Use it, Don’t Lose it! Tai Chi benefits Parkinson’s

Chinese Medicine and Tai Chi go hand in hand. Both can help you get a good nights sleep.The Struthers Parkinson’s Center in Minneapolis teaches a form of Tai Chi and both The Cleveland Clinic and the Stanford School of Medicine recommend Tai Chi for Parkinson’s sufferers.  This healing art, or should I say Chinese medicine, developed over a 1000 years ago are a series of slow, flowing movements that can help maintain flexibility, balance and coordination.
I enjoy it because Tai Chi requires you to combine mental poise and concentration into movement.  Tai Chi movements rotate the human body nearly all possible ways the body can move.  In fact, it is one of the most coordination enhancing exercises.  “Use it or Lose it”, that’s the way it goes. What better way prevent the debilitating loss of movement from a gradually progressive disease such as Parkinson’s.  Tai Chi helps can benefit not only Parkinson’s sufferers but people dealing with high blood pressure and stress related diseases.
A while back I wrote about the benefits of Tai Chi for with those with tinnitus and dizziness disorders.   Doctors are not yet informed on all the benefits of Tai Chi but give it another decade or so and I’m convinced we’ll see doctors write prescribing that say “ Start a Tai Chi Class ASAP & practice on your own daily”.   But can we afford to wait that long for our medical practitioners to wake up and smell the roses? In the meantime millions of people lose out on the benefits of this ancient Chinese medicine practice.
Additionally, Tai Chi has been a proven benefit in University studies for reducing falls. This would be a huge cost saving to Medicare  since the 6th leading cause of death of seniors in the U.S. are complication of falling. The most astonishing part of this equation is there is really no downside.
From all the research that has been done, Tai Chi has no negative side effects. Tai Chi classes are not a deductible medical expense, yet.  Even though any rational person could make the argument for its’ cost savings effects for health insurance companies. But don’t let that stop you.
With the beginning of a new year, it’s time the West gain an insight into Chinese medicine and as a society we begin incorporating self-healing techniques into our daily lives.  A Tai Chi class is the right place to start.

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”.

Herb Safety – It Pays To Do Your Homework

Know your supplier and your Chinese herb manufacturerThe recent news about urinary tract cancer linked to the ingestion of a Chinese herb called Mu tong  should spark awareness about herbal medicine suppliers.  Fortunately in the U.S. single herbs and formulas  containing Mu tong or Aristolochic Acid has been banned since 2000, they cannot be imported. 

But this is no excuse for you, the consumer  from doing due diligence on the supplier and manufacturer  of the over the counter herbal products you find at your local health food stores.

Now more ever it’s important to have as much information as you can gather on supplement manufacturers before you ingest their products. (We offer a free report, “What you need to know before you purchase Chinese herbs”. Just sign-in on our home page, provide your email address and we’re happy to email you a copy).

Unless you’re purchasing supplements from a reputable manufacturer, whether its vitamins, Western herbal supplements, or Chinese herbs the chances of you getting mostly fillers laced with soil contaminants is pretty common.   Check out consumerlab.com reports if you don’t want to take my word for it.

Regarding the Aristolochic acid in the news, this chemical is insoluble in water. Since traditional Chinese herbal preparation are cooked in water, the Chinese have avoided this toxicity issue throughout centuries of use.   This is exactly the reason you should know whether the herbs you’re purchasing are cooked (boiled or decocted) in water or are they ground into raw powdered substances and put into capsules. (i.e. Herbalife has many products which are raw ground powders)

 Our Chinese herb formulas are:
 
  •  Water boiled with strict temperature controls
  •  Cooked for precise amounts of time
  •  Cooked in specific amounts of water
  •  Raw material herbs are weighed before cooking so exact
  •  amount of  herbs to water ratio is controlled for potency

This is not a haphazard process but one of exact quality control throughout each and every step. Our manufacturer KPC ( Kaiser Pharmaceutical Company) verifies every specie of herb used in their pharmaceutical factory.  Thin layer chromatography is one such test to ensure the right specie of the plant. High performance liquid chromatography is another.  Diligence is the key to exceptional products and KPC performs these and other laboratory tests on all their raw ingredients. They have been cooking and bottling Chinese herbs for over 60 years.

As a consumer you’re spending a lot of hard earned  cash on your supplements not to mention the health expectation. Do your homework and know what you’re buying.  A licensed or certified herbalist is the best way  to make sure that the herbal medicine is appropriate for your situation and comes from a reputable source.
 
For more information on our manufacturer and the testing conducted throughout all the stages of raw herb from the field to the factory and eventually to our packets check out our FAQ  section and watch our factory video tour.

You Can’t Dismiss 2000 Years of History

2000 years of chinese medicine history2000 years ago today, the year was AD 9. (on most calendars anyway)  No cell phones, no cars, no health insurance. Things were pretty different, or were they? People still talked without cell phones, traveled without cars and got sick without insurance. What hasn’t changed in 2000 years is herbal medicine. Specifically, Chinese herbal medicine is not much different than what we use today.
 
2000 years ago if you caught a flu (let’s say in China), you went to a local doctor and a cure was given in the form of bark, roots, stems and leaves. You took home a little bag, boiled your raw Chinese herbs in water and then drank the water. Many people around the world do the same thing today using the same herbal formulas used 2000 years ago.  But does the world remember this history? In Asia and the East the answer is a resounding yes. The West where “modern drugs” have a foothold the answer  is… the tide is turning. Finding herbal medicine, what’s often referred to as “Complementary and Alternative Medicine” (CAM) is getting easier.  
 
One group supporting complementary medicine that has grown exponentially in just the last 10 years is The Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine. This group includes traditional medical schools  across the country. Members include Stanford, Yale, Northwestern, Duke University and  from The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota across the country to the University of Hawaii. Forty four medical schools in the U.S. have recognized the value in integrating western medicine with other modalities including herbs, acupuncture and incorporating  the mind, body and spirit into modern medical practices.
 
Their mission is to advance the principles and practices of integrative health care within academic institutions.  They support  and mentor academic leaders, faculty, and students to advance integrative health care curricula, research and clinical care. They also disseminate information on rigorous scientific research, which includes research on Chinese herbal compounds. (connect here to a research study done on  Chinese herbal medicines for people with impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting blood glucose)
 
As is often said, history repeats itself.  I think we’re returning to our roots. (no pun intended) Funny how the more things change the more they stay the same and Chinese herbal medicine is proving just that,  even after 2000 years.
In case your interested The Consortium’s website is: http://www.imconsortium.org/

American are spending more on CAM – Complementary & Alternative Medicine

CAMAs patient awareness of health and disease prevention has grown, so too has their interest in alternatives to traditional therapeutic disease-based options. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) defines Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) as "a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not currently part of conventional medicine."   This may soon change with new health care legislation on the horizon.

Over the past 10 years, the therapeutic options afforded by CAM  have blossomed into a $45 billion industry. Of this, $12 billion has been spent on CAM health practitioners including chiropractors, acupuncturists and massage therapists. The remaining $33 billion is spent on stress reduction techniques including yoga and massage as well as on dietary supplements, primarily fish oil, glucosamine and echinacea.

In general, approximately 11 percent of out-of-pocket spending on health care in the United States is spent on CAM modalities, a number that has opened the eyes of many non-believers.

Patients are often reluctant to discuss the use of CAM with their physicians for fear of being rebuked or dismissed. Many physicians view alternative-based therapies as "quackery" and adopt an attitude of "semi-indulgent contempt," as described by one physician. Further complicating matters is the relative lack of practitioner knowledge and training on CAM modalities. Nudged forward by patient demand, this view is clearly changing and now more than 70 medical schools and 45 medical centers, including The Mayo Clinic and The Cleveland Clinic, have adopted integrative and alternative medical centers.

Flower Medicine on the Forefront of Liver Cancer Treatment

Ye Ju Hua Wild Chrysanthemum Flower Chinese HerbNatural products like Chinese herbs have become increasingly important for new pharmaceutical discoveries. Chinese Herbs and other phyto-medicinals  are being widely studied particularly for cancer treatments. Currently more than 60% of cancer drugs are of plant origin.  New research on the Chinese herb called Ye Ju Hua or Wild Chrysanthemum flower shows anticancer activities and could be a valuable resource in the fight against cancer.

The flowers of Chrysanthemum indicum (Chrysanthemi Indici Flos), is a traditional Chinese herb widely used throughout China and Asia which this study suggests could be a promising novel treatment for liver and other cancers. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is known as a common and aggressive malignant cancer worldwide.  In China, HCC accounts for 90% of primary liver cancer, which is the second most common cause of death. Chemotherapy plays an important role in the treatment of cancer, but it is limited to a significant extent by its toxicities and side effects. One possible way to increase the potency of anticancer drugs and to decrease side effects is to develop traditional medicines, especially from medicinal plants.
 

Chrysanthemum   has a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine to treat vertigo, hypertensive symptoms and several infectious diseases such as pneumonia, colitis, stomatitis and carbuncles.   A series of recent studies have demonstrated that Chrysanthemum possesses antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulator, and neuroprotective effects.  Recently, much attention has been devoted to the anticancer activity of Chrysanthemum on human cancer cells, however, its anticancer mechanism of action is still not clear and needs further investigation. The inhibition of tumor cell growth without toxicity in normal cells has attracted considerable attention in cancer therapy.  

Clinical studies have shown Chrysanthemum  can be used in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents and other Chinese herbs.  One study  found that patients with metastatic breast cancer postoperatively receiving Chrysanthemum as one of the main components, in combination with other traditional Chinese medicines, had a 5-year overall survival rate of 70% and a complete response rate of 60%, and in combination with chemotherapeutic agents, had a 5-year overall survival rate of 77% and a complete remission rate of 80%, without adverse effects.  Another study demonstrated that Chrysanthemum  in combination with traditional Chinese herbs, achieved a response rate of 67% in advanced stage esophageal carcinoma patients. 

Plant-pharmacology used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) continues to be an important source of discovery and development of novel therapeutic agents for cancer treatments.
 
 
Zong-Fang Li, Zhi-Dong Wang, Shu Zhang, Xian-Ming Xia, Department of General Surgery, The Second Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an 710004, Shaanxi Province, China. Chen Huang, Key Laboratory of Environment and Genes Related to Diseases of the Education Ministry, School of Medicine, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an710061, Shaanxi Province, China
Supported by Grants From the National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 30672766 and Science and Technology Developing Foundation of Shaanxi Province, China, No. 2006 K16-G4 (1)
Published online: September 28, 2009
Peer reviewer: Dr. Yukihiro Shimizu, Kyoto Katsura Hospital, 17 Yamada-Hirao, Nishikyo, Kyoto 615-8256, Japan

Can Insomnia Lead to Death? Chinese Herbs Can Help

sleepyAccording to several recent studies from the National Sleep Foundation and Science Daily the answer to that question is a resounding "yes".  Insomnia seems harmless enough. Perhaps you simply have a hard time falling asleep at night. Or perhaps you toss and turn for a few hours, and then wake up the next morning and drink an extra cup of coffee to make up for it. How could this be harmful? While it has been proven the body can physiologically survive for 11-18 days without sleeping, the side effects and danger begin on the very first night,  irritability and blurry vision, slowed reaction time, diminished memory capacity and speech control are some of the noticeable effects. From there it can build to a constant underlying sense of nausea,  an increase in cortisol, which is linked to depression and cardiovascular disease. Even at the most benign level, you’re still 300% more likely to catch a cold if you sleep for less than seven hours a night.  (not a good idea during swine flu season) In extreme cases, the effects of sleeplessness are considered so harmful that it has been shunned as a form of unethical research and used as torture. The US Department of Transportation reports that there are about 200,000 car accidents a year caused by sleepy drivers , a figure higher than those killed by drunk driving.   If you’re lucky enough to survive your daily commute, you’re still considered at a higher risk for developing depression, as well as increasing the odds that depression will linger for a longer period than those who maintain healthy sleep hygiene. Often the insomniac becomes his or her own worst enemy, creating a maddening cycle of drinking coffee, taking habit-forming medications that don’t allow for REM sleep, and staying in bed longer each morning in an attempt to ‘make up’ for what they’ve missed. As the insomnia becomes worse, so does the anxiety and frustration, and the cycle continues. The good news is that you can break the cycle. While there is much to be said for making modifications in your diet to support sleep hygiene, as well as creating a routine that ‘trains’ your body into relaxing, you can also supplement these changes with Traditional Chinese herbs. Herbal supplements have been used for centuries to repair the body’s natural balance by helping to induce the very REM sleep that you need in order to wake up rested the next morning. Whether the cause of your sleeplessness is due to everyday stressors, such as situational stress, over-thinking, anxiety, worry, restlessness or grief, Chinese herbs have been highly effective in helping hundreds of thousands of individuals reclaim their health and prevent further, more life-threatening diseases.  In comparison to the Western counterparts, Traditional Chinese herbs do not cause “hangovers” that decrease work productivity or feed into the caffeinate/sedate cycle. Simply put, you have the opportunity to wake up feeling refreshed each and every morning by investing in some ancient herbal remedies.

Alternative Medicine at Farmer’s Markets, fungus for $100.00 an ounce?

Cordyceps_Sinensis

Shopping at a farmers market is always a favorite activity of mine, checking out the best produce and looking for the best prices.   I’d love to shop at a farmers market in Tibet where fresh cordyceps adorns the tables.  Cordyceps has a history of being the world best fungus. But the cost may shock you. A $100.00 or more for a fee ounces?  Prices vary depending on quality and can be even higher.

Cordyceps ability to treat chronic diseases including diabetes, COPD, liver and kidney diseases, tinnitus and amnesia, decreased libido and fatigue have  all been heavily researched. Highly prized by ancient Chinese Emperors, many athletes today use this fungus to increase energy, improve endurance, increasing oxygen capacity and boost lung function.  

In China cordyceps is used as both a dietary supplement and medicine for the above mentioned  conditions as well as hyperglycemia, high cholesterol, respiratory disease and heart arrhythmias.   The Western world is catching on to the incredible benefits of this strange worm that metamorphoses into a fungus.  Clinical studies support these long held traditions, so many in fact  I can’t possibly mention them all here. Even world renowned Sloane-Kettering’s posted the following on their website: ”Several studies showed significant improvements in all respiratory symptoms at a dose range of 3-4.5 grams of Cordyceps. Improvements were in shortness of breath, cough and expectoration, and sleep.”

The original cordyceps sinensis grows only in the mountains of Tibet & Nepal (and some other parts of China.) Cited in Tibetan medical texts even before Chinese texts which date to the 4st century, cordyceps popularity has grown and is now Tibet’s number one export. Getting to the  remote  growing regions is not so easy.  Did I mention you’ll need to climb to a least 10,000 feet above sea level and the harvesting season is very short, April until the end of June. Harvesting requires the gatherers to be on hands and knees with their faces close to the ground.  The tiny cordyceps often resemble surrounding vegetation. A small knife is utilized for extraction, with extreme caution so as not to damage the larva, resulting in a loss of value. Each gatherer is lucky to collects an average of just 20 cordyceps in a day.

Cordyceps is a parasitic fungus that feeds mainly on butterflies, moths, and caterpillars. The wind spreads the spores over the soil and onto the plants, which are then either consumed by the future hosts or simply penetrate through the mouth or respiratory pores, eventually killing the insect. However, it is traditionally believed by the people of Tibet that cordyceps lives as a worm during the winter, and then in the spring undergoes a metamorphosis that changes it into a type of grass. In some areas, it is closely connected to local religion and its harvesting has been banned.

The mountain-grown cordyceps has become rare as more locals depends upon the income from its harvesting.  The popularity and wealth of benefits from this fungus prompted Chinese scientists to find another way to grow mycelia strains using fermentation technology.  Many experts say the laboratory grown cordyceps is chemically identical to wild grown, the benefit of course is its less expensive and widely available in Asia and I have seen it in China towns in the U.S.   If you’re ever at a farmer’s market or anywhere cordyceps is for sale, don’t balk at the price of this fungus. Considering its health benefits, it’s by far the best buy in the market.     Laboratory grown Cordyceps

Top picture is the real deal… bottom right is laboratory grown.

Children’s Tylenol Recall

McNeil Consumer Healthcare (the makers of TYLENOL®)  are recalling  many of their children’s Tylenol common cold and allergy medications.  Two dozen varieties of their products are voluntarily being pulled off the shelf because of a possible bacterial contamination.

By Rene Rodriquez, L.Ac.

Johnson & Johnson McNeil is taking precautionary steps to urgently and voluntarily recall some of the Tylenol product line after an internal lab test found bacteria in the raw material that went unused in the making of their product. According to the Associated Press, the company reported that although the bacteria B. cepacia was found in a portion of the raw material that went unused, none of the bacteria was found in the finished product. “It was decided, as a precaution, to recall all product that utilized any of the raw material manufactured at the same time as the raw material that tested positive for the bacteria,” the company.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that B. cepacia is a human pathogen found in soil and water and is often spread from contaminated medicine and devices. The effects of the bacteria can range from person to person and the symptoms can range from none at all to serious respiratory infections, especially in those with weakened immune systems or chronic lung diseases.

Although the CDC says that the bacteria is relatively harmless to healthy individuals, it reports that in 2005 several states reported clusters of pneumonia and other infections being caused by B. cepacia found in contaminated mouthwash. B. cepacia can also spread from person to person contact, contact with contaminated surfaces, and exposure to it in the environment. As a result of the bacteria being found by Johnson and Johnson McNeil, nearly two dozen varieties of Tylenol are being recalled as a precautionary move, including Children’s Tylenol Suspension 4 oz. Grape, Infants’ Tylenol Grape Suspension Drops 1/4 oz. and Children’s Tylenol Plus Cold/Allergy 4 oz. Bubble Gum. To find out if you possibly own a contaminated Tylenol product, the lot numbers for any of these can be found on the bottom of the product’s box and on the sticker that surrounds the product’s bottle. For a full list of the recalled products and lot numbers, please visit Tylenol’s web site by clicking here. Concerned parent’s and consumers alike are urged to call Johnson and Johnson McNeil’s consumer call center at 1-800-962-5357. When things like these happen, I usually get many patients who want to try a natural alternative route when dealing with a cold or flu.

I always urge my patients, especially those with children, to always use their best judgment in trying to decide whether to first try natural remedies before resulting to using synthetic medication and always in conjunction with their natural health care provider. As a parent and a natural health care provider, I understand this can be very difficult at times, especially when your child wakes up coughing and with a fever in the middle of the night and the only place open is the 24-hour pharmacy down the street where all you find are aisles of synthetic medication containing dyes and chemicals that you rather not use if given a choice. My best advise to people who are interested in trying natural remedies is always plan ahead. This will give you plenty of time to do your own research and decide what’s best for you and your family, so you don’t feel so helpless at two in the morning when you don’t want to use a synthetic drug, or can’t because, like has happened with the Tylenol product, there’s a possible contamination with bacteria.

Start by investing in a natural remedy book, or ask your family and friends of any natural remedies they know of, then present these to your natural health care provider so that he/she can assist you in helping decide what might be best for you. Planning ahead also means taking your health in your own hands. During cold and flu season, begin limiting the amount of sugar intake, especially the products that contain high fructose corn syrup or white refined sugar. This means avoiding junk food and alcohol as much as possible. Also, stay hydrated with good clean artesian well water.

Another thing I recommend is to stock your medicine cabinet with natural herbal formulas, nutritional supplements, and homeopathic remedies targeted at fighting infections and keeping your immune system healthy. These can include natural remedies, such as Grapefruit Seed Extract, Belladonna, Yin Qiao San, and nutritional supplements, such as Vitamin C, Zinc, and Vitamin D. These are just some examples of the variety of natural products available that are very effective in reducing fevers and curbing the side effects of the common cold or flu, and also supporting your immune system.

Most importantly, make an appointment with your natural health care provider to learn more about which of these natural remedies or nutritional supplements will best work for you and help you develop an approach for understanding when to safely use these with synthetic drugs, or alone.

Minnesota Now Has Equal Access Law for Acupuncture

Minnesota and acupuncuture lawsI’ve always enjoyed my vacation time in Minnesota. I happened to be in Minneapolis for it’s Bi- centennial celebration a few years back.  They had more than an hour of the most amazing fireworks I’ve ever seen.    If you’ve never been there it’s truly the heart-land of America. Real people, real friendly.  I had  to blog on this news that Minnesota, not on a coast and not really considered the health crazed capital of the country is leading the way with equal access laws regarding alternative medicine practitioners. This  new law  takes affect and applies to insurance coverage issued, renewed or continued on or after Aug.1, 2009  Very exciting, the next step is on the national level with Medicare.

Here’s a report from the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, ( AAAOM)  by Kris Berggren.

A new law, effective August 1, provides equal access to a licensed acupuncture practitioner for services covered under a regulated health plan. If acupuncture services provided by a physician are covered, the same services provided by a licensed acupuncture practitioner must also be covered. It does not require health plans that don’t cover any acupuncture services to begin doing so.

The law is also a memorial to Edith R. Davis, considered Minnesota’s pioneer acupuncturist, who brought “the whole area of acupuncture into the light of day and (made) sure that we have good standards,” said Rep. Karen Clark, (DFL-Mpls), who sponsors the law with Sen. Linda Berglin.

Advocates said that a growing body of scientific evidence supports the benefits of acupuncture for a variety of conditions and that the treatment is rarely associated with complications. They also said only about a dozen Minnesota physicians or chiropractors are board-certified in medical acupuncture.“Acupuncturists licensed under Board of Medical Practice’s very high standards ironically are not allowed to get reimbursed, and often their prices are lower and they are far more qualified to practice acupuncture than are physicians, even those with acupuncture licenses,” said Rep. Jim Abeler (R-Anoka).

Ginger to Maintain Your Health

ginger[1]

Ginger is a common recommendation in my clinic. Ginger is wonderful for digestive disorders and it is anti-inflammatory. Drink Ginger tea” is one of the most common suggestions I make.

Don’t underestimate ginger just because it isn’t the fancy favorite of TV Chefs. Ginger root is a common herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (the Chinese name is Sheng Jiang). Ginger is also used as a spice for cooking, particularly in Asian food.

Here are some great ideas from an article by Jennifer Dubowsky, L.Ac. originally posted Dec. 2008 about the benefits of ginger.

Ginger’s rhizome (the underground stem) is highly spicy and widely touted to aid digestion. That is why ginger tea is very popular. In addition to a lovely flavor, it is anti inflammatory and eases digestion. Consider drinking ginger tea after meals. Another benefit from ginger is its ability to combat nausea from various causes including morning sickness, motion sickness, chemotherapy,and food contamination. Many people use ginger to treat coughs, influenza, and colds. I also recommend it to my patients to improve fertility and ease PMS symptoms.

It is interesting to note, too, that ginger has been employed in Chinese herbal medicine for thousands of years due to its numerous beneficial properties. Called Sheng-jiang in the Chinese pharmacopoeia, ginger used alone as a single herb is considered to alleviate nausea, dispel pathogens by inducing sweating, expel cold, as well as stop coughing and reduce excess phlegm in the lungs. In Chinese herbal medicine, Sheng-jiang, or fresh ginger, is considered to have very different properties than Gan-jiang, or dried ginger. Gan-jiang is useful for “cold” pain of the stomach and abdomen, diarrhea due to “cold” in the abdomen, cough, and rheumatism, among other uses. Dried ginger has also been shown to inhibit vomiting.

A Japanese study brought ginger into the experimental lab. The study, led by Dr. Hiroshi Ochiai at the Department of Human Science, Faculty of Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Japan, was published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 2006:34(1):157-69, and reported in the Chinese Medical Times, concludes that they were able to inhibit the growth of influenza virus using ginger extract.
For more articles by  Jennifer Dubowsky, a licensed acupuncturist in downtown Chicago, check out:  http://acupuncturechicago.blogspot.com/