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.

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.

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/

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
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Diet Theories for Health: Chinese vs Western

fruits_and_vegetables2A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away (thinking of Star Wars) a physician traveled with a bags of herbs, a few gold needles and a thousand ounces of gold.  Ok,  this physician  didn’t have a thousand ounces of gold, but he did have gold acupuncture needles and lived on earth.  What he also had was a belief that every single human life was more precious than a thousand ounces of gold.  His name, Sun Shu Mao (581-682 AD) and because of his beliefs he wrote a book called One Thousand Ounces of Gold Classic.  In this book he described diet using specific foods  and Chinese herbs to cure illnesses such as goiter, night blindness and beriberi.  Today we understand the science behind curing these diseases, iodine for goiter, Vitamin A for night blindness and B-1 for beriberi. But do we understand the system of foods and Chinese herbs to treat illnesses some1400 years later?

The Chinese have used food and Chinese herbs, basically the human diet, to treat seemingly incurable diseases as far back as written records on bones and turtle shells.  We now have studies that prove that foods and Chinese herbs are effective in treating nearly every affliction known to man. It is a Western concept  that  the word “diet”  refers almost exclusively  to a  weight  loss system. A Chinese diet  may or may not  focus on weight loss, but it’s primary intention is to treat an ailment.   A Westerners “diet” focuses on protein, calories, carbohydrates, vitamins and other nutrients, whereas a Chinese diet  focuses on the:  Five Flavors, Five Energies, Movements and Organic Actions of Foods.  The basic concept is, if I feel cold, I should eat something warm.  If I feel hot, I should eat  something cold. (don’t  we all do this?) This might sound basic, but it can get a little technical, so stay with me.

 

The Chinese categorize foods into five flavors. Flavors are important for both food and Chinese herbs because each flavor effects  a certain internal organs.  The five flavors are, sweet, sour, bitter, salty and acrid or pungent.  If you tend to indulge on the sweet and salty foods and miss out on the health benefits of the bitter, sour and pungent foods, you should expand your spectrum of  tastes.  Sweet foods act  on the stomach and spleen, obvious examples are honey, sugar and watermelon.  Americans  are more likely to consider candy and  ice cream sweet. This article will not cover processed foods, so think about barley, mung beans and sunflower seeds, these sweet foods help neutralize the toxic effects of other  foods. If you haven’t yet tasted mung beans give them a try, if your diabetic  it’s excellent food for your constitution. Since space prohibits my listing all foods in each category you can check out: Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition by Paul Pitchfordif you’d like more information on this topic.

 

Sour  foods such as vinegar, olives, lemons and adzuki beans can obstruct  movement and are helpful in treating diarrhea.  Bitter foods can help reduce body heat.  Examples of bitter foods are radish, sea grass and coffee. Most Westerners probably don’t consider coffee a bitter tasting food, try munching on an UN-roasted bean, you may be pleasantly surprised.  Salty foods help soften hardness which explains why kelp and seaweed are commonly used for goiters.  Acrid or pungent foods such as the Chinese herb peppermint or ginger promote energy circulation.  A strong, fresh peppermint  tea often produces a slight sweat on the forehead.

 

When referring to the five energies of foods, Chinese theory simply means foods ability to make you feel hot or cold.  But energies are categorized even  further into cold, cool, neutral, warm and hot.  This is a very important aspect of food because a “balanced diet” will be different depending on a persons constitution.  For example a person with a  cold constitution will need more hot foods.  If a person suffers from cold rheumatism and the pain is worse on cold days, it makes sense to give this person hot foods such as a soup made with Chinese herbs such as ginger, red pepper, green pepper or cinnamon. Understanding  the energies of foods to create a balance diet  is of the utmost importance.  Often herbs are more effective and faster acting than foods and for this reason herbs are commonly used in Chinese cooking.

 

This subject is vast and I’ve only covered  two topics relating to Chinese herbs, food and diet theory thus far.  The other main differences between the Western diet and the Chinese concept of diet are: Movements of  Foods in the body and Actions of Foods.  To learn more on these concepts see part two of this article.

 

Although, I may have simplified how a Chinese diet focuses on the five flavors  and five energies of foods you can see that from the Chinese viewpoint the word  “diet” has almost nothing to do with weight loss and everything to do with how foods effect our bodies. This may be a completely new view of diet and nutrition to you, but Sun Shu Mao wrote about  Chinese herbs and healing foods approximately 1400 years ago. Asian cultures have proven these food and herb theories and seeing that history always repeats itself, it’s time to reiterate it today.

 

For more information see Part II of this article.

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Study Links Allergies to Sleep Quality

Are your allergies connected to how well you sleep?

A study conducted by New York Medical College says there is a link between your REM sleep and your allergy symptoms.

We all know getting enough quality sleep is key to good overall health. This first-of-its-kind study is a breakthrough for many suffering from allergies.

“When I started focusing on the new REM-RDI numbers, I was able to connect patient’s symptoms such as fatigue, allergies, nasal blockage or congestion” with REM abnormalities, said Dr. Berson. “This led to the correlation of tired allergic patients having a problem during REM and some patients who were tired and had REM-RDI elevations testing positive for allergies.”

While the new approach can provide patients with sleep issues better diagnoses and new symptoms to look for, Dr. Berson cautions that there is no one-size-fits-all diagnosis.

“Every patient is different and the study aims to provide more clarity on the relationship between allergies and a person’s overall quality of sleep,” said Dr. Berson. “The airway begins in the nose and its anatomic form needs to be properly balanced with its function. This shows that Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctors, as well as allergists and sleep physicians, should be collaborating more closely to help pinpoint sleeping problems patients may be facing.”

If you’re having trouble sleeping try iSleep Herb Pack a combination of herbs used together for over 500 years which will not interfere with any allergy medication you may be taking.  iSleep herbs will help quiet your mind and stop the ruminating process. A quiet mind helps you get to REM sleep much faster and longer. Give it a try here, or find it on Amazon here.

 

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Rock Your Menopause

Coming February 2020 – The Rock Your Menopause Challenge!

A program that spotlights the top areas in your life that are sabotaging your hormonal balance. 

Cathy Margolin, Licensed Acupuncturist, speaker, author and “been there – done that”  Menopause Guru has helped hundreds of women balance their hormones naturally at any age and every stage.  Learn healthy, simple solutions so you can sail through Menopause. PS. Without drugs.

Join the Rock Your Menopause Facebook group here!

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Five Best Practices For a Healthy Microbiome

Three years ago I wrote an article entitled, “New Chinese Medicine Tools to Replenish and Repair Our Gut” for the OM Newspaper. (click here to read) In that article I discussed recent research and ideas on how those practicing Eastern Asian Medicine can identify themselves as experts in helping patients achieve a “healthy gut” and rightfully take their place as part of one of the largest movements in health care today, “The Healthy Gut Movement”.

Over the past three years, a mountain of research has been published on our microbiome. This has inspired every variety of health practitioner to join the bandwagon called “Healthy Gut Movement”. Our foundation, as practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been proven rock solid. Our lineage is profound and what TCM has known for thousands of years, Western science has just begun to understand. Digestion is of utmost importance to a healthy body and healthy mind. A healthy gut is the root to a healthy body.

 

We know more about the one cell organism that live in and on us than any time in history. We know they greatly affect our health. The increasingly large probiotic supplements sections at health food stores alone tells us consumers are buying into the idea that a healthy gut is important.

 

Most of us by now understand that bacteria live in and on our skin, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and of course our gut. Our lower colon is the most populated with the largest diversity of these microscopic cells. In fact, they out-number our human cells 10 to 1, which means we are more microbial than human. Dr. Stephen Barrie, is an expert in the field of microbiome. He has spent the last 30 years conducting research, and recently commented, “it is our individual microbiome that is responsible for ALL disease states today”. His mission is to make disease an option. Because in his words, “a healthy body relies on a healthy and diverse biome.” In the interview where he spoke these words, he comments that this statement may shock the masses, but the evidence to prove this statement correct has already been amassed by many experts around the world. (His ebook is a great place to expand your knowledge it’s titled, “Microbiome: All Diseases Begin in the Gut (Short Guide to Fixing Your Gut)” His words echo many of the greatest teachers in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Whole schools of thought were developed in the 12th century stressing “the importance of ‘Preserving Stomach-Qi” as the most important treatment method. Zhang Jie Bin, one of the four great masters from the Ming Dynasty and one of the most important doctors in the history of TCM wrote, “The doctor who wants to nourish life HAS to tonify stomach and spleen.” According to Li Dong-yuan it is of paramount importance to protect the spleen/stomach if people want to stay healthy and to strengthen them once they become diseased no matter what other organs are affected. According to Le Dong-yuan, ‘if the root is sound the branch will prosper’.

Emerging science has proven our gut, our lower colon is acting as our “second brain”. Many would say it is the first brain because our gut bacteria produce hormones, neurotransmitters, serotonin and chemicals that have yet to be identified. Our microbiome effect our daily thoughts, moods, actions and even dictates food cravings. The secret to weight control is now attributed to the types of bacteria you foster. So if you thought you ran the show, think again. The bugs within are more powerful than we know. It reminds me of the scene in “Men in Black” in the morgue where the little alien is seen at the control panel in the head, operating the big body below.

However, we can exert influence on the bacteria within by controlling what goes in and on our body. There is good news, our gut microbiota is malleable we can control our destiny. Our bodies are constantly looking to stay in homeostasis. Whether it’s balancing our blood sugar levels with food intake, or hormone levels with outside stressors. Our body is in a constant state of looking for balance. Our microbiome wants the same type of balance. It’s not coincidental that TCM has taught us the importance of balance with our treatments. Our foundation has always emphasized the primary goal is to bring balance to the body to achieve a healthy mental, physical and emotional state. Although we may not think about “balancing” our microbiome, by balancing everything in the body we help the bacteria within us, to also achieve balance. This microbial balancing act is just another name for treatments performs. Now it’s time we explain it to patients in ways that are more relatable.

How do we keep the bugs balanced?
The worldwide microbiome research confirmed what many of us have always understood. If we nourish our spleen, stomach channels, (our biome) we simultaneously nourish both our physical and mental well-being. So what do your bugs within like to eat and how can we keep them in balance? I recently spent a week listening to a group of experts in the “Healthy Gut Summit”. I want to share with you a few of their best words of advice to keep your microbiome balanced and healthy.
The Top Five Best Practices for a Balanced Biome:

1. Eat a variety of fermented foods. (a least 1 daily)
2. Eat foods high in polysaccharides every day
3. Eat at least 50 grams or more of fiber daily.
4. Individualized diets are best, NO diet is right for everyone.
5. Eat a diverse diet, (seasonal foods are best) this rule is ki
ng.

These five best practices may seem common sense to some, but how many of us are doing these five things daily? When talking with your patients about these five best practices let’s not forget our roots. Because everyone’s microbiome is different, the best way to treat individuals is the way TCM teaches us to diagnose and treat, INDIVIDUALLY! Balance the spleen/stomach channels according to each patient’s individual needs. A tonifying treatment, a sedating treatment, and qi moving treatment. You know best for your patients, you decide. The late, great, Giovanni said, “The stomach and spleen could be tonified at the end of each season, particularly at the end of winter, to regenerate the energy.”

Number one in the list of five best practices is fermented foods. In traditional cultures worldwide, fermented foods have played a part of every culture. This history lesson should not be overlooked. Fermented foods play a huge role in feeding our microbiome. Kimichi, sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha, miso, kefir and other fermented foods provide a variety of healthy bacteria. A daily sampling of new live bacteria from fermented foods makes your gut community more adaptable and diversified. Since diversity has been proven a key factor to a healthy gut ecosystem, there is no substitute for eating a variety of raw and fermented foods. A healthy brain also requires a healthy gut so make smart decisions everyday and if you need some encouragement, track what you eat in an app. This is a great way to give yourself positive feedback, as you can review the past days of food intake easily and feel encouraged that the small changes will have a big impact over time. We can starve or nourish our gut bacteria in as little as two weeks and see measurable changes from stool tests.

Some of the most interesting research in the last few years is that no diet is right for everyone. Just like the same probiotic supplement cannot possibly be the right for everybody. We all have individual sensitivities due to the colonies of bugs within. Some bodies are good at digesting seafoods and algae, others lack these bugs and cannot tolerate a diet rich in seafood. Research from just the last three years has shed light on the many diet programs and detoxing plans in books and online today. Most of these fad programs have little to no effect on improving gut health for the masses. What works for one person does not work for all.

What experts in the field do agree upon is the best way to improve your microbiome is NOT an elimination diet or detox program but rather a diet rich in poly-saccharide foods, high fiber foods, (50 -100 grams daily) and a diverse diet eating seasonally harvested food. The more diverse with vegetables the better. Meat protein should be more like a condiment than a main course. Sugar should be completely eliminated for many reasons and one you may not have considered. Sugar is digested and absorbed in the small intestines. Most of your good gut bacteria live in the lower colon. A diet high in sugar leaves nothing for your gut bacteria to feed on so they will eventually starve if all you eat is sugary foods. What’s worse, when your gut bacteria have nothing to eat they feed on the mucous membrane fence that divides their living space from space human colon cells inhabit. You’ve heard the saying “fences make for good neighbors”. Well, in this case, it couldn’t be more accurate. When bacteria eat away at the fence, this, in turn, creates inflammation. Starving your gut bacteria is a bad idea but unfortunately, much of the processed food eaten today is doing exactly that. Take care of your bugs and they will take care of you. Nourish the spleen/stomach channels to nourish life.

I highly recommend the book, THE GOOD GUT by Dr.s Justin & Erica Sonnenburg. Much of the information in this article is from the Sonnenburg research. I was lucky enough to meet Justin at a conference a few years ago and he is not only brilliant but humble. He often mentions in his talks that his hope is that the research coming from their Stanford lab trickles down to everyone. Their book was written for exactly that purpose. It’s an easy read, a great overview of some of the latest science from the microbiome researchers, and a perfect introduction for patients to their gut health, the gut-brain connection. The information will help you feel more knowledgeable to heal NEW patients as this gut health movement accelerates. It also has some fantastic recipes to create foods both you and your biome will love.
According to Dr. J. Sonnenburg, foods high in polysaccharides are powerhouses of nourishment for your microbiome. Sonnenburg says’s, “The safest way to increase your microbial biodiversity is to eat a variety of foods high in polysaccharides.” We are the lucky recipients of TCM herbal wisdom that understood Astragalus (huang qi) and Reishi mushroom (ling zhi) are two amazing herbs with a high content of polysaccharides.

When you change and balance your microbiome, you change just about everything in your body. Whether you build it or destroy it, the reins are in your hands. This is one key piece of information from the last few years of microbiota research. Balance is key, like everything in TCM. Rebalance your microbiome with herbs, foods, acupuncture and watch your health blossom all year long. Getting educated on the integral role these organisms play in our bodies can vastly improve their healing outcomes. By understanding and building on this knowledge, you will not only improve your health will be learning some of the greatest discoveries and advances in health care today.

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What Are The Best Probiotics For A Healthy Immune System?

Our health landscape is changing rapidly and we find ourselves in a new era. An era of degrading food supply, systemic inflammation, and overuse of drugs, including antibiotics. Living in our modern world takes its toll and we see it in our practices every day. Antibiotics are failing, superbugs are on the rise, and digestive health is compromised by food and lifestyle choices. Society is at a new crossroads. On one side, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are currently killing approximately 23,000 people every year and the number of antibiotic-resistant superbugs is climbing. On the contrary, long-standing and pervasive over-prescribing of antibiotics is at an all-time high. Additionally, we are exposed to antibiotic effects by eating many types of meat and using antibacterial soaps. Never before in history have we had to overcome the effects of man-made drugs in the quantities we are seeing today. By having a well-stocked toolbox and the ability to talk about TCM with Western medicine-friendly language, we may be able to lead a worldwide resurgence of healthy modalities to combat superbugs and promote long-term digestive health. I strongly believe we have tremendous healing opportunities in this new era.

Chinese medicine has always been a deeply holistic healing approach. We know acupuncture and herbs have far-reaching effects to heal even the most difficult pathologies. But the focus here is the importance of digestion. Whole schools of thought were developed in the 12th century stressing “the importance of Preserving Stomach-Qi” as the most important treatment method. Digestion is a cornerstone of traditional Chinese medicine with a full range of modalities including, healing cuisine, herbs, acupuncture, and Qi Nei Tang, to name a few. Zhang Jie Bin, one of the four great masters from the Ming Dynasty and one of the most important doctors in the history of TCM wrote, “The doctor who wants to nourish life has to tonify stomach and spleen.”

Could simply treating the spleen and stomach with acupuncture along with treating the chief complaint be enough? Although this is an easy approach to include into just about every treatment protocol, I believe there is much more we can do that already falls within our scope of practice. Our place is at the forefront of the “healthy gut” movement. What Western science is “discovering,” we have known for thousands of years and what Western science is giving us are tools which help convince our patients of the critical importance of their digestive health.

Emerging science is proving our gut is acting as our “second brain”. Its ability to constantly transform us is being unraveled by trail-blazing scientists studying human bacteria worldwide. The project, known as the Human Microbiome Project may have something to teach us about the way we practice TCM and Eastern/Integrative medicine today. The Microbiome Project is confirming microscopic bacterial colonies living in our digestive tract have important jobs for both our physical and mental well being. They are confirming what we have always known: If we nourish them, we simultaneously nourish ourselves. Because “for hundreds of thousands of years bacterial and human cells have existed in a peaceful symbiosis that is responsible for the health and equilibrium of our body. Now, this invisible Eden is being irrevocably damaged by some of our most revered medical advances—antibiotics—threatening the extinction of our irreplaceable microbes with terrible health consequences.”

Trillions of tiny microbes living on our skin, mucosal membranes, and in our intestines are helping us extract nutrients from our food. Others are exerting enormous influence over our metabolism, hormones, cravings, and even our genes. The Microbiome Project is proving healthy gut bacteria is the secret to dramatic weight loss, significant improvements in overall health, mood, energy, and mental function. The dysbiosis of our guts is contributing to systemic inflammation, leading to the rise of obesity, asthma, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and certain forms of cancer. In addition, The Human Microbiome Research Project is also inadvertently proving what Chinese medicine has understood and has practiced for centuries: maintain the health of the spleen and stomach and lower jiao, and you have the basis for good health.

When we nourish the spleen/stomach we indirectly tonify all the other organs.

The good news is that unlike our inherited genes, which are more or less fixed, we can exert a huge influence over our gut bacteria genetics. “We can repair some of the damage to your gut bacteria simply by changing your dietary habits,” remarked Oluf Pedersen who co-headed the Danish portion of theMetagenomics of the Human Intestinal project. When we counsel our patients on their dietary habits, we can be successful at preventing and reversing the top three pathologies of our time. These three include:

1. Obesity – Gut bacteria appear to help food processing functions by producing signaling chemicals that regulate our appetite, satiety, and digestion. People with low bacterial richness are significantly more likely to be obese.

2. Insulin Resistant / Diabetes Those with fewer bacteria diversity are more likely to be insulin resistant and at greater risk for diabetes or heart disease.

3. Cancer – The Microbiome Project is providing insights into new ways in which our bacteria, viruses, and fungi interact with our bodies and increase cancer risks.

Help Your Patients Restore and Repair Gut Flora by Integrating New Tools into Your Practice.

Research has shown that we can reshape, repopulate, and even cultivate beneficial bacteria. As health practitioners, we are the gardeners able to help change the landscape for our patients. So, where do we start? In regards to acupuncture treatments, Giovanni says “The stomach and spleen could be tonified at the end of each season, particularly at the end of winter, to regenerate the energy.”

In addition to acupuncture, we can prescribe dietary supplements such as probiotics. However, I do not believe probiotics supplements (alone) are the answer. Consuming higher and higher dosages of probiotics with one, two, or ten probiotic Colony Forming Units (CFU’s) can cause dysbiosis. Research shows no single probiotic is specific for every individual’s microorganism makeup. Although there may be a benefit to taking a certain strain(s), we have no current tools to decipher which strain is most beneficial for which patient. Long-term benefits are also unproven. Failure to change dietary habits or prescription drug use will prevent healthy bacterial colonies from thriving and will disable them from becoming long-term beneficial communities.

As a health practitioner, I believe the answers for our patients can be found within a variety of modalities including acupuncture, patient education, dietary changes, practitioner tools and herbs to cultivate healthy bacteria. We have a huge opportunity to alter our patients gut flora with these tools.

Acupuncture:

Support the spleen and stomach in all your treatments. At the very least, add Zusanli St 36 to every treatment protocol or a variety of Sp/St tonifying points. Miriam Lee, the first Licensed Acupuncturist in the state of California, used St 36 in every treatment with every patient.

Patient Education:

Ask patients to keep a food diary and go over it with them. For example, have them write about a two- day food “cleanse” where they remove sugar. Instruct patients to observe how their body reacts when they revert back to their normal diet and get patients to commit to a plan.

Give each patient a calendar that includes times of the year to get an acupuncture tune-up. Tell them you will send them an email to remind them. Give them a list of results they will see and feel as they heal. Get them involved in the project. Celebrate the good results.
Limit processed foods and supplements containing emulsifiers. Ingredients commonly called lecithin derived from soy (likely GMO), Datem, (found in commercial bread) Calcium propionate, CMC and polysorbate 80 are creating a host of new absorption problems in our digestive tracts. 11
Explain to your patients why avoiding antibacterial hand sanitizing products is recommended and recognizing bacterial diversity is good. Use safe natural cleaning products in your office. (A small sign next to the bathroom hand soap container can easily do this for you.)
Encourage “playing in the dirt” (i.e. gardening) and playing with your animals (dogs, cats, horses etc.). Our pets spread healthy bacteria which have proven benefits.12
Get patients back to real foods! The perfect diet is a lofty goal for many. Make the goal the 80/20 rule. 80% REAL food, 20% less than perfect/real food. This will still improve the balance of healthy gut flora.
Avoid prescription antibiotics as much as possible.

Dietary Changes:

Don’t eat meat fed antibiotics.
Eat Pre-biotics every day. Prebiotics enhance the growth of beneficial bacteria and can be found in fermented foods such as kimichi, sauerkraut, pickles, kombucha, miso, and other fermented foods. Add these to your diet to provide a variety of healthy bacteria. A daily sampling of new live bacteria from fermented foods makes your gut community more adaptable.
Try Coconut Milk Yogurt. Not all yogurts are created equal. Some yogurts, although fortified with probiotics, often contain a lot of sugar and not all micro-organisms survive and thrive during processing.
Add Extra Virgin Coconut Oil – 4 tablespoons per day, after meals. This heals the GI tract and kills Candida Albicans and other pathogenic fungi, bacteria, and viruses.13

Use the art Qi Nei Tang and teach it to your patients.

Practitioner Tools:

Ask every patient if they have ever had severe food poisoning as this could upset the microbiome balance even 20 years later. The more knowledge you have about your patient’s gut health, the better equipped you will be to recommend treatment protocols.

Be mindful of the tongue coating or lack thereof. We are the only health practitioners trained to look at the tongue coating at every visit and derive our diagnosis partly from the information we attain. Because the stomach function is closely tied to the tongue coating, consider the coating or lack thereof, with utmost seriousness in every visit.

Check Vitamin D levels – Vitamin D3 plays a crucial factor. Low levels can weaken the barrier of the small intestine which contributes to gut irritation and exaggerates the systemic effects of food sensitivities/allergies.
Huang Qi (Astragalus) is an extremely powerful herb used alone or in formulas. Huang Qi’s high polysaccharides content is fantastic for improving overall immune health and the growth of healthy bacteria.14 “The safest way to increase your microbial biodiversity is to eat a variety of polysaccharides,”15 (Other single herbs with substantial Sp/St benefits are codonopsis (dangshen), atractylodes (baizhu), Chinese angelica (dang gui) dioscorea (shanyao), lotus seed (lianzi), roasted ginger (paojiang), longan (long yan rou), and baked licorice (zhi gan cao). 16 Encourage patients to use these herbs in everyday foods such as soups or teas.

Herbs:

Use herbal formulas to support the digestive tract when your diagnosis fits. This is a short list (for brevity) of a few important formulas.

Si Jun Zi Tang (Four Gentleman Decoction)

Liu Jun Zi Tang (Six Gentlemen Decoction)

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang (Center-Supplementing Qi-Boosting Decoction)

Huang Qi Jian Zhong Tang (Astragalus Center-Fortifying Decoction)

Xiao Jian Zhong Tang (Minor Center-Fortifying Decoction)

Chai Hu Shu Gan San (Bupleurum Liver- Coursing Powder)

Bao He Wan (Harmony-Preserving Pill)

Gui Pi Tang (Restore the Spleen Decoction)

Xiang Sha Liu Jun Zi Tang (Saussurea and Cardamon Six Gentlemen Pill)

Final Thoughts:

Cutting edge Western research can give us a new perspective on our ancient wisdom. We know the origins of many diseases are in the gut and in today’s world we can no longer ignore the effects of superbugs, toxic foods, and toxic lifestyles. As we help patients fortify their digestive tracts, disease resistance and long-term health improve. By starting small with each patient, you create a ripple effect which will grow and scale and revitalize an entire community. Encourage active participation from every patient and watch the seeds you plant, grow in time. Imagine the implications as you help society heal one individual at a time.

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References:

1. World Health Organization, WHO’s first global report on antibiotic resistance reveals serious, worldwide threat to public health April 30, 2014, Geneva

2. Maciocia, G. The Foundations of Chinese Medicine, Churchhill Livingston 1998 pg. 60

3. Flaws, Bob.  Li Dong-Yuan’s Treatise on the Spleen and Stomach: A Translation of the Pi Wei Lun, 2nd Ed.  Blue Poppy Press, Boulder, Colorado.  2004

4. Nature 508, S61–S63 April 17, 2014 Published online  http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v508/n7496_supp/full/508S61a.html

5. Blaser, M. 2014 Missing Microbes, How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues, Henry Holt and Co. April 2014

6. Flaws, Bob.  Li Dong-Yuan’s Treatise on the Spleen and Stomach: A Translation of the Pi Wei Lun, 2nd Ed.  Blue Poppy Press, Boulder, Colorado.  2004

7. Nature Richness of human gut microbiome correlates with metabolic markers pg 500, 541–546   August 29, 2013 Oluf Pedersen   MetaHIT

8.   Ibid.

9.   Blaser, M. 2014 Missing Microbes, How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues, Henry Holt and Co. April 2014

10.   G. Maciocia, Foundations of Chinese Medicine, Churchill, Livingstone 1989 pg. 24

11. Food Quality & Safety magazine, Re-Evaluating Additives on the GRAS List by Maybelle Cowan-Lincoln April/May 2013

12.“Some of My Best Friends are Germs”. The New York Times Magazine May 15, 2013. Dr. Justin   Sonnenburg, Stanford Microbiologist.

13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17651080 J Med Food. 2007 Jun;10(2):384-7.

In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria. Ogbolu DO1, Oni AA, Daini OA, Oloko AP.

14.   Terry Bone, Principals and Practice of Phototherapy, Modern Herbal Medicine 2nd Edition

Elsevier 2013 pg. 381-389

15. “Some of My Best Friends are Germs”. The New York Times Magazine May 15, 2013. Dr. Justin Sonnenburg, Stanford Microbiologist.

16.   Institute For Traditional Medicine, http://www.itmonline.org/5organs/spleen.htm