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.