2 Easy Tips to Reduce Your PMS?

PMS & period cramps made worse with plastic & bisphenol AWant to reduce those monthly period cramps naturally? Here’s why you need to stay away from Bisphenol A.

Bisphenol A is a toxic, endocrine disrupting chemical in our food supply.  Recently an  environmental health group with more than 525,000 members,  decided to sue, yes sue, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over it's stance on Bisphenol A. 

It is not easy or inexpensive to sue the Federal Government so you must have resources and a good cause.    Well, this group has both, and since the FDA did not respond to their initials petition on Bisphenol A,  this citizen group filed a lawsuit asking that  Bisphenol A  be banned from products such as plastic bottles and food can liners.

What is Bisphenol A?   A chemical used for the lining of canned goods and used in the production of plastic water bottles.  Those same plastic water bottles that kids use and that are crowding our land fills/dumps by the millions.   Animal and human studies have linked this chemical to serious health problems including an increased risk for diabetes, obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

When we drink water from plastic bottles or eat canned food this endocrine disrupting chemical leaches into our food and water.  What is an endocrine disruptor?  They are artificial  chemicals  that can mimic or block the effects of natural hormones from certain receptor cites.  For example thyroid hormone which regulates our metabolism may be effected because a receptor cite is blocked.  This is like an underground garage  that blocks your cell phone signal.  No matter how many times you dial, the signal is blocked.  This may cause weight gain, or just a sluggish, low energy feeling.

Endocrine disrupting chemicals can give someone with mild PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) a really bad case of PMS.  

The reason is this, a woman's menstrual cycle requires a delicate balance of hormones to be turned on and turned off during a monthly cycle.   Chemicals like Bisphenol A can interrupt these on/off switches fairly easily causing a woman to have irregular periods, heavy bleeding, missed periods and very painful period cramps.  There is no doubt among the medical community that endocrine disrupting hormones are very hazardous to our health.

If you have difficult menstrual cycles, try limiting your exposure to Bisphenol A.  Stop drinking from all plastic water bottles and do not eat canned foods.  To regulate your menstrual cycle and reduce period cramps, bloating and PMS moodiness take PMS Relief Herb Pac for 3-4 days each month.  Enjoy it as any herbal tea.  

One final note, earlier this year, the FDA said that it officially agreed there might be health concerns over exposure to BPA  and announced a $30 million BPA research program.  Change doesn't come quickly at the FDA so in meantime make the change in your own life, for your own good health.


Good News, HRT and Breast Cancer Decrease, But Hot Flashes Increase

herbs for hot flashes and menopauseA dramatic decrease in use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) during the past two years has also coincided with lower breast cancer incidence  according to a new study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.  HRT was the recommended treatment for decades for menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, brain fog and vaginal dryness to name a few. 

However, since 2002 when the Womens Health Initiative clinical trial announced an increase risk in breast cancer, stroke and heart attacks due to HRT,  doctors have limited their prescription writing of HRT.  It is fantastic to see a study showing breast cancer diagnosis dropping in the past two years, but many women have such debilitating menopause symptoms they still need something to help them cope.  It's unfortunate more women do not understand the benefits of herbal remedies for menopause, which can provide the comfort they desperatly seek. 

If you don't sleep well, soak through pajamas at night, hot flash during the day and often feel dazed and confused you could add a few Chinese herbs to your diet, by way of a tea.  You will have a decline of symptoms within a few weeks, within one month you will feel significant,  real relief.  But many women want a quick acting pill and that is not how herbal medicine works.  Our bodies  normally slowly enter the peri-menopause stage and then the complete end to menstruation.  Coping with the symptoms that arise from hormonal changes is not easy and it can take a little time to readjust the thermostat of the body.  Our herbal remedy for menopause does work. Our herbs have been written about and used continuously for over 2000 years.  More information about our Menopause Relief Herb Pac coming soon.

As always, thanks for reading our blog.

Study information can be found at:  J Natl Cancer Inst. Published online September 23, 2010.


Prevention Magazine’s “9 Natural Cures” leaves off Chinese Herbs?

When I was a teen and found Prevention Magazine I was in heaven. It was the first magazine of it’s kind to talk about natural cures and I knew then, (circa 1976)  they were on to something. Now, some years later, the whole country knows what Prevention Magazine knew back then.  Natural cures do work, from Acupuncture, to chocolate for it’s flavonoids, and certainly the ancient practice of Tai Chi.  Here’s a quick video from the Today Show and the editor of Prevention Magazine about “9 Natural Cures you Trust”.

I have to say, I’m a little disappointed Chinese herbs did make Prevention’s  top “9” list.  There are certainly enough studies done on herbs especially Chinese herbs that are used by over a billion people on the planet to qualify them as “cures you can trust”.  Additionally, Chinese herbal medicine has been used for over 2000 continuous years, one would think that alone would give it enough credence to be included in the category of “Natural cures you can trust”. 

Herbs such as  Spiny Jujube for insomnia are a good example of an extremely trust worthy cure.  Spiny jujube is a Chinese herb used to help calm the mind and attain a good nights sleep. I understand that Prevention Magazine looked at cures which had studies backing the data but…  one study looked at the insomnia cases of over 16,000 people, and concluded Spiny Jujube combined with other herbs was the most successful herbal formula for insomnia.  In fact, everyone in China knows this herb and combined with other herbs it was our inspiration to create iSleep Herb Pac for those suffering with  insomnia.  

I feel certain that if Prevention Magazine had a  “Ten Natural Cures you can trust list.. instead of Nine.. Chinese herbs would be the tenth item on the list, don’t you?

Thanks for reading.

Tiger Woods May Want to Check Out a Non-Prescription Sleep Aid

I not really much for celebrity gossip but tabloids are reporting Tiger Woods texted his friend Rachel saying “I feel like taking pills is my only alternative” for sleep.  No doubt Tiger has been on the high stress life style for many years.  Fame and fortune do have a price and like millions of people, it’s easy to feel the only way to get a good nights sleep is with the help of a prescription drug.

Would somebody please pass him an  iSleep Herb Pack before he lands in rehab, or pass on an address and I will be happy to send him some.  Poor guy, somebody tell him Chinese herbs have been used for centuries to calm the mind and provide a peaceful, non-addictive way to fall asleep. I  actually feel terrible for anyone who must rely on prescription sleep aids.  It’s a terrible cycle to get into and one that is even harder to break and here is why Tiger should be shining this year.

Fast Facts About Tigers from Jennifer Dubowski, L.Ac.

Are you a Tiger?

You are if you were born in: 1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, or 1998.

The Tiger symbolizes character traits such as bravery, competitiveness and unpredictability. This courageous and fiery fighter was admired by the ancient Chinese as the zodiac sign that kept away the three main tragedies of a household: fire; thieves; and ghosts. The Tiger has other strong qualities and is: a natural leader; generous, intelligent and always alert. Tigers love to be the center of attention and are very charming, although they have a slight tendency to be selfish. Just as their jungle counterparts rely on instinct, so do individuals born in the Chinese Year of the Tiger. The best jobs for Tigers are those that will lead them towards positions of leadership. Tigers make interesting partners – they are creative, passionate and will never bore their mates. They’re expressive, polite and trustworthy, but watch out. Partners need to have a high energy level and a sense of adventure to keep up with a Tiger.

Celebrities born under the sign of the Tiger include: Emily Bronte, Leonardo DiCaprio, Karl Marx, Marilyn Monroe, Marco Polo and Queen Elizabeth II.

Those individuals born in the Year of the Tiger are compatible with the Chinese astrological signs of Horse, Dog, and Dragons. They are incompatible with Goat and Ox.

Colors are Green, Purple



No Chinese Herbs, Just Gratitude

I wanted to post something different, something completely off  the topic of Chinese herbal medicine.  Sometimes life is just short and passing us by and without a little gratitude we forget how good life can really be. And not every blog needs to always talk about Chinese herbs, everyday.

So here's a thought… If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of the world.  To feel even more grateful read the rest below.

Gratitude for herbs for sleep, my best friends

Thanks and credit to Jason Mraz. 

Don’t Worry, We have a Pill For That! Menstrual Cramps, Menopause, You Name It!

Have we become a nation of pill pushers?

It's a fact, in 2009, doctors wrote more prescription than the total number of people in the U.S.  When did we become so dependent on prescription drugs?  If your anxious, we have a pill for that.  If you need a sleep aid, we have a pill for that.  If your depressed, fatigued, can't concentrate, have hot flashes, think your having a panic attack or just having menstrual cramps, we have a pill for that too.

Why do people believe all the answers arrive in a pill?  Is it because the pharmaceutical industry spent 4.5 BILLION dollars on advertising and marketing  in 2009 alone? That's more than the entire economies of many countries.  With that much money, I guess they can convince people there is a pill for just about everything. High school kids are now more likely now to pop some prescription drugs than to smoke pot.  In fact, it's nothing new for high school students to buy and sell just about any prescription medicine.  Med's to improve your attention span seem to be the most commonly sold.  It's no wonder, the stress of making grades and getting into the right college weighs heavy on them and the drug companies have told them "we even have a pill for that".  Every year a new malady and every year a new pill for "that".

Before there was a pill for "that", there were herbs for "that".  Every action found in a pill was found in plants and herbs first. Revisit history to see that herbs have been used medicinally since the beginning of time.  The difference between the pill form and the natural herb is the safety record.  Pharmaceuticals pretend each pill they create is safe to take, without any "real" side-effects.  When in fact, these drugs can contain very serious side effects.  

If you need something for "that" visit your local Acupuncturist or natural food store.  You can easily find the answer in a natural drug form. Chinese herbs have the answer for "that",  just let us know what "that"  is and we'll help you with the answer. Leave your comments and thanks for reading.

FDA Says Sleep Aids Have Not Proven Effectiveness

It’s only taken 15 years. The head of the FDA’s office of Nonprescription Products, Dr. Charles Ganley, sent a letter (released May 5, 2010) to the Consumer Healthcare Products Assoc. or CHPA on Feb 16, 2010 stating,  “There is an insufficient basis to support the combination of acetaminophen and diphenhydramine as a nighttime sleep aid for relief of occasional sleeplessness when associated with minor aches and pains”.
In other words, if your spending your hard earned dollars on products such as Tylenol PM and Excedrin PM your getting nothing more than minimal pain relief. Patients taking the over-the counter sleep products did not fall asleep any faster than those who took only acetaminophen or the sedative, known as diphenhydramine citrate, according to the FDA’s letter.  
 The FDA’s letter also questioned the data submitted by the drug companies behind these products. “The concern … is that we need an additional study demonstrating that the combination product is more effective than acetaminophen alone and more effective than diphenhydramine alone,” FDA spokeswoman Shelly Burgess said. The study submitted in 1995 failed to meet its main goal of showing that the combination of the pain and sleep ingredients could help people fall asleep faster.
The data on these sleep aid products was submitted 15 years ago. Why this took so many years to reach the ears of consumers is unknown. Reuters reported Ganley was not available for an interview, but Burgess cited the agency’s “significant workload in regulating over-the-counter drug products” and the need to prioritize based on available agency resources. She added that the letter did not reflect any other initiatives at the FDA, including a recall and recent concerns over acetaminophen’s risk of liver toxicity.
It’s unfortunate more people don’t know the benefits of Chinese herbs for sleeplessness. Natural sleep aids have always been needed and there are many wonderful plants and herbs that can benefit the sleep deprived.  Herbs can calm the mind gently to stop all the repetitive thinking that tends to keep us awake at night.  Chinese herbs do not have the side effects associated with prescription drugs and can be used safely long term.
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6444R720100505 (Reuters reporting by Susan Heavey)

CAUTION ADVISED When using Acetaminophen, Herbs are a safer alternative

Usually I write about Chinese herbs, but today’s a brief diversion on a compelling topic.Herbs are safer alternative to OTC medicines

If you’re like most Americans your medicine cabinet is stocked full of over-the-counter medicine (OTC) and probably at least a few prescription medications. But did you know that taking OTC acetaminophen can be poisonous and can cause serious liver damage.  UCLA experts warn that combining many pharmaceutical drugs such as vicodin and percocet for pain with an OTC cold and flu medicine can be a deadly liver cocktail.  New data is just surfacing because liver transplants are hitting an all time high in the U.S. Turns out the number one cause of liver damage  is acetaminophen poisoning from long term overdosing. 

We know you didn’t mean to overdose but did you realize more than two extra strength tablets or 650 milligrams daily is the U.S. FDA recommended dose? This lower and safer dosage was recommended by the FDA’s own advisory board in June 2009, but this recommendation has yet to be acted on as of this publishing date.

Are you using Tylenol®PM as a  sleep aid or Tylenol® extra strength for menstrual cramps? You may be causing liver damage. It’s seems negligent of the manufacturers to withhold this information, it certainly has not been widely publicized.  Labeling laws have been slightly modified (if you read the extra small print on packages) but you are not going to hear this information on TV or a radio commercial.

If your prescription drugs have the abbreviation “APAP” on the label, the medicine contains acetaminophen, and may cause liver damage. (But not all drugs are marked so check with you pharmacist.)  If your taking any combination of over-the-counter drugs and prescription drugs containing acetaminophen, you may cause liver damage. If you add alcohol to this mix you are certain to cause liver damage and your poor liver will need to check into a rehab facility for some serious down time. 

Not to be flippant about the very serious side effects of acetaminophen but if you combine any OTC sinus caplet, cold and flu formula, a pain reliever, Sudafed®, Excedrin®, Tylenol®, Pamprin®, Benadryl®, Premsyn®, CVS® decongestant, Eckerd® Pain relief, Thera flu ®cold packets, Vicks® DayQuil or NyQuil, arthritis pain relief caplets (just to name a few) together on any given day your most likely going over the recommended/safe zone for acetaminophen. You guessed it, more liver damage.

Take a vacation from the OTC medicines and get yourself some all natural 100% safe Chinese herbs. You’ll feel better and your liver will thank you.

Wisconsin Ginseng Crop Damaged Due to Snow in May

The best American GinsengTypically, May weather in Wisconsin is wet, but not below freezing.  This was not the case on May 7, 2010 in Marathon County when it snowed 3-4 inches in 24 hours. The freezing temperatures have likely killed all the newly planted Ginseng. 

American Ginseng, also known as Panax quinquefolius, is a highly sought after Chinese herb used for centuries.   It is the root of this herb that is used medicinally.  Wisconsin depends on American Ginseng for over 15 million dollars each year and the freakish weather is estimated to have killed or damaged up to 80% of the new crop.  The cold weather snap effects the recently planted seedlings the hardest and may seriously drive up prices.

Much of the harvest is exported to Asia where it fetches higher dollar values than in America.  Asian cultures  have used Ginseng for it's medicinal values for over 2000 years.  Used commonly to ward off colds & flu's, ginseng is also known for it's anti-cancer properties and research shows it reduces blood sugar in people with diabetes. The Ginseng Board of Wisconsin has a very nice website with more information. 

The crop normally takes 4 years to mature.  Chinese herbs like American Ginseng are also grown in other parts of the U.S., mainly the woods of Kentucky and North Carolina. So, depending on how much Wisconsin Ginseng can be salvaged, the supply in the coming years may or may not be severely effected by Mother Nature's temperament. Many Chinese herbs grown in China have seen price increase due to Mother Nature.  An ongoing drought in China has effected another specie of Ginseng, and has already driven up prices as much as 300% this year alone.  

New discoveries in Chinese Herbal Medicine for Oral Cancer

New treatments for oral cancer with chinese herbsChinese herbs can play a role in oral cancer inhibition according to a study recently published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Febuary  2010. Surgery, radiation and chemotherapy have been the tri-fecta standard of care for oral squamos cell carcinoma (OSCC) yet the past 20 years survival rates have not improved.

This latest study reveals celastrol, a chemical  found in Chinese herbs may help treat cancer by inactivating a protein necessary for cancer growth.

Oral cancer strikes men over 40 twice as often as women and tends to spread rapidly. Tobacco use is believed to be the cause of 70-80% of oral cancer cases, whether it be from smoking or chewing tobacco. Poor oral hygiene and alcohol abuse may also increase ones risk for cancers of the mouth, tongue, lips, and gums.  
This recent study was conducted at the Medical College of Georgia in Atlanta, funded in part by the by National Institutes of Health, the Mayo Foundation  and a grant from the American Heart Association. The study reported a  “combination of GA and celastrol has a synergistic antitumor effect” and concluded this “may be a promising modality for treating oral squamous cell carcinoma.”1

“Gambogic acid (GA) is a major active ingredient of gamboge, which has been widely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is reported that GA possesses diverse biological effects, such as anti-oxidant and anti-infectious activities”.2-3 Recent pharmacological studies have revealed that GA also has potent cytotoxic and anti-cancer activities in several cancer cell lines” 4

Celastrol  is a chemical  found in  the Chinese herb called  Thunder God Vine (Tripterygii Wilfordi Radix Folium). Various preparations of Thunder God Vine have been used in Asia over the last 50 years in the treatment of a number of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.5

Cancer  treatments may now incorporate this herb compound with other treatments to improve patients survival rates. “The celastrol induces the protein to form fibrils and clusters it together, which inactivates it,” said researcher Ahmed Chadli.  “When they are clustered, they’re not available for other functions that help cancer grow.”

As a side note celastrol an active ingredient in some Traditional Chinese herbal medicines has also been found beneficial in studies  for prostate cancer.6
            The Journal of Biological Chemistry   http://www.jbc.org/content/285/6/4224.abstract

From the  Center for Molecular Chaperone Radiobiology and Cancer Virology, Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, Georgia 30912,
The  Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, and
         The Organic Chemistry Laboratory, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Jacksonville, FL
 Supported by the American Heart Association Grant SDG 0930019N and a Seed award from the Cardiovascular   Discovery Institute at the Medical College of Georgia. Correspondence should be addressed: Center for Molecular Chaperone Radiobiology and Cancer Virology, Medical College of Georgia, 1410 Laney Walker Blvd., CN-3151, Augusta, GA 30912.
Laboratory of Oral Tumor and Oral Biology, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Stomatology and     Shanghai Research Institute of Stomatology, Shanghai 200011, PR China

1 Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese  Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201203, PR China  &    

2 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou 310009, PR China

3The Chinese anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive herbal remedy Tripterygium wilfordii Hook F.  Pub med.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10680192


4Department of Medicinal Chemistry, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese  Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201203, PR China

& Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Second Affiliated Hospital, Zhejiang University School of Medicine, Hangzhou 310009, PR China

5.  The Chinese anti-inflammatory and immune suppressive herbal remedy  Tripterygium wilfordii


6 Celastrol in prostate cancer therapies. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19545787


New Years Reflections and Resolutions

New year with Chinese herbsIt is nearly the end of another year and always a time for reflection.  If you are like me you give yourself an annual report card on your year.  Or you just skip the judgment phase and simply create some New Years Resolutions of things to change.   My report card for the year would say something like “valiant effort, but balance needs improvement”.  The “balance” I promised myself each day didn’t quite materialize the way I had hoped, so my New Years Resolution is to change that and find more balance. What is this balance I'm referring to?

Balance is a state of equilibrium between opposing forces. I’m referring to the opposing forces of yin and yang. 

The historian in me enjoys looking back on not just this past year but on 2200 years of history, particularly in relation to Chinese medicine . Since the first organized body of Chinese medicine literature dates back to 200 BC, that’s where I started.  In an ancient Chinese text called the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic of Medicine,  I find the same principals of balance as I use for my annual  report card. These are the foundation from which Chinese medicine in the ancient world and Oriental Medicine in the modern world are based.  Amazing that  2200 years later we are still trying to master the same principals of balance.  (Guess I shouldn’t be too hard on myself, I haven’t been at it all that long.)

In 2010 I’m striving for a better balance between my yin energy and my yang energy- balance between work and play and a balance between rest and activity. For 2200 years (probably more) people have sought such a balance. For the balance we look for in this New Year I quote Sir Winston Churchill, “Now is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

Best wishes for a “Balanced Year”.

Natural Remedy for Tinnitus and Dizzyness, Try Tai Chi

tai_chiThe American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF) says Tai Chi can help your  dizziness and  balance disorders. Tai chi is a form of Chinese martial arts often practiced for its health benefits.  Practiced widely in Asia it can  be an effective treatment option for patients who suffer from dizziness and vestibular disorders.   

Research done on  “Tai Chi as a Form of Vestibular Rehabilitation” has been conducted  by Paul S. Lee, MD.  Researchers evaluated the utility of Tai Chi in managing patients with vestibular symptoms who have failed conventional vestibular therapy. It could include individualized physical therapy or different sets of physical maneuvers that a doctor performs on a patient.  In Asia, not only is Tai Chi popular am

Researchers conducted a questionnaire study from April 2008 to March 2009 at an outpatient rehabilitation program, utilizing the activities-specific balance confidence scale and dynamic gait index survey, both prior to therapy and at the conclusion of an eight-week course. A total of 21 patients (18 females, three males) completed the study to date. Patients reported subjective improvements in their vestibular symptoms.  For those who experience ringing in the ears  or tinnitus may not necessarily be helped by Tai Chi, but may see improvement with Chinese herbs. Researchers theorize that the technique may be effective because Tai Chi promotes coordination through relaxation, rather than muscular coordination.