Archive for the ‘General TCM’ Category


It may, according to a new review published by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international nonprofit that analyzes health care information.

The review, which looked at results of two randomized studies of Chinese herbal medicine involving 158 women, suggested that Chinese herbs may provide better relief of pelvic pain and other symptoms than one of the prescription drugs normally used in the West, Danazol.

Endometriosis occurs when tissue from inside the uterus escapes to other parts of the body. Outside the uterus, this tissue is seen as “foreign’’ by the immune system, which means that the body mounts an inflammatory response that can cause pain and scarring.

In the review, researchers at the University of Southampton in England found that Chinese herbs – which were not specified and which typically vary from patient to patient in Chinese medicine – were better at relieving menstrual pain than Danazol, a testosterone-derived drug, and were also better at shrinking endometrial masses. They did not prove better for other types of endometrial discomfort, such as rectal pain.

Dr. Aaron Styer, a reproductive endocrinologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fertility Center, noted that in the West, the first line of treatment for endometriosis is birth control and other hormonal drugs, which suppress secretion of estrogen by the ovaries. Although the Chinese herbal study is not conclusive, he said, “if a patient has not done well with traditional therapy or doesn’t want to proceed with it, she should investigate these approaches more completely, as long as there’s no potential health risk of taking these herbs.’’

Dr. Hope Riccotti, clinical director of obstetrics and gynecology at the Dimock Community Health Center, cautioned that “herbs are drugs and drug interactions can be dangerous,’’ which makes it important for women to tell their health care providers if they are taking these herbs.

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A toad’s venom could become a new weapon in the battle against cancer.

The toxin – found on the amphibian’s skin – has long been used as a traditional Chinese medicine.

But now US researchers have tested the venom extract on patients with liver, lung, and pancreatic cancer.

A study published in the journal Cancer suggested the toxin can stop the growth of tumours and improve immune system function.

Scientists gave 15 patients with late-stage cancer daily doses for more than a year.

The disease remained stable in six patients for an average of six months and one patient had a 20% reduction in tumour.

Researchers are now carrying out further trials.


Chinese herbal medicine may have the same benefits as conventional medicines for women with endometriosis, but with fewer side effects, according to a large review of the research. But better quality studies are needed to be sure.

What do we know already?
Endometriosis is a painful condition affecting some women. Cells from the womb lining (the endometrium) travel to other parts of the body, such as the bowel and the ovaries, and grow into patches of tissue. Every month they grow, then break down, in the same way that the cells lining the womb grow and break down, during a woman’s menstrual cycle. This can be painful and may make it hard for a woman to get pregnant.

Treatments include surgery to remove these patches of endometriosis cells, and hormonal treatments to reduce the growth of the patches, or to stop them coming back after surgery. But endometriosis often comes back after surgery, or after hormone treatment is stopped. Also, some hormone treatments can have unpleasant side effects, including acne and symptoms of the menopause.

Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have treated endometriosis using a combination of herbs for many years. But there has been little good-quality research to assess how well these herbal treatments work. A new study by an international team of researchers looked at all the studies that have been published about endometriosis and Chinese herbal medicine, to see what conclusions they could draw.

What does the new study say?
The researchers found more than 100 studies, but say only 2 of them were suitable to assess in their review. The others weren’t reliable.

The two studies had promising results, although they don’t give us enough information. In one study, women who’d had an operation to remove endometriosis patches were given either a hormonal treatment (gestrinone) for 3 months, or Chinese herbal medicine for 3 months, after surgery. Afterwards, more than 9 in 10 women in both groups said they no longer had symptoms of endometriosis, such as pain and tiredness.

In the second study, researchers compared Chinese herbal medicine with another hormonal treatment (danazol). Again, both groups took the treatment for 3 months, but neither group had surgery to remove endometriosis patches first. More than half of the women who took Chinese herbal medicine said they no longer had symptoms of endometriosis after treatment, compared with about 1 in 10 women who took danazol.

Tell me more about the study’s findings
The women in the first study took the herbal medicine both by mouth and in the form of a daily enema (when the rectum (back passage) is washed out). In the second study, half the women taking Chinese herbs took them just by mouth, while the other half took daily enemas as well. The ones having daily enemas as well were more likely to report being free of symptoms.

In the second study, although more women said that overall, their symptoms had gone completely if they’d taken Chinese herbs, other measures didn’t show a clear difference. For example, if you just look at how bad women’s pain was during their periods, on average, there was no difference between the group taking Chinese herbs and the group taking hormone treatments (danazol).

The women taking hormonal treatments said they had more side effects than the women taking Chinese herbs. Acne, weight gain, and irregular periods were the most common side effects.

In both studies, the women’s symptoms were assessed after the 3 month treatment period, so we don’t know whether the improvements would last after the women stopped taking the treatments.

How reliable are the findings?
The review found only 2 studies suitable to be assessed in a scientific way, and they had questions about how reliable these two studies were. So we can’t rely on the findings.

Where does the study come from?
The review of the studies was done by a group of researchers from Southampton University in the UK and Beijing University of Chinese Medicine in China. The original studies were all carried out in China.

What does this mean for me?
It’s always difficult to say how relevant studies are for people in the UK, when they’ve been done in very different countries, with different medical systems. In this case, the original studies were all done in the Chinese healthcare system, with doctors who are used to working in the Chinese medical tradition. Also, the women taking part were all used to being treated with herbal medicine, so perhaps might be more willing to consider treatments like daily herbal enemas, than women used to the Western medical tradition. Even the way that the researchers recorded the results of the treatment differ from the methods that Western doctors use.

Because of this, we can’t really say whether women in the UK are likely to get the same benefits from treatment with Chinese herbs.

What should I do now?
It’s important to bear in mind that herbal medicines can have side effects or can react with other medicines you are taking. Herbal medicines are not regulated in the same way as conventional medicines, and their quality can vary. If you’re considering herbal medicine for endometriosis, talk to your doctor.

Flower A, Liu JP, Chen S, et al. Chinese herbal medicine for endometriosis. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2009; Issue 3.



After more than 21 years of exploration in the sector of treatment of HIV/AIDS patients with traditional Chinese medicine, Chinese doctors has gained more experience both for the disease and other chronic diseases.

“Traditional Chinese Medicine project started at the then Muhimbili Medical Center in 1987. At that time, there was no other treatment for the HIV/AIDS patients. ” Rosina Lipyoga, assistant director of Clinical Services at the current Muhimbili National Hospital in charge of the project, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

When anti-retroviral (ARV) AIDS drugs became available in 2004,some patients who met the standard chose the medicine for treatment while some others still used the traditional Chinese medicine, with some progress and efficacy having been achieved, she added.

According to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two countries in 2006, traditional Chinese Medicine is also allowed to treat patients with chronic diseases, such as asthmatic children and adults, arthritis and gout among others, Lipyoga said.

At the Traditional Chinese Medicine clinic, some patients are glad to see the Chinese doctors to receive some treatment for common diseases, which they alleged have good effects.

After receiving the treatment for a cold, a seven-year-old Tanzanian boy came across his friend, a little girl who came to see the Chinese doctors with her young and elegant mother who worked as a civil servant.

The mother who gave her name as Rose told Xinhua that she trusted the Chinese doctors, received the treatment even for herself, and introduced friends to come to the clinic. It was her who introduced the boy and his mother to come to see the Chinese doctors. She said the Chinese medicine was easier to use. The price of the medicine was also termed as “reasonable”.

In Lipyoga’s opinion, traditional Chinese Medicine needs to make more advertisement and promotion to let doctors and patients acknowledge the existence of the project to attract more patients.

Lipyoga, who respectively visited China in 2006 and 2008, commended the progress of China’s medical sectors as “advanced” as China practices its medicine without interruption from outside world.

Calling for more investment in the project, She also expected the cooperation between local doctors and the Chinese doctors could be strengthened to develop the Tanzanian traditional herbs.

For his part, Bai Wenshan, head of the Traditional Chinese Medicine team, expressed his hope that the project will be expanded to do much more medical research work.

So far, a total of 54 Chinese medical experts have worked at the hospital and 1,054 HIV/ AIDS patients had been treated. Although none was cured, 75 percent have had their health status improved.



When Dr. Francis Yu started his acupuncture clinic in California in 1970s, most of his patients were Chinese. But now, half of his patients are non-Chinese.

“More non-Chinese Americans begin to accept the Chinese way of treatment, such as acupuncture, cupping and herbal medicine. Another truth is, at least in California, nearly half of those who have acupuncture licenses and operate acupuncture clinics are not Chinese but Americans who do not know Chinese,” said Yu who owns his two-storied TCM Healing Institute in Arcadia in the suburbs of Los Angeles.

Dr. Yu’s remarks echoed the recent press reports that alternative medicine is finding wider acceptance by doctors, insurers and hospitals in the US.

People turn to unconventional therapies and herbal remedies for everything from hot flashes and trouble sleeping to cancer and heart disease. They crave more “care” in their health care as more people distrust drug companies and the government.

California became the first US state to license qualified acupuncture practitioners as primary care providers in 1978. As of2004, California has licensed more than 9,000 acupuncturists. Now the figure is estimated to exceed 15,000. California constitutes nearly half of the licensed acupuncturists in the US.

Dr. Yu told Xinhua that in the early days, acupuncture was not accepted and respected by the mainstream. Most Americans did not regard acupuncture as alternative treatment. But as time goes by and when more US hospitals and research institutions set up acupuncture treatment centers, more Americans turned to the Chinese acupuncture and herbal medicine to cure diseases conventional American doctors could not treat.

He said recently one American lady on her 40s came from Florida to treat her pain on the neck. But Dr. Yu told her she needed to remove her plaque in her artery. She received cupping treatment for several times and when she went back to Florida, her doctor told her the plaque was gone and she felt much better.

She then recommended her friend, a 47-year-woman, to see Dr. Yuin the hope she can get pregnant. Dr. Yu said the treatment was going on, and he was not sure whether the lady could get pregnant at her age. But those cases show that more Americans are willing to try the Chinese way in medical treatment.

In California and other states, when a doctor has an acupuncture license, the doctor can give herbal treatment to the patients. Although traditional Chinese medicine is not legal in California, doctors with acupuncture licenses can treat patients with cupping and herbal medicine.

The legal use of herbal medicine was made possible 15 years ago when the US Congress decided to allow dietary and herbal supplements to be sold without Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Since then the number of products soared, from about 4,000 then to well over 40,000 categories now.

The increasing acceptance of alternative treatment such as acupuncture and herbal medicine was also made possible by big healthcare insurances that cover expenses of patients who accept treatment of acupuncture, cupping and herbal medicine, Dr. Yu said.

Although Dr. Yu said the government regulation seemed ridiculous for doctors to have an acupuncture license first before they can practice other Chinese medicine such as cupping and herbal treatment, it legalizes the practice of acupuncture and other ways to treat patients in the Chinese way in the US.

Increasing numbers of big hospitals and institutions, including Johns Hopkins Hospital and the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center, have established integrative medicine units that bring together conventional and alternative approaches to care.

The alternative treatment includes stress reducers like meditation, yoga and massage besides acupuncture and cupping.

Studies show that the number of Americans willing to try alternative treatments continues to increase. A 2007 survey by the federal government found that more than one-third of adults and nearly 12 percent of children in the US used alternative therapies, including acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy and herbal supplements.

But many mainstream physicians continue to be skeptical of alternative therapies, alleging their efficacy has not been proven and their successes may be nothing more than variations of the placebo effect.

Concerns over the effectiveness and safety of herbal supplement have prompted the US FDA to issue its first guidelines for good manufacturing practices to improve supplement safety.

The US Federal Trade Commission is also filing more complaints about deceptive marketing in herbal supplements.

source: Xinhuanet


Five Chinese drug firms have so far received seed viruses of A/H1N1 influenza from the World Health Organization. These companies are striving to have the first batch of the vaccine ready to go by August.

Researchers at this biotechnology company in Beijing are busy duplicating the seed viruses of the A/H1N1 flu.

It’s a critical step before the vaccine can go into production.

Zou Yong, manager of Quality Supervision Department of Sinovac Bitotec, said, “In order to meet the demand of large-scale vaccine production, we need to duplicate the seed one thousand times. The production period is expected to last 40 to 50 days. So we estimate the first batch of vaccines will be produced as early as the end of July.”

According to the State Food and Drug Administration, or SFDA, there are a total of 11 flu vaccine manufacturers in China.

Between them, they can produce 360 million doses a year. And of those 11, five have already received seed viruses from the WHO. The rest are scheduled to receive them by Saturday.

Meanwhile, China is waiting for the WHO to decide on whether the A/H1N1 flu should be categorized as seasonal or pandemic.

The SFDA says the scale and pace of the production will be decided by the spread and development of the virus.

Source: CCTV


What to drink green tea benefits? First of all, necessary to understand the composition of green tea, confirmed by modern scientific research, green tea contains more than 450 kinds of organic compounds, more than 15 kinds of inorganic minerals, most of these components are health care, disease prevention, such as effectiveness. Therefore, green tea is known as the protector of rare.

(A) of the efficacy of green tea have a radiation protection
Who regularly drink green tea to use computers to supplement the specific plant nutrients, the elimination of computer black eye caused by radiation. By the concentration of green tea contain polyphenols, can inhibit the free radicals on the skin to support the fiber damage is recognized the most effective anti-free radical factor. Low-caffeine drink green tea not only removes the black eye, which contains catechins, which help the body fat metabolism, but also help to sleep, sleep quality can not only stability, but also make people less likely to have the feeling of fatigue.

(B) beauty detoxification effect of tea
Whether foreign, tea has proved to be a healthy drink, compared to coffee, but also by the size of welcome young and old, although a cup of tea every day, but not everyone is a tea expert, it is necessary to have a healthy drink tea, in fact, will also contribute greatly to knowledge , especially in Western-style tea, you may be most frequently in touch with more than tea bags. However, leisure time, may wish to stress that serious red tea pot, tea detoxification beauty at the same time more effective, than any building even more drinks.

(C) can beautify a person with more green tea
Green tea can even more beautify a person, no doubt! Because it is not only rich in vitamin C, flavonoids, of which vitamin C can enhance the efficacy of the antioxidant, which is also a valuable nutritional flavonoids … the main ingredients of propolis, so it is the maintenance of skin whitening, the young can be said to have rare-class results.

(D) the efficacy of green tea has weight loss
The caffeine in tea, inositol, folic acid, pantothenic acid and aromatic compounds and other substances to regulate fat metabolism, especially the tea on the protein and fat have a very good role in the decomposition. Tea polyphenols and vitamin C can reduce cholesterol and blood fat, so drink to lose weight.

(E) green tea to cancer prevention
The ingredients contained in green tea polyphenols and caffeine, both arising from the combined effects, in addition to play a pick-me-up, the effect of repose, but also have the ability to enhance the body’s immune and anti-cancer effect. In recent years, the Federation of American Chemical Society found that tea not only to the digestive system have inhibited the effectiveness of cancer, but also skin and lung, liver cancer is also inhibited. After scientific research confirms that the organic tea anti-cancer substances are mainly tea polyphenols, theophylline, vitamin C and vitamin E; tea anti-cancer elements in the main inorganic selenium, molybdenum, manganese, germanium, etc.. Chinese, Japanese scientists believe that the catechin polyphenols in the best anti-cancer effect


Tui na is a form of Chinese manipulative therapy often used in conjunction with acupuncture, moxibustion, fire cupping, Chinese herbalism, tai chi and qigong.

Tui na is a hands-on-body treatment using acupressure that is a modality of Chinese medicine whose purpose is to bring the body into balance. The principles being balanced are the eight principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine.The practitioner may brush, knead, roll/press and rub the areas between each of the joints to open the body’s defensive chi and get the energy moving in both the meridians and the muscles. The practitioner can then use range of motion, traction, massage, with the stimulation of acupressure points and to treat both acute and chronic musculoskeletal conditions, as well as many non-musculoskeletal conditions. Tui na is an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and is taught in TCM schools as part of formal training in Oriental medicine. Many East Asian martial arts schools also teach tui na to their advanced students for the treatment and management of injury and pain due to training. As with many other traditional Chinese medical practices, there are several different schools with greater or lesser differences in their approach to the discipline. It is related also to Chinese massage or anma.

Tui na has fewer side effects than modern drug-based and chemical-based treatments. It has been used to treat or complement the treatment of many conditions; musculo-skeletal disorders and chronic stress-related disorders of the digestive, respiratory, and reproductive systems.

The words Tui Na translate into ‘push-grasp’ or ‘poke-pinch’ in Chinese. Physically, it is a series of pressing, tapping, and kneading with palms, fingertips, knuckles or implements that help the body to remove blockages along the meridians of the body and stimulates the flow of qi and blood to promote healing, similar to principles of acupuncture, moxibustion, and acupressure. Tui na’s massage-like techniques range from light stroking to deep-tissue work which would be considered too vigorous or too painful for a recreational or relaxing massage. Clinical practitioners often use liniment, plasters, herbal compresses and packs to aid in the healing process, which should be used with caution on sensitive skin. Tui na is not used for conditions involving compound fractures, external wounds, open sores or lesions, phlebitis, or with infectious conditions such as hepatitis. Tui na should not be performed on the abdominal portion of a woman in menstrual or pregnant periods, and it is not used for treatment of malignant tumors or tuberculosis.

In a typical adult tui na session, the patient wears loose clothing and lies on a massage table or floor pad. After answering some brief questions about the nature and location of the health problem as well as basic questions about general health, allergies and other existing conditions, the practitioner will concentrate on specific acupressure points, energy trigger points, muscles and joints surrounding the affected area. Occasionally, clothing is removed or repositioned to expose a particular spot that requires direct skin contact. The patient should always be informed before this act, and no inappropriate or unexpected contact should ever be made in a professional session. Treatment sessions last from 10 minutes to over an hour. Patients often return for additional treatments for chronic conditions.


Giving prevention the priority means to take measures to prevent the occurrence of disease. Since the occurrence of disease is related to insufficiency of healthy qi and attack of pathogenic factors, the preventive measures taken should focus on reinforcing healthy qi and preventing the invasion of pathogenic factors by means of regulating psychological state, diet and living habit as well as doing physical exercise. Besides, cares should be taken to avoid attack of pathogenic factors.

Regulating psychological state
Regulating psychological state covers three aspects: avoiding direct damage of the viscera and disturbance of qi and blood; avoiding invasion of pathogenic factors due to deficiency of healthy qi caused by psychological factors; protecting and cultivating healthy qi to further strengthen Constitution. There are various ways to regulate psychological state, the general principle is to be free from avarice. If one keeps the mind tranquil, qi and blood will flow normally, yin and yang in the body can communicate freely with that in the natural world, which can not only prevent the invasion of pathogenic factors but also strengthen constitution.

Proper diet
Diet provides necessary nutrients for the body, but unhealthy eating habits and improper food (such as intemperance or starvation, unhygienic food and food partiality) impair the viscera and damage harmonious state of qi and blood. To cultivate health through regulating diet can supplement essence, adjust the state of yin and yang, improve constitution and strengthen body resistance. There are various ways to cultivate health through regulation of diet, these methods should be applied according to individual conditions. The general principle is to eat regularly at the right time in proper proportions with hygienic eating habits.

Proper living habits
Proper living habits include regular work and rest, temperance in sexual activity and proper clothing in different seasons. Proper living habits are effective in abiding by the variations of yin and yang in the natural world, protecting the viscera, qi, blood and body fluid, and preventing invasion of pathogenic factors.

Exercising the body
Exercising the body can promote the flow of qi and blood, reinforce the functions of the viscera and prevent retention of pathogenic factors. There are various ways to exercise the body. However traditional ways to exercise the body are more effective for strengthening constitution, eliminating disease and prolonging life, such as Wuqinxi (five-animals frolics), Baduanjin (eight-sections exercise), Yijinjing (tendon-relaxing exercise) and Taijiquan (taiji box), etc. These traditional exercises are slow in action and general in relaxation, very effective for directing the flow of qi and blood. They combine static actions with dynamic activities, effective for regulating both yin and yang without damaging tendons and exhausting qi and blood. People with different constitution should select different exercise.

Avoiding attack of pathogenic factors
ince pathogenic factors are the key elements in causing disease, measures have to be taken to avoid the attack of pathogenic factors in the cultivation of healthy qi. Some pathogenic factors are very toxic, even strong constitution cannot resist them. Thus the avoidance of these pathogenic factors is the only way to prevent the occurrence of disease.

Preventing transmission and change

When disease has occurred, it may transmit from a local area to the viscera and other regions. In this case, measures have to be taken to stop such transmission and change.

Early treatment
At the early stage, disease is easy to treat because it is still light and healthy qi has not declined yet. However, delayed treatment may worsen the disease and make it difficult to treat due to transmission of pathogenic factors from the external to the internal and damage of healthy qi. If healthy qi is seriously impaired and pathogenic factors become more and more predominant, the disease is hard to treat and tends to become aggravated. So early treatment is very important.

Controlling the transmission and change
Transmission and change refer to movement and change of disease in the external and the internal, the upper and the lower, the zang-organs and the fu-organs, the meridians and the collaterals, wei, qi, ying and blood phases. The transmission and change of disease follow certain rules and routes. Measures can be taken according to these rules and routes to prevent the transmission and change of disease in advance.

The method for controlling the transmission and change of disease is to regulate and nourish the organs or areas that the disease is liable to transmit to by means of reinforcing healthy qi to prevent the transmission of the disease. For example, it is said in Jingui Yaoliie “measures must be taken to strengthen the spleen in the treatment of liver disease because liver disease tends to transmit to the spleen.” That means to invigorate spleen-qi to prevent liver disease from transmitting to the spleen. Take febrile disease for another example. Since pathogenic heat damages yin, the impairment of stomach-yin can damage kidney-yin. Under such a condition, the prescription composed herbs sweet in taste and cold in nature for nourishing the stomach can be added with some herbs salty in taste and cold in nature for nourishing kidney-yin in order to prevent pathogenic heat from impairing the kidney.


By John Chen, PhD, PharmD, OMD, LAc

(Editor’s Note: Dr. Chen’s article is particularly timely in light of the current concern over swine flu.)

The first reference to infectious disease appeared in Huang Di Nei Jing (Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic), compiled in the first or second century CE. This text discussed re bing (hot disease), which refers to the various types of infectious disease.1
The understanding of infectious disease progressed further during the Ming and Qing dynasties. Many doctors recognized that these patterns of illness were significantly different from shang han (cold damage) patterns, so must be diagnosed and treated differently. Three of the most influential doctors during that era contributed to a new school of thought, namely wen bing (warm disease).2-4

According to this new theory, warm and hot disease plagued everyone, starting “from one person to the entire household, from one household to the entire street, and from one street to the entire village.” The disease first affects the exterior of the body and progresses to the interior, following the patterns of wei (defensive), qi (energy), ying (nutritive) and xue (blood) levels.5 Furthermore, the cause of these warm and hot disease have “no sound nor smell, and no shape nor shadow.” In addition, the warm and hot disease may be transmitted from one person to another via “heaven [air-borne]” or “earth [direct contact],” and affect individuals with low immunity.6

Many of the bitter and cold herbs and formulas used to treat these warm and hot diseases are recognized today to have remarkable antibiotic effects.7 Wen bing theories accurately described the origins and transmission of epidemic disease and the importance of the immune system in relationship to the pathogens. One of the fundamental concepts in traditional Chinese medicine is that “superior medicine prevents disease, and inferior medicine treats disease.”8 Prevention of infectious disease is certainly no exception since bacteria and virus tend to adversely affect those who have weakened immune systems. Many herbs and formulas that tonify wei qi can boost the immune system. Examples include:

Classic formulas with immuno-stimulant effect10
Shi Quan Da Bu Tang (All-Inclusive Great Tonifying Decoction)11
Ren Shen Yang Ying Tang (Ginseng Decoction to Nourish the Nutritive Qi)12
Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang (Tonify the Middle and Augment the Qi Decoction)13
Si Jun Zi Tang (Four-Gentlemen Decoction)14
Yu Ping Feng San (Jade Windscreen Powder)15

Herbs with immuno-stimulant effect16
dong chong xia cao (Cordyceps)17
ren shen (Radix et rhizoma ginseng)18
dang shen (Radix codonopsis)19
huang qi (Radix astragali)20
bai zhu (Rhizoma atractylodis macrocephalae)21

Traditional Chinese medicine treats wen bing with heat-clearing herbs. Many of these herbs have remarkable antibiotic effects, including antibacterial and antiviral. In addition to traditional diagnosis and treatment, the following herbs and formulas more precisely target and treat infectious disease:

Classic formulas with antibiotic effect23
Yin Qiao San (Honeysuckle and Forsythia Powder)24
Huang Lian Jie Du Tang (Coptis Decoction to Relieve Toxicity)25
Long Dan Xie Gan Tang (Gentiana Decoction to Drain the Liver)26
Pu Ji Xiao Du Yin (Universal Benefit Decoction to Eliminate Toxin)27
Ba Zheng San (Eight-Herb Powder for Rectification)28

Herbs with antibacterial effect29
bai tou weng (Radix pulsatillae)30
chuan xin lian (Herba andrographis)31
huang lian (Rhizoma coptidis)32,33
hu zhang (Rhizoma et radix polygoni cuspidati)34
huang bo (Cortex phellodendri chinensis)35
huang qin (Radix scutellariae)36
ku shen (Radix sophorae flavescentis)37
pu gong ying (Herba taraxaci)38
shan dou gen (Radix et rhizoma sophorae tonkinensis)39

Herbs with antiviral effect
ban lan gen (Radix isatidis)40
da qing ye (Folium isatidis)41
jin yin hua (Flos lonicerae japonicae)42
lian qiao (Fructus forsythiae)43
ye ju hua (Flos chrysanthemi Indici)44

In Western medicine, the discovery of antibiotic drugs is one of the major breakthroughs in modern medicine. It enables doctors to effectively treat many different types of infections. Unfortunately, decades of abuse and misuse have led to growing problems of bacterial mutation and resistance. Many of these “super bugs” can only be treated with the newest and most potent antibiotic drugs. Unfortunately, many of them have potent side effects as well. The key points are to select the correct antibiotic drug with least potential side effects and make sure the patient finishes the entire course of therapy.

In traditional Chinese medicine, herbs and herbal formulas are also extremely effective for treatment of various infections. In fact, most modern pharmaceutical drugs were originally derived from natural sources, including penicillin (the oldest antibiotic) and gentimicin (one of the most potent). One of the main benefits of using herbs is their wide spectrum of antibiotic effect, with indications for bacterial and viral infections. Furthermore, most of these herbs are extremely safe, and do not have the same harsh side effects as drugs.

In summary, both drugs and herbs are effective to treat mild to moderate cases of bacterial infections. However, because drugs are more immediately potent and can be prescribed with more laboratory precision (via cultures and sensitivity tests), they are more appropriate for life-threatening infections, such as meningitis or encephalitis, or mutant strains of bacteria, such as beta-lactam-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). On the other hand, use of herbs is far more effective than drugs for treating certain viral infections, such as the common cold and influenza. Most importantly, herbs are much gentler to the body and safer than drugs. In other words, herbs treat infection without damaging the patient’s underlying constitution. This allows the patient to recover faster and become more resistant to secondary or re-current infections.


1. Gilbert D, Moellering R, Sande M. The Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial Therapy. 29th Edition. Hyde Park, Vt.: Antimicrobial Therapy, Inc., 1999.
2. Wu You-Xing, also known as Wu You-Ko, circa 1580-1660.
3. Ye Gui, also known as Ye Tian-Shi, 1666-1745.
4. Wu Tang, also known as Wu Ju-Tong, 1758-1836.
5. Wen Re Lun (Discussion of Warm and Hot Disorders) by the apprentices of Ye Gui, 1745-1766.
6. Wen Yi Lun (Discussion of Epidemic Warm Disease) by Wu You-Xing, 1642.
7. Wen Bing Tiao Bian (Systematic Differentiation of Warm Disease) by Wu Tang, 1798.
8. Bei Ji Qian Jin Yao Fang (Thousands of Golden Prescriptions for Emergencies) by Sun Si-Miao.
9. Chen J, Chen T. Clinical Manual of Oriental Medicine 2nd Edition. City of Industry, Calif.: Lotus Institute of Integrative Medicine.
10. Chen J. Chen T. Chinese Herbal Formulas and Applications. City of Industry, Calif.: Art of Medicine Press, 2009.
11. Zhong Yi Fang Ji Xian Dai Yan Jiu (Modern Study of Medical Formulae in Traditional Chinese Medicine), 1997;652-4.
12. Guo Wai Yi Xue Zhong Yi Zhong Yao Fen Ce (Monograph of Chinese Herbology from Foreign Medicine), 1992;14(2):52.
13. Zhong Yi Fang Ji Xian Dai Yan Jiu (Modern Study of Medical Formulae in Traditional Chinese Medicine), 1997;520-1.
14. Zhong Cheng Yao Yan Jiu (Research of Chinese Patent Medicine), 1981;12:28.
15. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi (Journal of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine), 1990;12:22.
16. Chen J, Chen T. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. City of Industry, Calif.: Art of Medicine Press, 2004.
17. Shang Hai Yi Yao Za Zhi (Shanghai Journal of Medicine and Herbology), 1988;1:48.
18. Zhong Yao Xue (Chinese Herbology), 1998;729:736.
19. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Za Zhi (Journal of Integrated Chinese and Western Medicine), 1985;5(8):487.
20. Biol Pharm Bull, 1977;20(11):1178-82.
21. Xin Yi Yao Xue Za Zhi (New Journal of Medicine and Herbology), 1979;6:60.
22. Chen J, Chen T. Clinical Manual of Oriental Medicine 2nd Edition. City of Industry, Calif.: Lotus Institute of Integrative Medicine.
23. Chen J, Chen T. Chinese Herbal Formulas and Applications. City of Industry, Calif.: Art of Medicine Press, 2009.
24. Zhong Cheng Yao (Study of Chinese Patent Medicine), 1990;12(1):22.
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