Ju Hua : Chrysanthemum

Ju Hua, which is also known as Flos Chrysanthemi  or simply as chrysanthemum flower, is one of Traditional Chinese Medicine’s herbs to “release the exterior.” In the ancient natural medicine of China, diseases were thought of as energies that attacked the exterior of the body and worked their way inside. Sometimes the body could trap these “evil” energies in its outer layers so that they could only cause “outer” symptoms, like headache, neck ache, sore throat, or runny nose. Chrysanthemum flower was one of the herbs used to let a “wind evil” or “pernicious cold” go on its way back into nature so the body could be free of its symptoms.

 

Not surprisingly, there are many ways in which the scientifically documented actions of chrysanthemum flower illustrate its symbolic uses in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Here are just a few.

 

  • Ju Hua is mildly anesthetic. A chemical called N-isobutyl-6-(2-thienyl)-2E,4E-hexadienamide extracted from a species of chrysanthemum called  Chrysanthemum morifolium has relieves mild pain.[1]
  • Ju Hua is strongly antibacterial. The flowers and other above-ground parts of a species of chrysanthemum known as Chrysanthemum viscidehirtum contains a variety of essential oils that kill 21 kinds of bacteria, including Salmonella and Proteus, which cause food poisoning and persistent skin infections, respectively. [2]The important thing to understand about these essential oils is that they evaporate if the tea made with chrysanthemum is boiled. It has to be steeped in hot water, not in boiling water, and it’s best brewed in a pot, not in a cup.
  • Ju Hua is antiviral. A variety of compounds extracted from Chrysanthemum morifoliumare strongly active against HIV (and these compounds survive heating the herb in boiling water).[3] For other kinds of viral infections, including the viruses that cause herpes, chicken pox, and shingles, chrysanthemum flower is anti-inflammatory, fighting the effects of the virus if not the virus itself.[4]
  • Ju Hua is It does not stimulate the beta cells of the pancreas to release insulin.[5] Instead, plant chemicals in the herb make the muscles and liver more sensitive to insulin.[6] Both actions lower blood sugar levels, but increasing insulin sensitivity avoids the long-term problem of “burn out” of the insulin-making cells of the pancreas and also reduces weight gain.
  • Ju Hua fights gout. It contains chemicals that interfere with the enzyme xanthine oxidase,[7] which is involved in the production of the uric acid crystals that accumulate in joints and cause pain.
  • Ju Hua is part of an excellent natural mosquito repellant. It is the only natural product that is very nearly as effective as the commercial product DEET. In a field test in Ethiopia, a chrysanthemum flower extract repelled 96.0% of mosquitoes, compared to 97.9% for DEET.[8]

 

Most Chinese herbs have to be consumed as teas along with other herbs prescribed by a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Ju Hua can be consumed beneficially all by itself as a refreshing tea. The key to making a healing herbal tea of Ju Hua is steeping the herb in hot water that is not yet boiling. Many of the essential oils that have healing properties are volatile and escape the tea if it is made with boiling water. It’s also best to make the tea in a teapot, not in a cup (unless you brew the tea with a plate over the top of the cup). Ju Hua tea can be enjoyed hot, warm, or iced. It is safe with any prescription drugs you make take and it does not react with any food.

 

[1] Shahat, A. A., Apers, S., Pieters, L., and Vlietinck, A. J. Isolation and complete NMR assignment of the numbing principle from Chrysanthemum morifolium. Fitoterapia 2001;72(1):89-91.

[2] Wang, H., Ye, X. Y., and Ng, T. B. Purification of chrysancorin, a novel antifungal protein with mitogenic activity from garland chrysanthemum seeds. Biol.Chem. 2001;382(6):947-951.

[3] Wang, H., Ye, X. Y., and Ng, T. B. Purification of chrysancorin, a novel antifungal protein with mitogenic activity from garland chrysanthemum seeds. Biol.Chem. 2001;382(6):947-951.

[4] Huang, C. J. and Wu, M. C. Differential effects of foods traditionally regarded as ‘heating’ and ‘cooling’ on prostaglandin E(2) production by a macrophage cell line. J Biomed Sci 2002;9(6 Pt 2):596-606.

[5] Hussain Z, Waheed A, Qureshi RA, et al. The effect of medicinal plants of Islamabad and Murree region of Pakistan on insulin secretion from INS-1 cells. Phytother Res 2004;18:73-7.

[6] Chen, S. H., Sun, Y. P., and Chen, X. S. [Effect of jiangtangkang on blood glucose, sensitivity of insulin and blood viscosity in non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1997;17(11):666-668.

[7] Kong LD, Cai Y, Huang WW, et al. Inhibition of xanthine oxidase by some Chinese medicinal plants used to treat gout. J Ethnopharmacol 2000;73:199-207.

[8] Hadis M, Lulu M, Mekonnen Y, Asfaw T. Field trials on the repellent activity of four plant products against mainly Mansonia population in western Ethiopia. Phytother Res 2003;17:202-5.

 

DISCLAIMER

The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. 

Sydney Acupuncture & Sydney Chinese Herbal Medicine

Gan Cao – Licorice – Glycyrrhiza

Gan caoGan Cao – Licorice – Glycyrrhiza

 

Licorice / Gan Cao  in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Licorice is a common herbal tonic in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Appearing in hundreds of herbal formulas, this familiar root with the unforgettable taste comes in two forms:

Gan Cao (甘草), raw, unprocessed licorice root, and

Zhi Gan Cao (炙甘草), “honey-fried,” processed licorice root.

The distinction makes a difference in how the herbs work to support health.

Raw licorice, Gan Cao, has a “raw” effect on the movement of the mysterious energy called Chi. Raw licorice adds energy to the Spleen, which is a metaphor for the general digestive function.  When the digestive tract does not have the energy to complete the digestion of food, and is releasing undigested food through loose bowels, raw licorice gives it extra energy so that diarrhea stops. When the abdomen does not have the energy to hold its muscles in their normal relationship, raw licorice energizes them to stop spasms and pain. Raw licorice also detoxifies substances that take the body’s normal Chi. And it “guides” the energies of other herbs in a formula into their proper Chi channels.

Processed licorice, Zhi Gan Cao, is usually a “made to order” item in a Chinese herbal apothecary. It doesn’t sit around for months waiting to be sold. It’s cooked, usually in honey, for immediate use.

honey fried Gan cao

The process of “frying” the herb in honey enables Zhi Gan Cao to “harmonize” other energies, not just those of the digestive tract, but also those of the heart. Zhi Gan Cao might be added to a formula when one of the symptoms is a weak pulse, or low blood pressure. But it may also be added to a formula when one of the symptoms is melancholy, not having the “heart” to face a life situation.

It turns out that the traditional understanding of licorice in energy terms mirrors the modern scientific understanding of licorice in pharmaceutical terms.

Taking Too Much Licorice for Too Long Can Result in Hypertension and Hypokalemia

It’s well known from medical observation that taking using too much raw licorice (Gan Cao) per day or processed licorice (Zhi Gan Cao) in herbal teas can have two untoward effects. First of all, there can be high blood pressure, sometimes dangerously high blood pressure. This is the natural result of “energizing” the heart. Secondly, the body responds to licorice by lowering potassium levels. The resulting hypokalemia (low serum potassium) can result in a variety of heart-related problems, including ventricular tachycardia and in some cases ventricular fibrillation followed by cardiac arrest. Perturbations of potassium levels can cause weakness, swelling, and occasionally encephalopathy, swelling of the brain.

How much Gan Cao / licorice is too much?

  • If you don’t have an underlying health problem, it is generally dangerous to take more than 20 g of licorice per day in teas for more than six weeks. If you don’t have high blood pressure, you may develop it.[1]
  • The life-threatening manifestations of licorice poisoning occur only after consumption of vastly more licorice than any practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine would ever prescribe. There is a case report of a woman who recovered from brainstem swelling and muscle breakdown after taking licorice—but she was using a pound (about 450 grams) a day, not the 5 to 15 grams a day that would appear in a professionally prescribed herbal formula.[2] It’s important to remember that licorice is a “medicine,” not a food.
  • To be on the safe side, most authorities recommend that people who already have high blood pressure should not take more than 5 g of licorice per day in teas or herbal formulas. If you have high blood pressure, a professionally trained herbalist will notice, and will not prescribe you too much. But you do need to be able to remember how much licorice you have already had in any given day before you take more. If you have memory problems, leave licorice alone.[3]

What’s Gan Cao / Licorice Good For?

Don’t let the fact that licorice has to be taken in moderate amounts discourage you from using it with professional guidance to support good health. Here are some of the evidence-based applications of the herb:gan cao

  • Licorice extracts can relieve hot flashes associated with menopause. A clinical trial in Iran found that taking 1140 mg of licorice extract a day was more effective at reducing the duration of hot flashes than estrogen replacement therapy, but that estrogen replacement therapy was more effective than licorice for reducing the frequency and severity of hot flashes. Both products work, but they work in different ways.[4] Extract taken 1140 mg a day is usually a safe dose of licorice for women who don’t already have high blood pressure.
  • Licorice creams fight eczema. Both traditional herbal teas and skin creams that contain licorice will relieve itching and redness caused by eczema or atopic dermatitis, but there’s no dangerous of overdose if you use the cream. Clinical studies prove that the creams work. In one clinical trial, applying gel formulations containing 1% or 2% licorice root extract three times daily for 2 weeks seems to reduce erythema by 35% to 61%, edema by 57% to 84%, and itching by 44% to 73%. The stronger, 2% licorice cream works better than the 1% cream.[5]
  • Licorice teas relieve indigestion. Clinical testing in Germany has shown that various herbal teas that contain licorice and peppermint as their main ingredients relieve acid reflux, belching, flatulence, vomiting, and diarrhea. What’s important to remember is that these teas don’t contain just licorice. They also contain other herbs such as the previously mentioned peppermint, and caraway, lemon balm, or the oddly named clown’s mustard. [6]Use a commercial product that has already measured out these herbs for you. Take it after meals.
  • Using deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) as a mouthwash relieves the pain of canker sores fast. The kind of licorice you use for canker sores is neither Gan Cao or Zhi Gan Cao. It’s an extract of licorice that has removed the glycyrrhizin that can interfere with potassium balance. It’s safe to swallow the mouthwash as long as it is made with DGL, not any other form of licorice. A clinical trial in India found that DGL mouthwashes relieved canker sore pain in 75% of patients in just one day, and completely healed canker sores in 75% of patients in three days.[7]
  • Licorice creams can also lighten age spots, although you won’t find an effective product that contains just Applying a topical cream (Clariderm Clear, Stiefel Laboratories Inc., Guarulhos, SP, Brazil) containing licorice, emblica, and belides twice daily for 60 days is as effective as a cream containing 2% hydroquinone for lightening the skin in patients with age spots (melasma). The advantage of this herbal product over the more commonly used hydroquinone is that the herbs remove brown pigments without the side effect (usually on people with golden skin tones) of adding blue pigment.[8]

Licorice / Gan Cao in Herbal Products Best Used Under a Doctor’s Supervision

There are also specialized uses of licorice with other herbs that get remarkable results, but you can only get these products from your doctor.

  • Stabilizing hepatitis C. Stronger Minophagen C is a prescription formulation of glycyrrhizin extracted from licorice that stops liver damage caused by hepatitis C long enough to stabilize patients so they can receive other treatments. It has to be given by IV, but it reduces mortality from hepatitis C by about 50%.[9] Used long-term, it also reduces the risk of liver cancer in people who have active hepatitis C.[10]
  • Lowering cholesterol. A preliminary clinical trial found that taking 100 mg of licorice extract every day for a month one month reduced plasma total cholesterol levels by 5%, plasma low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels by 9%, and plasma triglyceride levels by 14% compared with baseline in patients with moderately high cholesterol.[11] You could try this on your own, but don’t use any licorice product for high cholesterol for more than one month at a time, and keep your consumption of extract limited to 100 mg a day.

There are even more exciting applications of licorice in combination with other herbs that you would get through a medically trained doctor of both western and Traditional Chinese Medicine. The licorice based formula sho-saiko-to has clinically proven efficacy against hepatitis B, although it absolutely, positively must not be given to people who have had interferon treatment.  Licorice and Peony Decoction can affect not just how women lactate, but also how they relate to their babies. Dozens of formulas that contain licorice can be useful in treating inflammatory bowel disease, peptic and duodenal ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome.

But don’t attempt to use complex formulas entirely on your own. See a specialist trained in herbal medicine. Take advantage of the best professional health to get the best results of licorice in its many forms for supporting your good health.

[1] Sigurjonsdottir HA, Ragnarsson J, Franzson L, Sigurdsson G. Is blood pressure commonly raised by moderate consumption of liquorice? J Hum Hypertens 1995;9:345-8.

[2] Chatterjee, N., Domoto-Reilly, K., Fecci, P. E., Schwamm, L. H., and Singhal, A. B. Licorice-associated reversible cerebral vasoconstriction with PRES. Neurology 2010;75(21):1939-1941.

[3] Janse A, van Iersel M, Hoefnagels WH, Olde Rikker MG. The old lady who liked liquorice: hypertension due to chronic intoxication in a memory-impaired patient. Neth J Med 2005;63:149-50.

[4] Menati L, Khaleghinezhad K, Tadayon M, Siahpoosh A. Evaluation of contextual and demographic factors on licorice effects on reducing hot flashes in postmenopause women.Health Care Women Int. 2014 Jan;35(1):87-99. doi: 10.1080/07399332.2013.770001. Epub 2013 May 10. PMID: 23663094.

[5] Saeedi, M., Morteza-Semnani, K., and Ghoreishi, M. R. The treatment of atopic dermatitis with licorice gel. J Dermatolog Treat 2003;14(3):153-157.

[6] Madisch A, Holtmann G, Mayr G, et al. Treatment of functional dyspepsia with a herbal preparation. A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter trial. Digestion 2004;69:45-52.

[7] Das SK, Das V, Gulati AK, and et al. Deglycyrrhizinated liquorice in aphthous ulcers. J Assoc Physicians India 1989;37(10):647.

[8] Costa, A., Moises, T. A., Cordero, T., Alves, C. R., and Marmirori, J. Association of emblica, licorice and belides as an alternative to hydroquinone in the clinical treatment of melasma. An Bras Dermatol 2010;85(5):613-620.

[9] Acharya SK, Dasarathy S, Tandon A, et al. A preliminary open trial on interferon stimulator (SNMC) derived from Glycyrrhiza glabra in the treatment of subacute hepatic failure. Indian J Med Res 1993;98:69-74.

[10] Arase, Y., Ikeda, K., Murashima, N., Chayama, K., Tsubota, A., Koida, I., Suzuki, Y., Saitoh, S., Kobayashi, M., and Kumada, H. The long term efficacy of glycyrrhizin in chronic hepatitis C patients. Cancer 1997;79(8):1494-1500.

[11] Fuhrman, B., Volkova, N., Kaplan, M., Presser, D., Attias, J., Hayek, T., and Aviram, M. Antiatherosclerotic effects of licorice extract supplementation on hypercholesterolemic patients: increased resistance of LDL to atherogenic modifications, reduced plasma lipid levels, and decreased systolic blood pressure. Nutrition 2002;18(3):268-273.

 

DISCLAIMER

The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. 

Sydney Acupuncture & Sydney Chinese Herbal Medicine

Dang Gui – Angelica Sinensis

Dang Gui – Angelica Sinensisdang gui

Some people speak of the traditional Chinese herb Dang Gui (Dong quai) as if it had mystical properties. And in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it does.

Dang Gui, which is the root of a plant known to botanists as Angelica sinensis, was considered in traditional herbal medicine to be a Yin herb. It helps the body contain energies that otherwise would be misdirected. As a treatment for hot flashes, for example, it helps the body channel the energy that otherwise would be used to generate unwanted heat. As a “sweet” herb, it adds a measure of sweetness to emotions and the experience of life. As an “acrid” herb, it wakes up the senses, but in a way that enlightens rather than upsets. And as a warming herb, it helps energies and blood move up in body when they naturally sag down. It redirects the vital energy known as Qi and blood flow back to the heart and brain and away from frivolous uses in the torso.

The legendary applications of Dang Gui have corresponding actions in modern medicine, but how would a pharmacologist look at the herb?

Dang Gui Modifies the Body’s Use of Estrogen

Dang Gui isn’t really a “plant estrogen.” There are plants that make actual estrogen, but Dang Gui is not one of them. Instead, this herb is more “estrogenic” than “estrogen.” The ferulic acid in estrogen occupies some of the same receptor sites as estrogen on the outer membranes of cells in the breast and uterus. It activates these cells in the same way as estrogen, even when there isn’t actual estrogen in circulation.[1] However, it can also activate cells in the breast and uterus that don’t have estrogen receptors.[2] In this way, the ferulic acid in Dang Gui is a kind of “super estrogen” that counteracts some of the effects of menopause. This property also means, however, that it should not be used by women who have breast or uterine cancer, whether or not their cancers are estrogen-receptor positive.

Dang Gui Has a Unique Effect on the Immune System

There are complex sugars (polysaccharides) in Dang Gui that modulate the immune system without necessarily stimulating or suppressing it. These polysaccharides fit into different kinds of receptor sites on white blood cells to activate them to fight infection. This effect occurs specifically in T cells. It’s known to occur when dong quai is brewed into a hot-water tea.[3]

However, Dang Gui also contains compounds that keep specialized mast cells from breaking open to release histamine. In this way one compound in Dang Gui  activates the immune system to fight infection, but another compound in Dang Gui stops allergies.[4]

Dang Gui Relaxes Breathingdang gui 2

About 1-1/2% of the total weight of dong quai is a compound called ligustilide. This chemical relaxes the smooth muscles around the bronchial passages.[5] It relieves asthma, although this makes dong quai an herb you don’t want to take if you have COPD.

Modern Science Confirms Dang Gui’s Use as a “Detoxifier”

Traditional Chinese Medicine uses Dang Gui in tonics to “purify” the blood. What actually happens is that complex carbohydrates, the previously mentioned polysaccharides, lock on to receptor sites on a set of white blood cells known as macrophages. These are large white blood cells that can surround and “eat” germs. They patrol the body looking for bacteria and other microorganisms. Dang Gui polysaccharides stimulate them to patrol more of the body to look in more places for germs.[6]

Dang Gui also plays a role In “liver tonics.” Some plant chemicals in the herb activate the Kuppfer cells, which are the liver’s immune system.[7] Other plant chemicals in the herb prevent the process of apoptosis, also known as cell suicide, when liver tissue is exposed to toxins. They keep the liver alive even when it’s been shocked by exposure to a poison. It’s the whole herb, not a chemical extract, that has this protective effective on the liver, and it’s the whole herb soaked in beverage alcohol (wine in Traditional Chinese Medicine) that helps the liver recover after toxic exposure.[8]

Dang Gui Has Anti-Ulcer Effects

One of the modern uses of Dang Gui formulas in China is the treatment of ulcerative colitis. The herb doesn’t stop the process of ulcer formation, but it accelerates tissue repair.[9] This is a benefit that would be noticed after taking an herbal tea.

Dang Gui Is Helpful for Some Men, Too

Traditional Korean herbal remedies for premature ejaculation usually focus on dang gui. It contains phytochemicals that raise the “vibratory threshold” for ejaculation, so that sex has to last longer and has to be more vigorous for the man to climax.[10]

The Best Known Use of Dang Gui Is In an Herbal Formula

Clinical researchers in universities as far apart as China and Texas have done extensive studies of a traditional formula that combines dong quai with other ingredients, especially white peony root. This Dang Gui and Peony Decoction, also known as Dang Gui Shao Yao San, or Toki-shakuyaku-san (TJ-23) in Japan, or Dangguijakyak-san (DJS) in Korea, or Tang-Kuei and Peony in most English-speaking countries, is showing considerable promise as a treatment for Alzheimer’s.

Researchers at the University of Texas noticed that when they gave elderly women this formula for hormone-related problems, they became mentally sharper and their memories improved. This led to a series of clinical trials all over the world involving both men and women to see if the formula could be a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.[11]

Japanese clinical trials have found that Dang Gui  and Peony Decoction can be used to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and cognitive impairment caused by multiple-infarct dementia.[12] It may also prevent dementia and memory loss In Parkinson’s disease.[13]

And this formula may stop the Alzheimer’s-like complications of “type 3” diabetes. Dang Gui and Peony Decoction counteracts the effects of harmful free radicals, like those that are released when blood sugar levels are too high. [14]

The benefits of Dang Gui for the brain are not obtained from the use of Dang Gui by itself. It has to be combined with the other herbs of the traditional Chinese formula. These herbs act synergistically with Dang Gui for the formula’s combined effects.[15] But this profound effect of an unpatented, ancient, traditional herbal medicine may provide more benefits for Alzheimer’s patients that any other pharmaceutical treatments.

Dang Gui Isn’t a Miracle Herb, But…

angelica sinensis dang gui

Dang Gui is an especially useful herb, but that doesn’t mean it’s a cure-all. It’s very useful for treating women’s problems that are caused by a lack of estrogen. It can be very helpful for men who are concerned about premature ejaculation. And it’s a possible wonder-drug for preventing Alzheimer’s and the dementia that follows tiny blood clots in the brain.

Just don’t give up on traditional medicine to use Dang Gui. All herbs are best used with the best medicines your doctor can prescribe. Herbs don’t replace medicine. Be honest and open with an honest and open-minded doctor to get the best results from using Dang Gui or any other herb.

 

[1] Eagon PK, Elm MS, Hunter DS, et al. Medicinal herbs: modulation of estrogen action. Era of Hope Mtg, Dept Defense; Breast Cancer Res Prog, Atlanta, GA 2000;Jun 8-11.

[2] Lau CBS, Ho TCY, Chan TWL, Kim SCF. Use of dong quai (Angelica sinensis) to treat peri- and postmenopausal symptoms in women with breast cancer: is it appropriate? Menopause 2005;12:734-40.

[3] Kumazawa, Y., Nakatsuru, Y., Fujisawa, H., Nishimura, C., Mizunoe, K., Otsuka, Y., and Nomoto, K. Lymphocyte activation by a polysaccharide fraction separated from hot water extracts of Angelica acutiloba Kitagawa. J Pharmacobiodyn. 1985;8(6):417-424.

[4] Wei-An Mao, Yuan-Yuan Sun, Jing-Yi Mao, et al. Inhibitory Effects of Angelica Polysaccharide on Activation of Mast Cells. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2016;2016:6063475 doi:10.1155/2016/6063475.

[5] Zhao KJ, Dong TT, Tu PF, et al. Molecular genetic and chemical assessment of radix Angelica (Danggui) in China. J Agric Food Chem 2003;51:2576-83.

[6] Wang, Y. and Zhu, B. [The effect of angelica polysaccharide on proliferation and differentiation of hematopoietic progenitor cell]. Zhonghua Yi Xue.Za Zhi 1996;76(5):363-366.

[7] Wang J, Xia XY, Peng RX, Chen X. [Activation of the immunologic function of rat Kupffer cells by the polysaccharides of Angelica sinensis]. Yao Xue Xue Bao. 2004 Mar;39(3):168-71. Chinese.

PMID: 15171648.

[8] Niu C, Wang J, Ji L, Wang Z. Protection of Angelica sinensis (Oliv) Diels against hepatotoxicity induced by Dioscorea bulbifera L. and its mechanism. Biosci Trends. 2014 Oct;8(5):253-9. PMID: 25382441.

[9] 48430 Cho, C. H., Mei, Q. B., Shang, P., Lee, S. S., So, H. L., Guo, X., and Li, Y. Study of the gastrointestinal protective effects of polysaccharides from Angelica sinensis in rats. Planta Med 2000;66(4):348-351.

[10] Choi HK, Jung GW, Moon KH, et al. Clinical study of SS-Cream in patients with lifelong premature ejaculation. Urology 2000;55:257-61.

[11] Fu X, Wang Q, Wang Z, Kuang H, Jiang P. Danggui-Shaoyao-San: New Hope for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Aging Dis. 2015 Dec 20;7(4):502-13. doi: 10.14336/AD.2015.1220. eCollection 2016 Aug. Review.

PMID: 27493835.

[12] Kitabayashi Y, Shibata K, Nakamae T, Narumoto J, Fukui K (2007). Effect of traditional Japanese herbal medicine toki-shakuyakusan for mild cognitive impairment: SPECT study. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci, 61: 447-448.

[13] Matsuoka T, Narumoto J, Shibata K, Okamura A, Taniguchi S, Kitabayashi Y, et al. (2012). Effect of toki-shakuyaku-san on regional cerebral blood flow in patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med, 2012:245091.

[14] Fu X, Wang Q, Wang Z, Kuang H, Jiang P. Danggui-Shaoyao-San: New Hope for Alzheimer’s Disease.

Aging Dis. 2015 Dec 20;7(4):502-13. doi: 10.14336/AD.2015.1220. eCollection 2016 Aug. Review.

PMID: 27493835.

[15] Yang WJ, Li DP, Li JK, Li MH, Chen YL, Zhang PZ. Synergistic antioxidant activities of eight traditional Chinese herb pairs. Biol Pharm Bull. 2009 Jun;32(6):1021-6. PMID: 19483308.

 

DISCLAIMER

The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. 

Sydney Acupuncture & Sydney Chinese Herbal Medicine

Six Stages to effective Hamstring Rehabilitation

6 Stages to Effective Hamstring Rehabilitation

hamstring 1

Rian Kenny Chiro, wanted to present his thoughts at a more in depth look at one of the more common presentations at the clinic, Hamstring Strains!

From a slight strain or a ‘twinge’ to a more serious grade ‘tear’ it is unfortunately an injury that often reoccurs especially if a thorough rehabilitation program is not completed.

 

A systematic review performed in the UK and published in the 2009 Strength and Conditioning Journal 31(1) concluded; there are 6 key steps or stages that need to be addressed in order to properly rehabilitate and reduce the chance of reoccurrence.

hamstring 3

1. Initial Treatment

The general RICER protocol should be followed during the first 48 hours of any acute soft tissue injury. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation and Referral (To a qualified professional)

2. Restoring Range of Motion

A stretching protocol involving a minimum of 4 stretching session each day using a combination of 3-4 stretches held for 30-45 seconds each. It was suggested that the early increase in range of motion is essential in reducing scar tissue formation.

3. Initial Strengthening

Along with stage 2, Resistance training (very light to no resistance) is introduced incorporating use of available range of motion. Exercises such as Deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts and light leg curls will target the hamstring group.

4. Slow Eccentric Strengthening

Eccentric movement is defined as a muscle lengthening under a load, for example during a squat going from a standing position to squat position is eccentrically utilising muscles and from squat to stand is a concentric action. It has been shown that eccentric action is essential for muscular hypertrophy (cell size) and hyperplasia (cell number). So this stage requires introduction of slow lowering exercises such as Deadlifts, Nordic Hamstring Lowers, back extensions and lunges, with most focus on the lengthening or eccentric phase of the exercises.

5. High Speed Eccentric

As above but introducing more plyometric (jumping) based exercises and sports specific drills at greater speeds, for example; split jumps, depth jumps from a bench and other bounding drills.

6. Sports Specific

The last phase of a full rehabilitation program involves taking the athlete from straight line activities to dynamic change of direction tasks with different surfaces and body positions e.g. single leg bounding, acceleration drills, zig-zag running and hopping activities.

It is essential each phase is carefully monitored to avoid aggravation of the condition. If you have been struggling with a hamstring injury and finding it a frustrating recovery come and have a chat with one of the team..hamstring 2

Book with Rian Here

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER

The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. 

 

Kids and Acupuncture Techniques

Kids and acupuncture

kids

By Audrey Cortez 

A question we are asked often in clinic is, “Can acupuncture help children for their ailments/conditions?” and the answer is a resounding “Yes!”. The question most ask is  “do you use needles on children?” and the answer is in short is “Yes” and “no”; let us explain first with a little bit of history and techniques used today.

History

In China and Japan, paediatric medicine historically not as well respected as it is today, due to a multiple of reasons such as: high mortality rate or children were seen as a ‘burden’. During Japan’s Edo period attitudes to paediatric medicine began to change when diseases such as small pox, measles and parasitic conditions became prevalent. In this era the Shonishin technique was born. It was here acupuncturists (especially blind acupuncturists) were not able to needle under law consequently, these acupuncturists developed the “Shonishin” technique which is using specific tools which are non-invasive and results are quite effective (Wernike 2014). In China at the same time, paediatric medicine was more focused on herbal medicine utilising popular formulas and modifying them to fit the child’s needs.

Selection of Shoni Shin tools for pediatric acupuncture

What is Shonishin?

The word Shonishin can be broken into two parts: ‘shoni’ meaning ‘child’ and ‘shin’ meaning ‘needle or needling’. The Shonishin technique is a non-invasive which is pain free and relatively easy to perform for the practitioner. It involves using a simple tool which looks like a nail, and its used to stroke gently on the patient’s skin. The technique itself is like a massage which children are more welcoming than being needled or taking herbal medicine, which sometimes may not be a pleasant experience for both parent/carer and child. One advantage of performing Shonishin techniques is it can be used a whole extensive range of ailments and it be done on from as young as 6 weeks old to adults. Another advantage is the technique is relatively quick to do which is great as children are quick to respond to treatment.

 

What other techniques used?

Other techniques used for paediatric acupuncture are massage such as Shiatzu or Tui Na and using Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)  devises. These techniques are once again non-invasive which is great while treating because they do not cause pain to the child and can be combined with herbal medicine.

 

Can you needle young patients?

Macro detail of a pine brush Japanese Shonishin acupuncture tool being used on young boy’s leg

This is an interesting question to answer. In short, yes you can needle children if they feel confident in the knowledge the needles are there to help them then there is no reason for them not to start early. Children are very open to needles and if explained properly. Of course, for those who are scared of needle, they can always opt for the non-invasive techniques if they choose to change their minds at the last minute.

In the next newletter we will be discussing what common conditions paediatric acupuncture can treat and what research supports this.

Here at the Sydney Acupuncture Clinic we offer non-invasive paediatric acupuncture treatments with both the Shonishin technique and laser acupuncture.

 

Book With Audrey Here

 

DISCLAIMER

The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. 

Water in Traditional Chinese Medicine

waterWater in Traditional Chinese Medicine

What is the one ingredient that is found in absolutely every part of traditional Chinese herbal medicine? It’s water, of course. Water is essential to life, but the ancient understanding of water can inform our own lives.

Water as an “Element”

Water is one of the five “elements” in Traditional Chinese Medici ne, along with wood, fire, earth, and metal. Water is the winter element that feeds the new growth, the “wood,” of spring. Not surprisingly, it is associated with the kidneys.

However, the “kidney’ in Traditional Chinese Medicine is not just a physical organ. It is a set of energies that become emotions that in turn become physical objects, all associated with human reproduction and development. The kidneys are the governing organ of the sex organs. Their energies create vaginal fluids and semen, as well as, of course, urine. But they are also the governing organ of “development,” including bones and hair, and the govern the body’s ability to make and detect sound.

Surely this quaint ancient theory does not have any bearing on the modern understanding of health, does it? We invite you to judge for yourself.

The Surprising Importance of Hydration from Head to Toe

Keeping adequately hydrated by drinking enough water with electrolytes is essential to life, but it is also essential to some unexpected aspects of healthy living. Here are just a few reasons we need water in ways that are predicted by Traditional Chinese Medicine.

  • The hair on your head and the skin on your scalp are regenerated by stem cells. Some of these stem cells differentiate into melanocytes, the cells that make the natural color in your hair. Some of these cells differentiate into hair follicles, which generate the hair itself. The two groups of stem cells communicate by hormones and chemical messengers that they send through the tiny capillaries and intercellular fluid in the scalp. If the color-making cells can’t communicate to the hair-making cells, guess what happens? Gray hair. Regular hydration is important to maintain your natural hair colour.[1]
  • The voice In older adults, in particular, tends to shimmer and jitter when the body is dehydrated. Dehydrated people cannot hold a sound so that it blends into other syllables. Their voices have a reduced resonance and a higher frequency (but not in a good way). Drinking water helps to restore the voice. Steam inhalation is useful, too. Voice problems may be prevented by using a nebulizer that provides pure water in tiny droplets.[2]
  • The human body ordinarily keeps almost all of its calcium in the bones and just a tiny amount of calcium in the bloodstream to power muscles and nerves. Dehydration can be a cause of hypercalcemia, too much calcium in the bloodstream.[3]
  • In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the “kidney” (which is a concept more than a physical organ) also governs the knees. You won’t find dehydration listed as a trigger for attacks of knee arthritis (or gout in the ankles and toes), but that is the experience of many people who have to manage these diseases.[4]

How Much Water Is Enough?

Some health-minded people are so intent on staying hydrated that they walk around making sloshing sounds. The best amount of water isn’t more, more, more.  Healthy hydration keeps water consumption in balance with the amount of water that the body uses, no more and no less.

Infants and disabled people are especially susceptible to dehydration because they can’t get their own fluids to drink. Older children are especially susceptible to dehydration because their bodies keep less water in the interstitial fluid around their tissues. The most common precipitating event that leads to death from dehydration is diarrhea. If you get diarrhea, keep hydrated!

It takes as little as 1.2 liters (5 cups) of water a day to keep hydrated. Drinking 3 or more liters of water a day is actually associated with poorer health outcomes, not better.[5] (If you happen to live in the Australian Outback or some other desert, of course, you may actually need more water—but you probably won’t have a longer lifespan as a result of drinking it).

The key is what else is in the water. Water that contains just a little sodium, the ion found in table salt, can keep your body hydrated up to twice as long as water that does not.[6] Almost any natural beverage contains at least a little sodium, even orange juice, whole (full-fat) milk, and tea.  Caffeinated and carbonated beverages are not dehydrating.[7] Tea, in particular, including tea with milk, does not dehydrate.[8]

Hydration Isn’t All About What You Drink

Traditional Chinese Medicine tells us that mastering the “water” element, however, is not just about drinking water and other beverages. The kidney is a yin vessel that stores a property called jing, or essence. This is the set of instructions that the body follows to make its densest structures, such as bone.

The “energy kidney” also consolidates the mysterious energy called chi that governs over our lives from birth to death. It is specifically related to our ability to pro-create, physical growth through childhood, and transition in to old age. Someone with a compromised water element will not have the vitality and endurance necessary throughout our lives to endure, especially during stressful times of change.

You can’t tackle life’s challenges if you aren’t physically hydrated. But you become “spiritually hydrated” by conquering fear, anxiety, and specific phobias. When we master the fluid challenges of our daily lives, we overcome fear. And when we overcome fear, we master the energies of water, unleashing vital energy to make us healthier from head to toe.

Drinking water, tea, and other healthy beverages won’t automatically result in mastery of the watery aspects of human vitality. A great deal of healthy hydration really stems from emotional health, not just diet. But getting at least those 5 cups, 1.2 liters, of water every day is a healthy start to hydration. If you drink water, you have some of the physical sustenance you need to master your life energies. And if you master your life energies, you will keep your water intake and use in healthy balance.

 

[1] Hsu YC, Li L, Fuchs E. Emerging interactions between skin stem cells and their niches. Nat Med. 2014 Aug;20(8):847-56. doi: 10.1038/nm.3643. Review. PMID: 25100530.

[2] Alves M, Krüger E, Pillay B, van Lierde K, van der Linde J. The Effect of Hydration on Voice Quality in Adults: A Systematic Review.J Voice. 2017 Nov 6. pii: S0892-1997(17)30389-2. doi: 10.1016/j.jvoice.2017.10.001. [Epub ahead of print] Review. PMID: 29122414.

[3] Fernandes LG, Ferreira NR, Cardiga R, Póvoa P. Severe hypercalcaemia and colon ischaemia: dehydration as an unusual cause? BMJ Case Rep. 2015 Mar 25;2015. pii: bcr2014208809. doi: 10.1136/bcr-2014-208809.

PMID: 25809432.

[4] Abhishek A, Valdes AM, Jenkins W, Zhang W, Doherty M. Triggers of acute attacks of gout, does age of gout onset matter? A primary care based cross-sectional study. PLoS One. 2017 Oct 12;12(10):e0186096. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186096. eCollection 2017. PMID: 29023487.

[5] Kant AK, Graubard BI. A prospective study of water intake and subsequent risk of all-cause mortality in a national cohort.Am J Clin Nutr. 2017 Jan;105(1):212-220. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.116.143826. Epub 2016 Nov 30.

PMID: 27903521.

[6] Sims ST, van Vliet L, Cotter JD, Rehrer NJ. Sodium loading aids fluid balance and reduces physiological strain of trained men exercising in the heat. Med Sci Sports Exerc 2007;39:123–30.

[7] Grandjean AC, Reimers KJ, Bannick KE, Haven MC. The effect of caffeinated, non-caffeinated, caloric and non-caloric beverages on hydration. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000 Oct;19(5):591-600. PMID: 11022872.

[8] Ruxton CH, Hart VA. Black tea is not significantly different from water in the maintenance of normal hydration in human subjects: results from a randomised controlled trial.Br J Nutr. 2011 Aug;106(4):588-95. doi: 10.1017/S0007114511000456. Epub 2011 Mar 30. PMID: 21450118.

 

water

Water fall

DISCLAIMER

The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email info@roddsanchez.com.au or 02 8213 2888. 

Rodd Sanchez Sydney acupuncture and Chinese medicine