Billionaire’s In The Chinese Medicine Industry

This past weekend, Forbes published a story about a billionaire family who's family fortune is growing due to their investments in Chinese herbal medicine.

The company, called Shijiazhuang Yiling Pharmaceutical gained 5.6% to close at 47.20 yuan, or $7.37.  A rise 29% on its first day of trading. Most of money will be used to expand production of Chinese herbal medicines for cardio-cerebrovascular illness and the flu.

The Yiling’s 2010 revenue was approximately 1.6 billion yuan last year.

The family of chairman Wu Yiling, who with his children own 59% of the herb company, is currently worth $1.7 billion.

Wu is a graduate of Hebei Medical University with a bachelor’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM,  and also holds a master’s degree in medicine from the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine.

China had a record 115 billionaires on the 2011 Forbes Billionaires list published earlier this year. To have a family in the Chinese herbal medicine business shows the expansive growth of Chinese herbs both in China and around the world.  

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.

Chinese Medicine and Insomnia Symptoms

no insomnia with chinese herbs

Insomnia, whether for a prolonged time or a short duration is a dreaded cycle that can drive us to the brink of insanity. There nothing worse than being so tired all day long that we just can’t think straight. When you finally hit the pillow you sleep only a few hours  and can’t get back to sleep. People cope with insomnia in different ways, some start their day at 4 AM  because “there is just no sense in staying in bed” others rely on prescription drugs. Regardless of how you decide to cope with the lack of sleep here’s a quick look at insomnia from the Chinese medicine perceptive. This little insight or different perspective,  may help you change whatever is going on in your life that’s affecting your sleep patterns


Chinese Medicine, practiced continuously now for over 2000 years, categorizes insomnia into 4 main groups.  

1.       Insomnia due to over-thinking or disharmony between work and rest. When it’s time to sleep your mind should not be thinking of all the days plans, all that worries you or what needs to be done tomorrow. Your mind should simply not be talking to you. Your mind should be active during daytime hours and quiet at night.  There are many techniques in Chinese medicine to help you quiet your mind such as Tai Qi, meditation, exercise and other stress reducers.  A proper discussion of these techniques will be addressed in another article. Herbal medicines can help stop these over thinking habits and help quiet your mind without being addictive. 

2.      Insomnia due to sickness or advancing age. When we are extremely weak and/or recovering  from an illness it is not uncommon to have sleeping difficulties. During this time both qi and blood are deficient which nourish our heart, kidney and spleen channels of Chinese medicine. Rebuild and replenish yourself with a proper diet and supplements and this pattern will subside.

3.        Insomnia due to panic, anger and excessive worry will gradually lead to chronic insomnia. This pattern is especially worrisome because of  it’s chronic, (ongoing) nature. Emotions that are buried and not addressed during the daytime hours may in a sense, haunt us at night. These emotions cause a deficiency of heart qi  and transform and flare up disturbing the mind at night. Dealing with emotional problems during waking hours will prevent this type of insomnia.

4.    Insomnia due to spicy, fatty, raw and even cold food late at night. This type of insomnia is the easiest to change. Simply stop eating 3-4 hours before going to bed. Over eating from a Chinese Medicine perspective  leads to phlegm and  heat and both interfere with restful sleep. The body cannot optimize digestion late at night. Your body needs time to process the foods eaten during the day and clean itself out.

These four patterns cover the gamut of sleeping problems in Chinese medicine. Some people suffer from just one pattern, (typically # 1)  others suffer from a combination of them. Once you identify your pattern you can take steps in your life to make the necessary changes to give your body and your mind the rest it needs.

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 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.

The Doctor Will See You Now, If There Is Enough Time?

best natural sleep aidsWhich is more valuable, time or money?

When you go to your doctor, does your doctor have time for you?  Do they listen to you, i.e. why you're not sleeping, why you're so fatigued and does your doctor have time to hear you and respond? 

We all know our health care system has many advantages and disadvantages, I find Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) doctors to be one of the huge advantages.  If you have the opportunity to visit an Integrative or Alternative Medicine practitioner such as a Naturopath, Homeopath or Traditional Chinese Medicine Acupuncturist or Herbalist you can find a plethora of caring, responsible health practitioners that have THE most important piece of the health care solution, they have TIME for their patients.

So many good doctors are hampered by insurance company payment systems they simple can't afford to give you their time.  Today, visiting a Homeopathic office I overheard the questions the doctor of Homeopathy was asking his patient.  In depth questions, about the patients stress levels, menstrual cycle, sleep and herbal supplement use.  Although I only heard  a minute of the conversation I knew this doctor was giving the most important medical attention possible.  He was taking the TIME to really listen to his patients problems. 

One reason I believe so many good people are turning to alternative therapies such as Chiropractors, Acupuncturists, Herbalist, Naturopaths and Homeopathic doctors is simple for this reason of "Time".  When a CAM doctor hears you have a sleeping problem they won't just scribble the name of a sleep aid pill on a piece of paper and rush out the door.  Rather they actually take the time to investigate your entire health history and look for the root cause of the problem. 

Time can make all the difference.  Wishing you lots of it in 2011.

Are Chinese Herbs A Better Sleep Aid Than Melatonin?

I am often asked this question.   My answer usually is something like this. 

Just because you are not familiar with Chinese herbs does not mean they not as effective as the everyday sleep aids you've often heard about.  Simply because Chinese medicine has not been the predominant form of medicine in the U.S. for the past 200 plus years does not negate the fact that over a billion people on the earth depend on this medicines systems and theories.  The continual use of herbal sleep medicine for over 1000 years, gives it both a safety record unmatched by other sleep remedies, and a success rating no other natural treatment can hold a candle too.

In comparison, Melatonin was discovered in 1958,  it took another 25 years to accumulate knowledge about  melatonin and what effect it had on both physiological and behavioral aspects of people.  It's use as a sleep aid started about 20 years ago and clinical studies on it's use as a sleep aid vary greatly.  This may be partly due to melatonin not being a regulated drug with regulated dosage levels, like other hormones sold only by prescription.This pineal hormone may be more important for overall well being, than as a OTC (over-the-counter) sleep aid. 

Comparing the two as sleep aids is a bit like comparing apples and oranges.  One is a hormone the other botanical medicine, one has only two decades of use while the other over a thousand years. One has thousands of conclusive studies…. do I need to continue? 

Unleash the power of herbal medicine and learn about and try the most famous herbs used in the world to help you sleep.

Boost Your Immune System with This Herb, Dr. Weil Says

Astragalus  root, also known as Huang Qi  or astragulus membranaceous has been used for over 2000 years to keep people healthy.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine today we may call it “supplementing your Qi”, either way it’s boosting your immune system to fight off stress and everyday germs.  Add it to boiling water for some tea  and you will have more energy and increase your natural immunities.  Dr. Andrew Weil calls it one of the five supplements he recommends for a healthy immune system.  This herb is also known as an adaptogen.

Astragalus is usually used in combination with other herbs in Chinese herbal medicine.  iI is commonly used to supplement spleen/pancreas and stomach energy.  It is both safe and inexpensive and is commonly found in Asian cooking.   You may even want to add it to homemade chicken soup  for a kick ass immune busting soup. 

If you prefer the more convenient pre-cooked astragalus you can find them here.   Adding a little bit of granules to warm water and drink as a tea or add it to your favorite shake or juicing recipe. Granules are the preferred method throughout Asia simply because they won’t attract bugs like most raw hers do after sitting in your cabinet for a long time and the convenience can’t be beat. Our Astragalus granules are the highest grade available and although we cannot verify certified organic, they are always thoroughly tested for contaminants and as close to organic as is possible.

Sleep Aids Valerian and Hops Check Dosage

Natural Sleep aids with Chinese herbsIf you are looking for a natural sleep aid to help you stay horizontal through-out the night, we've got news for you.  The traditional herbs used in the West for help sleeping are valerian and hops. Maybe you've heard of them.   In one of the most thoroughly conducted research studies on these herbs, it was discovered  these herbs only work when extracted together.  

These top researchers in Switzerland conducted a randomized, double blind, placebo controlled study to demonstrate the fixed combination of chemical constituents from the plants.  What the researchers found is that only when these two herbs are used in a fixed combination at 500 milligrams valerian extract siccum to 120 milligrams hops extract siccum,  did they reduce sleep latency.  The valerian extract alone was no better than a placebo.  Always check product dosages for the best results.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has a long history of using herbs together.  When using Chinese herbs as an over-the-counter sleep aid, either mixed at a Chinese pharmacy or in prepackaged packets like our iSleep Herb Pac, it is most common to have herbs combined together to create a synergistic action that is much more effective than any one herb working alone.  Chinese herbs are always used in combination formulas for the very same reason this study demonstrates.  They simply work better, together.  Studies can prove this, but it is really history of over a thousand years of using herbs cooked together which has provided this knowledge.  


For more info on this study:

Koetter U, Schrader E, Kaufeler R. et al. A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled, prospective clinical study to demonstrate clinical efficacy of a fixed valerian hops extract combination (Ze 91019) in patients suffering from non-organic sleep disorder. Phytother Res. 2007 May 8.

Improve Your Memory with Ginseng – King of All Chinese Herbs

So you want to improve your cognitive performance, or give yourself a little brain boost.  Don't we all need that from time to time. 

Ginseng is often referred to as the King of all Chinese herbs.  Traditional Chinese Medicine has used it for prevention and treatment of many diseases and as a general health elixir and performance enhancer for several millennia,.

A group of researchers in the UK decided to study the effects of Ginseng in Best gingsenghealthy young adults.   This study proved this Chinese herb can improve working memory,  improve the speed of performing mental arithmetic and improve reaction times. But the findings are both dose dependent and dependent on the active ingredients in the extract used.  The known active ingredient in ginseng are specific saponins known as ginsenosides.  The extract used in this study was standardized to 4% total ginsenosides at a 400 mg dose once daily.  

What I like about this study is it was randomized, placebo controlled, and double blind. (neither researchers or participants knew which were taking the ginseng).  These are the best kinds of studies to trust the results. Although there are thousands of studies on Chinese herbs and specifically panax ginseng,  this study was the first to include a comprehensive assessment of working memory.   The authors concluded it was the 400 mg dose that made the biggest difference.  This study was conducted for 8 days, and most likely not long enough to see a chronic effect.  

If you are looking to purchase ginseng there are many varieties on the market.  The difficulty is knowing which brand to trust and which brand actually has effective properties. Does the brand you purchase have a minimum 4% total ginsenosides?   We understand the confusion and frustration of not knowing if and when an herbal product is truly worth the cost. 

Because we have a connection to an excellent source, and customers keep asking for it, we have decided to include ginseng in our store.  Our Panax ginseng is tested for impurities and active properties with both TLC and HPLC.  It is the same product used throughout hospitals in China.  It is the same product which Japanese businessmen seek to purchase, simply because they can afford it.   We buy direct so you receive both a quality product sold to herbalist and Acupuncturists, at a fair market price.  Our herbal granules can be mixed in warm water to drink as a tea or mix into your favorite smoothie drink.  You can also place a small amount of granules on your tongue and swallow with water.  Either way you will experience the power and health benefits of ginseng.

We guarantee all our products or your money back. 

You can read the study mentioned above, here:

Mayo Clinic’s New Book and Thoughts on Disease “PREVENTION”

best natural sleeping aidsThe top 20 health issues are all discussed in the Mayo Clinic’s new book on Alternative Medicine.   The author, Dr. Bauer, details dozens of natural therapies that have worked safely.   Dr. Bauer asserts that “an opportunity has risen that may hold the promise of a new paradigm for better health.”

Firstly:  “The best way to manage an illness is to prevent it from happening in the first place” This is one reason there has been explosive growth in the field of alternative medicine. People are looking for more “natural” or “holistic” ways to maintain good health!!

Secondly:   By combining the best of complementary and conventional health care practices to meet your individual needs, you’ll be practicing integrative medicine.

Sounds simple enough to me!!

Start with reducing stress and get a good nights sleep.  Stanford University recognizes the importance of these two factors.  They are currently recruiting women  for a sleep study, to learn how lack of sleep and too much stress may be linked to breast cancer and breast cancer survival.

You may be surprised that Mayo Clinic now urges you and your doctor to consider yoga, garlic, acupuncture, dietary supplements and other natural therapies. The record is clear. Many of these alternative therapies can help you achieve reduced arthritis pain, healthier coronary arteries, improved diabetes management, better memory function and more.

So find some local fitness classes, get a group of friends together and walk,  go to your local health food store and stock up on quality herbal supplements, there is no excuse. 

Alternative Medicine is “Preventative Health Care” and the new mantra is:

“What’s alternative today will be conventional tomorrow.”