Fascinating Facts On Chinese Herbs

Chinese herbs for sleep and menopauseWhat do I find most fascinating about Chinese medicine and Chinese herbs?  Maybe its because Chinese herbs are the oldest medicine on earth.  Practiced for nearly 5000 years. 

One of the oldest Chinese herbal text is the Shen Nong Ben Cao translated it is, “The Divine Farmers Materia Medica”.   This foundation book in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the book from which all others are derived.  

I love history.  The ability to read a 2000 year old book on the pharmacologocial activities of more than 365 plant, mineral, fish, shell fish, animal and insects is simply, AMAZING to me.   (This ancient herbal medicine text was written circa 30 AD.)  The use of plants and other pharmacologocial agents found in nature was explained with three key statements from the Shen Nong Ben Cao:


The highest level physician helps the patient fulfill their destiny.   “The upper class of medicines…..govern the nourishment of destiny and correspond to heaven…., If one wishes to prolong the years of life without aging, one should” use these. Sheng Nong Ben Cao 

Upper Class or superior drugs:

Superior drugs at the time of the Sheng Nong Ben Cao were those found to be nontoxic, and could be safely taken in large amounts for extended periods.  Today we know them as tonics. (Approximately 120)  Well-known superior drugs include:  ginseng, licorice, di huang (root of Rehmannia), huangqi (root of Astragalus), wu wei zi (fruit of Schisandra), gan cao, (licorice) sesame seed, magnolia flower, ling zhi (Ganoderma), fu ling or poria, Chinese date (fruit of Ziziphus jujuba.), Job’s tears [seed of Coix.) and duzhong (bark of Eucommia).  All of these superior herbs can be found in one or more of Pacific Herbs products.

“The mid-level physician treats constitution and helps the patient nourish their original nature.” Sheng Nong Ben Cao    

“The middle class of medicines govern the nourishment of one’s nature and correspond to man. …If one wishes to prevent illness and to supplement depletions and emaciations, one should” use these.

Middle Class Drugs:  (120 drugs) Middle class drugs are those that could be toxic or nontoxic, depending on usage. This included:  ginger, mahuang or ephedra herb (Ephedra), danggui (Angelica sinensis), jixuecao or gotu kola, kuandonghua or coltsfoot flower (flower of Tussilaqo), yinyanghuo (herb of Epimedium spp.), haizao (Sargassum), hehuan (bark of Albizzia julibriss), gaoben, and zhuling or polyporus [sclerotium of Polyporus umbellatus.

The lowest level physician treats symptoms only.

“The lower (class of) medicines….govern the treatment of illness and correspond to earth. If one wishes to remove cold, heat and (other) evil influences (from the body), to break accumulations, and to cure illnesses, one should base (one’s efforts) on (drugs listed in) the lower (class of this) manual.” Sheng Nong Ben Cao 

Inferior drugs are toxic, and are used for treating diseases and should not be used for extended periods  .Inferior drugs (approx 125  include fu zi and wu tou, which are roots of aconite (Aconitum carmichaeli), rhubarb root (root and rhizome), bai tou weng (root of Pulsatilla chinensis), lian qiao or forsythia fruit (Forsythia), qing hao, croton seed (fruit of Croton), guan zhong (rhizome of Dryopteris), and lang dang zi (Hyoscyamus niger).


Many of the drugs in the Shen Nong Ben Cao are still being used today for the same medicinal reasons as the time the information was first written down.  Two thousand years, their rationale can be scientifically justified.  For example, the use of haizao (Sargassum) for the treatment of swelling of the neck (goiter) can be explained by its high content of iodine.  There are endless examples. More than enough for another blog.

Some things never change.  Even after a few thousand years.

Dandelion For Breast Cancer

News from the University of New Mexico, the lowly dandelion has been shown effective at fighting breast cancer and prostate cancer. Used for centuries in Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine the dandelion plant has been used for many aliments.


"The study demonstrates a number of of previously unknown effects of Taraxacum officinale on human cancer cells and suggests that TO (dandelion) extracts or individual components present in the extracts may be of value as novel anti-cancer agents"1


The medicinial benefits from dandelion in this study are attributed to one specific Taraxacum species extract so don't assume the dandelion you buy at your local farmers market or that growing in the lawn will have the same health benefits.


We know that plants and herbs all play a significant role in the discovery of new medicines particularly in the area of cancer research. In Traditional Chinese Medicine  (TCM) dandelion is used to clear heat, especially liver heat with red, swollen, painful eyes.  Dandelion also goes by the name Pu gong ying and has been known to dissipate nodules and reduce abscesses in the breast and promote lactation when lack is due to heat.  Pu gong ying has been used in treating breast cancer in TCM for many years and this study confirms why dandelion is a one of the most useful herbs for breast cancer patients.




Evaluation of aqueous extracts of Taraxacum officinale on growth and invasion of breast and prostate cancer cells    SOPHIA C. SIGSTEDT1, CARLA J. HOOTEN1, MANIKA C. CALLEWAERT1, AARON R. JENKINS1,ANNTHERESE E. ROMERO1, MICHAEL J. PULLIN2, ALEXANDER KORNIENKO3,TIMOTHY K. LOWREY4, SEVERINE VAN SLAMBROUCK1* and WIM F.A. STEELANT1*


Laboratories of 1Biochemical and Biomedical Research, 2Aqueous Environmental Chemistry, and 3Synthetic Organic and Medicinal Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, NM; 4UNM Herbarium, Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA   Received December 4, 2007; Accepted January 25, 2008


Hormone Therapy and Breast Cancer – The Real Risk

HT Hormone Therapy RisksThe largest study on on HRT has been completed.  One million British women participated and the results are no surprise.  Well, no surprise to many of us.  As a result of this study the British drug regulator has ordered doctors to now talk to their patients.  Yes, talk, something many doctors don't have time to do. 

British doc's have been ordered to appraise their patients of the risks of prolonged hormone therapy (HT), and they must do this annually.  This order came about because the study concluded women are twice as likely to develop breast cancer when taking combined HRT (Hormone-replacement therapy)1.

Millions of British women take HRT to alleviate menopause-associated hot flushes, sweating and mood swings. Around half take a combination of the hormones oestrogen and progestogen.

Over the past decade, some 20,000 extra cases of breast cancer in British women aged between 50 and 64 are attributable to HRT, the new study finds – three-quarters of those are linked to combination therapy. This risk is only associated with HRT taken for ten years or more – cancer incidence falls appreciably the less time a woman spends undergoing the therapy.

Breast cancer due to HRT has also been found to occurs earlier than previously thought.  After only two to three years of therapy. The risk after just one year is negligible, and five years after stopping HRT the risk returns to baseline.

The study also reveals that the risks associated with tablets, patches and implants are the same. "Now we can actually give women an evidence-based answer," says Julietta Patnick, director of cancer screening with the UK National Health Service.

If you are one of the millions of women trying to balance your quality-of-life benefits with the choice of using hormone therapy consider there are other alternatives which have been used in other cultures for centuries. Chinese herbs for menopause like Menopause Relief Herb Pack is one of those alternatives.   There is no risk of uterine cancer and NO increased risk of breast cancer.  Even bio-identical hormone therapy has risks.  We just don't know about them yet because it is so new. Do you really want to chance it?

There is an easier and safer solution. You can have quality of life during the

menopausal years. You can sleep through the night and have a day

without flashes.  


You owe it to yourself to do some research and try a natural safe alternative. 



Beral, V. and the Million Women Study collaborators. Breast cancer and hormone replacement therapy in the Million Women Study. Lancet, 362, 419 – 427, (2003).

Hodis, H. N. et al. Hormone therapy and the progression of coronary-artery atherosclerosis in postmenopausal women. New England Journal of Medicine, 349, 535 – 545, (2003).

Largest Herbal Medicine Garden In The World

The Guiness Book of World Records has a new entry.   The largest medicinal garden in the world has now been entered into the Guiness Book.  Where else would the largest garden of herbal medicine be located?  China, of course.  China uses more herbal medicine to keep its 1.3 billion people healthy, than anywhere else in the world.

China is also home to the oldest recorded medical system in the world, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).  TCM has been practiced and perfected for over 3000 years.  The new botanical herb medicinal garden is a perfect way to celebrate the medicine the Chinese have given the world.  TCM is practiced in just about every country in the world and the herbs used in TCM have a long and rich history of providing the world with some of the most effective natural medicine known to man. 

Ginseng is one of the 6000 herbs growing in the garden.  One hundred of the medicinal plants are endangered varieties and over 30 of the herbs are new varieties. 

The garden also has 100,000 medicinal plant images.  Its objective is to cultivate, collect and save medicinal plants along with conducting research. The garden is also expected to be an advanced international medicinal plants conservation base and a center for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) culture and science.

The garden is in a rural area of China that grows many of the herbs in the garden.  The new garden is certain to bring more interest to Guangxi Zhuang, an area known for growing a large variety of Chinese herbal medicine.

Do Chinese Herbs Grown in a Hostile Environment Make Better Medicine?

Today’s blog I’m looking for some feedback, because, people on all continents, for thousands of years have used the power of herbal remedies.  After all these years of use, and thanks to modern chemistry, we know which plants produce what compounds that makes it effective as an herbal sleep aid, an herb for energy, an antimicrobial or for whatever therapeutic results is intended. Today we farm these herbs all around the world, including in California as my last post described the growing of Da Zao, the Chinese herb well known for digestion. 

But, is there a difference between an herb (Chinese herb or Western herb) which is farm raised compared to one which grows naturally in the wild?   Wild crafted herbs were historically the only ones used for healing benefits.  Agriculture is a fairly recent event in the 60,000 years since Neanderthal man.   Plants growing today in nature obviously live in a more hostile environment than those living on a farm.  Farm raised herbs are protected by the farmer because the farmers depend on the crop for their livelihood. Greenhouses are constructed, watering systems, fertilizers etc. etc.  

On the contrary, herbs growing in the wild are exposed to their world 24/7.   It is exactly this exposure of temperature extremes, water deprivation or flooding, wind, rain and even predators trampling them or eating them that give an herb its strength.  A weak plant will not survive harsh elements of nature and dies without reproducing.  A strong plant will produce the chemical compounds it needs to survive and often, these are exactly the compounds we know have the healing benefits.  Does farm grown valerian produce the same active chemical constituents as valerian that was once harvested only in wild fields?  Ginseng, for example is one of the highest priced herbs when found in the wild and is officially recognized as wild grown with a government certificate declaring the exact location of origin.  Farm raised ginseng, on the other hand, fetches nominal prices in comparison.

Darwin’s theory, “survival of the fittest” makes sense in the plant kingdom just as it does in the animal kingdom. 

Where do YOUR herbs come from?  Are they wild grown or wild crafted herbs or are they grown in a comfortable farm where they are fed, watered and looked after.   Are wild crafted herbs better?  What do you think? Is your herbal sleep aid more efficacious when it is produced from herbs grown in their native environments or is farm raised just as good or better?


Jujube Fruit Is A Chinese Herb Now Growing in California

A slightly unusual yet inspiring story appeared on the front page of the LA Times today.   It is about a farmer in California's Central Valley near Fresno who has been growing some unusual produce.  He is growing one very common Chinese herb called Jujube fruit.   This fruit is fetching higher than average produce market prices partly because the Asian community nearby understand the value of this Chinese date.  It's the kind of success story I love reading about,  so unusual for the front page of the LA Times.

Used in many traditional Chinese herbal formulas, Da Zao as it's referred to in Mandarin, has several uses and  is commonly added to improve the digestability of other herbs in formulas.  Jujube is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to improve digestion, improve energy and to nourish the blood.  This is one reason you can find it in our Energy Booster Herb Pack.   

It can be eaten right off the tree or dried and used in a tea, congee, (hot cereal) or used to sweeten rice or other foods.   Jujube like many Chinese herbs doubles as both a food staple and a medicinal herb.  In a higher dose this dried fruit is used for stress, nervousness and helps calm the spirit which is one of the reasons we included it in iSleep Herb Pack.

Most American's have never seen Jujube fruit but I have seen it popping up in Farmers Markets this time of year. This particular California farmer started growing it when he learned it was a popular item which could sell for a premium.  Asian cultures have understood for centuries the value of this little date. In fact, the LA Times reported "his biggest-selling, most established crop is the super sweet jujubes."  It seems Americans are starting to catch the wave, learning both the health benefits and tasty goodness available in botanicals we often use as herbal medicine.

It is truly great to see we are beginning to grow Chinese herbs here in California.  Traditional Chinese herbs, whether they are being used for food or medicine have brought millions "Wellness for Centuries" and can continue to do so.   Hopefully, one day soon more American's will understand these benefits.


Connect here to see our products containing jujube fruit: iSleep Herb Pack and our Energy Booster Herb Pack


See story here:    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-hmong-farmer-20111114,0,5801613.story?page=2

Sleep Aid Medication Not Safe Enough Says FDA

Regulators at the US Food and Drug Administration have denied for a second time, a sleep aid drug over safety concerns.  Trancept Pharmaceuticals formulation of zolpidem tartrate (the same drug used in Ambien) has been trying to get approval for a sublingual tablet they hope to market as “Intermezzo”.  This sleep aid would be marketed towards those who wake in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep.  

The problem is regulators have doubts over safety.  Taking a dose of this drug with less than 4 hours of sleep time may result in severe morning drowsiness.  The stories of sleep driving, sleepwalking and sleep falls have all been documented and are receiving attention. 

Driving While Drowsy is Unsafe

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowsy driving contributes to an estimated 100,000 motor vehicle crashes and about 1,500 deaths each year.

In fact,  in 2007, FDA regulators requested that all manufacturers of sedative-hypnotic drugs include stronger product language warning of the potential risks because of the rising number of sleep driving incidents.

Waking in the middle of the night is a pattern is a sleeplessness that is one of the most common problems today. If you saw the Dr. Oz show on Chinese Medicine (you can see it here) you probably heard that jujube seed is an herb which can help with this sleeplessness. 

This 100% natural herbal sleep aid that has been used for thousands of years throughout Asia, yet is little known in the West. It is effective and safe!  Research has proven its ability to calm the mind and stop the repetitive thoughts that so often keep us awake at night.  It is one of the main herbs in iSleep Herb Pack.   iSleep can be used sublingually before bed or in the middle of the night. There are no harmful side effects and no morning drowsiness.  You can find iSleep Herb Pack here and at many fine health food stores.

Calm Down Your Liver and Sleep Better is The Chinese Medicine Way

 I enjoyed this article from China Daily and thought it contained enough common sense to help with a good nights sleep. Sometimes we overlook the simple answers to healthy sleep habits. . So here it is.

Since one third of our lives are spent in bed, it is hard to overlook the significance of sleep.

Tips to improve sleep, from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theories to clinical practices, can therefore benefit your life.

TCM practitioners believe that spring and the liver have the same property of "mu" (wood), thus the liver tends to be over-active, making people touchy.

The stomach and spleens have the "tu" (earth) property and is the opposite of "mu". If the opposition between these two properties becomes too strong, people will feel uncomfortable.

"Obviously, being angry and uncomfortable makes it hard to fall into sleep," says Dr Li Haicong, director of the Office of Geriatrics at the China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing, who is also an experienced TCM practitioner.

The solution is to calm down the activity of the liver, and to reduce the burden on stomach and spleen, which can be fulfilled by a light diet and gentle exercise.

"Do not have too much strong-flavored food. Avoid intake of stimulating food or drink, such as pepper, alcohol and coffee," Li says. He strongly recommends foods such as  fish, pork, duck, lily root, Chinese yam, asparagus lettuce, lotus seed, apples and bananas.   Chicken, mutton, beef and oranges are not advisable in spring.

"Aerobic exercises, such as jogging, playing badminton and swimming, are also beneficial to good sleep," Li adds.Aerobic exercises will improve oxygen consumption and will prepare the body for peaceful sleep. But it should be done at least three hours before going to bed.

Taking a nap between 11 am to 1 pm, a traditional practice in China, is healthy, too, although many people have dropped the habit due to their faster-paced life.

"A nap should not be too long. About 15 to 30 minutes is enough," Li notes. "The quality of sleep is more important than the length."

For the elderly, who often have insomnia, perhaps due to chronic diseases, a good night's sleep is extremely important.  Li and his colleagues have found that a restful sleep will improve the condition of patients, which will in turn improve the sleep. And vice versa.

"If patients cannot sleep well, taking some TCM will be helpful, but that must be conducted under a doctors' guidance," Li says.

Is Your Menopause a Hormonal Nightmare?

Ever heard of bed time aerobics? It’s a night class nobody would purposely sign up for, but you just may have experienced it.

It goes something like this.  “I fall asleep comfortably wrapped in my comforter in my flannel PJ’s when it’s cold.  After a few hours I shed the top comforter layer.  Then I’m down to the sheet which eventually gets soaked in sweat.  At this point the chills set in and I’m back to pulling up the comforter, shedding the PJ’s for a dry cotton t-shirt and then the process starts again.”

If you are in the peri-menopausal or menopause years you know it as “night sweats”.

There is also the day time version which most women know as “hot flashes”.  Western medicine says this is all caused by the hypothalamus that gets confused by fluctuating estrogen levels and sends the message for blood vessels to dilate to heat you up, and then release sweat to cool you down.

Night sweats can go on for years and interrupted sleep can lead to a host of other health problems.  In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), night sweats and hot flashes are due to an imbalance in the yin and yang energies in the body. As we age, everyone, males and females become deficient in both yin and yang.  Night time is yin time, and when a person is yin deficient, the symptoms tend to manifest at the height of yin (night) time.  Night sweats are considered very debilitating in Chinese medicine because sweat is considered a fluid of the heart. Therefore, sweating at night while sleeping (not exercising) can also be accompanied by heart palpitations, insomnia, fatigue and paleness,

The appropriate treatment is to boost the yin and the yang with foods and Chinese herbs. 

Asian women experience much fewer hot flashes and night sweats and very few of them are ever put on hormone replacement therapy.  Interestingly, only about 10% of Asian women experience noticeable menopausal symptoms, compared with 75% of the women in the United States.

The use of food as medicine is a basic idea in Asian culture, and a fundamental principle in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Herbs are commonly used in Asian cooking to help supplement the yin energy as people age.  Chinese herbs are made into teas and commonly served as a daily drink to supplement health concerns  often before symptoms get seriously out of control.  This early “preventative” approach helps many women avoid the dreaded night time aerobics we commonly see in the U.S. population.  Our Menopause Relief Herb Pac will boost both your yin and yang energy to reset your body’s natural thermostat and eliminate the night sweats and hot flashes in just a few short weeks, guaranteed.

Chemical Additives in Your Herbs. To Sulfur or Not to Sulfur

When purchasing dried fruit, 9 out of 10 people will pick the bag that looks prettier than the one that has fruit turned brown.  Go beyond the beautiful color because that beautiful color is deceiving,  it may even carry toxins. Sulfur dioxide is used to prevent discoloration in dried fruit and has significant side effects on some people. The most common reactions are diarrhea, allergies, headaches and asthma.  

Now what about the herbs you buy? 

Do your herbs contain sulfur dioxide (SD)  and does SD effect the fundamental quality of the herbs? 

Chinese herbs are derived from natural plant and mineral products.  Like any natural product, they are vulnerable to mold and insect infestation. To control the decay and mold many herbal products and natural supplements are sprayed with sulfur based fumigation. This process kills bacteria, mold, insects and may also be used for bleaching/ cleaning raw herbs.  

But can it change the chemical constituents of a particular herb?  In some cases we know for a fact the answer is YES!  Pac Herbs products are not fumigated with SD!  We believe the byproduct of fumigation is unacceptable as it often changes the nature of the herb. 

Sulfer dioxide is commonly used by some farmers to cosmetically improve the appearance of the herb Dioscorea, (Shan Yao) Pueraria Root ( Ge Gen) and dried ginger (Gan Jiang).  In high sugar content raw herbs SD causes the herbs to taste more acidic, in herbs containing fatty oils such as persica (tao ren) used in our PMS Relief, fumigation leaves a pungent oil odor.  Fragile herbs such as Chrysanthemum (Ju Hua) should never be fumigated with sulfur dioxide because it damages Chrysanthemum's fundamental qualities.

As a preservative, sulfur dioxide is often used in dried fruit because it's antimicrobial properties preserve freshness, reduce rotting and help maintain the appearance of the fruit.  Sulfur dioxide is an important compound in wine making. It serves as an antibiotic and antioxidant, protecting wine from spoilage by bacteria and oxidation.  The Center for Science in the Public Interest  lists  two food preservatives, sulfur dioxide and sodium bisulfate as being safe for human consumption except for certain individuals who may be sensitive to it, even in small amounts.

Our labs conduct sulfur dioxide residue tests before our herbs are processed to insure the our natural herbal products are sulfur free. When I visited wholesale herb markets in China, the un-sulfured herbs were noticeable different  in color and price  (see above picture)  from the same herbs treated with sulfur.  Untreated herbs were always more expensive, what does that tell you?   

 Center for Science in the Public Interest.. http://www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm#sulfites

Tackling Sleep Disorders in The Work Place

Pac Herbs natural sleep aid iSleepNeed something to keep you from dragging through your day? Want something to inspire you so the boss will notice what a great asset you really are?    We all have those days where we are just dragging our butts to the office and sleep walking through our work day.

Here are a few tips I use to keep me going when the all I really want to do is go back to bed.

#1.  Coffee works for a while, but I prefer natures superfuel, a straight up ginseng drink. It perks up my mental focus and gives me the energy to make it through the evening commute.  Ginseng is one of the most studied Chinese herbs, it’s used world wide for treating stress, helps improve mental clarity and alertness.

#2.  Fresh Air! Get your butt outside at lunch time and walk. It’s sounds easy when the weathers nice but no one’s going out there in the middle of winter.  So hit the stairwell’s or the company gym treadmill if you have one. No-body is meant to stay sitting all day.

#3.   Power Nap on your break!  Take 15 minutes with an ipod and a eye mask and get away from it all.  If you don’t have an ipod there’s plenty of great meditations on line or find some soothing music on Pandora.  If all that fails, ear plugs are easy and cheap.

#4.  Early to bed, early to rise, may not fit everyone’s lifestyle, but it does make for good advice if you’re trying to impress the boss and stay awake on the job.  Try it a couple of times, you never know, it might just grow on you. 

#5.   Stay hydrated. Don’t reach for a soft drink or another cup of coffee which will dehydrate you even more.  Your best bet is green tea.  Green tea contains natural catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate  (say that one 5x fast)   (EGCG) a powerful anti-oxidant.  What sets green tea apart is the way it is processed. Green tea leaves are steamed, which prevents the EGCG compound from being oxidized.

Thanks for reading!! Drop us a comment with your suggestions.

The Importance of Rest, Sleep Better Tonight

herbs for sleepThere's a great website devoted to women over fifty called faboverfifty.com. It's a place for women to share ideas on health, fashion, their changing bodies and well… all the facts of life.  Recently they held a little contest.  They wanted answers from their readers on this question:

"What do you do when you're having trouble falling asleep at night?  

Here's the winning post…(there were about one hundred different answers, many desperately wanting a good nights sleep.)

"When I can't sleep it's always because I have toooo much in my head. I know I should stop working before trying to sleep. But when I don't… a little lavender essential oil drops on my pillow and behind my ears starts the dreamy process. If I wake up with my head buzzing with ideas, deadlines, projects etc. then I visualize. Each thought in my head is released on a kite string as I sit on my favorite beach in Hawaii watching the most beautiful sunset. As the sun sets, so do I. My thoughts that were keeping me up are safely attached to the kite, retrievable if I need them the next day. "

Yours truly won the contest.  I didn't plug iSleep Herb Pac but I love a packet before bed when my head is buzzing with ideas. It's clear a lot of women (and men)  in those posts would also benefit from our natural sleep aid and these Chinese herbs have such a gentle action you just fall asleep naturally.

I couldn't agree more with what my colleague posted about the importance of sleep, see below.

by: Kath Bartlett, MS, LAc,

I am researching lymphoma, a type of cancer. One of the books I am reading discusses the importance of getting enough rest. This issue cannot be overstated, not only for cancer treatment, but for any type of disease or injury prevention.

Getting adequate rest includes resting during an illness, rather than trying to work through it. Overwork impairs detoxification, so that the chemical toxins we are exposed to in our environment accumulate in the body. The build up of toxins can lead not only to cancer formation, but atopic (allergic) and autoimmune conditions.

Sleep is essential for detoxification and for the release of growth hormone needed to repair and rebuild damaged tissues.

Poor or lack of sleep leads to yin deficiency. Yin deficiency is a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) concept. Yin is a broad category that includes fluids, substance & blood, cool/cold temperature and quiescence. When yin is deficient, heat develops in the body (yin is cool/cold) and the toxins (a heat process) draw deeper in the body. This is why atopic and autoimmune conditions are difficult to treat.

If you are under-employed due to the recession, use this time as an opportunity to improve your health, by getting enough sleep, eating well balanced, home cooked meals and getting adequate exercise.

There was an interesting New York Times article showing that during recessions people are healthier because they work fewer hours, have more time to prepare their own meals & eat less restaurant food and have more time for exercise.

Be careful not to overwork when you are sick. Take the time to nurse your illness and recuperate so that you do not cause the disease to travel deeper in the body.