The Cool Cucumber, Natures Detox Veggie and Sleep Aid

 

Americans don’t traditionally consider everyday foods as medicine.  But maybe we should take a few clues from Asian and Mediterranean societies that eat this cool food at the height of the hot weather.

 

Cucumber isn’t sold in pharmacies but it should be. In Chinese Medicine, cucumber is considered to have heat-dissipating, diuretic, laxative, and detoxifying effects.

The first recorded medicinal use of cucumbers was in the 7th century. Its major uses continue today and include: the treatment of excessive thirst, sore throat, laryngitis, acute conjunctivitis, and burns. In most Chinese homes, however, whether eaten raw or cooked as a soup, cucumber is used only for keeping cool in summer, when it is in season, or in early autumn to soothe dry lips and throat.

Because cucumbers have natural cooling properties according to Chinese Medicine food theory, they shouldn’t be eaten during the cold  winter months.  During the winter we need foods with warming properties.  The cooling properties of cucumbers also make it a perfect natural detoxifier, so stop throwing money away on detox programs and eat some cucumbers now that it’s summertime. 

Modern medical researchers found that cucumber is rich in vitamin E, which helps fighting against aging. Women like to put cucumber juice or film on the face to smooth skin and reduce wrinkle. Cucumber also contains vitamin B1, which is essential for our brain and nervous system.

Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM) believes cucumber has the ability to soothe the nerves and aid in the treatment of insomnia.  This makes perfect sense because we all sleep better when our bodies are cooler and cucumber is one of the coolest vegetables. Studies also show extracts of cucumber seeds and stems may have an effect on high blood pressure. 

Wow, all this from a little vegetable you can find at every farmers market during the summer months.

What else is cucumber good for?  Here a list and some fun facts:

 

1. Cucumbers contain most of the vitamins you need every day, just one cucumber contains Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Zinc.

 2. Feeling tired in the afternoon, put down the caffeinated soda and pick up a cucumber. Cucumbers are a good source of B Vitamins and carbohydrates that can provide that quick pick-me-up that can last for hours. They also keep the body cool during the day which helps eliminate the need for sleep aids at night.

3. Tired of your bathroom mirror fogging up after a shower? Try rubbing a cucumber slice along the mirror, it will eliminate the fog and provide a soothing, spa-like fragrance.

4. Are grubs and slugs ruining your planting beds? Place a few slices in a small pie tin and your garden will be free of pests all season long. The chemicals in the cucumber react with the aluminum to give off a scent undetectable to humans but drive garden pests crazy and make them flee the area.

5. Looking for a fast and easy way to remove cellulite before going out or to the pool? Try rubbing a slice or two of cucumbers along your problem area for a few minutes, the phytochemicals in the cucumber cause the collagen in your skin to tighten, firming up the outer layer and reducing the visibility of cellulite. Works great on wrinkles too!!!

6. Want to avoid a hangover or terrible headache? Eat a few cucumber slices before going to bed and wake up refreshed and headache free. Cucumbers contain enough sugar, B vitamins and electrolytes to replenish essential nutrients the body lost, keeping everything in equilibrium, avoiding both a hangover and headache!

7. Looking to fight off that afternoon or evening snacking binge? Cucumbers have been used for centuries and often used by European trappers, traders and explores for quick meals to thwart off starvation.

8. Have an important meeting or job interview and you realize that you don’t have enough time to polish your shoes? Rub a freshly cut cucumber over the shoe, its chemicals will provide a quick and durable shine that not only looks great but also repels water.

9. Out of WD 40 and need to fix a squeaky hinge? Take a cucumber slice and rub it along the problematic hinge, and voila, the squeak is gone!

10. Stressed out and don’t have time for massage, facial or visit to the spa? Cut up an entire cucumber and place it in a boiling pot of water. The chemicals released in the steam creating a soothing, relaxing aroma that has been shown to reduce stress in new mothers and college students during final exams.

11. Just finish a business lunch and realize you don’t have gum or mints? Take a slice of cucumber and press it to the roof of your mouth with your tongue for 30 seconds to eliminate bad breath, the phytochemcials will kill the bacteria in your mouth responsible for causing bad breath.

12. Looking for a ‘green’ way to clean your faucets, sinks or stainless steel? Take a slice of cucumber and rub it on the surface you want to clean, not only will it remove years of tarnish and bring back the shine, but is won’t leave streaks and won’t harm you fingers or fingernails while you clean.

13. Using a pen and made a mistake? Take the outside of the cucumber and slowly use it to erase the pen writing. This trick also works great on crayons and markers  kids may have used to decorate the walls!!

 

Easy Tip For Better Sleep

Herbs to sleepSometimes research produces what I call the "duhhh" effect.  

 

This is the case with a recent study on sleep habits and sleep problems from the Seattle Children's Research Institute in Washington and the Department of Health Services at the University of Washington. Their report suggests children watching high levels of violent content on televison or videos before bed causes sleep disturbances. 

 

"Duhhhhh" effect in full force here.

 

Seriously, if you've ever been aroung a young child who see's his/her first scary movie, don't plan on getting much sleep that night.  I could have strangled my mother when she took my then 7 and 9 year old daughters to their first really scary movie when the Disney movie they were trying to see was sold out. Grandma came home with my kids late that afternoon and I payed for it with a week of nightmares. 

 

Do I really need a randomized study to tell me this is not healthy for kids?  Fact is, violent and aggresive content television and video's before bed is really not a healthy way to go to sleep for adults either.  Whether your a child or adult, using electronics before bed is well established as a bad idea. 

 

Although we all like to tune out and turn off before bed so many of us do with television on. 

The answer is not finding healthy media to watch to produce a better sleep aid, the answer is not watching.  

 

If you can shut off your head once you get into bed, the answer is some quiet meditative time before you get there.   I know TV is a hard habit to break but if you want a better sleep aid, its in your head.

 

Once your mind is quiet, your body will fall asleep naturally.   If you need extra help turning off those constant thoughts and endless videos try iSleep Herb Pack.   The herbs we use have been studied extensively, they are safe, effective and work at calming your anxious mind.   Read more about iSleep Herb Pack here.

 

 

Mark Blumenthal Discusses What Everyone Wants to Know About Medicinal Plants

What is our cultural heritage to plants?

 

Why should you know about medicinal herbs, Chinese herbs and the contributions of herbs, herbal drinks and herbal remedies?

 

One reason is  herbal medicine can be used safely as the first choice for self care and preventative care.  A cultural shift is occurring right now, herbal remedies ARE growing every year, we are returning to our roots and are cultural heritage.  This video explains it all.

 

http://newhope360.com/herbal/mark-blumenthal-discusses-abcs-mission-promote-medicinal-plants?cid=nl_nbj_weekly

Click here to learn more     http://newhope360.com/herbal/mark-blumenthal-discusses-abcs-mission-promote-medicinal-plants?cid=nl_nbj_weekly

 

Mark Blumenthal discusses these in the video below.  Mark is the founder of American Botanical Council (ABC) located in Austin Tx. He is is dedicated to disseminating accurate, reliable, and responsible information on herbs and medicinal plants. He is the Editor/Publisher of HerbalGram, an international, peer-reviewed quarterly journal. For six years he was an Adjunct Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin, College of Pharmacy, teaching the course “Herbs and Phytomedicines in Today’s Pharmacy.” Mark is the Senior Editor of the English translation of The Complete German Commission E Monographs–Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines (1998), Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs (2000), The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs (2003), and co-author of Rational Phytotherapy, 5th edition (2004). He has appeared on over 400 radio and television shows and has written over 500 articles, reviews and book chapters for many publications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Sleep Is Important Medicine

Clinicians and scientists from around the world gathered in Boston for a conference on SLEEP just recently. I had no idea sleep had turned into an annual conference attended by thousands of experts from around the world, but apparently this premier event blends the most current sleep research with the best clinical practices.

natural sleep aids

I wonder if they talked about Chinese herbs known to help sleep for over 1000 years?  Seems logical right, considering their history, safety rating and usage by billions of people everyday.  (laughing)  I’m guessing it wasn’t on the agenda since the conference was sponsored mostly by pharmaceutical giants with a huge stake in the sleep aid drugs they produce.

 

Anyway, I thought sleeping was something we were all born knowing how to do. When we are babies afterall, we are all pretty good sleepers. In fact most newborns are asleep more than awake in a single day. So what happens to us as we age? When did we become a society of sleep derived, sleep aid dependent, looking for the next caffeine jolt zombies? 

 

It's time to upgrade the way you sleep! Try iSleep Herb Pack!

 

I think some of us simply don’t want to sleep more than a few hours a night. There is just sooo much to do. Some of us want to fit more awaid minutes into a 24 hour day.  The problem with this attitude is historically we didn’t have electricity and entertainment into all hours of the night via the internet, television etc. So when it was dark, we slept. Seems are bodies are kinda programed that way after millions of years. 

 

Why does this matter?

 

All this matters because a long term study presented at the SLEEP2012 conference.  This study says not sleeping elevates your risk of stroke and at younger ages even if you are relatively healthy. For optimal function, sleep specialists recommend anywhere from 7 to 9 hours. The study, which lasted three years, examined 5,666 adults who were aged 45 and older. They reported their sleep habits and duration every 6 months. The investigators recorded daily health habits, risk factors for stroke, any symptoms of depression, demographic information, health related behaviors, and onset of first stroke like symptoms throughout the study period. However, the are quick to point out this is not proof of a cause and effect relationship.

 

According to data available from the National Sleep Foundation only 28 % of adults sleep 8 hours or more per night, down from 38% in 2001. It is unclear what why shortened sleep cycles were wide spread with those who suffered strokes, but the possibility of an elevated level of cortisol, a key stress hormone, may be ultimately responsible. The take home message here.. get a good night’s sleep every night. Sleep eight hours and don’t skimp on yourself.

 

Staying in bed longer might just be a lifesaver.

Chinese Herbs Growing in Los Angeles

China has given us so many incredible jewels of nature in the form of medicinal herbs.  Chinese herbs such as Ginseng,  Cordyceps and this amazing beauty.   Not exactly a Chinese herb, but I was impressed with this redwoods story, I had to add it here. 

This amazing jewel lives in Los Angeles. Her name is Dawn Redwood or Metasequoia. Her grandparents were only known as a fossil until her parent was found in central China in 1944.

In 1948, Dawn was brought to Los Angeles as a seed. She has been living by this stream at UCLA ever since.   She is most probably the tallest of her kind in North America. Don't you love her stately pose with the sun shinning through her?

Amazing to think she came from just a tiny seed. 

Tomorrow I will post the Chinese herbs growing in Los Angeles.

 

Harvard Unlocks Secrets of Chinese Herbs

Harvard School of Dental Medicine has discovered the secret behind an herb used in Chinese herbal medicine.  The herb commonly known as Chang Shan, is a type of hydrangea with a bioactive ingredient that can treat autoimmune disorders.  This is not the first time a Chinese herb has been found to have chemical constituents with significant health benefits.  Most drugs today have their origins in phyto or plant chemicals.  

Chinese medicine has been using plants, insects, fish and shell fish for more than 2,000 years to treat mankind’s illnesses.  Learning the secrets behind the power of these herbs is still an emerging field and scientists are continually learning how various herbal compounds in plants block or stimulate pathways in the body, triggering other reactions.  

In this case, the hydrangea plant contains halofuginone (HF) a compound which blocks the development of a harmful class of immune cells called TH17 cells. These cells have many implications in autoimmune disorders.

“HF prevents the autoimmune response without dampening immunity altogether,” said Malcolm Whitman, a professor of developmental biology at Harvard School of Dental Medicine and senior author on the new study. “This compound could inspire novel therapeutic approaches to a variety of autoimmune disorders.”

Traditional Chinese Medicine is proving more amazing everyday.

This study involved an interdisciplinary team of researchers at Harvard-affiliated and Massachuetts General Hospital and published in Nature Chemical Biology, Febuary 2012.

Prior research had shown that HF reduced scarring in tissue, scleroderma (a tightening of the skin), multiple sclerosis, scar formation, and even cancer progression. “We thought HF must work on a signaling pathway that had many downstream effects,” said Keller.

Recognized only since 2006, Th17 cells are “bad actors,” implicated in many autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), multiple sclerosis (MS), and psoriasis. The researchers found that minute doses of HF reduced multiple sclerosis in a mouse model. As such, it was one of a new arsenal of drugs that selectively inhibits autoimmune pathology without suppressing the immune system globally.

Click here to browse our line of natural and traditional Chinese Herbs.

This research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and Harvard University.

Reference:  http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/02/secrets-of-ancient-chinese-remedy-revealed/

 

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.

The Chinese Herb Licorice Root For Cavities & Gum Disease

Chinese herbs for cavitiesOne of the most commonly used Chinese herbs is licorice root and Web MD recently mentioned how licorice root can help prevent and treat tooth decay and gum disease.

According to a new study in the Journal of Natural Products, licorice root may help keep teeth healthy.  But you won’t find the beneficial ingredients in licorice candy.  Licorice candy is mostly sugar and in the U.S. often flavored with anise oil.

The herb licorice root is in nearly every herbal formulations in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  The main reason for its popularity is its sweet flavor and its remarkable ability to guide other herbs to all 12 channels in the body.   This might sound a little odd, but if you’ve ever dug up a small licorice plant you can see the roots tend to go in all directions.  It is an interesting quality about this herb, because many herb roots don’t travel outwardly, they simple grow down. But the licorice plant has roots that are born to run.   

I was once digging up a small 5 foot tall licorice that has meandered into the wrong garden space.   As we followed the roots to clean up the space, they went 10-15 feet in several different directions. This Chinese herb seems to act the same way in the body and this is often why a very small amount, usually 3%- 6%  of Traditional Chinese herb formulas often contain licorice. (Also known as Gan Cao.)  Gan Cao helps other herbs in a formula travel to all 12 channels in the body.  This is a very rare quality, there are only a few herbs with the ability to travel to all areas of the body.

I consider it an added bonus that licorice prevents tooth decay.  A very small amount of licorice  (3%) is found in our iSleep Herb Pack.  It has traditionally been part of the 800 year old formula that iSleep is based upon.  No reason to change something that 800 years of use has already proved successful.

The Active Ingredients

The two predominant compounds in licorice, licoricidin and licorisoflavan A, were found to be the most effective in inhibiting the growth of cavity-causing bacteria. These and other compounds found in licorice root were also shown to prevent the growth of bacteria associated with periodontitis, an inflammatory disease that can destroy the bones, gums, and tissue that maintain teeth.

Warnings about the effects of licorice for those with high blood pressure need some explanation.  Studies on licorice root extract have shown a  dose of  60 grams or more per 100g formula had side effects.  However, this dose is at least 10X higher than the safe and recommended dosage used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.  Licorice has been used safely and effectively for thousand of years.  There is no documented historical use of licorice ever being used in Traditional Chinese Medicine at a dose of 60 grams in a 100g formula.  Like anything, if you abuse an herb, just like caffeine, or any drug, there can be serious side effects. It is always important to know the safe and correct dose of any medication.

P.S.   Licorice root raw slices have a lovely little flavor if you need something healthy to chew on during the day. All Chinese markets sell them because they are often thrown into soups or used for a cup of tea. A lovely Asian tradition that we now know also protects our teeth.

Ambien Side Effects Same With Intermezzo Sleep Aid

FDA just approved a sublingual Ambien for “insomnia in the middle of the night followed by difficulty returning to sleep”

It has taken a few years, but the FDA has now approved Intermezzo, a low dose drug with the same active ingredient as Ambien.  Zolpidem tartrate will now be in a sub-lingual tablet form rather than the sleeping pill, Ambien. 

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, said Shakespeare and in this case Intermezzo is still Ambien and the side-effects are the same. 

For people who have difficulty staying asleep and can’t fall back to sleep we recommend an herbal sleep aid that has been used for centuries, safely.

If you are looking for completely safe and natural herbal sleep aids that can be taken in the middle of the night and works without side-effects you owe it to yourself to try Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine.  The herbs in our iSleep Herb Pack have been used safely and effectively for hundreds of years and clinically tested on thousands of patients worldwide.

Sleeping pills have serious side effects and this issue has been raised by the FDA regarding Intermezzo. In fact, the FDA told manufacturer of the drug, Trancept previously that it was concerned about patients being too impaired to drive the day after use.  Their answer was a revision of the warning label,  “patients should have at least 4 hours of bedtime remaining”.  The common side effects listed for this sleeping pill including headache, nausea and fatigue.  As with Ambien and other prescription sleeping aids,  Intermezzo can cause a person to get out of bed while not fully awake and do an activity that you do not know you are doing. Reported activities while under the influence of sleep medicines have included driving a car, making and eating food, having sex, talking on the phone, and sleep walking, without knowing at the time or remembering later. Chances of such adverse activity is increased if a person has consumed alcohol or taken other medicines that make them feel sleepy.

Herbal sleep aids have no side-effects. If you’ve tried Chamomile and Valerian and they haven’t worked for you, try out iSleep Herb Pack.  It does not contain valerian or chamomile rather a combination of herbs that has worked for billions Chinese for over 800 years. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

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 is Hard Work, Sheding Light on Natural Sleep Aids

You have the best pillows, mattress and sheets and yet still can’t sleep.  You invest in a quiet room with the right temperature and room darkening shades. Still sleep alludes you. You investigate the sleep aids on the market, the choices are endless.  melatonin, chamomile tea, prescription sleep aids, no luck.  Why has something as natural as sleeping become so expensive and such hard work?    

Are we the first generation to experience sleeplessness. or does mankind have a history of insomnia?

One Third of Our Lives are Spent in Bed

Sleep is vital to our health. It’s the time our body repairs and rejuvenates itself.  Falling asleep or “crashing” at the end of a busy day is not the problem for many of us. It’s sustaining that sleep, getting a deep, restful sleep.

Tossing & Turning                                         

More often than not, millions of us can’t stay asleep. Tossing and turning is old school. Today there is so much to entertain us through the wee hours of the morning  We check emails on our phones, shop on line, watch movies,  text our friends who are also not sleeping and hang out on facebook with other insomniacs.  You’ve heard about relaxation techniques, stretching before bed and staying away from caffeine in the evening. Eight hours of straight sleep is still a pipe dream for so many.  

Sleep in a Pill

The standard American indoctrination is better sleep through chemistry.   The pharmaceuticals knock us out like a bulldozer.  Even half a sleeping pill can often do the trick. Who cares if we sleep walk, eat or even have intercourse while we are drugged to sleep.  We don’t need to remember, we slept and that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?

The history of insomnia may be able to teach us something.  Knowing that history repeats itself I ask, what did our ancestors do when they couldn’t sleep?  Certainly they had stressors that kept them awake at night.  Whether it was staying safe from wild animals, worrying about the next harvest, taking care of their families or dealing with life threatening plagues, every generation of mankind has experienced sleepless nights.  I’m certain our ancestors probably laid awake thinking and ruminating, playing the same type of scenarios in their minds that we do today.  They, too, fell asleep the second their work day was over only to find at three o’clock they stared off into the night, wide awake but without wifi to entertain themselves.

Have we forgotten the drugs of today began as plants?

Our forefathers had their own version of pharmaceuticals.  The all came from Mother Nature.  For thousands of years all drugs came from plants, animals and minerals found in nature.  It’s only been a snippet in time that pharmaceuticals, synthetic sleep aids in the form of bottles of chemicals have become mainstream.  As history repeats itself, the knowledge of our ancestors is revisited.  The ancients knew what plants could help the restless mind.  A small seed called zizyphus jujube is one such sleep aid.  Traditional Chinese Medicine has used this seed to calm the anxious mind and provide help with night sweats.  Modern chemistry shows this tiny seed has natural sedative properties.

Maybe you are not familiar with this Chinese herb. Chinese medicine has NOT been the predominant form of medicine in the U.S. for the past 200 years but this does not negate the fact that over a billion people on the earth depend on this medicine  and have for centuries.  The hundreds of years of continual use of Chinese herbs as sleeping aids give it both a safety and success record unmatched by other sleep remedies.

Chinese herbal medicine perfected herbal formulas through thousands of years of use.  The same formulas are still used today and they are still effective.  Not as a single ingredient extract, because nature never intended for us to use just one small chemical in any plant.  Plants are complicated and contain many chemicals.   Removing  one nutrient or chemical  from a plant is not what nature intended.  Our bodies recognize plant chemicals and have for millions of years, when we use them whole.

Chinese herbal medicine has a rich history throughout Asia and has been embraced in the 21st century by the governments of China, Taiwan, Japan and others.  By “embraced”  I mean these governments include Traditional Chinese herbs and herbal formulas in their national insurance coverage.  Imagine, botanicals covered by insurance without receiving a patent.  Now that’s a crazy thought.  Yet it’s happening now for over a billion people on the planet.

Two caveats to keep in mind.  I’m the first to admit that plenty of herbal products are not worth the bottle they are packaged in.  So please, do your research on the manufacturer and only buy from those who test their herbs for contaminants. Stay clear of companies who are not transparent about who makes their products or where their raw ingredients are sourced. There are plenty of unscrupulous companies to choose from, remember “Buyer Beware”.

 Choose products that do not contain synthetic chemicals. Science does not build a better mousetrap or sleep aid.  Many of the supplements people are popping today are never fully used in the body and simply get excreted.  Our bodies function best with whole foods and whole herbs containing all the phyto-nutrients are bodies have recognized for millions of years. Look for natural ingredients that contain plant names, not chemical derivatives synthetically made that our bodies won’t recognize. 

Our ancestors found herbs to help them sleep and then perfected the use of mixing certain botanicals together. We don’t need to recreate the wheel now, we just need to know how to use it.

 

Million and millions of tons of zizphus jujube seed and other Chinese herbs are harvested and sold each year.  Millions of people don’t use a pill in a bottle, they use botanical sleep aids. They use formulas of herbs from their grandparents, and great, great grandparents.  Tried and true formulations passed down.  It has been said, “It takes an endless amount of history to make even a little tradition.”  – Henry James.

 

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.