive to the harbor where we could catch a fast boat to Putuo Shan Island.
Getting on the boat was a little crazy also. People like to get on all at once even when the boat is bouncing heavily at the dock. We found our seats and got set for a three hour trip to Putuo Shan. Unfortunately the ocean area was misty so there wasn't much of a view.
We arrived in Putuo Shan and were met by our new guide, Michael, who ended up being a very fun guide.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Jiuhua Shan turtles

Top Right: Other temple scenes.
Top Left: Constellation of turtles and fish.
Bottom: Turtles sunning themselves.

Jiuhua Shan, ganoderma, and other sights

We spent the morning in going through a market and touring more temples.
Top Right: Wild Ganoderma drying in the market square.
Top Left: Unusual brickwork.
Center Right: Locks and stairs.
Center Left: Temple.
Bottom: Trio of incense burners.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Jiuhua Shan, Mingyuan scenic area

We returned to the base of the mountain, had lunch, and then headed to the Mingyuan scenic area. Wu Han was very familiar with Jiuhua Shan and took us through side alley's to enter this nature reserve.
We also got to see a restored teahouse that was very beautiful.
Top Right: Man carrying heavy sacks.
Top Left: The beauty of bamboo in the forest.
Center Right: Bamboo growing in the forest.
Center Left: Michel, Wu Han, and Hannah Czehatowski touring a restored teahouse.
Bottom: Detail of the construction of the beams in the teahouse.

Jiuhuan Shan, Monk Wuxia

By now we had been in at least 30 different temples and though similar in layout they will have unique features. One of the temples on Jiuhuan Shan has imprints of the feet of a monk in the stone. The temple is built around the stone. It is said that a monk meditated there for quite some time and his footprints were left in the stone. Believers will take off their shoes and place there feet in the footprints. My shoe size is 12 and I stood in the stone footprints and they were much bigger than my feet!

We also saw the gilded body of Monk Wuxia. My understanding was that when a monk died they were put in a large jar and after three years the jar was opened. If the body was intact they were considered a saint. This was the case with Monk Wuxia. When they opened the jar his body was intact. It was later gilded and placed in the temple. We were able to see the gilded body.

Top Right: View of the other mountain we were on the day before.
Top Left: Inscriptions in stone.
Bottom Right: Locks.
Bottom Left: Mark Van Loan on the backbone of Jiuhua Shan.