Monday, March 16, 2009


Q: I am trying to find the formula Jianpiling which I read about online. The article is entitled " THE USE OF JIANPILING IN TREATING ULCERATIVE COLITIS"
by Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, Institute for Traditional Medicine, Portland, Oregon.
Can you help me find it?

A: I don't know when this article was written but the most recent reference in the bibliography is 12 years old (1997).

If you go to the Institute for Traditional Medicine website they say:
"The articles on the ITM website are reviews of literature and not descriptions of work done at ITM; that literature may include traditional Chinese medical reports as well as modern medical reports...."
"The claimed results in Chinese medical journals are often attained through treatment strategies that are unacceptable or impractical here..."

It is my understanding that Subhuti Dharmananda, Ph.D., Director, ITM, has no formal training in Chinese medicine. His PH.D. is in biology. He is not licensed to practice medicine and is primarily a researcher.
His bio on the website reads "Subhuti Dharmananda received his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of California in 1980. He traveled to China several times, the first visit in 1977 and most recent in 2001, and has collected a large library of books and journals involved with traditional medicine."
Smart man with an interest in Chinese medicine, yes. A doctor, no.

So, the point is that many authors like to get people excited about something that is next to impossible to obtain and as I mentioned before, the information is very old.
The article does not give dosage for the herbs, only vague reference to the amounts of each one. It's possible that the herbs could be mixed up for you but you would have to boil them and drink as a tea. I think that's the best you will be able to do and the results the same as in the article.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Mystery Herb

Q: Can you identify this herb?

A: This herb is not commonly used and probably not found in most references on Chinese medicine. The herb is Tian Xian Zi or Hyoscyamus niger, or henbane (Stinking Nightshade) and is toxic. I do not believe it is commonly available and even if it was I would not recommend using it.

For more information, see this Wikipedia article:

Friday, February 6, 2009

Natural Compounds Alleviate Insulin Resistance in Mice

Compounds increase production of an insulin-sensitizing hormone from fat cells

THURSDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- Two compounds isolated from herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine increase the production of an insulin-sensitizing hormone from fat cells and improve hyperglycemia, glucose tolerance and insulin resistance in obese mice, according to study findings published in the February issue of Endocrinology.
Aimin Xu, Ph.D., from the University of Hong Kong, and colleagues screened 50 herbs used in traditional Chinese medicine for compounds that enhance adiponectin production by adipocytes.
The investigators identified two structurally related compounds, astragaloside II and isoastragaloside I, from the medicinal herb Radix Astragali. Both compounds increased adiponectin production by adipocytes without affecting other adipokines and had an additive effect on adiponectin production when given with rosiglitazone, an insulin-sensitizing drug, they found. Chronic administration of either drug in obese mice was associated with higher serum adiponectin and improvements in hyperglycemia, glucose tolerance and insulin resistance, the researchers report.
"In conclusion, our results suggest that pharmacological elevation of circulating adiponectin alone is sufficient to ameliorate insulin resistance and diabetes and support the use of adiponectin as a biomarker for future drug discovery," Xu and colleagues write.

Here's a source of Astragali (astragalus):

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Tonic wine may pose health risk

From Viet Nam News:

HA NOI — Consumption of medicinal liquor is on the rise as an alternative to home-made wine, despite concerns over the quality and health benefits.
Medicinal liquor, which has origins in traditional Chinese medicine, is believed to treat disease and improve health. The wine is a mixture of alcohol fermented with herbs, including ginseng and jujube. Seahorses, snakes and termites are also used.
Because of the perceived health benefits, many consume more units than the daily limit recommended by doctors.
Vu Quoc Quan, 62, is a dedicated medicinal liquor drinker. He buys his booze from a shop on Ton That Tung Street. Today, he is washing down his lunch with bee wine.
"This wine is good for you and I can drink as much as I want without worrying about being poisoned," he says.
Shop owner Nguyen Thanh Huyen backs him up: "This wine is very tonic. I made it at least five years ago. The ingredients include rare herbs, gecko, deer horn and snake soaked in alcohol. The wine can help cure many diseases and is very cheap, only VND30,000 (US$1.8) – 60,000 ($3.6) per bottle."
She points behind her to six big glass jars full of snake wine, saying this is more expensive, but good for different diseases.
"I choose the ingredients very carefully and make it myself," she says. "The alcohol comes from a well-known distillery in Nam Dinh Province, so there’s nothing to worry about."
According to the statistics of the Ministry of Health, out of the approximately 20,000 distilleries nationwide, only 10 per cent meet quality standards.
The director of Bach Mai Hospital’s Detoxification Centre, Pham Due, says although the number of people suffering alcohol poisoning is small, patients usually arrive in a critical condition.
"The two most recent cases of alcohol poisoning were due to medicinal wine," Due says. "One drank bee wine, the other termite wine. They both recovered."
Nguyen Dang Bao, owner of traditional medicine shop named Bao Thuan Duong on La Thanh Street, says tonic wine usually has a hallucinogenic effect.
"I myself don’t believe tonic wine is good for your health," he says. "Animal organs disintegrate after fermenting for three years. You would be lucky if the wine didn’t make your health worse."
According to traditional medicine practitioner Nguyen Van Duc, from Binh Duong Traditional Medicine Hospital, every animal or insect has different toxins which alcohol can kill but only over a certain length of time.
"In some cases tonic wine has health benefits. However, like any kind of medicine, users must choose the right wine to suit their ailment, or they could risk doing themselves harm," Duc says.
Only knowledgeable wine-makers should sell medicinal liquor, says the head of the Toxic Centre, Due. "It’s difficult to control the quality of medicinal liquor. A wine-maker who has little knowledge of herbs, could mix the wrong combination or make other mistakes in the wine-making process."
Can Tho City’s Market Management Department recently confiscated over 700 litres of medicinal wine produced by Long Giang Company after it was found contaminated with formaldehyde. Herbs and certain animals were also sold without a hygiene certificate. The company were fined VND4 million ($243). — VNS

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Update on the Free China preservation effort

This is an update from Dione Chen who is spearheading the effort to save the Free China.

Thank you for your interest in saving the Free China, a historic Chinese junk that will be lost forever unless preservation efforts succeed.
We appreciate—and need—your support. We'd like to provide you with a brief update on preservation efforts, and let you know about the areas of greatest need. Any assistance will be valuable. Please visit our website for more information.

Emergency Short-Term Preservation Strategy:
With the Dec. 31 deadline for destruction fast-approaching, in mid-December, Chinese Junk Preservation was able to first "buy time" by negotiating to pay for a 3-month extension for continued temporary storage of the junk. The owner will not extend this new deadline, which is fast approaching.
We have developed a pragmatic, emergency preservation strategy to give the junk a chance at survival. The strategy includes these essential steps:
Pay for interim storage of the junk at another location in the San Francisco Bay Area, and transport the junk there (by sea/land), while efforts continue to secure a long-term home for the junk.
Commission a professional survey and documentation of the junk's construction and original and current (altered) condition.
Collect and save the rich array of documentation, photos, news clippings, and film that exist—but need to be preserved as they are currently vulnerable to deterioration.
Support Critical to Saving Junk
Chinese Junk Preservation is a small group of volunteers with a dream of saving this historic vessel. Here are the areas of greatest need:
* Help find a home for the Free China. Do you know of a potential long-term owner and/or home for the Free China? We are seeking a long-term home for the junk where it may have a secure, public life, that is, where the junk will be safe and be exhibited in a way that will generate public awareness and understanding about maritime, Chinese and American history and culture, as well as immigration. A critical short-term need is for an interim home while a long-term home is found and readied. The ideal interim home will be in the San Francisco Bay Area, on land immediately adjacent to the water.
* Volunteer. You can make a difference! Join our crew of supporters today. We are looking for volunteers to assist and/or take a leadership role in the following areas: outreach to prospective supporters, partners and donors, fundraising and grant writing, public relations, historic preservation and boat restoration, nonprofit management, Chinese-English translation and online communications.
* Donate. The Chinese Junk Preservation group operates on a shoestring budget and relies on volunteers. We need to raise $50,000 to implement the emergency short-term strategy that will give the junk a last chance at survival. This money will be dedicated to securing an interim home for the junk, preparing exhibition/educational materials, conducting outreach to current and potential supporters and partners, and obtaining a professional survey of the junk and documentation of its construction and history. Tax-deductible donations can be made to the group via its fiscal sponsor, the Chinese Historical Society of America (, which is the largest and oldest Chinese American historical society in the U.S. Information on how to donate can be found at the group's website We also seek an experienced fundraiser to lead fundraising efforts, and volunteers to assist with outreach.
* Spread the Word: Chinese Junk Preservation welcomes interest and support in this preservation project. The more people who know about the junk, the better our chances of finding a new home, potential sponsor or talented volunteer! Please tell people about this preservation effort. Invite them to visit this website and join our mailing list for future updates. We welcome everyone who would like to be added to our mailing list to send an email stating their interest and contact information to us at: To find out more, help spread the word about efforts, or to make a donation, please visit . Emails may be sent to:

Keep in touch. We value your interest and support in this inspiring preservation project. Please join our mailing list to receive occasional email updates about our progress. To join, please send an email to, including your contact information and a brief note letting us know of your interest. Please be assured, we will not share your email address and you may unsubscribe at any time.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

American publisher to issue Chinese Medical Science book by UMAC's professors

University of Macau (UMAC) revealed that Nova Science Publishers, Inc from USA, has recently published “Pharmacological Activity Based Quality Control of Chinese Herbs”, written by Associate Prof. Li Shaoping and Prof. Wang Yitao, from the Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences (ICMS) of UMAC. Following the growing trend of “Getting Back to Nature”, the Chinese herbs have become more and more popular because of its security and effectiveness characteristics. Associate Professor Li and Professor Wang's book was written based on the recent research results of the quality control of Chinese herbs conducted by UMAC, as well as invited experts from the Mainland, Hong Kong and Singapore to write and edit the book. Meanwhile, the concept of “Pharmacological Activity Based Quality Control of Chinese Herbs” not only represents the research direction of the quality control of modern Chinese medicine, but is also conducive to the international expansion of Chinese medicine. Nova Science Publishers, Inc (USA) is one of the most influential publishers of scientific and technical books in the world, and is well-known to publish the newest advancement in scientific areas. It publishes more than 500 types of book and 45 types of academic periodicals every year. The publication of the book has indicated that research on the quality control for Chinese medicine conducted by UMAC is international acknowledged.

For full article see:

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Question: What do you think of Colorpuncture?

Answer: Colorpuncture...Hmmm... I've heard of it but don't know much about it so I looked it up. After reviewing the colorpuncture website, here's what I think:

There's a lot of people who have unusual, non-traditional takes on acupuncture and this is one of them. One of the claims on their website is "Colorpuncture therapy uses precisely targeted light treatments to gently unlock and release emotional trauma and blocked soul information which often underlie our illnesses."
Personally I don't believe that someone can "unlock and release...blocked soul information". In fact, I don't think there is such a thing as "blocked soul information". The key though is can it make you well? A lot of things get better all by themselves so a good test, in my opinion, is getting rid of pain fast. My experience with acupuncture is that if you chose the right point you can have an instant change in the level of pain. I doubt colorpuncture can do this.
If you try it you'll have to tell me if it works but you might be better off going to someone who is good at using acupuncture needles.