Traditional Chinese Medicine for Weight Loss

Traditional Chinese Medicine for Weight Loss

You maybe familiar with auricular acupuncture for weight loss. An acupuncturist puts studs/ear seeds at specific locations on your outer ear (there aren’t any needles in your ear canal), 

One clinical trial found that people who had a single stud at the “hunger point” in the ear lost, on average, 5.7% of their body weight in eight weeks.  People who had acupuncture at all five traditional points in the ear lost, on average, 6.1% of their body weight in eight weeks.[1] Scientists running another clinical trial of ear acupuncture for weight loss reported that all of the participants in the study lost weight in the very first week. Participants in the study lost from 0.7% to 3.0% of their weight in just seven days.[2] Also in a clinical trial of placing the studs in both ears, every participant lost weight, and lost body fat, and lost inches.[3]

Not all of us, of course, want to have acupuncture in our ears. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could get the benefits of acupuncture from a pill or an herbal tea? Traditional Chinese Medicine understands both herbs and acupuncture in terms of changes to energy flows, and either method—or both—can help you lose weight.

Yin Fat and Yang Fat

Traditional Chinese Medicine conceives of excess weight in terms of Yin and Yang, containing and moving.

Sometimes overweight is the result of a Yin condition. The body has been so worn down by stress, by disease, or by age, that it just can’t contain its energies in their proper channels. These energies materialize as “flab,” or soft fat. These people tend to be sedentary, and don’t lose weight by dieting.

Sometimes overweight it the result of a Yang condition. The body has more energy than it knows how to channel. That energy also materializes as fat, but it’s a hard fat. These are people who have lots of visceral fat coating their inner organs. They are active, but they still are overweight. These are people who usually lose weight by dieting if they can just stick to the plan.

Herbs can help, but different herbs help with the different kinds of obesity. Two formulas are so well known to work that they’re even covered by health insurance in Japan. If you choose the right formula, it might work for you, too. Let’s look at the two main options

Ledebouriella Decoction (Fang Feng Tong Sheng)  That Sagely Unblocks

Ledebouriella Decoction That Sagely Unblocks is the herbal combination Traditional Chinese Medicine knows as (防風通聖散) and Japanese herbal medicine knows as bofu-tsusho-san. This oddly named formula’s main herb is ledebouriella. It “sagely unblocks” by redirecting excessive energies without causing new health problems. The formula is used to treat obesity in people who are active, tend to overeat but not quite burn off all the calories, and who tend to get headaches, high blood pressure, and constipation. It’s meant for people who get thick abdominal fat and overall are sturdy, just overweight. Because their bodies generate a lot of heat, they tend to be sensitive to heat.  Their skin tends to remain tight even if it is poked or probed. These are people who gravitate to the air conditioner during hot weather.

Doctors in China and Japan do not need proof that this formula works when it is given to the right people. However, Japanese scientists have studied how the formula works. It seems to deactivate white fat, the kind of fat that most stores fat, and activate brown fat, the kind of fat that burns fat to make heat. [4]

Dai-saiko-to (Da-Chai-Hu-Tang)

Dai-saiko-to (大柴胡湯) (Da-Chai-Hu-Tang)  is the Japanese adaptation of a Traditional Chinese Medicine for a very “Yang” obesity. The people who get this formula eat a lot because they work and play hard, and aren’t happy when they aren’t active.

Like bofu-tsusho-san, dai-saiko-to is a formula Chinese and Japanese doctors use with confidence when people present the symptoms that call for it. After all, it has been used successfully for 1800 years. Researchers have found that it works by modifying liver function. It limits the inflammation caused by a high-fat diet.  It also limits weight gain when the diet is high in fat.[5]

Boi-ogi-to (Fang Ji Huang Qi Tang)

Boi-ogi-to is the Japanese patent medicine version of the Traditional Chinese Medicine formula .It’s a formula for obese people who have more of a problem with cold than with heat. These are people who might have profuse sweating from the head and groin, but not the rest of the body.  Their overweight tends to be “all over,” not just belly fat. Their skin tends to dimple when it is depressed. Constipation is not a part of there symptom patterns. Women of reproductive age who have this symptom pattern usually have irregular periods. People for whom this formula is a good fit tend to be “couch potatoes,” often because they have swelling and joint pain.

Scientists have ascertained that boi-ogi-to may prevent the progression of metabolic syndrome and obesity to type 2 diabetes.[6] It also prevents the destruction of joints by a laboratory model of arthritis.[7]

Can These Formulas Help You?

Chinese herbal formulas for treating obesity in patent medicine form are most widely available as under their Japanese trade names, even though they are made in China. It doesn’t hurt to get a quick confirmation from a knowledgeable dispensing herbalist that you are using the formula most likely to match your symptom pattern. But as long as you don’t have hepatitis B—which is a contraindication for sai-saiko-to—these formulas are safe to use as directed and give you just a little added help in losing weight.


[1] Yeo S, Kim KS, Lim S. Randomised clinical trial of five ear acupuncture points for the treatment of overweight people. Acupunct Med. 2014 Apr;32(2):132-8. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2013-010435. Epub 2013 Dec 16.

PMID: 24342715.

[2] Ito H, Yamada O, Kira Y, Tanaka T, Matsuoka R.  BMJ Open Gastroenterol. 2015 Feb 9;2(1):e000013. doi: 10.1136/bmjgast-2014-000013. eCollection 2015. PMID: 26462269.

[3] Shiraishi T, Onoe M, Kojima TA, Kageyama T, Sawatsugawa S, Sakurai K, Yoshimatsu H, Sakata T. Effects of bilateral auricular acupuncture stimulation on body weight in healthy volunteers and mildly obese patients.

Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2003 Nov;228(10):1201-7. PMID: 14610261.

[4] Satomi Akagiri, Yuji Naito, Hiroshi Ichikawa, Katsura Mizushima, Tomohisa Takagi, Osamu Handa, Satoshi Kokura, Toshikazu Yoshikawa Bofutsushosan, an Oriental Herbal Medicine, Attenuates the Weight Gain of White Adipose Tissue and the Increased Size of Adipocytes Associated with the Increase in Their Expression of Uncoupling Protein 1 in High-Fat Diet-Fed Male KK/Ta miceJ Clin Biochem Nutr. 2008 Mar; 42(2): 158–166. Published online 2008 Mar 1. doi: 10.3164/jcbn.2008023 PMCID: PMC2266052.

[5] Weibin Qian, Xinrui Cai, Xinying Zhang, Yingying Wang, Qiuhai Qian, Junichi Hasegawa. Effect of Daisaikoto on Expressions of SIRT1 and NF-kappaB of Diabetic Fatty Liver Rats Induced by High-Fat Diet and Streptozotocin

Yonago Acta Med. 2016 Jun; 59(2): 149–158. Published online 2016 Jun 29. PMCID: PMC4973021.

[6] Tsutomu Shimada, Tomoko Akase, Mitsutaka Kosugi, Masaki Aburada. Preventive Effect of Boiogito on Metabolic Disorders in the TSOD Mouse, a Model of Spontaneous Obese Type II Diabetes Mellitus.  Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011; 2011: 931073. Published online 2011 Jun 5. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nep012


[7] Xinwen Zhang, Zhou Wu, Yicong Liu, Junjun Ni, Chunfu Deng, Baohong Zhao, Hiroshi Nakanishi, Jing He, Xu Yan. Boi-ogi-to (TJ-20), a Kampo Formula, Suppresses the Inflammatory Bone Destruction and the Expression of Cytokines in the Synovia of Ankle Joints of Adjuvant Arthritic Rats. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017; 2017: 3679295. Published online 2017 May 7. doi: 10.1155/2017/3679295. PMCID: PMC5438844.



Any new diet change should be consulted with a medical practitioner 

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 or 02 8213 2888. 

Rodd Sanchez Sydney acupuncture and Chinese medicine 



Diabetes with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Diabetes with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) does not really have a concept that corresponds to the modern diagnosis of diabetes. Instead, TCM offers a number of formulas that address combinations of symptoms we would call complications of diabetes. The amazing thing about these four basic herbal formulas, however, is that they all actually treat diabetes. They all help to lower blood sugar levels without changing insulin levels through their action on an enzyme called aldose reductase. And this action also lowers blood pressure.[1]

The four basic formulas that TCM uses to address symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Diao Teng San, which is also known by its Japanese name choto-san, is used for a pattern of “deficiency” symptoms that might include headaches, stiff shoulders, slurred speech, short temper because of an inability to contain emotions, and visual disturbances. Clinical trials have found that this herbal formula is useful in treating vascular dementia. Patients who were given the formula had fewer delusions and hallucinations, slept better, were more able to speak spontaneously, and had fewer issues with putting on and taking off clothes.[2] Another clinical trial found that this combination of herbs is helpful in restoring microcirculation in the brain after stroke.[3] Of course, you don’t have to have had a stroke or have vascular dementia to get lower blood sugars by taking the formula.
  • Bai Wei Di Huang Wan, which is known in Japanese herbal medicine as hachimijio-gan and in patent medicines as Rehmannia 8, is a very basic herbal remedy for diabetes. It’s very extensively studied in laboratory animals but not in clinical trials with people. Although it lowers blood sugar levels by acting on aldose reductase, a closely related formula is much better. Japanese herbalists sometimes modify this formula by adding an herb called achyranthis and psyllium seed (the herb used to make Metamucil) to create a formula they call gosha-jinkigan, or Rehmannia 10. This modification of the formula has been clinically tested and found to lower fasting blood sugars levels and glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1C), and also to stop the progression of diabetic neuropathy. [4] The 10-herb formula is also helpful in treating dry eyes caused by diabetes.[5]
  • Gui Zhi Jia Shu Fu Tang, a cinnamon-based formula, which is also known by its Japanese name keishikika-jutsubuto, stimulates insulin secretion, at least in laboratory animals.[6]
  • Yi Gan San, which is also known by its Japanese name yokukansan, has been extensively investigated as a treatment for autism, tardive dyskinesia, Lewy body disease, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and social withdrawal disorders.

As a practical matter, if you want to use Chinese herbal medicine on your own to assist with diabetes treatment, you should be using Rehmannia 8 or Rehmannia 10. Both of these formulas are relatively easy to find. They are available in capsules and as teas.

Neither formula substitutes for insulin, and both formulas are more helpful for diabetics who tend to eat too much fat rather than too much sugar. They are not strong enough to be your sole form of treatment. However, you should have fewer high and low blood sugars if you use these formulas, and you may notice that you are calmer, have more control over your appetite, and get better results from your holistic diabetes management plan.

[1] Onoda T, Ishikawa C, Fukazawa T, Li W, Obayashi M, Koike K. Inhibitory activities of selected Kampo formulations on human aldose reductase. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2014 Nov 6;14:435. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-14-435.

PMID: 25374323.

[2] Terasawa K, Shimada Y, Kita T, Yamamoto T, Tosa H, Tanaka N, Saito Y, Kanaki E, Goto S, Mizushima N, Fujioka M, Takase S, Seki H, Kimura I, Ogawa T, Nakamura S, Araki G, Maruyama I, Maruyama Y, Takaori S. Choto-san in the treatment of vascular dementia: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Phytomedicine. 1997 Mar;4(1):15-22. doi: 10.1016/S0944-7113(97)80022-0. PMID: 23195240.

[3] Goto H, Yang Q, Kita T, Hikiami H, Shimada Y, Terasawa K. Effects of Choto-san on microcirculation, serum nitric oxide and lipid peroxides in patients with asymptomatic cerebral infarction. Am J Chin Med. 2001;29(1):83-9.

PMID: 11321483.

[4] Watanabe K, Shimada A, Miyaki K, Hirakata A, Matsuoka K, Omae K, Takei I. Long-term effects of goshajinkigan in prevention of diabetic complications: a randomized open-labeled clinical trial. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:128726. doi: 10.1155/2014/128726. Epub 2014 Apr 9. Erratum in: Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2016;2016:9567408. PMID: 24812564.

[5] Nagaki Y, Hayasaka S, Hayasaka Y, et al. Effects of Goshajinkigan on corneal sensitivity, superficial punctate keratopathy and tear secretion in patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2003;31(1):103–109.

[6] Qin B, Nagasaki M, Ren M, Bajotto G, Oshida Y, Sato Y. Effects of keishi-ka-jutsubu-to (traditional herbal medicine: Gui-zhi-jia-shu-fu-tang) on in vivo insulin action in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.

Life Sci. 2003 Oct 10;73(21):2687-701. PMID: 13679237.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) with TCM

Like so many other medically defined conditions, polycystic ovarian disease, or PCOS, simply is not a concept that existed in ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The ancient sages of TCM recognised symptom patterns that we now call PCOS, but herbal treatment for the condition is both more and less than medical intervention.

What Does a TCM Practitioner See When a Woman Comes In With PCOS?

Most practitioners of TCM are also trained in conventional medicine, so you can discuss your concerns with confidence. The choice of herbal treatments, however, depends on symptoms as they are traditionally defined.

Sometimes the TCM practitioner will see that symptoms require “warming up” the body. For this, the patent medicine might be Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan, which is also known as the Cinnamon and Poria Pill. Sometimes the TCM practitioner might see that primary problem is “redirecting” the body’s energies away from the center of the body, where they are “congealing” in the ovaries. For this symptom pattern, the remedy might be Dan Gui Shao Yao San, which is also known as Dong Quai and Peony Powder. This is the same remedy that is used in older women to treat hot flushes.

But sometimes the problem is that the menstrual cycle simply needs to be reset. In Western terms, there is an excess of luteinizing hormone. In almost all cases of PCOS, there is a problem with too much testosterone.[1] The ovaries make both estrogen and testosterone. PCOS causes the ovaries to burn lots of sugar, which they use to make both hormones to excess. It is necessary at least to reduce the production of testosterone. Low-calorie diets (exercise without diet won’t work) reduce the supply of sugar to the ovaries and reduce the production of estrogen. But clinical trials show that the herbal formula Wen Jing Tang, which is also known by its Japanese name unsei-to,  normalizes both luteinizing hormone and the balance of estrogen and testosterone.[2] In the terminology of TCM, this formula “Warms the Menses” to restart ovulation and fertility.

When Would TCM “Warm the Menses”?

Not every woman should get the Wen Jing Tang formula. There are some very specific indications that the formula will help.

  • Traditionally, this formula was used for women who had abdominal distension. That could be bloating, or it could be belly fat. In TCM, both bloating and belly fat indicate the same kind of disturbance in the flows of Chi through their channels. A “harder” kind of stasis only meant that the energy had been in the wrong channels so long that bloat turned into fat. But the misdirection of energy was the same.
  • Warm the Menses formula usually is given to women who have some uterine bleeding, but not necessarily menstruation. Their periods may come late or not at all. But there is still some bleeding.
  • This formula is not intended for women who have fevers, who have hot flushes, or who have express (however deservedly) outbursts of rage. It adds energy to the body, so it’s best to avoid this formula if there is already too much energy in the body.

Usually, this isn’t the first combination a TCM practitioner would try. But this is the combination that works best with Western medicine.

TCM Augments Medications and Supplements

The herbal formulas of Traditional Chinese Medicine do not replace any other medications your doctor prescribes. They don’t take the place of any supplements you may be taking, such as inositol. Your medications and supplements help to determine the pattern of symptoms for which your TCM practitioner chooses appropriate combinations of hepcosrbs.

What kinds of medications and supplements also make a difference? Documented clinical experience gives some insights.

Here are some examples:

  • The most commonly prescribed medication for PCOS is metformin. It  is considered especially useful when symptoms include obesity.[3] However, at least one clinical trial has found that myo-inositol is effective than metformin.[4]
  • Myo-inositol can be combined with the fertility drug clomiphene. Fertility researchers at the Alexandrovska University Hospital in Bulgaria gave 50 women both myo-inositol and clomiphene for three months. In just three months, 29 women started ovulating again and 11 became pregnant. After the other women in the study went off myo-inositol, they continued on clomiphene. In that group, six more women became pregnant.[5]
  • Another team of doctors at the Hôpital Jeanne de Flandre in Lille, France asked 26 women to consent to treatment with myo-inositol in addition to clomiphene. Their pregnancy rates were 35 percent higher than the pregnancy rates for women who received clomiphene alone.[6]


Would these women get even better results if they took some doctor-supervised combination of metformin, myo-inositol, clomiphene, and/or Wen Jing Tang? It all depends on symptoms. Whether or not a woman takes any other medications, Wen Jing Tang works best when the energetic need of the body is to warm and gently stimulate the reproductive organs.


How Should Women Pursue TCM Treatment for PCOS?


PCOS is never simply a matter of eating the wrong foods in the wrong amounts at the wrong times, but it is often helped by diet. Dieting puts the brakes on some of the hormonal processes that perpetuate the disease. A clinical study has found that no matter what treatments women choose for infertility associated with PCOS, they get better results if they diet first.[7]


Beyond dieting, it’s important to get good medical care and good alternative medical care. Be up front with your doctor about any herbs you are using. Be open with your TCM practitioner about any medications you are taking. You don’t have to be a purist to get good results from TCM, but you do need a skilled practitioner who thoroughly understands and respects your choices.


Will you overcome PCOS with Wen Jiang Tang? Maybe you will, but chances are your TCM practitioner will try one of two other herbal remedies first. Wen Jiang Tang is something you take when your body is ready for it, perhaps In the second of third month of treatment. You may have to wait a few months for results, but working with your TCM practitioner will still get a better and faster result than you can expect from one mode of treatment alone.


[1] Barber TM, Franks S. Genetic basis of polycystic ovary syndrome. Expert Review of Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2010. 5(4):549-61.pcos

[2] Ushiroyama T, Hosotani T, Mori K, Yamashita Y, Ikeda A, Ueki M. Effects of switching to wen-jing-tang (unkei-to) from preceding herbal preparations selected by eight-principle pattern identification on endocrinological status and ovulatory induction in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Am J Chin Med 2006;34(2):177-87. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X06003746. PMID: 16552830.

[3] Tagliaferri V, Romualdi D, Immediata V, De Cicco S, Di Florio C, Lanzone A, Guido M. Metformin vs myoinositol: which is better in obese polycystic ovary syndrome patients? A randomized controlled crossover study.

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2017 May;86(5):725-730. doi: 10.1111/cen.13304. Epub 2017 Feb 10. PMID: 28092404.

[4] Jamilian M, Farhat P, Foroozanfard F, Afshar Ebrahimi F, Aghadavod E, Bahmani F, Badehnoosh B, Jamilian H, Asemi Z. Comparison of myo-inositol and metformin on clinical, metabolic and genetic parameters in polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2017 Aug;87(2):194-200. doi: 10.1111/cen.13366. Epub 2017 Jun 8.

[5] Kamenov Z, Kolarov G, Gateva A, Carlomagno G, Genazzani AD. Ovulation induction with myo-inositol alone and in combination with clomiphene citrate in polycystic ovarian syndrome patients with insulin resistance.

Gynecol Endocrinol. 2015 Feb;31(2):131-5. doi: 10.3109/09513590.2014.964640. Epub 2014 Sep 26.

PMID: 25259724.

[6] Rolland AL, Peigné M, Plouvier P, Dumont A, Catteau-Jonard S, Dewailly D. Could myo-inositol soft gel capsules outperform clomiphene in inducing ovulation? Results of a pilot study. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2017 Jun;21(2 Suppl):10-14.PMID: 28724178.

[7] Legro RS, Dodson WC, Kunselman AR, Stetter CM, Kris-Etherton PM, Williams NI, Gnatuk CL, Estes SJ, Allison KC, Sarwer DB, Diamond MP, Schlaff WD, Casson PR, Christman GM, Barnhart KT, Bates GW, Usadi R, Lucidi S, Baker V, Zhang H, Eisenberg E, Coutifaris C, Dokras A. Benefit of Delayed Fertility Therapy With Preconception Weight Loss Over Immediate Therapy in Obese Women With PCOS. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Jul;101(7):2658-66. doi: 10.1210/jc.2016-1659. Epub 2016 May 12. PMID: 27172435.

Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan, The Five Seed Fertility Fruits Formula

Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan

The Five Seed Fertility Fruits Formula

Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan is a Traditional Chinese Medicine often referred to as “the fertility fruits” or the “five ancestors tea pills.” This formula combines five seeds and berries that help a man’s body keep his reproductive energies from “leaking.” With his masculine powers properly directed, he is more readily able to father children. The formula also encourages stronger erections, longer lasting intercourse, and increased fertility. Let’s take a look at the five “ancestor” herbs that make up the formula.


Gou Qi Zi (also known as Fructus Lycii Chinensis and goji berry) is added to formulas as a Yin tonic. The energies of the herb assist the “holding” energies of the body.  It helps the lungs hold moisture so they are moistened. This stops dry cough. It brightens the eyes both physically and energetically. It can relieve dry eye, but it can also resolve the effects of emotional energies that make the eyes tired. And it nourishes the energies of the Kidney, to hold fluids and the reproductive force known as Jing, and the Liver, to house emotions until they can be properly processed.  It helps a man focus his raw emotional energy on what’s important.

In scientific terms, however, Gou Qi Zi has a much more specific effect on a man’s sex life. It contains compounds that help preserve dopamine-making neurons in the brain. Dopamine is the brain’s reward chemical. Maintaining the brain’s normal production of dopamine maintains a man’s normal interest in sex.[1] It also helps you feel better about your life in general. A clinical trial that involved drinking 120 ml (half a cup) of goji berry juice every day for 15 days found that it significantly “improves subjective measures of energy levels, athletic performance, sleep quality, mental acuity, calmness, feelings of health and contentment, mood, and gastrointestinal regularity compared to placebo.”[2]


Tu Si Zi (also known as Semen Cucscutae Chinensis and ) s strengthens Yang, nourishes Yin, and astringes Jing. What does that mean? Chinese dodder seed gives the body’s outward, assertive energies a boost. At the same time it helps the body hold onto energies needed for its inner workings. The combination of these effects helps the body conserve Jing, or its reproductive essence.

Tu Si Zi has many other applications. This herb contains as-yet unidentified compounds that relieve knee pain.[3] Energetically, the knees, the Kidney, and a man’s reproductive function are all interrelated. Practically, if your knees are killing you, you aren’t going to have good sex. Along with epimedium (horny goat weed), Tu Si Zi helps improve the male memory.[4] But most importantly for male fertility, laboratory studies confirm that Tu Si Zi improves sperm’s “swimming ability” and strengthens the sperm’s cell membrane against oxidative assault.[5]


Che Qian Zi (also Semen Plantaginis and psyllium seed) is a sweet, cooling herb. Its energies calm those of the Bladder, Kidney, Liver, and Lung.  It promotes

urination. This helps “dry out” diarrhea. It clears Liver Heat, the energetic effect of strong emotions that cannot be contained. This normalizes energies in the breasts and eyes. And it clears phlegm from the Lungs.  In Western medicine, psyllium seed is the most commonly prescribed source of natural fiber, used to treat both constipation and diarrhea, but it also keeps digested sugars from entering the body too quickly.

Western medicine has focused on the use of psyllium seed as a treatment for constipation and high cholesterol, so it has not investigated how the herb can support men’s reproductive health. However, there is laboratory evidence that Che Qian Zi increases the production of bile salts. The liver uses bile salts to remove excess estrogen from the body.[6] It is possible, although it’s not proven, that this ingredient helps a man’s body to eliminate estrogen-like compounds from food and polluted drinking water.


Fu Pen Zi (also known as Fructus Rubi Chingii and Chinese Raspberry Fruit) contributes energies that stabilize and bind. It is also an astringent herb. It keeps vital energies from leaking out of the body. Traditional herbalism uses it to invigorate Yang energies to reduce urinary frequency, enuresis, impotence, spermatorrhea, premature ejaculation, or wet dreams.

Modern science confirms that Fu Pen Zi is a vasodilator.[7] It supports the movement of blood into the penis for a stronger erection. It’s also a muscle relaxant.[8] It prevents muscle spasms that could occur at just the wrong time and ruin good sex.


Wu Wei Zi, literally the “fruit of five flavors (also known as Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis and schisandra fruit) is sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and pungent. Its five flavors enable it to lend its energies to all five of the energy organs of the human body, the Heart, Kidneys, Liver, Lungs, and Spleen. This herb also has five functions. It can calm, clear, and tonify the body, as well as expel “evil energies” known as Wind and break up stagnation, the physical effects of energies out of place.

Schisandra also has scientifically documented potencies. It stimulates the production of several detoxifying enzymes in the liver, including the CYP2E1 we talked about above and also CYP1A2 and CYP3A11. This helps the liver detoxify caffeine. It also helps a man’s body clear out estrogens that may have been generated by the breakdown of plastics or that come from other sources of environmental pollution.[9]

The formula Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan acting as a whole has been scientifically demonstrated to treat the effects of alcohol on the liver.[10] It acts on a specific enzyme system called CYP2E1.[11] This is the enzyme your body uses to detoxify a huge number of environmental chemicals. It’s absolutely critical for the body to detoxify benzene and aniline dyes. It is the enzyme that clears out painkillers and anesthesia. It’s also the enzyme your liver uses to detoxify alcohol.

But of more interest to most men is the fact that laboratory studies confirm that Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan makes erections stronger, specifically in males with hypertension.[12] It normalizes the production of a compound called nitric oxide (NO) in the cavernus cavernosum, the blood vessels that power the penis. It allows the penis to relax and fill with blood so it becomes erect. Although Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan is not so strong that it comes with the warning “For erections that last more than four hours, see your doctor,” it has the same action as the “little blue pill” that your doctor might prescribe for you.

How do you reconcile the Western science with the known efficacy of the formula in TCM? It’s simple, really. Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan is not a formula is not a formula for men who “have something wrong with them.” It is just a formula that removes certain physiological distractions that interfere with fertility and enjoyment of sex.

Men who have problems in the bedroom or disappointments with pregnancy don’t necessarily have problems specifically in their reproductive organs. The problem may really be the toxic effects of chemicals on the job. Or it can be the physiological effects of toxic emotional experiences. Or it can be the after effects of anesthesia from surgery or even the general stress of an infection somewhere else in the body.

Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan is given to men who function perfectly well as men, but just need some help dealing with toxic environments or toxic lifestyle. Six months of treatment with Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan will help the men who need resume their normal sexual potency as they achieve generally better health.

[1] Lin S, Ye S, Huang J, Tian Y, Xu Y, Wu M, Wang J, Wu S, Cai J. How do Chinese medicines that tonify the kidney inhibit dopaminergic neuron apoptosis? Neural Regen Res. 2013 Oct 25;8(30):2820-6. doi: 10.3969/j.issn.1673-5374.2013.30.004. PMID: 25206603.

[2] Amagase H, Nance DM. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical study of the general effects of a standardized Lycium barbarum (goji) juice, GoChi. J Altern Complement Med 2008;14:403-12.

[3] Liang Y et al. Effects of traditional Chinese medicine and rehabilitation training on knee joint function after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction in arthroscopy. Chinese Journal of Clinical Rehabilitatin. 2006;10(27):6-10.

[4] Liu, Z. Y., Yang, Y. G., and Zheng, B. [Effect of improving memory and inhibiting acetylcholinesterase activity by invigorating-qi and warming-yang recipe]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1993;13(11):675-6, 646.

[5] Peng, S. J., Lu, R. K., and Yu, L. H. [Effects of semen Cuscutae, rhizoma Curculiginis, radix Morindae officinalis on human spermatozoan’s motility and membrane function in vitro]. Zhongguo Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1997;17(3):145-147

[6] Jenkins DJ, Kendall CW, Axelsen M, et al. Viscous and nonviscous fibres, nonabsorbable and low glycaemic index carbohydrates, blood lipids and coronary heart disease. Curr Opin Lipidol 2000;11:49-56.

[7] Mullen W, McGinn J, Lean ME, et al. Ellagitannins, flavonoids, and other phenolics in red raspberries and their contribution to antioxidant capacity and vasorelaxation properties. J Agric Food Chem 2002;50:5191-6.

[8] Bamford DS, Percival RC, Tothill AU. Raspberry leaf tea: a new aspect to an old problem. Br J Pharmacol 1970;40:161P-162P.

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Polyphenols, What are they ?

What are polyphenols ?

Polyphenols are micronutrients that we get through certain plant-based foods. They’re packed with antioxidants and potential health benefits. It’s thought that polyphenols can improve or help treat digestion issues, weight management difficulties, diabetes, neurodegenerative disease, and cardiovascular diseases.

You can get polyphenols by eating foods containing them. You can also take supplements, which come in powder and capsule forms.

Factors that influence activity of polyphenols in the body include metabolism, intestinal absorption, and the bioavailability of the poly-phenol. Although some foods may have higher levels than others, this does not necessarily mean that they are absorbed and used at higher rates.

Read on to learn the polyphenol content of many foods. Unless otherwise stated, all numbers are given in milligrams (mg) per 100 grams (g) of food.



In a 2010 study that identified the 100 foods richest in polyphenols, cloves came out on top. Cloves had a total of 15,188 mg polyphenols per 100 g of cloves. There were a number of other seasonings with high rankings, too. These included dried peppermint, which ranked second with 11,960 mg polyphenols, and star anise, which came in third with 5,460 mg.



Cocoa powder was the fourth richest polyphenol food identified, with 3,448 mg polyphenols per 100 g of the powder. It’s not a surprise that dark chocolate fell close behind on the list and was ranked eighth with 1,664 mg. Milk chocolate is also on the list, but due to its lower cocoa content, falls much further down the list at number 32.



A number of different types of berries are rich in polyphenols. These include popular and easily accessible berries like:

  • highbush blueberries, with 560 mg polyphenols
  • blackberries, with 260 mg polyphenols
  • strawberries, with 235 mg polyphenols
  • red raspberries, with 215 mg polyphenols

The berry with the most polyphenols? Black chokeberry, which has more than 1,700 mg polyphenols per 100 g.


Berries aren’t the only fruits with plenty of polyphenols. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, many fruits contain high numbers of polyphenols. These include:

  • black currants, with 758 mg polyphenols
  • plums, with 377 mg polyphenols
  • apples, with 136 mg polyphenols

Fruit juices like apple juice and pomegranate juice also contain high numbers of this micronutrient.



Beans contain many nutritional benefits, so it’s no surprise that they naturally have hefty doses of polyphenols. Black beans and white beans have the highest number of polyphenols. Black beans have 59 mg per 100 g, and white beans have 51 mg.



Nuts can be high in caloric value, but they pack a powerful nutritional punch. Not only are they full of protein; some nuts also have high polyphenol content.

One 2012 study found significant levels of polyphenols in a number of both raw and roasted nuts. Nuts high in polyphenols include:

  • hazelnuts, with 495 mg polyphenols
  • walnuts, with 28 mg polyphenols
  • almonds, with 187 mg polyphenols
  • pecans, with 493 mg polyphenols



There are many vegetables that contain polyphenols, though they usually have less than fruit. Vegetables with high numbers of polyphenols include:

  • artichokes, with 260 mg polyphenols
  • chicory, with 166–235 mg polyphenols
  • red onions, with 168 mg polyphenols
  • spinach, with 119 mg polyphenols



Want to shake it up? In addition to high-fiber fruits, nuts, and vegetables, black and green teas both contain ample amounts of polyphenols. Black tea clocks in with 102 mg polyphenols per 100 milliliters (mL), and green tea has 89 mg.


RED WINEpolyphenols

Many people drink a glass of red wine every night for the antioxidants. The high number of polyphenols in red wine contributes to that antioxidant count. Red wine has a total of 101 mg polyphenol per 100 mL. Rosé and white wine, while not as beneficial, still have a decent chunk of polyphenols, with 100 mL of each having about 10 mg polyphenols.




Polyphenols are powerful micro nutrients that our body needs. They have numerous health benefits that may offer protection from the development of cancers, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes. It’s best to consume through foods naturally containing them.  If you take supplements, make sure they are made from a reputable company with high quality sourcing. At the Natural Health practice we use Superfood Red

Five Elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine

What Are the Five Elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine?

Everyone experiences life differently. One of the fundamental teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that each individual has a unique response to a disease based on their constitution and the energy balance of their organs. Traditional Chinese Medicine explains energy balance in terms of five elements that are balanced or imbalanced in those five organs.

The five elements are water, wood, fire, earth, and metal. They can be used to classify every aspect of a person’s physical, emotional, and spiritual health. The five elements generate and control each other. Water generates wood. Wood feeds fire. Fire creates ashes, or earth. Earth condenses into metal. Metal releases water. Water controls fire. Wood controls earth. Fire controls metal. Earth controls water. Metal controls wood. But how is this ancient scheme useful to modern, scientific people?

Modern people can use the five elements to understand how they respond to health and disease. Each of the elements is a metaphor for the way people feel. A “fire” person tends to exhibit anxiety. A” metal “person tends to experience grief and a sense of lacking purpose. A “water” person may live in a flood of emotions.

Each element describes a way of thinking, a lifestyle, or everyday health habit that is useful in moderation but toxic in excess. Each imbalance generates symptoms, but it also points to the kinds of changes in thinking, lifestyle, and habits that will bring health back into balance. Your herbalist can deal with the physical aspects of the five elements. You can deal with lifestyle changes in terms of the five elements to enjoy good health. Let’s look at examples for each element.


The Water Element

In your physical body, the water element refers to a set of processes that focus on the kidney and bladder. In your emotional life, the water element refers to hidden power and deep emotions.

Water holds hidden power. In the United States, the Colorado River is at places so shallow it is possible to wade across. But that same river has carved out a Grand Canyon that is over 1500 meters deep.

Water is the power that holds the mysteries of our lives. The kidneys house the essence called Jing, which holds the key not just to physical reproduction but also to parenthood in a spiritual sense. The body’s water element holds in the right place in the flow of life. We find our place in the flow of life by practicing stillness. When we aren’t still often enough, our lives float out of place, and our physical bodies generate the diseases associated with imbalances in the water element, such as kidney disease, bladder problems, diabetes, difficulties in having good sex, infertility, and diabetes.

At a deeper level, the water element allows us to create our lives, to manifest our dreams and insights. This power is called Zhi Wang. It is our water element that enables us to hold to our desires and achieve our goals, and it is also our connection to family and history.

Disease Caused by Imbalances of the Water Element

The Zhi Wang gives us our ability to project our will into the world, but the Jing gives us an inheritance from our ancestors. Both are functions of the water element. Just as what your grandfather and grandmother ate could have activated genes that were passed down to you, the Jing can endow you with your ancestors’ trauma. These traumas interfere with your ability to project your will and they cause diseases associated with the kidneys. As you overcome these physical diseases, you also overcome the emotional trauma that came to you on the streams of life, and vice versa. What we do echoes in our lives and in future generations, both through changes in our genes, and in the mysterious set of energies and experiences that make up the water element.

The Wood Element


The wood element is that set of physical and emotional energies, knowledge and spirit that enables adventure. The wood energy fuels adventure. Wood people are doers, usually to the point that other people regard them as pushy. They are organised. They are assertive. They get things done.

Wood is fed by water. Water is released by the force of metal, and gathered in pools by calm reflection. When “wood” people don’t spend enough time gathering their energies and making wise decisions, their energies burst out in anger and fire.

Traditional Chinese Medicine associates the wood element with the liver and gallbladder. It also associates “fiery” conditions with imbalances of the liver. Emotions that spill over into headaches and eye aches and breast pain all relate to imbalances of the liver, and treating with liver herbs and needling liver points, cures them.

Inverted Wood

“Wood” people often suffer anxiety, headaches, and outbursts of emotion when their natural need to be active and growing is thwarted. When people with this kind of temperament are faced with lifes difficulties and decide to “ride it out,” their bodies rebel. The problem is even worse if they don’t exercise. The wood energies have to be expressed of the liver’s natural flow, both physically and energetically becomes blocked.

At a deeper level, the wood element relates the ethereal soul, the Hun. A healthy Hun gives the individual power to act as needed. Action relieves emotional distress—and diseases of the physical liver. The Hun, or “liver mind,” gives the individual the ability to make accurate assessments of the situation. A wood person might naturally be the one to burst into a burning building to save a baby. The Hun gives that person the ability to look for the safest entry and exit; both hero and baby will escape the fire. Similarly, the Hun gives the wood person the ability to move around and away from emotional trauma, to live a life unencumbered by situations that cannot be changed.

The Fire Element

Every textbook of Traditional Chinese Medicine will tell you that the fire element is associated with the heart, pericardium, and small intestine, as well as the energy channel connecting them. What usually gets lost in translation is that the fire element, and the organs with which it is associated, are powered by fun.

Fire embodies movement, enjoyment, and play. “Fire” people aren’t angry people. They are naturally bubbly and spontaneous. But when they have difficulty accepting their spontaneous, playful nature, the fire element within them, they can feel shamed for being a dreamer or are told they are comedians not to be taken seriously, they can achieve healing through the realization that they can be the spark even if they aren’t the fire. They don’t have to achieve their dreams by themselves. They can be the inspiration.

The Heart As Mirror

But how can fire people be an inspiration to the world? Traditional Chinese Medicine teaches that the heart is a mirror, or more precisely, a reflecting pool. Fire people provide the reflecting pool through which other people understand themselves. However, fire people can also generate a ripple in the pool, so that other people can imagine themselves to be something new. The heart person’s joyful, playful, fun emotions create the healthy ripple that stirs the pool.

Just as the physical heart sends blood throughout the body, the spiritual heart can send joy throughout the universe. However, in some people, the heart is captured by trauma. Post-traumatic stress causes the reflecting pool of the heart to replay unhappy, unresolved traumatic memories over and over again. Water transmits shock, not joy. The energy heart is healed by making wise choices between allowing the pool to be stirred and seeking to achieve a calm, reflecting pool. When people stretch themselves to control the reflecting pool, they develop shen, the ability to reach out from their trauma to the good of themselves, their neighbors, and the world.

The Earth Element

The earth organs are the stomach and spleen. They provide “homeliness” for the spirit. They “hug” the rest of the energy body. They are the reason we have so many warm feelings associated with meals for special occasions and why we enjoy comfort food.

This emotional comfort is necessary for rationality. The Yi of the spleen organizes rational thought. Conversely, smoothly rational thinking tonifies the stomach and spleen. When we cease to be grounded, we lose touch with our emotional home and let our emotions overpower rationality, our stomach and spleen suffer. Worry, confusion, and a lack of direction lead to cravings for comforting foods, and nausea, indigestion, excessive appetite or deficient appetite, fatigue, and bowel problems.

Rumination Causes Imbalances in the Earth Element

Ruminants are animals like cows that chew their cud. They eat grass, chew it, send it to one stomach for digestion, up-chuck it for a little more chewing, send to a different stomach for digestion, and then chew it some more.

Rumination in human beings can be the process of questioning things that have already been decided. It can be a long process of second-guessing. And it can lead to imbalances of the stomach and spleen energies that lead to actual disease of the stomach and spleen. The cure for both physical and metaphysical problems of the stomach and spleen is always to re-establish the normal flow. Well-timed rational thought, in addition to acupuncture and herbs, will help resolve stomach problems.

The Metal Element

The metal organs are the lung and large intestine. Together they balance Yin and Yang. Centuries before theory of quantum entanglement, Traditional Chinese Medicine theorised that they also process tiny bits of rock and metals from the air, water, and food that link us with all that has gone before. Metal expands, and the metal organs expand our connections with the universe into our bodies and into the world.

All of this connecting with universe makes “metal” people emotionally sensitive. They get physically sick when they cannot let go of the connections they receive. The large intestine becomes constipated. The lungs become congested. People who are constantly starting over, never able to move on from what they have received from the universe, develop problems in their lungs and large intestine.

Curing Imbalances of the Metal Element

In modern terms, the lifestyle changes that help to resolve energy imbalances of the metal element that manifest themselves in the lungs and large intestine is setting boundaries. Setting emotional limits strengthens the energy called Po. And healing physical problems of the lungs and large intestine also strengthens the limiting energy called Po.

What the Five Elements Mean for You

The five elements are a metaphor. They are symbolic representations for five aspects of our spiritual and emotional lives.

The five elements are also mnemonic. They stand for physical functions that, in a mysterious way, tie into five aspects of our life choices and life experiences.

But the five elements also provide the music of our lives. As the sage Lao Zi said, “That the musical notes and tones become harmonious through the relation to another, before and behind gives the idea of following another.”

The five elements lead each other but they also follow each other. They  drive the cycles of human experience and human health. Keeping them in balance and in motion is the foundation of a healthy life.