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Posts Tagged ‘herbs’

Sep
24

Some commonly used Chinese herbs:

The flower of Albizzia and its bark is used to soothe the mood of the person because of its calming properties. It is often used for those who are in the middle of emotional difficulty.

Alisma strengthens water metabolism in the body and is used to reduce weight. It can also be useful for those who have urination problems and who suffer from diabetes.

Used as a means to boost the immune system, the Astralagus is an herb that has been used in China for about 4000 years. It helps the blood cells perform beyond their usual capacity.

Black & Red Reishi Mushrooms are prized herbs in Chinese herbal medicine. They are used to strengthen the immune system and increase the effects of antioxidants. Overall, these mushrooms have a calming effect.

Ephedra has been in use for over 5000 years. It is used to improve blood pressure, to treat asthma and to enhance the heart function. Ephedra also has the function of increasing the production of adrenalin.

Ginko Biloba has been used in the practice of TCM since its inception. It is used to improve the performance of the lungs and the heart. Other effects include reduction of inflammation and the supplementing of nutrition.

Ginseng is a root that enhances healing in the body. It has the ability to replenish body fluids and increase energy. It is also believed to remove toxins and stimulate the sex glands.

Licorice root is a well-known Chinese herb because it is often used to detoxify the body. It also invigorates and cools down the body. Licorice root can be used as a natural sweetener.

The lotus seed tones the vital organs such as the spleen and kidney. It can also help in stimulating the appetite.

Prepared Aconite is a Chinese herb that has to be used expertly. When the dosage is excessive, it can become toxic. It is also poisonous when it is taken raw. Prepared Aconite can be used to help patients with fertility problems and also those suffering from arthritis and rheumatism.

Jan
08

SINGAPORE : Prices of some Chinese herbs have shot up by some three times over the past six months, on the back of rising demand.

    Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners said concerns over H1N1 in China and poor harvest due to bad weather, have unexpectedly spurred domestic sales, resulting in a dip in export volume.

    Herbs like honeysuckle flowers were selling for about S$50 a kilogramme half a year ago. Today, you would have to fork out a whopping S$135 for them.

    The same goes for chrysanthemum flowers – they used to sell for S$8 for half a kilogramme. Now, the price is about twice that – at S$15.

    On average, prices for most herbs have gone up by about 20 per cent. But TCM practitioners said they are absorbing the costs for now.

    They said they are not raising their fees yet because they have stocked up on their processed herbal medications. Orders were made long before prices went up.

    The practitioners also advise customers not to purchase herbs in bulk because that will only push up prices and most herbs do not store well for long.

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Dec
18

Chinese medical specialists announced Thursday they had developed a Chinese herbal medication to treat the A/H1N1 flu.
Seven months of scientific and clinical studies showed the remedy, called “Jin Hua Qing Gan Fang,” was effective in treating A/H1N1 flu patients, said Wang Chen, president of Beijing’s Chaoyang Hospital.
“It can shorten patients’ fever period and improve their respiratory systems. Doctors have found no negative effects on patients who were treated in this way,” he said.
“It is also very cheap, only about a quarter of the cost of Tamiflu,” he said at a press conference held by the Beijing Municipal Government.
Tamiflu, a product of Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding, was recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the treatment of the A/H1N1 flu.
“The municipal government has gathered the most outstanding medical experts in the Chinese capital to develop the new medication,” Zhao Jing, director of the Beijing Municipal Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said at the press conference.
Over the past seven months, more than 120 medical specialists, led by academicians Wang Yongyan and Li Lianda from the Chinese Academy of Engineering, had participated in the research, she said.
The municipal government earmarked 10 million yuan (1.47 million U.S. dollars) for the project, she said.
“Medical experts proved the effectiveness of Jin Hua in treating A/H1N1 flu from both the basic scientific studies and clinical studies,” she said.
The basic scientific studies lasted for almost five months and were conducted by experts from the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Beijing University of Technology.
“In vivo and in vitro, experiments on mice and rabbits show JinHua can bring down a fever and resist the A/H1N1 flu virus,” said Huang Luqi, vice president of the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences.
Thursday’s Beijing Daily hailed the new herbal medication as the “world’s first traditional Chinese medicine to treat the A/H1N1 flu”.
Citing medical officials, the paper said “Jin Hua” was picked from among more than 100 classic anti-flu prescriptions based on traditional Chinese herbal medicine.
“Science workers proved its effectiveness through medical experiments on more than 4,000 mice and clinical studies on 410 patients with slight A/H1N1 flu syndrome,” it said.
The “Jin Hua” prescription had been adopted in many local traditional Chinese medicine hospitals, it said.
Zhao Jing said 11 hospitals nationwide, including Chaoyang Hospital and Ditan Hospital in Beijing, had conducted clinical studies on “Jin Hua” and gave positive assessments.
“We are applying for patents for ‘Jin Hua’ both at home and abroad,” she said.
“We are further developing the medicine and trying to present it to the whole country and world as soon as possible, thus offering an alternative to treat the A/H1N1 flu,” she said.
The Chinese mainland has reported almost 108,000 A/H1N1 flu cases, including 442 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health.
Dr. Cris Tunon, senior program management officer at the WHO Representative Office in China, said Thursday the “WHO welcomes the clinical results,” as the traditional Chinese medicine offered a low-cost treatment of A/H1N1 flu.

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Oct
19

Yahoo Malaysia news reported that doctors at Ditan Hospital in Beijing claimed that a combination of various Chinese herbs had a 75 percent cure rate in the 117 patients treated there for swine flu.

http://malaysia.news.yahoo.com/bnm/20090723/tts-flu-herbs-993ba14.html

The government had allocated 10 million yuan (about $1.5 milliom US) to research treatment of swine flu using traditional Chinese medicine, including one study comparing results with Tamiflu treatment.

Doctors at Ditan Hospital first stared treating all patients with the antiviral drug, Tamiflu plus the herbal combination, but discontinued the Tamiflu for the non-critical patients within a month after determining that the herbal medication was effective by itself.

In the article, hospital spokesman Dr. Wang Yuguang, deputy dean of the Centre of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine was quoted: “From our clinical tests and observation, the traditional method of treatment left no after effects and it is safe.” He added that the recovery period was shorter than in patients who received Tamiflu and the daily cost of the herbal remedy at about 12 yuan ($1.76 US) was lower as compared to Tamiflu treatment at 56 yuan ($8.20 US),

Wang would not reveal the actual herbs used, stating that the advantage of traditional Chinese medicine is that doctors can gear their herbal prescriptions to the specific patient’s condition. In his news briefing, he claimed that doctors at the hospital had recently used this approach with high-risk patients with good results. Given these findings, the Chinese government has apparently advised hospitals to use traditional treatment as a first line approach and resort to Western medicine only after Chinese medicine fails.

In the meantime, while 11 Chinese companies work on developing a swine flu vaccine to prevent the disease, Beijing Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital has introduced an A/H1N1 swine flu prevention herbal medicine pack which, according to Jin Wei, Deputy Director of the hospital, contains seven small packs of four types of herbs in combination and taken mixed with hot water as a tea or used as mouthwash. Jin Wei said the pack could even cure mild cases of swine flu, but that if patients did not recover after taking the herbs for seven days, they were advised to go to the hospital for further treatment.

According to the news article, the combination of the herbs is as follows:

Lonicera Japonica Thund (honeysuckle flower)-3 grams,
Isatis Indigodica- 3 gms,
Mentha Haplocalyx Brip (mint).-3 gms
Glycyrrhiza Glabra(licorice)-3 gms.

These herbs are available in Chinese herbal medicine shops. It should be noted that a search of the scientific literature, the web and discussions with infectious disease colleagues did not produce a primary source for these claims, so the herbs and their doses reported in the news article may or may not be accurate.

What are these herbs and what do they purport to do?

Lonicera
Laboratory investigations of lonicera have mainly focused on demonstrating anti-inflammatory actions. In vitro and animal studies indicate antibacterial and antiviral activity (mainly tested for seasonal influenza). In traditional Chinese medicine it is used almost exclusively for prevention and treatment of the common cold and upper respiratory tract infections, sore throats and general flu-like symptoms

Isatis
Also known as Woad root, this herb is thought to have very broad anti-infection properties, which partly explains its repeated use in these formulas. It contains the dye indigo (a crude form is used as the Chinese medicinal substance qingdai), which has been used worldwide as an antimicrobial medicine.

Mentha
These are Chinese peppermints and were described by the Chinese as early as 470 AD in the Oriental Materia Medica as a treatment for fever, headaches, excessive tearing, sore throat, oral and skin lesions, rash, and toothache. The principal active constituents of mentha are the essential oils, which comprise about 1% of the herb. They dilate peripheral blood vessels, inducing perspiration and alleviating aching.

Glycyrrhiza Glabra (European licorice)
Therapeutic use of licorice dates back to the Roman Empire. Hippocrates (460BC) extolled its use as an expectorant and gas reliever. It is one of the most commonly used herbs in the Chinese Materia Medica and is traditionally said to “harmonize” a formula in Chinese medicine, acting as a guide drug to enhance the activity of other ingredients, reducing toxicity, as well as improving flavor. In Western medicine it is commonly found in cough medicines. Recognized side effects of prolonged use includes hypertension, water retention, sodium retention and loss of potassium.

The theory in traditional Chinese medicine is that rather than using a single herb or a single formulation to treat an infection like flu, a collection of herbs and formulas working together will produce a better response in the patient. Many of these formulations evaluated in large scale studies in China from the 1950s through the 1970s claimed to demonstrate preventive properties. These findings, which appeared in Chinese medical journals and books, were reviewed at the Institute for Traditional Medicine (ITM) in Oregon. In a 2006 report, Subhuti Dharmananda, PhD, Director of ITM, explained that “while there is insufficient proof from these studies that Chinese herbal therapies can cure or impede influenza because of problems in methodology and reporting, practitioners of Chinese medicine and their patients are convinced of the efficacy of this approach.”

Routine prescription of Chinese herbs for seasonal flu or other therapeutic applications continues to be limited primarily to those countries like China, Japan and Korea where traditional herbal medicine is officially recognized. In other countries, including the US, herbs are available mainly through the work of licensed acupuncturists, naturopaths, and other non-M.D. practitioners, as well as through direct marketing of products to consumers.

Although Chinese research has recently been tainted by allegations of widespread fraud,
there is clearly much to be learned from the potential use of herbs to treat various diseases including swine flu. As Americans turn more and more to alternative medicine, it will be critical to have good scientific data to document the safety and efficacy of herbal formulations. It is important to remember that herbs, though “natural” often have strong medicinal properties that may include dangerous side effects.
- Deborah Shlian Miami Health Care Examiner

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