Med Students Say They Can Benefit From CAM

CAM therapies include Chinese herbs, Chinese Medicine both of which help insomnia and give PMS ReliefAnother study, I found this one most encouraging. A survey of 1784 current U.S. medical students from around the country said knowledge of Complementary and Alternative Medicine could help them as Western doctors do a better job. (51% of U.S. medical schools participated). The survey’s overall objectives were to discover how many future doctors are using Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) therapies and  which therapies and to  assess medical students’ attitudes toward CAM. CAM therapies include, Acupuncture, herbal medicine, yoga, massage and other non-traditional healing modalities.
There is certainly a need for emerging physicians to integrate Complementary and Integrative Medicine into their medical practices. Medical schools are recognizing this and have taken steps at restructuring their curriculum to incorporate CAM educational opportunities. It’s been my privilege to be personally involved with one such school, the USC Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles  when they host their CAM Health Care day each year.
The Keck School  invites a few local Alternative Medicine practitioners from various fields to speak in the classrooms of  their first year medical students. Being an  Acupuncturist I spoke about Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese herbal medicine.   I found the  students had an incredible interest in learning more about Chinese medicine and were extremely open minded and had great questions.  However, when I asked how many of them had ever gone to an Acupuncturist only about 20% said they had and not surprisingly they were most often the students from Asian decent.   I’m looking forward to getting more feedback from the students at this years CAM day to be held in March.  I’ll keep you posted, it’s always an enjoyable afternoon.
Adequately preparing our future doctors is a daunting task, but I do believe our medical institutions are on the right track.  The next generation of  doctors are already telling us that one day soon, CAM will be more than peripheral medicine, it will be main stream.

The findings were published online Jan. 20, 2010  in Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

Real Definition

Real definition of Chinese herbal medicine sleep aids
   What is the real definition today of Alternative Medicine?  
 
   25 years ago it was TM.
    20 years ago it was Chiropractors.
    15 years ago Ayurvedic Medicine and Yoga.
      10 years ago it was Acupuncture.
        5 years ago it was Chinese herbal medicine and Homeopathy and now?  The best      definition may just be all of the above plus: Reflexology, Aromatherapy, Spiritual Healing, Qi Gong and Tai Chi, massage, raw food diets and just about anything else you can imagine.

Today the different possible ways to find health and wellness are as creative and as they are unconventional. The U.S. Government funded National Institute of Health is spending millions of dollars every year funding studies on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, so they must believe the tides are shifting from our “conventional medicine”.  
 
Why are the tides changing you ask? Alternative medicines focus on the whole person not just the disease symptoms. People are becoming mistrustful of  pharmaceutical companies as reports surface on the inherent dangers and adverse effects of  prescription drugs along with the increased cost.  Thirty years since the war on cancer was declared, no cure is in site.  People are turning their hope for cures and better health to Alternative Medicines where practitioners spend time with their patients and often include help with the emotional trauma of their disease. Something our conventional medicine can no longer afford to offer in a medical system based on insurance reimbursements and medicare funding.
 
As this tide changes we also find a return to our roots. Quite literally roots, barks, berries, leaves and all parts of nature are part of the new "alternative" health trends. We can now find just about any plant/herb in a bottle and on a store shelf.   Health food stores are popping up even in rural America. Costco sells row upon row of health supplements and vitamins. Herbal medicine is come back in vogue and is the trend rather than the exception.
 
This new definition of what is alternative is changing as we speak. Although we may not have a clear definition of Alternative Medicine it is becoming anything but alternative.

New Cancer Treatments Possible Via A Very Special Mushroom

Cordyceps Sinensis Pacherbs.comA while back I wrote about a type of mushroom called Cordyceps used in Chinese medicine which sells for $100.00 an ounce or even more. (Click here for that article) Here’s one reason this herb/fungus is such a prized possession. The very prestigious, University of Nottingham just published the findings from researchers there who have discovered how this mushrooms works within our bodies.  
This incredible discovery on the active ingredient called cordycepin and it’s pathways, is the first step in learning how cordycepin can treat many diseases including cancer.   Although this mushroom has been actively studied since the 1950’s, researches never figured out exactly how cordycepin worked on cells. Dr Cornelia de Moor of The University of Nottingham said “With this knowledge, it will be possible to predict what types of cancers might be sensitive and what other cancer drugs it may effectively combine with.”

Professor Janet Allen, BBSRC Director of Research said, “The knowledge generated by this research demonstrates the mechanisms of drug action and could have an impact on one of the most important challenges to health.”

Chinese medicine has held cordyceps in high regard for hundreds, even thousands of years. For more information on cordyceps click here.  It’s always wonderful to learn how modern medicine is finding new information on ancient Chinese herbs.
This research was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and was carried out at The University of Nottingham.

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.

Indigestion, Need Some Relief?

Chinese herb mint bo he for heartburnOver indulgence and holidays seems to go hand in hand. Rich, tempting food seems to be everywhere, leaving us with heartburn and indigestion. For thousands of years people have turned to natural plants to relieve their suffering from acid reflux, heartburn and indigestion. Many found Chinese herbs, fruits and roots were the answer to what ailed them. Here are a four herbal remedies from the history books that helped back then and still help today with the age old problem of indigestion.
 
1. Hawthorne Berry (Shan Zha) not a strawberry or raspberry but a sour fruit (I call it an herb) that works great after the overindulgence of meats and greasy foods. If you’re prone to familiar heartburn, abdominal distension and acid regurgitation this herb is for you. Shan Zha has also an abundance of data as a cardio-tonic. Similar to many Chinese herbs it has the ability to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and even widens the coronary arteries. If you’re a buffet gourmet this is your herb.  Shan Zha can be found dried at most Asian markets or online. Boil it and drink as a tea.

2. Massa Fermentata (shen qu)   Also known as medicated leaven, massa is not just one herb, but actually a mixture of fermented wheat flour, bran and a few other herbs. In traditional Chinese medicine, massa’s main function is to eliminate indigestion, and harmonize the stomach and stop diarrhea. Dried massa is available in Asian markets, often referred to as “medicinal fermented mass,” which usually contains orange peels and different herbs. As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions or side-effects associated with massa.

(In 1997, a professor of School of Agriculture of Tokyo University of Japan,  Akira Endo discovered that monacolin K, a by product during the fermentation process of shen qu,  can inhibit the synthesis of cholesterol in human body and can promote circulation.)

3. Licorice Root (Gan Cao) has a long and lustrous history in Chinese medicine. As one of the most widely used herbs, licorice has a host of benefits. It’s ability to  increase production of mucin provides proven benefits to the mucous membrane lining of the digestive tract and its flavonoids also protect against stomach acid.  Licorice flavonoids have anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and anti-acid effects along with many other actions.  Use raw, boil and drink as a tea, or purchase in capsules. Be aware that capsule products won’t be the same strength as raw herbs unless you take large handfuls at a time.
 
4.  Mint – Peppermint is well known as a breath freshener but its actions go much deeper.  The active component, menthol oil, activates our saliva glands as well as glands that secrete digestive enzymes. Mint  helps to balance intestinal flora by eliminating the harmful bacteria, parasites and viruses present in the gut, the main causes of bad breath and acid reflux.  Buy it fresh and let it seep in hot water a few minutes and drink, you can strain out leaves. Don’t boil it for any length of time, you will likely cook out the beneficial menthol oils.

When you’re looking for natural remedies for indigestion you can always try the “old stand bys”:  eat small meals, chew your food thoroughly to activate those digestive enzymes, eat fresh not processed foods and don’t grab food in a rush. That’s all good advice but when it doesn’t work, get yourself some of the Chinese herbs listed above, all guaranteed to work.
References
  • Lu HY, et al. New usages of jian pi wan. Journal of New TCM 1992;24(11):44-45.
  • Wang GJ. Treating 33 cases of duodenal stasis with jian pi wan. National Journal of Medicine Forum 1995;10(5):41.
  • Xiong ZF. Treating 300 cases of child diarrhea with modified jian pi wan. Journal of Chengdu College TMC 1986;(3):29-30.
  • Yu WP. Comparative experimental research in jian pi fang and vitamin E’s effect on fruit fly life span. Jiangsu Journal of TCM 1991;12(8):33-34.
  • http://www.www.alternativehealing.org/shen_qu.htm

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/

Dr. Oz Recommends Ginseng for Swine Flu

Chinese herb ginsengEver since Dr. Oz’s interview in Esquire magazine (Dec. 09) I’ve been fielding a phethera of questions on ginseng.  Thanks Dr. Oz, I’m always happy to talk about the Chinese herbs I love.  It’s an added bonus that the best American Ginseng is actually grown in Wisconsin, my old stomping grounds. I also love to buy American whenever possible.

In response to a question “how to prevent swine flu”, Dr. Oz says: “Vitamin D and American ginseng are the two things I recommend the most. Vitamin D because it stimulates dramatically the ability of the immune system to respond, and American ginseng because it stimulates these things called Toll-like receptors in the gut. They’re ancient – our most primitive immune response – and they make it difficult for bugs to get in through the intestinal wall.”

 

This is an excellent post on ginseng from Acupuncture Chicago.
By Jennifer Dubowsky

Did you know there are different types of ginseng and they are all considered potent herbs for helping the body adapt to stress – both mental and physical. Ginseng is best known for its ability to stimulate your immune system and fight fatigue and stress. Several dozen studies have shown that ginseng enhances physical and mental performance, improves mood, and aids metabolic function. Other studies suggest ginseng maybe anti-inflammatory and can provide a wealth of benefits including: improved blood cholesterol; lowered liver toxicity; lowered blood sugar levels; improved blood oxygen flow; control of respiratory diseases; and enhanced stamina.

The 3 Most Well Known Types Of Ginseng

Chinese Ginseng (Panax ginseng)

Considered the “king of all herbs” in many countries, found in the forests of northeast China, Manchuria and Korea. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chinese ginseng is used to tonify the “Qi” (vital energy or life energy force) and is a powerful “yang” or warming tonic herb. It has been reported to: stimulate the immune system; fight fatigue, combat stress, slow aging, balance blood sugar levels, enhance mental performance and memory, lower cholesterol, and strengthen the heart muscle. It may even have anti-tumor and anticancer properties. Before rushing off to get some Chinese Ginseng be aware that it’s overuse can have some negative side effects including; irritability, insomnia and rapid heart beat.

*Panax ginseng has had a notorious reputation as a sexual rejuvenator, particularly for men, however much of this reputation seems to be over-hyped.

American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium)

Is indigenous to eastern woodlands from Georgia to Quebec, and was used by Native Americans. The picture in this post is of American Ginseng. While not as well known as Chinese Ginseng, American Ginseng has been around for hundreds of years. Jesuit Priests were reported to be trading American Ginseng to the Chinese as early as 1718. American Ginseng has a more “yin” or cooler nature than its Chinese counterpart. While still energizing the body, American Ginseng calms the central nervous system, quiets the brain and lowers blood pressure. Also, because of its more “yin” nature, it is generally better to use on a daily, long term basis than Chinese Ginseng. However if you tend to have a cold constitution, this might not be the herb for you.

Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus)

Native to Siberia, Japan, Korea and China. Although not a “true ginseng”, this variety is most highly prized. Eleuthero was traditionally used to promote longevity and general health. Many herbalists prefer Eleuthero as the ginseng for helping with women’s health issues, particularly with depression associated with PMS and menopause. Research, mostly from Russia, confirms this herb’s ability to increase mental and physical performance, stimulate the immune system, increase movement of white blood cells, promote circulation and enhance the benefits of medical radiation treatments while lessening its negative side-effects.

Cautions About Ginseng

Ginseng should be avoided by patients who are pregnant or have high blood pressure. In addition, ginseng may increase the effects other stimulants, which may cause sweating, insomnia, or an irregular heartbeat. It should not be used in conjunction with antipsychotic medications, steroids or hormones. As with all Chinese herbs it is best to consult with a Chinese Herbalist and see what is best for you before taking ginseng products.

Buy ginseng here at PacHerbs

Once used only in Chinese Medicine, Now This Southern Weed May Help Alcoholics

kudzu A Chinese Herb eats a carKudzu, a vine also known as Ge Gen in Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine has been considered a weed and an invasive species in the "Deep South" for the past 50 years.

 

It has also been celebrated as one of the 50 most fundamental herbs in Chinese Medicine.

 

While first prized for its sweet smelling flowers, it’s encroaching and invasive nature soon made it unpopular to some and a flight of fancy for others. Here in the US, poetry, books and films have been written about this vine, and it has the making of a legend in its ability to grow one foot a day and up to sixty feet a year, covering any structure, small or large. Our picture shows it eating a car. 

 

Festivals have been planned in its honor, clubs have been formed and individuals have been known to create hundreds of baskets from its vines. In Japan and China, it is used daily in teas and consumed just as turnips would be.  Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine practitioners have used kudzu for over 2000 years to treat many diseases, including diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

 

Scientists in Alabama and Iowa have reported the first evidence that root extracts from kudzu show promise as a dietary supplement for a high-risk condition that affects almost 50 million people in the United States alone, metabolic syndrome. Scientists have been seeking natural substances that can treat metabolic syndrome,  which creates an excessive amount of glucose in the blood and is linked to both diabetes and obesity. 

 

A new study evaluated kudzu root extracts, which contain healthful substances called isoflavones. Connect here for Metabolic Syndrome Study Recently, there have also been several laboratory studies conducted on mice that show Kudzu to be effective in reducing alcohol intake. A study has shown this commonly used Chinese herb seems to prevent the usual increase in binge drinking that occurs after five days of abstinence  and also prevents relapse. 

 

Extracts of various parts of the kudzu vine  are said to be "helpful in treating a variety of maladies, including alcoholism and intoxication," said Ting-Kai Li, a professor in the department of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center, and former director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Considering that nearly eighty percent of abstinent alcoholics or addicts relapse within a year, the value of Kudzu  in helping to treat alcoholism could make it a legend in the world of medicine.

 

It has been suggested that once Kudzu  has been further studied,  this Chinese herb has a high likelihood of replacing Antabuse, a well-known but slightly toxic medication that is currently used to treat chronic alcoholism. One researcher involved in the study Dr. Diamond said we  “hope this novel compound will become an effective therapeutic agent for alcoholism.” So what was once deemed a weed by the USDA, has the  potential to become a goldmine for the South. It has even been suggested that Kudzu could be used to produce the same amount of ethanol as an acre of corn, thus supplementing our current energy resources as well. Click here for a link to the studies referenced.

This article is designed to provide the reader with clinical research results and the potential benefits and or risks associated with CAM (Complementary and Alternative Medicines). The author advocates neither for or against any particular therapy and recommends individuals speak with licensed medicial practitioners before using any Chinese herbal supplements or other health supplements.

Good news for Pre-Diabetes, Chinese herbs help insulin levels

cupcakesAsian countries  have been using Chinese Herbs for centuries to treat pre-diabetes (impaired glucose tolerance or IGT), the precursor of diabetes but  now there is some scientific evidence to support  the Traditional Chinese Medicine claims.

The  prestigious Cochran Review  has just published a study they conducted on 1391 participants which says “evidence suggests Chinese herbal medicines are able to lower and normalize high blood glucose.”

Pre-diabetes is recognized by higher than normal blood sugar levels.  People with pre-diabetes are advised to change their diets to control their blood glucose levels and prevent progression  to diabetes.  Chinese herbs are believed to work in a number of different ways to help normalize blood sugar levels, including improving pancreatic function and increasing the availability of insulin.

Those given the Chinese herb formulations were less likely to develop full blown diabetes during the study period. Trials included in the review lasted from one month to two years. No adverse effects were reported in any of the trials.  “Our results suggest that some Chinese herbal medicines can help to prevent diabetes, but we really need more research before we can confidently say that these treatments work,” says Suzanne Grant,  lead researcher at the Cochrane Center for Complementary Medicine Research “The real value of the study is as guidance for further trials. We need to see more trials that make comparisons with placebos and other types of drugs, and better reporting on the outcomes of these trials.”

http://www.cochrane.org/reviews/en/ab006690.html

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.

NIH says Chinese Herb passes the test for Rheumatoid Arthritis

rheumatoid arthritisRheumatoid Arthritis is an extremely debilitating disease.  A dear friend suffers with it and has for years.   But at 80 years old now, she won’t consider doing much to change her ways.  I wish I could convince her that Chinese herbs have been used successfully for this crippling disease.  I’m always trying to disseminate reliable and scientific   information about Chinese herbs.  Hope this helps someone who also suffers from RA.

An article published in the Aug 2009, Annals of Internal Medicine  compares the use of a Chinese herb for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis, (RA).   121 patients were included in the study which took place at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda Maryland and at the University of Texas, Dallas, along with 8 other rheumatology clinics around the U.S.   The Chinese herb medicinal  used in this study is called Tripterygium wilfordii,  or Thunder god vine and is used for a variety of  inflammatory diseases in Chinese Medicine.  In fact, because vines have a climbing nature and are able to meander and crawl into crevices and into tight places,  it is theorized in Chinese Medicine that medicinal vines have the same type of effects in the body.  Reaching into tight spaces and meandering and opening blockages throughout the body.  This may not scientifically explain why the vine helps RA, but it does makes sense energetically.

Understandably,  Western audiences have not been exposed to Chinese Medicine theory, therefore,  I”ll include the  scientific explanation presented in this study.   The  “interleukin-6levels rapidly and significantly decreased in the group taking the Chinese herb root extract.” (interleukin-6 plays a significant role in RA because it acts as both a pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory.  It is secreted by T cells and macrophages to stimulate immune response to trauma and other tissue damage leading to inflammation)  This just may be the explanation as to why participants in the  RA study showed  “significant improvement “  while taking this Chinese herb compared to those who did not complete the study.

The bottom line, the roots of  Thunder god vine seems effective in treatingpatients with active RA and may offer an alternativetreatment approach to treating rheumatoid arthritis.  To find someone who can help you with your RA and use herbs like this vine to help your condition, find a qualified Acupuncturist who has a strong background in herbal medicine. Let us know if you need a referral.

Read the whole study here.

What is Titanium Dioxide Doing in My Vitamin Supplements?

pacherbs.com“Vitamins are good for us’” is the overwhelming consensus if you ask just about anybody.  They support our body functions and gives us the extra nutrients we need. So what’s titanium dioxide, (now categorized as a carcinogenic in Canada)  doing in bottles from some of the largest vitamins manufacturers.  If you’re like me, this news comes as a big surprise.

How can that be you ask?  The question you should be asking is, do you read your vitamin bottles, herbal supplements and cosmetics carefully enough to know what your buying? Below is the label of one of the largest vitamin manufactures in the U.S.  Check out the nomenclature,  CAREFULLY!  If your not a chemist it may look like a foreign language.  This is the real label, nothing added or subtracted. INGREDIENTS: Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, Dibasic Calcium Phosphate, Magnesium Oxide, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Ascorbic Acid (Vit. C), Ferrous Fumarate, Pregelatinized Corn Starch, dl-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vit. E). Contains < 2% of: Acacia, Beta-Carotene, BHT, Biotin, Boric Acid, Calcium Pantothenate, Calcium Stearate, Cholecalciferol (Vit. D3), Chromium Picolinate, Citric Acid, Corn Starch, Crospovidone, Cupric Sulfate, Cyanocobalamin (Vit. B12), FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake, Folic Acid, Gelatin, Hydrogenated Palm Oil, Hypromellose, Manganese Sulfate, Medium-Chain Triglycerides, Modified Food Starch, Niacinamide, Nickelous Sulfate, Phytonadione (Vit. K), Polyethylene Glycol, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Potassium Iodide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vit. B6), Riboflavin (Vit. B2), Silicon Dioxide, Sodium Ascorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Metavanadate, Sodium Molybdate, Sodium Selenate, Sorbic Acid, Stannous Chloride, Sucrose, Talc, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vit. B1), Titanium Dioxide, Tocopherols, Tribasic Calcium Phosphate, Vitamin A Acetate (Vit. A), Zinc Oxide. May also contain < 2% of Ascorbyl Palmitate, Maltodextrin, Sodium Aluminosilicate, Sunflower Oil.

You are not alone if you’re having a hard time understanding the names on this list of ingredients. Certainly, this is not a product you should purchase if you are looking for a healthy vitamin. There was once a time when we received all our vitamins from the foods we ate and the water we drank.  Sadly, it is no longer the case. Vitamins and minerals once plentiful in our soil have been depleted by years of over-harvesting and the use of harsh fertilizers. Taking supplements is necessary today.  But to include un-pronounceable chemicals into vitamin supplements is obscene. This practice by the large manufacturers is not done for fun, all these chemicals actually have a purpose.  Some prevent the gluing together of the tablets, others provide a pleasing color or help the machinery so they don’t clog when filling bottles or capsules.  But why would we want to include these chemicals into our vitamins and herbal supplements when they have never been part of the food chain? Have you seen FD&C Yellow No. 6 Aluminum Lake (included in the list above) grown anywhere or does it come from an animal? The answer is nobody really wants to ingest these chemicals.  Yet ingesting any substance, never before in our food supply worries me.  The trace amounts of scary sounding chemicals may seem like insignificant risk factors but when you add up the number of chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis it becomes alarming,  as do cancers rates. We have no real data on how these chemicals react in our bodies, yet the FDA has approved the use of these chemicals in food products. What about herbal supplements?  Many contain a similarly long list of added chemicals and preservatives.

Do you buy from reputable manufacturers?  Do you read the labels?  Pacific Herbs herbal products are produced with the highest grade raw herbs available.  All our raw herbs are inspected and tested for 200 different impurities. This is the only way to know the raw products are pure and void of contaminants.  We package our herbs in individual stay-fresh packets to avoid the use of fillers, binders, excipients and flow agents.  We figured you probably get enough unknown chemicals from everyday life, you don’t need anymore in your health supplements.