constipation herbs

Improve Digestion and Eliminate Constipation with Enzymes and Medicinal Herbs

Good digestion is fundamental to our quality of life and wellbeing. Yet so many of us have grown accustomed to gas, bloating, abdominal pain, belching, indigestion, loose bowels, constipation – or any combination of these – on a regular basis. And we accept these things as a normal part of everyday life!

These symptoms – while common – are not normal, and indicate that something is awry in the digestive process.

With impaired digestion, we are not assimilating all the nutrients in our food. This can set the stage for nutritional deficiencies, fatigue, and even chronic disease states. Energy levels, immunity, mental health, libido, and skin appearance are just a few facets of health directly linked to digestion.

We can prevent many of these issues if we support digestion naturally on a daily basis.
Common GI symptoms like constipation, gas, bloating, and pain can be improved naturally, safely, and effectively with medicinal herbs – the very herbs that have been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Digestive Health in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) offers a unique perspective on how the digestive system works, and how to promote digestive health. Though some parallels exist, TCM views digestion somewhat differently than how it is understood in Western medicine.

Roles of the Stomach and Spleen – According to TCM, food is processed in the stomach meridian, where it is broken into usable components and waste. (For those unfamiliar with meridians, think of them as channels through which energy flows throughout the body.)

The usable parts of the broken down food are sent from the stomach to the spleen meridian. Here they become nutrients, energy (qi), blood, and other essential fluids.

An imbalance in the stomach or spleen (or both) is considered to be an underlying cause of abdominal pain, bloating, gas, indigestion, nausea, loose stools, and constipation.

For instance, acid reflux and indigestion can indicate that the stomach qi is out of balance; that is, it is moving upwards instead of downwards. Digestion is a north-to-south process!

Role of the Liver – The liver also plays a critical role in digestion. In Western medicine, the liver and gallbladder are known for breaking down and metabolizing fats in the diet. The liver is also responsible for conjugating (i.e., making less toxic) the various compounds (e.g., pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, chemicals, environmental pollutants, and hormones) that the body deals with on a daily basis so that they can safely be excreted.

TCM attributes additional functions to the liver. The liver meridian is responsible for the flow of blood and qi to the stomach and spleen meridians. In this context, nausea and indigestion can be a sign of imbalances in the liver.

The gallbladder transports bile, the substance required for digestion of dietary fats – a critical process for so many bodily functions (e.g., building healthy hormones, managing the inflammatory process, blood sugar regulation, brain function, and many more). Imbalances in the gallbladder can impair the function of the small intestine, which uses bile to digest fats.

Roles of the Small and Large Intestines – In the final phase of digestion, the breakdown and absorption of nutrients continues in the small intestine. The small intestine meridian also directs usable matter to the spleen for distribution.

Wastes are ultimately sent to the large intestine for elimination. Imbalances in the intestines typically present as abdominal pain, gas, diarrhea, and/or constipation.

Let’s Talk About Constipation
Constipation is one of the most seldom talked-about digestive problems. It is all too common, and yet many people are embarrassed to share their struggles when it comes to bowel habits.

Constipation affects an estimated 12-19% of Americans, 14% of Asians, and up to 27% of the world’s population. These figures could actually be even higher as many people simply don’t talk about their bowel problems and therefore go undiagnosed.

Constipation is typically defined as fewer than three bowel movements per week, often characterized by stools that are difficult to pass, hard, dry, or small.

Regular elimination is a critical part of the body’s natural detoxification process. If this doesn’t happen efficiently – ideally at least once per day for most people – toxins can be reabsorbed through the intestinal wall, contributing to issues ranging from fatigue to estrogen dominance to the overgrowth of bacteria and yeast.

Sure, we can have occasional, short-term constipation when we are busier than usual, dehydrated, or visiting a different time zone. If regular bowel movements resume when we return to our normal routines, this really isn’t a problem.

Constipation is concerning, however, when it becomes chronic over weeks, months, and years.

Conventional Western medicine has been largely unsatisfactory in treating constipation – and other sub-clinical digestive issues for that matter. As a result, patients are increasingly looking to complementary and alternative treatments. Chinese herbal medicine is among the safest and most effective treatments for common digestive issues.

Constipation from a TCM Perspective
According to TCM, constipation results from too much heat in the system (i.e., an accumulation of excess qi). Excess heat dries the intestines and stool, resulting in constipation.

Another purported cause is qi stagnation in the stomach and intestinal meridians. This type of constipation is typically believed to result from inadequate fluid lubrication, or from insufficient intestinal propulsion – both due to the deficiency of qi.

Chinese medicinal herbs that have cooling and lubricating effects on the intestine meridians have traditionally been employed to alleviate constipation and promote regular bowel movements.

The Best Herbs for Digestion
It is important to remember that digestion is comprised of an entire system. Supporting all of the digestive organs is essential to proper function. We want herbs that aid in the breakdown of food, the assimilation of nutrients, and the elimination of waste.

Here are some favorite Chinese herbs for digestion:

Angelicae (Dang Gui)
Also known as the “Queen” herb, Dang Gui has been used in 9 out of every 10 formulas in Chinese herbal medicine for over 2000 years. It has been shown to promote circulation, alleviate abdominal pain, lubricate the intestines, and relieve constipation.

Atractylodes Stem (Bai Zhu)
This herb has many well-known uses and has been commonly used since it was first recorded in the 1st century. Atractylodes is often used for abdominal fullness and distention, and for soothing abdominal pain.

Cinnamon (Rou Gui)
The warming qualities of cinnamon help improve circulation and digestion. Studies show that even a small amount of cinnamon per day reduces serum glucose, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes. It also helps to reduce the rise in blood sugar after eating by slowing gastric emptying.

Gardeniae Fructus (Zhi Zi)
In Western medicine, Gardenia is known to help lower blood pressure. In the Eastern medical traditions, it is known for promoting elimination and regular bowel movements.

Ginger Root (Sheng Jiang)
Rich in nutrients and bioactive compounds, ginger is a potent anti-inflammatory that stimulates digestion, eliminates gas, relieves nausea, and relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract. Ginger is also known for its antibacterial properties.

Licorice Root (Gan Cao)
Sweet Chinese herbs, such as licorice root, help tonify (i.e., increase energy to) the pancreas. The two major constituents of licorice are glycyrrhizin, a potent anti-inflammatory, and flavonoids, which are antioxidants known to improve circulation, relieve tissue damage, and reduce inflammation.

Licorice root was – and remains – one of the most important herbs in TCM. It is said that licorice goes to all twelve channels of the body, a claim given to only a few Chinese herbs. By entering all body channels, licorice is often used to enhance the therapeutic effects of other herbs.

Ligusticum (Chuan Xiong)
Common in many Chinese herbal medicine formulas, ligusticum is used to regulate blood circulation, and works in concert with other herbs to enhance overall health benefits.

Mint Leaf (Bo He)
Refreshing, cooling, uplifting, and restoring, mint has many therapeutic uses, and is recognized as a potent medicinal herb in both Eastern and Western medicine. The German Commission E has approved mint oil for a variety of conditions, including flatulence, gastrointestinal and gallbladder disorders. Mint works in conjunction with other herbs to clear heat, gently clean out the intestines, and improve liver and blood circulation.

Platycodon (Jie Geng)
The oils in Platycodon have been used for centuries for their anti-inflammatory properties, helping to soothe pain and discomfort in the gastrointestinal tract.

Rhubarb (Da Huang)
Rhubarb has long been used as a gentle laxative. But its health benefits don’t stop there. Rhubarb is also a safe and effective herb for gut detoxification due to its antibacterial properties .

Rhubarb is also rich in the following vitamins and minerals:

 Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant required for normal growth and development
 Magnesium, which helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function
 Potassium, an important mineral for the functioning of cells, tissues, and organs
 Calcium, which is essential for healthy bones and teeth
 Vitamin K, which aids in blood clotting
 Lutein, which helps maintain healthy skin and eyes, and neutralize free radicals

Rhubarb is also high in fiber, which supports healthy bowel movements and promotes satiety.

Schizonepteta (Jing Jie)
This herb is best known for its detoxifying properties. It is commonly used with other herbs to enhance synergistic effects and lower inflammation.

Scutellaria (Huang Qin)
Associated with the meridians of the large intestine, liver, lung, and stomach, scutellaria is one of the oldest herbs in TCM. Known for its anti-inflammatory properties and promising outcomes in diabetes patients , Scutellaria is just as important an herb today as it was in the 2nd century.

Siler – Saposhnikovia (Fang Feng)
This herb acts on the liver to dispel fat. Fang feng is also known to work synergistically with other herbs to support overall digestion and alleviate pain in the digestive tract.

White Peony (Bai Shao)
White peony is among the most popular herbs in Chinese herbal medicine. It is an effective tonic herb and is used to purify the blood. White peony is legendary as a muscle relaxant; it relieves cramps (in the stomach and elsewhere) and reduces pain. Its antispasmodic and analgesic qualities are magnified when combined with licorice root.

How to Choose Digestive Herbs That Work
Pairing herbs together – and in the right proportions – allows them to achieve actions that they cannot achieve individually. This deep understanding of the entourage effect of herbs is what makes Chinese herbal medicine so effective.

The most effective Chinese herbal formula for digestive health is as complex as it is ancient. The formula for this blend was originally written around 1170 C.E.

The herbs in this formula work synergistically to protect the stomach and nourish the blood to support a healthy flow of energy throughout the body, and clear the intestines gently and without damage.

Prebiotics and Probiotics for Healthy Digestion
Many digestive issues are caused or accompanied by imbalances in the population of healthy bacteria that reside in the human digestive tract.

Probiotic supplements and fermented foods (e.g., kimchee, sauerkraut, kombucha, kefir) can help regulate bowel movements and support healthy intestinal function.

Additionally, prebiotics like beta glucans polysaccharides nourish our healthy gut bacteria, and are essential for a healthy microbiome.

A healthy population of gut bacteria not only helps digestion, it is also a critical part of supporting the immune system – something we all need.

Reduce Stress for Better Digestion: “Fight or Flight” vs. “Rest and Digest”
There is a saying in Chinese medicine: “It’s better to eat the wrong food with the right attitude than the right food with the wrong attitude.” It is impossible to overemphasize the importance of eating in relaxed state.

When we eat in a stressed-out, “fight or flight” mode, the body shuts down functions that are not directly related to immediate survival – including digestion.

Only when we eat in a relaxed, “rest and digest” state are our bodies able to produce the appropriate amounts of enzymes, hormones, and gastric juices to facilitate a healthy digestive cascade.

Here are some tips for getting into a relaxed state for better digestion:

 Move. Take a short walk or move gently before eating – even 15 minutes can help.
 Breathe. Take some deep breaths before eating. Avoid eating when stressed or agitated; try not to multitask
 Express gratitude. Reflect on how your food is going to nourish you and be grateful for the company you’re with (or for a quiet moment to yourself!).
 Chew slowly and thoroughly. This makes the stomach’s job of breaking down food much easier.
 Enjoy your food. Really taste and savor each bite, appreciating the different flavors and textures.
 No self-judgment. Even when we eat something that’s not the most nourishing (we’re human and this happens!), it’s important not to judge ourselves or feel guilty about our choices. Doing so puts us into a stressful state, which leads to – you guessed it – impaired digestion. When you choose to treat yourself, enjoy the experience, and do your best to let it go.

“Above all else, protect your digestion” is a saying in Traditional Chinese Medicine, and for good reason – our precious digestive system is responsible for just about every aspect of our well being. Taking a multi-pronged approach to support our digestive health with seemingly small, easy-to-implement changes such as incorporating expertly formulated Chinese herbs, and simple lifestyle adjustments can have a big impact towards improving our quality of life.

reishi mushroom

Reishi Mushroom Benefits Your Immune System

Supporting the body’s natural healing response with medicinal mushrooms

For centuries, mushrooms have been used for their medicinal and therapeutic properties. The reported benefits of medicinal mushrooms include anti-inflammatory, immune-supporting, anti-cancer, antiviral, and antioxidant effects. Traditional Chinese Medicine formulas frequently incorporate medicinal mushrooms to help support the body’s natural healing processes, which in turn can help to protect the body against common, modern-day health concerns often associated with chronic inflammation.

Healthy vs. Chronic Inflammation
Simply put, inflammation is part of the human body’s complex response to remove injury, irritation, damaged cells, or pathogens. It is the body’s necessary and natural response to harmful stimuli.

A healthy inflammatory response typically involves temporary physical symptoms such as fever, pain, and swelling to aid in the healing process and restore the normal structure and function of the injured tissues. In other words, the body must temporarily inflame in order to anti-inflame.

“Temporary” is the key word here. Yet in our modern world, many harmful external stimuli – think chronic stress, environmental pollutants, overly processed diets laden with sugar and industrial seed oils, and a sedentary lifestyle – can contribute to prolonged inflammation in the body.

Chronic inflammation has been associated in part with the development of many common inflammatory conditions, including inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, bronchitis, atherosclerosis, and certain autoimmune conditions. A strong link has also been established between prolonged inflammation and the development of certain types of cancers.

Risks of NSAIDS
These days, the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is the most common treatment for reducing inflammation in the body. But NSAIDs are not a viable long-term solution. Prolonged NSAID use been associated with harmful gastrointestinal side effects such as bleeding, ulcers, lesions, and intestinal perforation. Other serious side effects include liver and kidney damage, hypertension, and other cardiovascular complications.

But there are better ways to modulate chronic inflammation.

There is a growing demand for safe and effective alternatives to conventional anti-inflammatory treatments. Western healthcare providers and patients alike are increasingly turning to forms of plant-based treatments that Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have used for centuries – including medicinal mushrooms.

Among the most effective, potent, and well-studied medicinal mushrooms known for its anti-inflammatory and immune-supporting properties is the powerful reishi mushroom.

What is Reishi Mushroom?
Reishi mushroom is a fungus typically found in hot, humid locations around Asia. Also known as Ganoderma lucidum or Ling zhi, reishi mushroom has long been a staple in the traditional medical systems of China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries for its immune stimulating and other health-promoting effects.

Reishi contains molecules such as polysaccharides, triterpines, and pepdidoglycans – compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties.

While the mushrooms can be eaten fresh, they are commonly used as a powder or as an extract – forms that are more concentrated and therefore more effective for therapeutic use.

Health Benefits of Reishi Mushroom
Proper immune function is crucial to a healthy inflammatory response. And a healthy digestive system is vital for proper immune function. Over 70% of the human immune system resides in the gastrointestinal tract. So what we consume on a regular basis directly influences the health of our gut bacteria.

One of the most important benefits of reishi mushroom is that it supports immune function when consumed on a consistent basis. Reishi contains concentrated amounts of complex carbohydrates known as beta glucans polysaccharides, which are exactly what our healthy gut bacteria like to eat.

Reishi is considered to be an effective form of preventative natural medicine due to its immunomodulatory effects. Lab studies suggest that beta glucans may help stop the growth of abnormal cells. When animals were fed these compounds, some cells of their immune system became more active.

Reishi mushrooms also contain sterols that can act as precursors to hormones in the body, along with substances called triterpenes that may have blood pressure-lowering and anti-allergy effects.

Additionally, studies have shown that reishi may alter inflammation pathways in white blood cells, which are a critical part of the immune system. Research has shown that some of the molecules in reishi can increase the activity of white blood cells knows as natural killer (NK) cells, which are responsible for fighting infections and cancer in the body.

In particular, reishi has been shown to have anti-cancer and anti-tumor effects in patients with colorectal , breast , and ovarian cancers. This potent medicinal mushroom has also been shown to improve quality of life in some cancer patients by alleviating common side effects of chemotherapy, and in enhancing the efficacy of radiotherapy.

Extracts of reishi have been shown to be protective to the liver and kidneys – unlike conventional anti-inflammatories such as NSAIDs, which have been linked to liver and kidney damage.

Even healthy individuals can benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties of reishi mushroom. One study showed that reishi improved white blood cell function in athletes after exposure to stress , suggesting that it may help aid in recovery.

And let’s not forget that the immune system is often depressed after strenuous efforts such as hard workouts, races, and competitions. Reishi can be an excellent way not only to enhance recovery, but also to help stave off the colds and flus that can crop up following a hard training block or competition – a common pain point for athletes and other active individuals.

How to Choose a Reishi Supplement
So what do you look for in a reishi supplement? As with any supplement, not all reishi formulations are created equal. The concentration and efficacy of the beneficial compounds in these mushrooms vary widely based on factors such as sourcing, storage, processing, and cooking methods.

And yet, many herbal products companies have no idea how or where their ingredients were grown or processed.

Importantly, the health benefits of reishi are enhanced when combined with other herbs – a concept that Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners have understood for centuries. Choosing an expertly blended formula of mushrooms and herbs that work synergistically is an excellent way to maximize the overall benefit to your health.

So how can you be sure that your reishi mushroom-based supplement is made with the highest standards for sourcing, quality, and efficacy?

There’s a reason that we work with Pacific Herbs – and have for years. Pacific Herbs’ formulations are made with the highest quality concentrated herbal granules, processed for maximum potency and effectiveness, ease of dosing, and cost savings compared to capsule products.

Pacific Herbs’ Immune Boost Herb Pack™ is a potent formulation of reishi mushroom and other synergistic herbs – and is the most concentrated herbal immune support extract available, at a 10:1 extract (i.e., one gram of the product is equivalent to 10 grams of dried herbs).

In other words, you would have to eat a lot of mushrooms to equal the amount of reishi found in a single teaspoon of Immune Boost Herb Pack™!

Pacific Herbs Immune Boost Herb Pack™ contains:
• 40% Reishi mushroom (Ling Zhi), which is high in polysaccharides that feed our good gut bacteria, and may help protect against oxidative stress.
• 30% Astralgus (Huang Qi), which has been shown to have immune protective and antioxidant effects.
• 30% Red Date, Ginger Root, and Licorice Root (“The Three Sweets”), which help balance the formula and improve absorption.
• NO fillers, binders, sugar, gluten, caffeine, magnesium stearate, artificial flavors, or preservatives. Ever!

All Pacific Herbs products are non-GMO, Kosher, and vegan, and organic and wild-crafted wherever possible. Certificates of Analysis are available to guarantee the quality and purity of every batch.

Now more than ever, there is a critical need to stay healthy and protect our loved ones. Supporting the body’s immune system and innate healing response is something that we can all do. Incorporating reishi and a synergistic blend of potent medicinal herbs into our daily lives is a great place to start.

supplements for insomnia

Get Your ZZZ’s with Ziziphus – An Herb for Sleeping

No matter how much you crave quality shut-eye, there are many reasons sleep may elude you.

As you get older, it may take longer to nod off and you may have trouble staying asleep. But because the amount of sleep you need—seven to nine hours per night—stays the same throughout your life, fitful nights can leave you cranky, depressed and flat out exhausted. No wonder so many of us rely on sleeping pills—both over-the-counter and prescription.

People, even teenagers are relying on prescription sleep aids more than ever before. Yet, information of the risks of these drugs is often understated. A study by Scripps Clinic researchers links the medications to 4.6 times higher risk of death and a significant increase in cancer cases among regular pill users.

“What our study shows is that sleeping pills are hazardous to your health and might cause death by contributing to the occurrence of cancer, heart disease, and other ailments,” said author Daniel F. Kripke, M.D., of the Viterbi Family Sleep Center in San Diego.There is another option, a plant-based sleep aid that has been used for thousands of years and has no harmful side-effects.

Plants to help us sleep have been clinically tested in Asia for the past 50 years. Asian cultures have a much longer recorded history than our Western cultures and the use of plants has historical lineage to biblical times. Many herbal books were written on bamboo paper in ancient times. One such ancient book was titled “Prescriptions from the Golden Cabinet”. It may surprise you, but even our ancestors had trouble sleeping and this was a thousand years before electricity, the internet, and modern-day stress. The most common prescription for sleeplessness which our Asian ancestors used was an herbal recipe called Suan zao ren tang. This combination of herbs can be found in iSleep Herb Pack.

The herbs in iSleep Herb Pack work together, this is known as the entourage effect, its where the magic happens. Throughout generations of use, our ancestors discovered which plants have similar effects and which have enhancing effects when used together. It’s a little bit like discovering sugar, flour, eggs and butter and baking powder can make a nice cake. Alone, they don’t taste like cake. But together, there is a little magic.

One of the main herbs in iSleep Herb Pack is zizyphus an herb with sedative properties. This herb is potentiated by other herbs in iSleep, notably Anemarrhena, poria and ligusticum which are believed to increase the nor-epinephrine and dopamine levels in the brain and increase secretion of two cytokines which have been shown to improve non-rapid eye movement sleep. The studies are vast, the results impressive. Throughout Asia, hundreds of thousands of herbal prescriptions are sold annually and the most common insomnia prescription is Suan zao ren tang / iSleep Herb Pack.

There are NO unnecessary filler or magnesium stearate in iSleep Herb Pack. Only 100% herbs from nature.

Here’s what’s you will find in Ziziphus.

Clinical studies and research have shown Ziziphus, (when processed correctly) can help quiet brain transmissions. What this means for the non-sleeper who plays videos in their head all night or just can’t stop the overthinking, NOW YOU CAN. When your mind is quiet your body naturally falls asleep the way nature intended. Ziziphus has slight sedative effects, yet a very safe herb with no lingering side effects. It is commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for irritability, sleeplessness, and anxiety.

Ophiopogon
A nourishing but very mild herb. It is often combined with others for it’s most potent effects. Used in this formula to nourish the yin, clear the heart and eliminate irritability. Insomnia often occurs when the spirit of the heart is restless and rising upward to the brain. This restlessness cause over-thinking when we should be sleeping. Ophiopogon settles the spirit and quiets the irritability. It’s commonly combined with Anemerrhena for insomnia and night sweats.

Poria
Poria is most commonly to strengthen the spleen and calm the mind in TCM. Beyond poria’s principal action, this herb is also used to calm the heart spirit.

Anemerrhena
It is the root of this herb that has properties of clearing excess fire and at the same time nourishing the yin. These are two very important treatment principals and therefore makes this herb a prized possession. Its major chemical constituents include saponines, flavonoids, polysaccharides and alkaloids.

Arbortitae Seed
This seed is rich in oil and is excellent for insomnia due to blood deficiency along with excessive worry and forgetfulness. When used with zyziphus it’s actions for calming the spirit are increased. Since it is the oil in this seed which contains the active chemicals responsible for these actions it is essential the oils are not lost during the cooking process. It also nourishes the heart channel and is extremely beneficial for those suffering from sleeplessness and irritability because of its calming effect.

Polygoni Multiflori
Asian medicine says lack of nourishment to the heart causes sleep disorders such as difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep excessive dreams and disrupted sleep. This sweet herb addresses all of these symptoms. This herb calming effect is said to open the orifices of the heart channel and allow your spirit to be calm and relaxed.

Chuan Xiong
This very popular and common herb in many Chinese herbal medicine formulas is used to regulate blood circulation. In iSleep Herb Pack a small amount is used help circulate and improve the actions of all the herbs in the formula. The entourage effect is important. Like making a cake, it’s not just the sugar, flour, and butter. It’s the spices, the egg, the milk and all the other yummy things that make a cake so wonderful. Same is true of herbal formulas used for centuries. Certain herbs work better when paired together.

The bottom line, iSleep has some of the most important plants used for insomnia over hundreds of years. The major constituents and pharmacological activities of these plants have sedative effects which have been proven safe and effective for millions who commonly experience sleepless nights.

Our goal is to help you get a great night of sleep every night.
Sleep is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle for a healthy body. Adequate sleep is essential for quality of life, work productivity, safe drivers, and workplaces etc.
We need to make sleep a priority every night.

French Ban Titanium Dioxide Effective January 1, 2020

This is fascinating on many levels.

The French ban on titanium dioxide took effect on January 1, 2020.

Are you asking yourself, why would the French be concerned enough about titanium dioxide to ban it in food?

Should I be concerned about the vitamins and supplements I take that have titanium dioxide under the “other” ingredients?  Yes!

Titanium dioxide is used as a filler also known as excipient in many brands of dietary supplements in the U.S. and manufacturers are not required to tell you how much of it is in the product.  The only requirement is to list it on the label under “Other Ingredients”.

A 2017 French scientific study highlighted the potential carcinogen risks of nano-particles of Ti02, a type of titanium dioxide. France’s National Assembly passed an amendment banning the use and importation of any food product containing titanium dioxide (TiO2) as a food additive beginning January 1, 2020.

Critics say titanium dioxide serves no nutritional purpose, does not increase products’ shelf life, and may pose a risk to humans since the nano-particles may be able to pass through protective walls of organs such as the liver, lungs or intestines.

France ordered an inquiry last year after scientists reported that titanium dioxide caused precancerous lesions in 40 per cent of rats given the chemical in their drinking water.

It also sped up the development of these growths, which are not malignant but can develop into more dangerous cancers, according to France’s INRA agricultural research institute, which took part in the study.

Researchers from France and Luxembourg said that titanium dioxide was approved in the US in 1966.

Pacific Herbs never uses fillers for excipients in any of their natural herbal products. We pride ourselves on purity and potency.  We would never dilute our 100% botanical ingredients with anything, especially something known to be toxic.

Rou Cong Rong,Cistanche

Libido Herb Better Than Horny Goat Weed Found in Desert

When you’ve only got a desert to work with, how does one become a farmer?

How about grow a highly sought after Chinese herb for fertility treatments that happens to love the desert. That’s exactly what one desert nomad started doing in China’s unforgiving deserts of Inner Mongolia in 2003. The herb he now grows brings in more income than the family ever made before.

The herb is cistanche, a native desert plant that’s always been prized  in the Chinese herb world. Cistanche  (aka – Rou Cong Rong) is used in Chinese medicine to replenish the blood and kidney jing also translated as essence or heredity. Cistanche was first mentioned in the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing a Chinese book on agriculture and medicinal plants written circa 100 AD.  It is commonly used today for impotence and erectile dysfunction and you can find it in Pacific Herbs, Libido Booster for Him.

It’s not Viagra, but the actions from the volatile oils and non-volatile phenylethanoid glycosides (PhGs), oligosaccharides and polysaccharides have proven fertility treatment benefits for premature ejaculation, frequent urination, weakness of tendons, constipation in old age, impotence and even high blood pressure.  Libido Booster for Him has a combination of Chinese herbs used as a fertility treatment to increase sex drive and desire which includes cistanche.

What I find fascinating about this plant is that cistanche cannot grow alone. It is a parasitic type of shrub which only grows on the roots of others.  Saxaul is one such partner and is special in its own right for impeding erosion. You may have heard about the dust storms near Beijing before and during the Olympic games. This is a continual problem for the residents  and certainly for any athletes competing outdoors. China has spent millions on planting trees on the outskirts of Beijing to prevent the desert form encroaching into the metropolitan areas and to reduce the effects of the dust storms. (Approximately 18% of China’s land is desert).  A plant like saxaul has huge value in simply holding the sand in place.

Now that thousands of acres of saxaul and cistanche are growing, it’s not only holding back the encroaching desert it also had the ability to earn families a substantial living. The international market for kidney tonics has been growing and cistanche is known as the “ginseng of the desert”.  Along with the above mentioned actions this Chinese herb is a popular immunity booster, memory enhancer  and known for delaying aging and treating infertility. Overall it’s a kidney tonic, similar to ginseng in that regard.

You probably never thought to look for the fountain of youth in a desert, but this plant is truly just that. Growing in one of the harshest environments on earth, cistanche overcomes the odds with enduring persistence and provides us with compounds which Chinese medicine has used for centuries to restore and replenish kidney essence. This incredible plant provides us energy,  it helps the ecology and the local economy.

Who would of thought you would find something so “green“ in the middle of a desert.

Is Green Tea Good For Menopause

Is green tea good for menopause?

Is Green Tea Good For MenopauseYou may be wondering, is green tea good for menopause? Most of us have heard that green tea is good for us, but why? The answer is that drinking green tea provides many health benefits, including:

  • Heart health — drinking tea is associated with lowering one’s risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Bone health — antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity of green tea help diminish bone loss
  • Oral health —  green tea is a natural flouride source which helps decrease tooth decay
  • Weight loss — the catechins in green tea produces thermogenesis (heat in the body related to burning calories)
  • Cancer prevention — the catechins in tea prevent cell mutation and reduce tumor formation​

But you may also be wondering, is green tea good for menopause? The answer is yes! Green tea can help balance your hormones.

  • Good for Menopause! — The biochemicals in green tea can change a woman’s estrogen metabolism, and as you may know, estrogen dominance is undeniably linked to breast cancer.

Researchers, led by Dr. Barbara Fuhrman of the NIH’s (National Institutes of Health) Cancer Institute, tested urinary estrogens and metabolites among 181 Japanese American women from California and Hawaii. Of these healthy women, 72 were postmenopausal. Along with urinary testing, personal interviews were taken, and each woman’s consumption of green tea, black tea, coffee and soda were recorded, measured, and adjusted in respect to caffeine consumption.

Amazingly, postmenopausal women who drank green tea daily had 20% less urinary estrone and 40% less urinary estradiol levels (meaning these women metabolized estrogen better). It was found that black tea did not produce the same results as green tea, and interestingly, caffeine consumption did not change the results.

Even more interesting, and perhaps concerning for pre-menopausal women, was the result that the estrogen levels of pre-menopausal women did not respond to green tea at all.

So, now that you know the answer to is green tea good for menopause, what does it all mean?

Is Green Tea Good For MenopauseWhat should you do with this information?

Well, if you are postmenopausal, drink green tea! It will help metabolize estrogen and can help in the prevention of breast cancer.

If you are pre-menopausal, drink green tea! Even though it will not have the same cancer-reducing results, green tea still has wonderful health benefits. Try other, more natural remedies for PMS symptoms, instead of using the birth control pill (which increases risk of breast cancer).

If you are experiencing symptoms of the change in life we call “menopause” (technically it is “perimenopause”), drink green tea! Remember to steer clear of HRT (hormone replacement therapy) because it too is associated with increased risk of breast cancer. Instead, try Menopause Relief Herb Pack for uncomfortable symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweating, insomnia, headaches, and mood swings.


Join the Rock Your Menopause 7 day challenge, for FREE!

Want to learn more? Get free Menopause Relief advice straight to your inbox with the Rock your Menopause 7 Day Challenge!

What’s discussed in the 7 Day Challenge?

  • Eastern Medicine health tips you don’t hear about.
  • Why green and clean beauty products.
  • How to find a fondness for fiber.
  • Why a daily BM is a must.
  • The difference between PRE and PRO-biotics.
  • How to find fermented foods you’ll love & why you need them.
  • Why eating hormones is off limits.
  • Explore the pro’s & con’s of bio-identical vs HRT hormone therapy.

Head over to RockYourMenopause.com and sign up for the free challenge now!


References

Fuhrman BJ, Pfeiffer RM, Wu AH, Xu X, Keefer LK, Veenstra TD, Ziegler RG. Green tea intake is associated with urinary estrogen profiles in Japanese-American women. Nutr J. 2013 Feb 15;12(1):25.
Yang CS, Wang X, Lu G, Picinich SC: Cancer prevention by tea: animal studies, molecular mechanisms and human relevance. Nat Rev Cancer2009, 9(6):429–439.

Case Adams is a California Naturopath and holds a Ph.D. in Natural Health Sciences. His focus is upon science-based natural health solutions. He is the author of 20 books on natural health and numerous print and internet articles. His work can be found at http://www.caseadams.com.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.

Corona Virus

Corona Virus and Chinese Herbal Medicine Recommendations

What we know is that a 100 plus strong team of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) experts were dispatched to Wuhan, China, on January 25, 2020 to examine patients in hospitals with the Corona virus. The attached information has been presented by a number of TCM Doctors and is comprehensive listing of TCM diagnostics and Chinese herbal formulas suggested for treatment of the Corona virus.  As we know, SARS was treated successfully with Chinese herbal medicine when the outbreak occurred in China in 2002.

The attached information is for practitioners of Chinese herbal medicine. If you are in need of any of these formulas please contact us at Info@PacHerbs.com.

If you are not a practitioner and need any of these herbal formulas please contact us and we can help you find a Licensed Acupuncturist who has herbal training in your area for guidance.

Thank you to the doctors in China who have shared this information. The goal here is to help spread the knowledge of Chinese herbal formulas that are best suited to combat this virus.

Links below

To build your immune system naturally see our Immune Boost Herb Pack.

 

Corona and Chinese Herbal Medicine

Sars-Corona-Virus

 

Update: Jan. 30, 2020  We now know for certain the incubation time is 14 days without any symptoms. So no one knows if they are infected or infecting others. Please be cautious. Hand washing with soap and hot water is an obvious precaution. Face masks and goggles are being worn throughout China prevent the spread. 

SARS-Severe Adult Respiratory Syndrome: Formulas for Prevention and Treatment (For TCM Herbalists)

 

Shared by Pacific Herbs

 

 

Prevention of SARS (or Corona to take prior to ANY type of exposure)

 

5 q       Jin  Yin Hua               Lonicerae Japonicae, Flos

5 q       Lian Qiao                    Forsythiae Suspensae, Fructus

3 q       Chan Tui                     Cicadae Periostracum

3 q       Bai Jiang Can              Bombyx Batryticatus

2 q       Bo He                          Mentae Haplocalycis, Herba

2 q       Sheng Gan Cao           Glycyrrhizai Uralensis, Radix  (raw)

Make tea and drink throughout the day for 7-10 days

 

4 q      Cang Zhu                    Atractylodis, Rhizoma

5 q       Bai Zhu                       Atractylodis Macrocephalae, Rhizoma

5 q       Huang Qi                    Astragali Membranacei, Radix

3 q       Fang Feng                   Ledabouriellae Divaricatae, Radix

4 q       Huo Xiang                  Agastaches seu Pogostemi, Herba

5 q       Bei Sha Shen               Adonophorae seu Glehniae, Radix

6 q       Jin Yin Hua                 Lonicerae Japonicae, Flos

4 q       Guan Zhong                Guanzhong, Rhizoma

Make tea and drink twice a day for 7-10 days

 

2 q       Guan Zhong                Guanzhong, Rhizoma

3 q       Jin Yin Hua                 Lonicerae Japonicae, Flos

3 q       Da Qing Ye                 Daqingye, Folium

3 q       Zi Su Ye                      Perillae Frutescentis, Folium

3 q       Ge Gen                        Radix Puerariae

3 q       Huo Xiang                  Agastaches seu Pogostemi, Herba

3 q       Cang Zhu                    Atractylodis, Rhizoma

5 q       Tai Zi Shen                 Pseudostellariae Heterophyllae, Radix

3 q       Pei Lan                        Eupatorii Fortunei, Herba

Make tea and drink twice a day for 7-10 days

 

 

Other preventative measures:

*Chew on Xi Yang Shen (Panacis Quinquefolii, Radix) or make tea to drink throughout the day.

*Xi Yang Shen 1-2 q and Jin Yin Hua 5 q tea to drink once a day.

*Keep warm, don’t catch cold

*Sleep well

*Moderate stress factors

*Drink more water

*Take vitamin C

*avoid constipation

 

Possible exposure to SARS or CORONA (To take if any kind of exposure has occurred)

Soup:

Cong Bai – Green Onion

Fresh Chinese Daikon

½ of a tangerine peel

Sheng Jiang – Ginger – 3 slices

Cilantro bunch, maybe 10 sprigs

Make a soup and drink often

 

Chinese herbal Formulas:

5 q       Huang Qi                    Astragali Membranacei, Radix

5          Jin Yin Hua                 Lonicerae Japonicae, Flos

3          Chai Hu                       Bupleuri, Radix

3          Huang Qin                  Scutellariae Baicalensis, Radix

5          Ban Lan Gen               Isatidis seu Baphicacanthi, Radix

5          Guan Zhong                Guanzhong, Rhizoma

3          Cang Zhu                    Atractylodis, Rhizoma

5          Yi Yi Ren                    Coicis Lachryma-jobi, Semen

3          Huo Xiang                  Agastaches seu Pogostemi, Herba

3          Fang Feng                   Ledabouriellae Divaricatae, Radix

1.5       Sheng Gan Cao           Glycyrrhizai Uralensis, Radix (raw)

 

For prevention and treatment

Tonifies Qi, transforms damp, clears heat and toxins

3          Huang Qi                    Astragali Membranacei, Radix

5          Bai Jiang Cao              Bombyx Batrytiatus

5          Yi Yi Ren                    Coicis Lachryma – Jobi, Semen

2          Jie Geng                      Platycodi Grandiflori, Radix

1          Sheng Gan Cao           Glycyrrhizai Uralensis, Radix (raw)

 

*Clears heat, reduces toxins, drains dampness and dirty Qi, aromatically opens orifices

5          Yu Xing Cao               Houttuyniae Cordatae, Herba cum Radice

2          Ye Ju Hua                   Chrysanthemi Indici, Flos

5          Yin Chen Hao             Artemisiae Yinchenhao, Herba

3          Pei Lan                        Eupatori Fortunei, Herba

1          Cao Guo                      Amomi Tsao-Ko, Fructus

 

Clears heat, reduces toxins, dispels Wind, pushes evil out

5          Pu Gong Ying             Taraxaci Mongolici cum Radice, Herba

*2        Jin Lian Hua –              like Chuan Xin Lian

3          Da Qing Ye                 Daqingye, Folium

3          Ge Gen                        Radix Puerariae

2          Zi Su Ye                      Perillae Frutescentis, Fructus

 

Clears heat, releases exterior, dispels wind, takes out external evil

5          Lu Gen                        Phragmitis Communis, Rhizoma

3          Jin Yin Hua                 Lonicerae Japonicae, Flos

3          Lian Qiao                    Forsythiae Suspensae, Fructus

2          Bo He                          Menthae Haplocalycis, Herba

1.5       Sheng Gan Cao           Glycyrrhizai Uralensis, Radix (raw)

 

Tonifies Spleen, Benefits Qi, Dissolves Dampness, Reduces toxins

3          Sheng Huang Qi         Astragali Membranacei, Radix (raw)

2          Bai Zhu                       Atractylodis Macrocephalae, Rhizoma

3          Fang Feng                   Ledabouriellae Divaricatae, Radix

2          Cang Zhu                    Atractylodis, Rhizoma

3          Huo Xiang                  Agastaches seu Pogostemi, Herba

3          Bei Sha Shen               Adenophorae seu Glehniae, Radix

3          Jin Yin Hua                 Lonicerae Japonicae, Flos

2          Guan Zhong                Guanzhong, Rhizoma

 

Benefits Qi, Expels external evil, reduces toxins, dispels dampness

5          Tai Zi Shen                 Pseudostellariae Heterophyllae, Radix

2          Guan Zhong                Guanzhong, Rhizoma

3          Jin Yin Hua                 Lonicerae Japonicae, Flos

3          Lian Qiao                    Forsythiae Suspensae, Fructus

3          Da Qing Ye                 Daqingye, Folium

2          Zi Su Ye                      Perillae Frutescentis, Fructus

3          Ge Gen                        Radix Puerariae

3          Huo Xiang                  Agastaches seu Pogostemi, Herba

2          Cang Zhu                    Atractylodis, Rhizoma

3          Pei Lan                        Eupatori Fortunei, Herba

 

The three Stages of SARS and the recovery period  – (note, most formulas clear heat, toxins and damp)

Early stage –  starts as a Wind Heat or Wind Cold cough with Shortness of breath

A.        Heat and Toxins attack the Lung

B.        Damp heat obstruction occurs

C.        There is external cold and internal heat combined with Dampness

TX Principal:  Clear heat, open the Lungs, release exterior, open the meridians

Formulas:   Based on Yin Qiao San combined with Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang modified with herbs as appropriate for patient’s condition.

*If there is more Damp Heat blockage give San Ren Tang – (3 seeds Xing Ren, Bai Dou Kou, Yi Yi Ren to drain damp) or Huo Xiang Huo Po Tang (Huo Xiang, Hou Po, Ban Xia, Fu Ling to dissolve phlegm)

*If there is more external cold and interior heat with damp use Ma Xing Shi Gan Tang with modifications

*To assist in reducing toxins can add herbs like Yu Xing Cao, Lu Gen, Jie Geng, Chuan Xin Lian

 

Disease progressing – Congestion in body becomes worse, fever goes up and down, lung condition worsens, coughing with blood. This is more heat attacking the Lung causing External and internal heat congestion combined with Damp Heat toxins, and evil obstructs the Shao Yang Channel.

Tx principal:  Clear heat and toxicity, drain the Lungs of turbid Qi

Formulas:

A.        Heat toxin attacking the lungs – high fever, coughing with blood

Qing Wen Bai Du San with modifications

B.        External and Internal heat congestion with toxicity Qing Fei Jie Du Tang

C.        Damp heat congestion and toxicity Gan Lu Xiao Du Dan with modifications

D.        Damp heat obstruction in the Shao Yang channel

Hao Qin Qing Dan Tang

Collapse – Shock like state with severe sweating, respiratory failure.  Here there    is heat toxicity obstructing the Lungs, the Evil Qi is much more strong, the Zheng

Qi is severely deficient, there is severe Yin deficiency and  internal obstruction with external collapse “Tou Zhen”

A.    Phlegm Damp obstruction with heat toxicity –

Huo Xue Xie Fei Tang or Yi Fei Hua Zhou Tang

B.        Obstruction of Lung Channel

C.        Damp heat obstruction of the Lungs

D.        Qi and Yin Xu

E.         Evil excess, Zheng Qi deficiency

F.         Internal obstruction – respiratory failure – here is where you need to open

Open the orifices, tonify and consolidate Qi

Sheng Fu Tang with modifications

Tx principal:  Benefit Qi, release toxicity, transform phlegm and damp, open the meridians, resolve dirty phlegm, open orifices, tonify  and consolidate Qi

Recovery stage – Pt is still weak with Qi and Yin deficiency, Lung and Spleen deficiency.  Damp heat and toxins are still in the body

A.        Qi and Yin Xu – tonify Qi, Nourish Yin, transform dampness in the meridians. Qing Shu Yi Qi Tang with modifications

B.        Spleen and Lung Deficiency – Tonify Lu and Sp, clear heat and toxins, clears damp Sheng Ling Bai Zhu San


The Corona virus main cause or disease is damp toxicity, not heat toxicity with dampness.  In treating heat toxicity with dampness, the strategy is usually to clear heat, resolve toxins and dispel dampness. However, when treating dampness toxicity that transforms into heat or retained dampness heat toxin, if you clear heat and resolve toxins using cold herbs to early this will inevitably exacerbate the dampness and lead to cold enveloping heat.  Which then creates an adverse effect on treatment outcomes.  So, in treating this disease, the focus should be on resolving turbidity with aroma out thrusting through the exterior and upbearing and down bearing the spleen and stomach. As dampness is resolved, depressed heat can disperse and toxicity will be unable to form – in this way symptoms will gradually resolve.

Transforming heat can progress into yangming brightness bowel repletion, which would exacerbate lung qi depression and block qi.  Once yangming brightness bowel repletion is significant, dampness can very easily transform into damp toxicity, heat, toxicity and stagnation, eventually leading to severe qi reversal and the onset of MODS.  (Multi organ dysfunction syndrome).

In some of the more severe cases where the patient is already on a respirator or ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation) the stomach and chest are always hot to the touch while the extremities are cold.  This is a symptom of sepsis.  So, a key aspect of treatment is resolving dampness, unblocking the bowels and draining turbidity in the early phase. In keeping with the above discussion, we selected Ma Xing Yi Gan Tang,    Sheng Jiang San, D Yuan Yin, Hou pu Xia Ling Tang, Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San and Yin Qiao San as our base formulas and implemented a Chinese Medicine Protocol.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese herbs

ReWilding Into 2020

Wishing you All The Best in the New Year!

      Good Health and Happiness and

we look forward to working with you in 2020!

Are you ready to say goodbye to this decade and start a new one?

I’ve been rethinking some of the last 10 years big wins and losses, lessons and life events. Many have made indelible imprints on me but one, I feel compelled to share with you.

I lived in Los Angeles for most of my adult life until 5 years ago when we decided to leap into the unknown world of Bend, Oregon. Moving to a “rural” town from a huge metropolis as you can imagine was both an adventure and challenge. It’s been soooo much more, but the biggest change after 5 years I can now pinpoint as my ability to “ReWild”.

What I mean by “ReWilding” is living closer to natures rhythms, to be grounded through the natural cycles of life and by doing so improving my health and well being.

For example, following a 24 hour cycle more closely. Sleeping closer to when its first dark, waking when its first light (especially in the winter months). Playing outdoors daily, (even if it’s only walking) no matter what the weather. Simple things like eating with the seasons, returning to our roots, returning to ourselves. (I find this easier when I limit my time on social media.) That’s what ReWilding means to me.

Why is “ReWilding” Important?

I’m using this term “Rewilding” loosely, what I want to convey is grounding, or anchoring yourself in the present to reverse the process of 21st century connected lifestyle. When you’re eating, be fully present and enjoy your food completely. When you’re exercising, same philosophy, be there completely, for work and for social engagements same. Our quick moving society often distracts us from the present. Rewilding philosophy is a slowing down to return to ourselves. This not only lowers are stress levels, but releases our creative juices and our intuitive selves.

I know for sure you can ReWild yourself anywhere and everywhere, wherever you may be. It’s like coming home to a place you’ve always belonged too.

For 2020, my wish for you is a little time to discover ReWilding for yourself. The health benefits just might surprise you.

Happy ReWilding,
Cathy Margolin L.Ac. & Team
Founder & Self-Proclaimed ReWilder at Pacific Herbs

Peanut Allergy Breakthrough With Chinese Herbs FAHF-2 A New Botanical Drug

Food allergy herbal formula-2 (FAHF-2) prevents and reverses peanut allergy in an animal model of peanut anaphylaxes.

The food allergy phenomenon has grown to huge proportions in the last decade. Peanut allergies have become increasingly on the rise and drug companies are looking for a novel way of treating people whose only salvation currently may be an Epi-Pen for people for sever, life-threatening reactions. An herbal formula written by a very famous Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor, Dr. Zhang Zhong Jing, nearly 2000 years ago may have the answers we’ve all been waiting for.

This herbal approach is not the same as recent suggestions about building up tolerance to peanuts buy eating a small amount daily over time. The ongoing herbal study for food intolerance and food allergies has passed initial FDA testing in-vivo and in-vitro and is now successfully being studied on human patients with allergies to tree nuts, peanuts, fish, shell fish and sesame allergies. The human studies have been approved by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine Institutional Review Board.

Intermittent attacks of abdominal pain, a stifling sensation, irritability, and warmth in the chest (anxiety), diarrhea after eating, and cold hands and feet are all symptoms TCM recognizes as part of the expression of food allergies after someone eats trigger foods. The food allergy herbal formula known as FAHF-2 contains nine well studied Chinese herbs. Peanut allergic mice given FAHF-2 were found to establish a peanut tolerance. This effect was associated with up-regulation of interferon-gamma by CD8+T cells.

Herb quality is absolutely critical to effectiveness and the herbs should be verified through HPLC fingerprinting according to the FDA’s Guidance for Industry Botanical Drug Products. The pharmacological actions of individual herbs comprising FAHF-2 on peanut induced anaphylactic reactions determined all nine herbs were necessary to prevent anaphylactic reactions. Results showed that some individual herbs reduced peanut induced anaphylactic symptoms but no single herb offered full protection from anaphylactic symptoms equivalent to FAHF-2.

‘The herbs had highly variable effects on histamine release, as well as peanut specific serum IgE and IgG2a levels. The herbs also had variable effects on IL-4, IL-5 and IFN-γ levels. A simplified formula comprised of only the most efficacious individual herbs showed only partial efficacy and was not able to reproduce the effects of FAHF-2. This finding suggested that component herbs of FAHF-2 may be working synergistically to produce the curative therapeutic effects produced by the whole herb formula.”1

For more information regarding the nine herbs used in the study please see the link below. To purchase the nine herb formula please contact Cathy@PacHerbs.com. Individual consultations are available upon request.

 

  1. www .ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4118473/
Melanoma herb Borage supplement

Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine Effective for Skin Cancer

A research group at the University of  Graz in Germany showed a Chinese herb has efficacy against black skin cancer also known as malignant melanoma.

This type of cancer accounts for 80% of skin cancer deaths. When detected early it is well treated but few treatment options have yet to be effective.

New research shows Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has a promising candidate against malignant melanoma. A plant used in Chinese Herbal Medicine has been successfully tested on skin cancer cells and mice.

They started by analyzing hundreds of plant extracts. Team member Kretschmer, said,

“We started out from the question as to which plants are used in TCM as a cure for cancer-like diseases and whether an active substance for fighting cancer can be obtained from them,” explains project team member Kretschmer. “The concept of cancer varies partly between TCM and Western medicine, which is why all remedies used in TCM against cancer and cancer-like diseases were of interest to us. In a pilot project, the group created a database with several hundred potential plants. Dried samples from a selection of 76 of these plants were used to produce 253 extracts, and these were tested on various cancer cells. The researchers identified one plant that seemed promising enough for further studies. The scientific name of the plant is Onosma paniculata Bureau & Franch, a member of the Onosma genus.”

The active ingredient was successfully tested.

“We tested a substance called β-β-dimethylacrylshikonin, which we had obtained from the plant, directly on malignant melanoma cells and were able to prove it had an effect,” says Kretschmer. The substance destroyed the cancer cells. These favourable results encouraged the research team to carry out the first in vivo tests. Naked mice suffering from skin cancer were treated with the drug by injecting it directly into the tumours to see if there were any side effects. “That was successful as well; we saw no side effects and the tumours responded to the treatment and died.” The researchers observed both apoptosis, which is a controlled cell death, and necrosis, which is uncontrolled cell death.

Increased efficacy

“We then tried to modify the substance to see if we could improve its efficacy even further,” notes the researcher. Among several modifications, they found one particular shikonin derivative that proved to be particularly effective.
In theory, the substance is suitable for the development of a drug, but there is still a long way to go before such a drug becomes available. “This will require larger-scale studies, and the route of administration is still an undecided issue.” Two follow-up projects are already in the pipeline.

Kretschmer emphasizes that TCM served only as a source of inspiration for new active compounds. It is still unclear how exactly the plant works in TCM. “There is no clear idea of how this plant develops its beneficial effect in TCM. It is uncommon in TCM to use just a single plant, normally it is a combination that can be prepared in different ways,” relates Kretschmer. The plants are usually prepared as infusions and boiled twice for a long time. “When we prepare our plant in this way, we no longer see the anti-tumour effect in the cell culture test,” explains Kretschmer. “TCM also knows another preparation method using oil, which is then applied to the affected areas of the skin. This oil contains a higher concentration of the active shikonins.”

In the course of the project, the researchers also found a way to phytochemically verify the identity of different plant species with a similar morphology. “There are roots that look very similar to those of the plant we are investigating, and we have found that these species are often sold under false names in China.” This is a problem because some of the plants offered for sale contain substances that can be harmful. Kretschmer and the research team found a method using thin-layer chromatography that helps to distinguish between the plants and is simple enough to be used e.g. in pharmacies. The research project ran for four years and was completed in early 2019. The team cooperated with the Medical University in Graz and the Helmholtz Institute in Munich.

Publications

Kretschmer, N.; Deutsch, A.; Durchschein, C.; Rinner, B.; Stallinger, A.; Higareda-Almaraz, J.C.; Scheideler, M.; Lohberger, B.; Bauer, R.: Comparative Gene Expression Analysis in WM164 Melanoma Cells Revealed That β-β-Dimethylacrylshikonin Leads to ROS Generation, Loss of Mitochondrial Membrane Potential, and Autophagy Induction, in: Molecules 2018, 23

Durchschein, C.; Hufner, A.; Rinner, B.; Stallinger, A.; Deutsch, A.; Lohberger, B.; Bauer, R.; Kretschmer, N.: Synthesis of Novel Shikonin Derivatives and Pharmacological Effects of Cyclopropylacetylshikonin on Melanoma Cells, in: Molecules 2018, 23

Jahanafrooz, Z; Stallinger, A; Anders, I; Kleinegger, F; Lohberger, B; Durchschein, C; Bauer, R; Deutsch, A; Rinner, B; Kretschmer, N.: Influence of silibinin and β-β-dimethylacrylshikonin on chordoma cells, in: Phytomedicine 2018, 49

http://scilog.fwf.ac.at/

Is The Almighty Coffee Bean Part of Chinese Medicine?

Coffee as Chinese MedicineI’m a coffee drinker alas only in moderation. Now, I’m re-thinking that moderation as I learn more about the benefits of the coffee bean.

A cup of coffee is 2% caffeine and 98% other bioactive ingredients. To say the least, it is a complex beverage. People seem to forget that the coffee bean is an herb. Indeed, the coffee plant belongs to the Rubiaceae family, which is a source of several different Chinese herbs, including the gardenia fruit. Coffee beans medicinal effects have been well known for millenia but some of the first popular evidence was in 1908, when the Indian Materia Medica was first published.

At the proper dosages, the coffee bean has the ability to improve health in several ways. Drinking coffee can increase cardiovascular health and lower the risk of colon cancer, gallstones, cirrhosis, and Parkinson’s disease. A typical dosage for this type of herbal medicine is in the range of 6-18 grams per day, which translates to about 1-3 cups of coffee, depending on how many grams of ground beans are used. Roasting the coffee beans do not detract from the beneficial effects of this herb.

The primary active substances in the coffee bean are chlorogenic and caffeic acids. These substances have been shown to have anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects. No wonder the local coffee shop has become our favorite pit stops. Coffee also contains antioxidant phenols that can reduce the risk of cancer.  (Like so many Chinese herbs, many many benefits. Probably a lot we don’t even understand fully, yet.

This blog idea was inspired by a study on long-term coffee drinker with type 2 diabetes mellitus.  To quote the study, “long-term coffee consumption is associated with a statistically significantly lower risk for type 2 diabetes,”  (link below) Coffee, just like any other potent herbal medicine, is not necessarily for everyone, as some people may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine. But the coffee bean definitely contains many beneficial vitamins including potassium, niacin and magnesium.

Drinking a freshly brewed cup of this herbal bean can have some wonderful health benefits. Enjoy, but drink responsibly. Dont use coffee and the caffiene to keep your energy high all day long. This is actually a great way to burn our your adrenal glands. Coffee like almost all things is best used in moderation.

Study Link
Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Mar;73(3):532-8.Consumption of high doses of chlorogenic acid, present in coffee, or of black tea increases plasma total homocysteine concentrations in humans.  Olthof MR, Hollman PC, Zock PL, Katan MB.                   http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11237928
Progesterone supplements

Hormonal Balance Estrogen & Progesterone

Today we’re seeing a tremendous number of women and men who are struggling with hormonal imbalances. Breast cancer to prostate enlargement, PCOS, and menopause symptoms are easily recognizable hormonal symptoms but what about symptoms such as cold hands, irritability, mood swings, pre-menopausal bone fractures, sluggish metabolism (fatigue), thyroid dysfunction, fibrocystic breasts, anxiety, fibroids, irregular menstrual cycles, insomnia and to name just a few?

All of these symptoms can be related to hormonal imbalance and a state known as “Estrogen Dominance” which refers to as a cumulative load of estrogen effects that outpace progesterone.

So how does someone become “estrogen dominant” and how does estrogen affect our overall health? Understanding the causes requires first a look at the most common places we find estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen (E1) is produced mainly in the ovaries. Progesterone is produced mainly from the outside lining of a mature egg released from the ovaries. Women who take or took birth control pills have a unique situation in that they do not ovulate, therefore they miss out on 90% of their body’s ability to produce progesterone. (HRT and even bio/identical hormones also have effects for brevity this article will not cover.) Without progesterone, estrogen can easily dominate. The progestin in birth control pills does not act like natural progesterone our bodies produce. Natural bio-mimicking progesterone can be created from certain yams and soy plants. However, natural progesterone cannot be patented, which is where progestin comes in.

Estrogen can also become a dominant hormone through the exposure to xeno-estrogens (chemicals that act on estrogen hormone receptors). Our environment is loaded with xeno-estrogens in unprecedented amounts. Xeno-estrogens are known endocrine-disrupting chemicals and can be found in:

Body-care products, including ones like sunscreens we coat on our bodies.
Pesticides in our food supply
Hormones used to plump up animals in our meat supply chain
Hormones in our milk supply
Unfiltered tap water can contain synthetic estrogen from birth control pills
Microwaving food in plastic containers releases xeno-estrogens
Some non-stick coated cookware release xeno-estrogens
Plastic water bottles contain xeno-estrogen chemicals
Processed food can contain propyl-paraben a well known endocrine disruptor (Propylparaben is in 49 widely-available processed foods 1)

We can solve this, right? We can drink filtered water, eat only organic meat and vegetables, change some lifestyle habits and our hormones will go back into balance, problem solved. Theoretically, this approach should work, IF the body can detox/eliminate the accumulated toxic estrogen load. Often this load is stored in fat and obesity becomes another factor.

If you see patients with estrogen dominant symptoms, lifestyle changes alone are often not enough to bring the body back into balance. This is where patients need our help. (Additionally, there are other causes of xeno-estrogens this article does not have space to include: i.e. exposure to household chemicals, building chemicals, years of hormone therapy use including bio-Identical/bio-mimicking hormones and even a person’s gut bacteria aka. microbiome.1

Some considerations

Modalities we can incorporate into our health regimes include ways to release the toxic load of estrogen and create a safer by-product during the break-down or detoxing process. Imbalances of hormones directly affect the liver which tends to be on overdrive when symptoms of estrogen dominance are present. Food, herbs and a few well-known supplements are excellent choices to help this process. Improving liver function is fuel for the detoxification process. Consider what “Functional Medicine” has been teaching; when the liver breaks down estrogen (and xeno-estrogens) by-products termed metabolites are formed. Creating a safer estrogen by-product or metabolite should be part of the overall detoxification plan. Excretion of metabolites can be impaired by poor methylation and abnormal gut flora.

A few ways we can help our patients optimize liver function and the detoxification of estrogen:

Chinese herbs formula Jia Wei Xiao Yao San AKA Relax Herb Pack – This popular Chinese herb formula sold worldwide for stress and anxiety outsells all other Chinese formulas, year after year. Stress dramatically affects liver function through continual overproduction of cortisol, rather than progesterone. Since both hormones are derived from the precursor hormone pregnenolone, a situation known as pregnenolone steal develops. When the body determines cortisol is more important to make than progesterone, estrogen dominance can flourish. Treat the liver stress and the downstream effects will improve.
Methionine – This supplement provides sulfur (not the same as sulfa drugs) and acts as a cellular cleanser. It literally donates methyl groups for the biochemical reaction that rids you of poisons and harmful estrogen by-products. Foods can also donate methyl groups a few good ones are beets, legumes, eggs, broccoli, leafy greens, nuts and sunflower seeds.
Methylcobalamin – A form of B12, this supplement also provides a “methyl” group which helps the estrogen detoxification process. Keep in minds, antacids, some diabetes medications, certain cholesterol-binding medicines and alcohol can wipe out your supply of methylcobalamin.
Calcium D-Glucarate – This is not the same as plain calcium. Toxins must combine with water-soluble substances to leave your body. This supplement combines with estrogen to help move it out.
Reishi Mushroom and other Chinese Medicinal Herbs – Reishi is high in poly-saccharides which feed the body’s microbiome, this in turn benefits liver metabolite breakdown.
Fermented foods such as miso soup, tempeh, kombucha, fermented vegetables i.e. pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi. (For more suggestions see my blogs at http://www.PacHerbs.com/blog/)

Keep in mind, reaching hormone balance can be accomplished faster with the elimination and avoidance of xeno-estrogens. However, most functional medicine doctors will agree, diet, supplements, exercise and lifestyle-based strategies are equally important. Establish realistic patient lifestyle goals and together you will be successful in treating the root causes and symptoms of estrogen dominance and create lifelong habits for balanced hormones.

 

References:

1. Microbiome Researcher, Rob Knight Ph.D. The American Gut Project http://americangut.org/
2. Environmental Working Group. http://www.ewg.org/research/ewg-s-dirty-dozen-guide-food-additives/generally-recognized-as-safe-but-is-it
3. More great info on the human microbiome https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DTrENdWvvM