Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Origin of the Name Fo-ti

The Origin of the Name Fo-ti:
  Many websites repeat the legend that "The name Fo Ti was given to the plant by a marketer in the early 1970s for the American herb business." If this was true then why the name Fo-ti? The Chinese name for Polygonum Multiflorum is "He shou wu". Fo-ti doesn't sound anything like that name and has no meaning in Chinese. Our East Earth Trade Winds herbalist says that one of his Chinese herb class teachers at the San Francisco College of Acupuncture (around 1982) told the following story about the origins of the name Fo-ti.
There was a discussion about a powerful herb, Fu zi (aconite), between a Chinese herbalist and an American. On learning that this herb could strengthen the heart, kidneys, and adrenal function the American wanted to buy it. The Chinese herbalist fearing that the American would injure himself or others because he wouldn't understand or appreciate how to use it properly sold him Polygonum Multiflorum instead. This "Fu zi" or "Fo ti" as it became known was still a powerful tonic herb but Polygonum multiflorum is very safe to use. The herb was marketed as Fo-ti and became popular and to this day it is known in the USA as "Fo-ti".

Friday, November 21, 2014


Ginseng is the most famous of the Oriental herbs. Ginseng strengthens the body's vitality. It enhances the psychic centers. It clears the spiritual vision. The classical herbal texts say that this enhanced strength can be used for any task.  Known for boosting energy and stamina, it traditionally is said to strengthen the Lungs and Spleen and improve the digestive system. Research has shown that it speeds the transmission of nerve impulses, increases endurance, and strengthens conditioned reflexes. It has also been shown to have many anti-stress capabilities. On the basis of tests done on 1,500 Rusian athletes it was reported that ginseng helps to increase stamina, endurance and concentration, and improves the reflexes. Oriental soldiers at war used ginseng to increase resistance to combat fatigue and shock.
If you want high quality ginseng roots we recommend purchasing through East Earth Trade Winds.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Ephedra (Ma huang)

Ephedra, Herba (麻黄 Chinese: ma huang)
Actions: 1). induces sweating, disperses cold, 2). calms wheezing, 3) for Wind-Cold Pattern, 4). for wind-Cold cough and wheezing.

Due to past misuse and abuse by multi-level marketing companies and mass marketers Epedra (Ma Huang) is no longer legal to sell in the United States. This is unfortunate because it is a very useful herb in Chinese herbal remedies.

Saturday, September 13, 2014


There has been a lot of interest in the herb Corydalis in the last several months. Corydalis is a powerful pain relieving herb. Here's one of the news stories that discusses corydalis: Study Finds a Potent Painkiller in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Dr. Oz also mentioned it on TV and since his programs are frequently rerun the folks at East Earth Trade Winds get many calls from people looking for this herb.

When discussing the effectiveness of the corydalis the folks at East Earth Trade Winds noticed that they don't get a lot of repeat sales for this herb even though it is touted as a fantastic pain reliever. This begs the question "why?".

In Chinese herbal medicine herbs are rarely used alone. The majority of them are used in combination with other herbs. So depending on what type of problem you have a formula would be created that addresses those symptoms. Corydalis invigorates the blood so if you have a pain due to blood stagnation then it may work well but if the pain is due to something else? That's where combining it with other herbs come in. You need to address the type of pain and then, if corydalis is appropriate, add it to the formula. If used by itself Corydalis may give less than stellar pain relief and they think this is what is happening.

However, there are products already available that contain corydalis. One product that has it as an ingredient and has always had lots of good feedback is Tung Shueh Pills. This formula is specifically for arthritis type pain. Tung Shueh contains corydalis but corydalis isn't the main ingredient. Corydalis works as an adjunct herb and in this formula the overall combination of herbs relieves joint and muscle pain very well. Corydalis just adds to the effectiveness. So if you are interested in pain relief for arthritis, muscle, or joint pain the folks at East Earth Trade Winds conclude that the Tung Shueh pills may give you a lot more relief than just using  the single herb corydalis alone.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Google's anti-Chinese herb policy demands removal of advertising Bi Yan Pian from East Earth Trade Winds website

I've previously written about Google's War on Chinese herbs. As a recap, East Earth Trade Winds advertises on Google Adwords -those little ads that pop up when you search for something. In April of 2013 they had their account shut down for three weeks for advertising Epimedium - a Chinese herb that is legal to import and legal to use. In Chinese medicine Epimedium is considered a Kidney Yang Tonifying herb. East Earth had to remove that product listing from the site in order to be able to advertise on Google Adwords again.
Now the Google anti-Chinese censors are at it again. This time the East Earth Trade Winds account violated Google policy by advertising Bi Yan Pian - a common remedy for allergies and stuffy nose. Once again this product is legally imported and there are no restrictions on the sale of this product by the FDA. It is simply that Google's censors don't approve of Chinese herb products.

Here's the violation that they pointed out to me:

"Please be advised that your ads are getting disapproved for promoting Bi Yan Pian on the Landing Page which is an Unapproved Pharmaceuticals monitored by Google. Please remove it from the Landing Page so that we could approve the ads. Please find attached a screenshot of the highlighted term on the Landing Page of your website which needs to be removed.  "

Googles anti-Chinese herb policy restricts legal Chinese herb products.

Instead of removing the product East Earth Trade Winds removed the product name Bi Yan Pian and changed the name listing to the English translation "Nose Inflammation Pills". As of this date we don't know if this will pass their censorship. Bi Yan Pian, by the way, is not a "pharmaceutical" - it is an herbal supplement.
Google  arbitrarily restricts the sale of Bi Yan Pian. There are others who advertise the same product and do not seem to have any restrictions.
I suggest that people use yahoo or bing for their search engines instead of Google. Yahoo and Bing do not seem to have an anti-Chinese herb policy.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dr Oz and Corydalis

Because of Dr. Oz's television show the folks at East Earth Trade Winds gets lots of inquiries and orders for Corydalis. Corydalis is a powerful herb and does have good effect in relieving pain. However, in Chinese medicine it is usually combined with other herbs in a formula to achieve pain relief. That said, although they have sold many bottles of this product they haven't had people calling back and raving about it - but we do have people commenting all the time about how well the Tung Shueh formula works. Tung Shueh contains ingredients specifically for relieving muscle and joint pain and Yan Huo Suo (Corydalis) which is an ingredient in this formula seems to work even better in the synergistic blend. If you are going to try Corydalis for joint and muscle pain we would suggest that you consider trying the Tung Shueh also. You might have better results. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Questions we get

We get a number of questions that strike us as unusual. Here's a sampling.

Customer: I want to order Chinese herbs.
EETW: Which Chinese herbs do you want?
Customer: I want "Chinese herbs."
EETW: But which one? There are hundreds of Chinese herbs available.
Customer: The one called "Chinese herbs"


Customer: I use herbs a lot but am not familiar with Chinese herbs. I was looking on the internet and saw that you carry "Wolfberry".
EETW: Yes, we have that item.
Customer: How does it come? Is it a root?
EETW: No, it's a berry! That's why they call it "Wolfberry"! They come in 4 or 8 ounce quantities.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Herbs, The Original Medicine

Since the beginning of time, herbs have been important for man. As early people foraged for food, discovering which plants were edible, they also found plants with medicinal qualities. These medicinal plants were highly valued as they gave people a means of treating health problems. As people's experience with herbs grew they noted specific qualities of different herbs. For example, some herbs promoted sweating, which helped when a person was in the early stage of a cold. Some herbs had anti-rheumatic properties and eliminated pain in the joints, still other herbs had diuretic properties or were found to calm the spirit thus treating insomnia or mental disturbances.

One of the most common herbs available is ginseng. Ginseng has a long history in China as a tonic herb. In Chinese the name for ginseng is Renshen or man root because it look like a little man. The ginseng root was traditionally boiled in a tea but nowadays it is found in many products, such as prepared teas, capsules, liquid extracts, and in energy drinks. Ginseng is highly respected in the Orient and is a very important herb in the herb category of Replenishing and Tonifying herbs. In fact, it is the most important of the Qi tonifying herbs. Qi (pronounced “chee” as in cheese) is a term used to describe vital functions and/or substances of the body. Qi is said to animate all living beings. Qi tonifying herb's main action is to tonify or strengthen the Qi of the Lungs or Spleen, which in turn helps transform oxygen and food nutrients into usable energy.

There are two types of ginseng: wild and cultivated. The wild type is extremely rare, which makes it incredibly expensive if some is available. Roots selling for tens of thousands of dollars are not unheard of. Most of the world trade in ginseng consists almost exclusively of cultivated plants. Ginseng grows in China and Korea. In the United States there is a related plant called American Ginseng is grown in the northeastern part of the US. Wisconsin has some very good American Ginseng. Ginseng is a perennial plant. The root is collected in the spring or autumn, and is thoroughly dried before use.

The Chinese have given ginseng four traditional actions. They are: 1) Tonify Qi; it is indicated for patients after severe hemorrhage who have pallor, weak pulse, and cold extremities. 2) Tonify Qi and strengthen Spleen; it treats cough and asthma due to Lung Qi deficiency and diarrhea and abdominal distension due to spleen deficiency. 3). Relieve thirst; it treats body fluid deficiency. 4). Calms the Spirit; it treats insomnia and spontaneous sweating due to deficiency of Qi and Blood.

Research in China substantiates the traditional actions of ginseng and has given us more information on this herb. It has been shown that: a) Ginseng could increase thinking efficiency; b) It could relieve fatigue, improve appetite and sleep. A small dose could speed up the rate of the heart; c). It can promote the production of blood cells; d). It could treat high cholesterol in the blood; e). It is effective to increase the ratio of albumin/globumin in certain diseases; and f). The leaf and stalk of the ginseng plant can treat Addison's Disease.

The common dose of ginseng is 1.5 to 9 grams. It can be taken in many ways. The most common way is as a tea. To make ginseng tea, take a giseng root or part of a root and put it in a pot with four cups of water. Bring the water to a boil and then boil vigorously for ten minutes. Then lower to a medium boil for about 35 minutes. When done, you should have about two cups of concentrated tea left. Drink one-half to one cup. Be careful not to use too much as ginseng can be very stimulating and it may interfere with your sleep. Ginseng can also be chewed. You can cut a ginseng root into small pieces (you need to soften it first to cut it) and then put a small piece in your mouth. It will slowly dissolve as it mixes with your saliva until it is all gone.

Ginseng cannot be used for just any problem. It is contraindicated when someone gets hot easily, has an irritable or angry nature or has high blood pressure, also don't use it if you are sick with a cold.
In summary, ginseng is a strong tonic for general use, vitalizing and calming the mind and the functions of the body.

Where to get ginseng: One of the best sources of Chinese herb products, including ginseng is East Earth Trade Winds ( Established in 1985 they have a good reputation for quality products and good service. They are listed as a source of Chinese herbs in over 60 books. On their website you can buy whole ginseng roots (American ginseng, Chinese ginseng, Korean ginseng, and semi-wild Yi-sun ginseng). You can also buy Korean, American, or Siberian Ginseng in capsules. They also have hundreds of other Chinese herb products for treating minor health complaints or to be used as tonics.