If you or someone you know suffers with arthritis, Turmeric is a Chinese herb you have probably heard about but not sure if it will work for you. Turmeric is what gives that yellow color to Indian food, this root has been used for centuries in Indian food and traditional remedies. The yellow color, often in curry sauces comes from the active compounds known as curcuminoids, or mainly curcumin.
A recent clinical trial in Italy studied the effects of curcumin on 50 patients with osteoarthritis in the knees. The effects of supplementing ones diet with this Chinese herb was impressive. The patients that took the turmeric supplement had a 16 fold decrease of inflammation markers in their blood. If that wasn’t enough, these same patients were able to reduce their NSAID’s (Non-Sterodial Anti-Inflammatory) usage by 63%. Remarkable, and these benefits occurred without unintended side effects. Yes, that is the magic of mother nature and this data is consistent with other human studies done of various types of turmeric extracts.
“This is great news for people who suffer from osteoarthritis and the physicians who treat them,” said Mark Blumenthal, Founder and Executive Director of the nonprofit, American Botanical Council an independent herbal medicine research and education organization in Austin, Texas.
So, what is this Chinese herb and how does it work? First and foremost, the active ingredient curcumin has been extensively studied around the world. It has been used for thousands of years in both Ayurveda Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is the root of the turmeric plant that is used for herbal remedies. Chinese herbal medicine has always classified turmeric as a blood moving herb, interestingly it also has properties to clear heat from the blood, break up blood stasis and benefit the gall bladder and help jaundice, most likely because it stimulates bile production.
Turmeric’s popularity has been rising quickly as its reputation for treating chronic inflammatory diseases, some cancers and also Alzheimer’s disease get more media attention. In 2009 sales of turmeric dietary supplements were up about 23% from the previous year. This is understandable, who wouldn’t want a safe, effective herbal supplement to reduce the suffering of osteoarthritis? Pacific Herbs uses turmeric to a combination of herbs to move blood and reduce pain. Many of these herbs have been historically used together to reduce pain and improve blood flow. The Pacific Herbs product is called Corydalis Pain Relief Herb Pack and can be found here.
Pharmaceutical labs have been trying to chemically copy the chemical bonds of curcumin for years but it never seems to have exactly the same effect. When turmeric is used as a whole herb, all the important and beneficial compounds of the plant are present. Science has not yet been able to copy this mix exactly to mimic the same effects.
Turmeric, a common spice in India and an herb used extensively in Chinese Medicine is gaining popularity as the “Alzheimer’s preventing herb”. Dr. Oz, Oprah’s favorite resident MD has a short video on this ancient herb. (watch here) But what Dr. Oz doesn’t talk about is the thousands years plus, of historical medicinal use of this “spice of life”. Chinese herb pharmacopoeia categorizes turmeric as a blood regulator. What this means is turmeric’s most bio-active constituents called “curcuminoids” have been documented as blood movers. As such, it has a wide range of benefits one being an excellent natural anti-inflammatory. Studies show it benefits wound healing and helps speed the remodeling of skin, so it’s great for minor cuts and burns.
In regards to Alzheimer’s disease, turmeric (Curcuma Longa) along with it’s commonly substituted Curcuma Aromatica from the same specie, may slow the progression of this disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain. Turmeric, which, as with many Chinese herbs is seen in at least three different species in the same genus, is a natural antiseptic, antibacterial and antispasmodic. Chinese Medicine has used turmeric for the treatment of depression and for both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It reduces cholesterol, helps liver function and stimulates bile production which aids digestion. Turmeric has also been used successfully for inflammatory bowel conditions such as Crohn’s disease. Turmeric should not be used by pregnant women, it’s blood moving qualities make it contraindicated during pregnancy.
Now that Western researchers have conducted a number of well publicized studies on turmeric which prove scientifically it’s many benefits to health. Chinese Medicine is vindicated for what it’s known for generations. Hopefully one day Eastern and Western medicine will cease to be adversaries and form a partnership based on the integration of their knowledge and their mutual goal of improving the health and well being of people everywhere. Until then, enjoy some turmeric in your food often to keep your cholesterol in check and to improve your overall health. Food should be your first medicine.
I found this on the Mayo-Clinic web site, thought it might interest some people.
Can curcumin slow cancer growth?
from Timothy Moynihan, M.D.
Curcumin, a substance found in the spice turmeric, has long been used in Asian medicine to treat maladies ranging from heartburn to arthritis. Now some recent research suggests that curcumin may help prevent or treat cancer.
Curcumin is thought to have antioxidant properties, which means it may decrease swelling and inflammation. It’s being explored as a cancer treatment because inflammation appears to play a role in cancer.
Lab research suggests that curcumin may slow the spread of cancer and the growth of new tumor blood vessels. It may also cause cancer cells to die. In the lab, curcumin has been studied for use in treating or preventing colon, skin and breast cancers.
At this time, there isn’t enough evidence to recommend curcumin for preventing or treating cancer, but research is ongoing. As always, talk with your doctor before using any herbal supplement.
You can build a healthy immune system, if you know the right foods to eat. Of course vegetables are good for you but have you tried fermented veggies, you know, pickles? Yes raw pickles are a great option (with no sugar added) for building a health immune system. You only need a tablespoon of fermented foods everyday to boost your natural immunity and give you a natural energy boost. Your immune system is located mostly in your gut. If you feed your digestive system, your gut, healthy foods, your gut bacteria in turn grow and thrive. When healthy gut bacteria also known as your microbiome thrive, you thrive. Learn which foods will help you stay healthy and avoid colds and flu’s all year long.
Fermented foods like saurekraut, kimchi, yogurt (without sugar), raw pickles, kefir, are a couple easy options. As little as a tablespoon per day with help feed your gut bacteria exactly what they love to eat. One word of caution, fermented foods are best in the raw form, not pasteurized. Sometimes you have to shop with a discerning eye to find these raw foods. Check the labels carefully. Medicinal mushrooms are also excellent at building a healthy immune system. These mushrooms are high in polysaccharides, the perfect food for your gut microbiome.
Boost your immune system naturally with foods. It’s easy and less costly than purchasing a probiotic supplements that is killed by stomach acid before it can work. High fiber foods are a better choice and will also help you lose weight. High fiber foods take more energy to break down and increase bowel movements. One of the best immune boosting foods is BUCKWHEAT!
American’s don’t tend to eat buckwheat very often but it’s extremely popular in Japan, one of the healthiest and oldest societies on the planet. Buckwheat is not a wheat, so don’t worry if you follow a gluten free diet. It’s actually a seed. Buckwheat breads are an easy way to add this high fiber food to your diet. Buckwheat soba noodles are another great immune boosting food option.
Buckwheat, just like reishi mushroom are high in polysaccharides which is the food your gut bacteria like to eat. When you feed your healthy gut bacteria the foods they like, they build your immune system naturally.
Healthy gut bacteria boosts your immune system. Add healthy foods like buckwheat and reishi a couple times a week for a month and you’ll notice the difference.
“My 88 year old husband was prescribed Ambien for insomnia. After the first dose, he fell while getting up to go the bathroom, gashed his head and had to go to the emergency room for stitches. A year later, I gave him a half-dose (again prescribed) and within minutes, his legs collapsed on him. I had the hardest time getting him into bed.
Ambien? Never again!
Your experience reminds us that sleeping pills may pose a serious risk for older people who have to get up at night to go to the bathroom. This is a dilemma, because many seniors suffer from insomnia. Even over-the-counter sleep aids sleep aids that contain the sedating antihistamine diphenhydramine ( advil PM, Nytol, Sominex, Tylenol PM etc.) may also contribute to unsteadiness, urinary retention and similar host of side effects such as rebound next day sleepiness and cognitive impairment. Older people should be careful with sleeping pills like Ambien. Other side effects may include reflux, next-day memory impairment, dry mouth and dizziness.”1
For those among us who experience occasional insomnia, you may have already tried a plethora of sleeping aids. The story above illustrates some of the dangers of the prescriptions on the market. Drugs such as the benzodiazepines approved as sleep aids, estazolam (ProSom), flurazepam (Dalmane), and temazepam (Restoril) have serious side effects. As with all these medications daytime sleepiness, cognitive impairment, dizziness, unsteadiness, sleep-walking, sleep-driving, memory lapses, and hallucinations have all been reported as a result of sleeping pills. If you have only mild insomnia, relying to heavily on sleeping pills can cause dependency and if abused may worsen your sleeping problems.
There are several non-prescription drugs sold over the counter for sleeplessness which contain the antihistamine diphenhydramine. Brands such as Benadryl, Nytol, Tylenol PM, and Sominex, which block the action of acetylcholine (anticholinergic effect) and are used as a sedative because they causes drowsiness. However, these may also contribute to unsteadiness and urinary retention. There’s also a fairly new drug out called zolpide, a sedative, it’s a inexpensive generic version of the drug Ambien. Generally it’s not prescribed for more than 10 days and is usually taken intermittently as needed to avoid problems with addiction or habituation, loss of effectiveness, and rebound phenomena. “The most common side effects of zolpidem are drowsiness, dizziness, and a “drugged” feeling, which probably reflect the action of the drug. Other side effects include confusion, insomnia, euphoria, ataxia (balance problems), and visual changes.” 1
The difference between drugs and taking an herbal medicinal are both the actions and side effects. Addiction is not a concern with natural medicinals.
Plants used in Chinese herbal medicine have been clinically tested and studies throughout Asia for the past 50 plus years. Their usage goes back to 2nd century. One such medicinal known to have a soothing and calming effect on the body and promote sleep is Spiny jujube or (zizyrus spinosae semen). Spiny jujube has been well documented for use when occasional insomnia is an issue. One study on rats showed spinosae significantly increased the rate of sleep onset and exhibited a synergistic effect with 5-HTP.2 “These results suggest that spiny jujube potentiated pentobarbital-induced sleep via a serotonergic mechanism.” Translation, you sleep without being put into a drug induced state. This herb and others are the answer to a peaceful nights sleep, without all the side effects of prescription or OTC drugs.
2. Zolpidem http://www.medicinenet.com/zolpidem/article.htm
5. WANG LE, BAI YJ, SHI XR, CUI XY, CUI SY, ZHANG F, ZHANG QY, ZHAO YY, ZHANG YH. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2008;90(3):399-403. Department of Pharmacology, Peking University, School of Basic Medical Science, 38 Xueyuan Lu, Beijing 100083, China
On April 16, 2017 Oregon’s House of Representatives unanimously agreed on a bill that would limit doctors from prescribing opioid drugs for more than seven (7) days unless circumstances determined, by a medical professional, that more were necessary.
NO – Not – Didn’t happen!
This almost happened. What really happened is the Oregon state legislature instead passed a watered down version of this bill, without the 7 day rule even though the state attorney general’s office had strongly backed the measure because “the risk of overdose and addiction is serious.”
What the House of Representatives in Salem, Oregon passed, is a bill that suggests, clinicians should avoid prescribing opioids and benzodiazepines (a class of psychoactive drugs) known to be addicting after very short time periods. Really! Yup, they actually took time to pass a bill that now goes to the Senate that “SUGGEST” this.
Even though The Oregon Health Authority says an average of three Oregonians die every week from prescription opioid overdose, the legislature removed any teeth from a bill that might have made a dent in the problem. What good does a bill do that simply “SUGGEST” doctors should cut back on their prescriptions????
I for one am baffled.
Here’s wishing the state legislature would “SUGGEST” a safe botanical like Corydalis for pain relief. The state could become growers of this wonderful, might I even say, “miraculous” plant. Although nobody would get addicted it would provide safe and effective pain relief. The State could go beyond growing it, they could tax it and regulate it too. This would bring much needed revenue and simultaneously reduce the use of prescription drugs all while having a pain reliever that really works.
The botanical world has plenty of pain relieving chemicals. (uuhhmmm opioids originated from natural chemicals first found in the Poppy plant, now created synthetically.)
Here’s to hoping one day we take plant chemicals seriously and our government representatives “SUGGEST” we use them.
UCLA researchers have just published a new study on Chinese herbs. They have been researching a Chinese herbal formula they called TSY-1 to increased telomerase activity in normal blood cells but decreased it in cancer cells.
This combination of Chinese herbs has been used in China for many years to treat aplastic anemia, a condition where the body stops producing enough new blood cells and myelodysplastic syndrome or preleukemia; both are associated with telomerase abnormality.
Telomerase is an enzyme responsible for the production of telomeres. The results indicate that telomerase-based treatments may play an important role in treating both blood cell deficiency and cancer.
The five-year study, led by UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center member Dr. Jianyu Rao, measured the ability of TSY-1 to affect telomerase activity in cancer cells lines. Rao’s team used various approaches, including assays of telomerase activity, measurement of cell growth, and gene expression profiling of TSY-1 treated cells, to determine how it acts. The results showed that the target of TSY-1 activity is the TERT gene. TERT is the major regulatory component of telomerase activity.
The findings provide the foundation and support for further clinical studies to demonstrate the clinical benefit of the Chinese herbs in treatment for cancer and blood cell deficiencies.
The study is published online in the journal OncoTarget Link to PDF of study here
For Chinese herbs like the ones used in this study contact us at 877-818-9990 or info@PacHerbs.com
Those red circles you’re seeing on Michael Phelps and other Olympic athletes is from a therapy called cupping.
Cupping is done to help the body move blood strongly to various areas to help healing. When small round cups are used with suction or fire to remove oxygen in the cup, the suction is strong enough to rupture small capillaries just under the skin. The red circles are the result. This in different than a bruise. Small capillaries are stimulated by the suction and bring additional blood supply to the affected area, all to promote healing.
Depending on the strength of the cupping the circle marks may last anywhere from 1 day to a week or more.
Cupping has been part of Chinese Medicine for hundreds of years. Chinese medicine incorporates many modalities including Acupuncture, Chinese herbs, moxabustion, diet, exercise, sleep and life style stress. Chinese medicine has many other therapies including tui na, qi gong and tai chi which are often practiced to promote optimum health.
A little history: Cupping originated in the Middle East roughly 4000 years ago, but wasn’t mentioned in Classical Chinese texts until about 300 AD, by physician Ge Hong. The technique had spread all along the silk trade route, including Europe, Russia and Asia. Lastly, some say there is reference to cupping engraved on the great pyramids in Egypt. Either way you view it, this healing technique has been around an awfully long time.
What is this smoothie fruit doing on the stove, you ask?
Great question. Let me explain.
As a Licensed Acupuncturists, I have to admit, I have developed some pretty quirky habits. Even after all these years, my family members still give odd stares when I do these things.
For example, I avoid ice water like the plague!
Once while attending a Chinese medicine conference in Austin, on a hot day, a group of us Acupuncturists sat down together to share lunch. As the waiter arrived to pour freezing cold ice water into our glasses, each of us stopped the gentlemen and said, “Please, no ice!”.
Not the norm, right?
See, Acupuncturists spend a lot of time learning about the digestive system and cold foods and drinks are constricting to the body. Simply put, cold drinks hamper the digestive process. Our internal body temperature is hot by nature, and cooling it off suddenly with cold foods and cold drinks hampers digestion. By the third day of the conference we had trained the staff to bring room temperature water to our lunch table. However, they did give us odd stares as this practice seemed entirely nuts since the outside temperature was 90 degrees.
Besides reducing the cold foods we eat, Acupuncturists have a funny habit of looking at our tongues in a mirror whenever we have the opportunity. We do this because it is the only organ we can actually see (without surgical intervention). The tongue can tell us a tremendous amount about what is going on inside our bodies. It can tell you if you body is deficient in some area, or excess in another. It can tell us whether we are digesting food well and tell us about various organ systems and even if we are overly stressed.
Another quirky habit I have, (which my family gets a total kick about teasing me about) is my morning smoothie. This reason is, I actually warm up the frozen fruit in a sauce pan rather than use it frozen. As I mentioned cold drinks and foods can damage the digestive system. In the morning, the first thing going into your body should be warm food or a warm drink. This helps jump start your digestive system. Try it. You will notice warm foods improve your metabolism and overall digestion. If you’re trying to lose weight, this is one of the most important things you can do to start your day.
Although I like experimenting with a variety of smoothie recipes this is one of my favorites.
Warm fruit in coconut milk (frozen blueberries, raspberries, mango, pineapple or any fruit of your choice)
3 Tbsp. Organic Kelp protein powder
large handful of organic salad greens
Mix up in a strong blender and you good to go!
Drink at room temperature or even slightly warm.
It has been said, we must accept something before we can change it. This is definitely the case when discussing male sperm health. When it comes to infertility, the focus is placed on women. Men are usually not included when we look at “conception” issues.
Maybe it’s a denial issue, or it feels “UN-manly” for men to seek treatment options when conception issues arise. What most people have yet to understand is that about 40 to 60 percent of infertility problems today are linked to male-related factors. What this means is for a couple to conceive, both the male and female have to be healthy. But, we need to come to grips with this new “normal” because compromised sperm health is more common than previously known.
Sperm health is determined by the quantity of sperm a man produces, the structure or morphology and the mobility of the sperm. Problems such as abnormal sperm size and shape, low sperm count, abnormal liquefaction and low motility are all categorized under male infertility. Research varies but some shows a 40% decrease in sperm quantity and quality in the past 50 years. The reasons for the decline are conjecture, but most researchers agree sperm are sensitive to environmental toxins, stress, diet and technology we are using daily. Male infertility and low sperm production can also be effected by genetics, age, testosterone production and testicular pathologies and emotions.
Reliable, long term research on male sperm counts do not exist, unfortunately. However, in a recent study of British dogs, yes canine, over the last 26 years showed a drop of 1-2% of sperm motility yearly. Why should we care about a study done on dogs? Declining canine fertility may shed light on human fertility. The importance of this study, is not just the 50% decline in canine sperm but researchers saw a clear connection between environmental chemicals affecting both humans and dogs. Even though male fertility research over the past few decades has shown a downward trend, “there has always been argument about the consistency and accuracy of the findings,” says Richard Lea of Nottingham University School of Veterinary Medicine and Science. Dr. Lea confirmed the presence of chemicals, ubiquitous to both humans and dogs as the link to the decline in sperm quality. Dogs live in our homes and are exposed to many of the same chemicals as humans. “If you think about it, we are exposed to a [chemical] cocktail. Who knows how many chemicals are out there and what they are doing? It gets even more complicated when you start to look at the effects of mixtures of chemicals,” Dr. Lea said. Hopefully soon, we will have similar human studies measuring sperm health over several decades.
The question you may be asking is; how can we help men improve infertility issues?
There are some excellent options beyond prescription medication. Options to consider are lifestyle changes, (i.e. smoking) reducing exposure to toxins and incorporating acupuncture and herbal medicines. Alternative/Functional Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approaches always start by looking at the entire body and considering the root cause of the pathology. The Classic literature from TCM states: The experienced physician, will always consider the source. (Li Zhongzi, A Primer of Medical Objectives (Yizong Bidu), 1637) Therefore, when treat infertility one has to treat the whole body because only a healthy body can produce healthy sperm. TCM theory classifies a lack of sperm or a lack of healthy sperm into one or more possible diagnoses. The three primary diagnoses include:
In Western medicine terminology this would be dysfunction in the endocrine system. Men with low testosterone and excess estrogen fall under this diagnosis.
The sexual organs are functioning, hormone levels are normal but blood flow to the sexual organs is lacking. Men who experience soft erections or cannot maintain an erection or ejaculation would be categorized as having stagnation in TCM terms.
This may be associated with an infection or inflammatory process and can produce abnormal semen quality. Enlarged prostates and sexually transmitted diseases are a few of the Western diagnoses that fall under this syndrome. Boxer shorts, not briefs would generally be a good suggestion for men in this category along with avoiding hot tubs and steam and sauna rooms.
We are certainly not the first generation to struggle with infertility. Chinese medicine texts tell us ancient cultures as far back as 200 AD. referenced treatments to help men and women conceive. Some TCM documents list treatment for infertility including complex Chinese herbal formulas often using fifteen herbs or more. Many of these formulas are still used today and include everything from the bark, leaves, root, fruits, seeds and flowers of various botanicals. One commonality found in these formulas is they often contain seeds of the plants. Considering sperm is a man’s seed, this makes perfect sense. The use of professionally prepared herbal medicine to treat male infertility is occurring worldwide. In Taiwan, through their National Health Insurance plan, citizens can receive Chinese herbs daily for every type of illness including infertility. While many fertility issues can be resolved through Chinese herbal medicine, often times the patients overall health improvement is the primary goal.
Lifestyle modifications should also be considered to keep sperm healthy and happy in our technology driven world. The use of laptop computers are often overlooked in men’s health discussions. Laptops emit radiation and heat and should not be on a man’s lap if he is trying to optimize his sperm health. Laptops can be used on a table, not a lap. This is especially important for those men who fall under the category of “Heat Syndrome”. Cell phones are another 21st century hazard. The risk is real for men who carry a phone in their front pant pocket all day, every day. Dr. Davis, an award-winning scientist discusses the health risks and concerns associated with cell phones and sperm motility in her book Disconnect. According to Dr. Davis, “When using phones, distance is your friend, because radiation exposure falls off dramatically the farther away from the brain or body you use your phone,” Dr. Davis noted. “If you read the fine print warnings that come with all smart phones today they are quite clear, phones should not be used next to the brain or body, or kept in the pocket.” Leg and arm bands are safer options for carrying cell phones.
Sperm awareness needs to be addressed in men’s health circles today. The number of men seeking treatment options is rising and reproductive issues are no longer just a “woman’s problem”. Getting the correct diagnosis is critical but more importantly make sure you treat the whole individual. Herbal treatment, acupuncture and life style changes are excellent options and more common throughout Asia than the West. Hopefully, men everywhere will begin considering these viable treatment options. Whichever type of treatment a man chooses, the journey begins with the acceptance that male infertility exists.
In the business world when economic times get tough a business that weathers the storm is a true survivor. A standout, that must have incredibly popular products that make people come back for more even when unemployment is high and people are unwilling to spend. A business that survives must have proven itself worthy of providing great products at a fair price. Products that people simply can’t do without. When a business does this for 70 to 100 years or more we are all impressed. The stamina, the fortitude and adaptability to survive for so many years must mean this business has some incredible products which we all crave. Ford Motor Company and Kodak come to mind, some of the oldest American businesses.
But what do you think about a business that has survived providing the same products for 341 years? It is truly unheard of in America. We have only been an independent nation for 240 years and no single business has survived since revolutionary days. Yet, a Chinese herb pharmacy called Tong Ren Tong is still in business after 341 continuous years. They still sell Chinese herbs, just as they did in the year 1669. In fact, in Beijing they operate from the same location since 1702 !
They are a household name in China, Hong Kong and much of Asia. They operate pharmacies, drug retailers and various joint ventures throughout 13 countries in Asia. Wouldn’t you be a household name if you were 345 years old? The picture above is me standing in front of their Hong Kong store. (No pictures were allowed inside)
Tong Ren Tang was the supplier of medicinal Chinese herbs to the royals of the Qing Dynasty, from 1669 until their collapse 1911. They have succeed in weathering the storms of Chinese government takeovers, communism and now globalization and prescription medications. Tong Ren has been successful for hundreds of years because Chinese herbs work, it’s as simple as that. Chinese herbs worked 300 hundred years ago and they work today for all kinds of illnesses. Whether your buying ginseng or reishi mushrooms Tong Ren has the herbs and they know how to prescribe them for everything from the common cold to cancer.
When you have incredibly popular products that work well, are needed by the masses and provide real value at a fair price your business will survive regardless of the economic times and government takeovers. Chinese herbs have proven to be that commodity. Chinese herbs are medicine that continues to heal people, even centuries after they were first introduced.