Drink in the Benefits of Chinese Medicine Wines

Two things I love to do are digging in the dirt and drinking good wine. So this article is a natural for me. 

Digging and drinking don’t seem very compatible, but if you’re an archeologist digging in the dirt has an entirely different meaning.  In 1972 a group of very fortunate Chinese archeologists were digging and uncovered one of the greatest finds in Chinese history, the Mawangdui Han Tombs dating back to the Han Dynasty dated 220 BCE to 220 AC.  These tombs are one of China's most important archaeological discoveries.

One of thousands of artifacts recovered from these tombs was a book titled “52 Prescriptions".  In this book more than 30 wine recipes were recorded.  But not just any wine, medicated wines, formulated for both internal and external use to treat illnesses like ulcers, snake bits, skin problems and of course longevity and sexual stamina.  Wine was a common beverage for the aristocrats of the time and two top priorities were living longer and greater sexual prowess. 

Some wines were called tonic wines,  many are still used today to preserve health and increase longevity.  The wines were made by mixing certain medicinal herbs and leaving them to soak or brew for some period of time, anywhere from a few weeks to a few months or longer.  I’ve never tried to make medicinal wines but I do keep a private stock of ginseng roots soaking in a premium vodka.  It makes the ultimate martini.

Whether it’s wine or tea, both use the same principal of soaking or cooking Chinese herbs in a liquid, be it water or wine, to release the healthly consitutients of the herbs.  So drink up and enjoy the health benefits of Chinese medicine, truly rooted in 2000 year old books like “52 Prescriptions”.

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.

Can Insomnia Lead to Death? Chinese Herbs Can Help

sleepyAccording to several recent studies from the National Sleep Foundation and Science Daily the answer to that question is a resounding "yes".  Insomnia seems harmless enough. Perhaps you simply have a hard time falling asleep at night. Or perhaps you toss and turn for a few hours, and then wake up the next morning and drink an extra cup of coffee to make up for it. How could this be harmful? While it has been proven the body can physiologically survive for 11-18 days without sleeping, the side effects and danger begin on the very first night,  irritability and blurry vision, slowed reaction time, diminished memory capacity and speech control are some of the noticeable effects. From there it can build to a constant underlying sense of nausea,  an increase in cortisol, which is linked to depression and cardiovascular disease. Even at the most benign level, you’re still 300% more likely to catch a cold if you sleep for less than seven hours a night.  (not a good idea during swine flu season) In extreme cases, the effects of sleeplessness are considered so harmful that it has been shunned as a form of unethical research and used as torture. The US Department of Transportation reports that there are about 200,000 car accidents a year caused by sleepy drivers , a figure higher than those killed by drunk driving.   If you’re lucky enough to survive your daily commute, you’re still considered at a higher risk for developing depression, as well as increasing the odds that depression will linger for a longer period than those who maintain healthy sleep hygiene. Often the insomniac becomes his or her own worst enemy, creating a maddening cycle of drinking coffee, taking habit-forming medications that don’t allow for REM sleep, and staying in bed longer each morning in an attempt to ‘make up’ for what they’ve missed. As the insomnia becomes worse, so does the anxiety and frustration, and the cycle continues. The good news is that you can break the cycle. While there is much to be said for making modifications in your diet to support sleep hygiene, as well as creating a routine that ‘trains’ your body into relaxing, you can also supplement these changes with Traditional Chinese herbs. Herbal supplements have been used for centuries to repair the body’s natural balance by helping to induce the very REM sleep that you need in order to wake up rested the next morning. Whether the cause of your sleeplessness is due to everyday stressors, such as situational stress, over-thinking, anxiety, worry, restlessness or grief, Chinese herbs have been highly effective in helping hundreds of thousands of individuals reclaim their health and prevent further, more life-threatening diseases.  In comparison to the Western counterparts, Traditional Chinese herbs do not cause “hangovers” that decrease work productivity or feed into the caffeinate/sedate cycle. Simply put, you have the opportunity to wake up feeling refreshed each and every morning by investing in some ancient herbal remedies.

Warning, Those Sleeping Pills May Be Causing Other Health Hazards

  1-Pharmacies-thumb-300x354-103Friends just returned from their traditional summer camping trip.   This years’ trip was more exhausting for one particular husband, he was tired all day long.  He wasn’t getting a restful nights sleep even though he loves to camp, was out in the fresh air and ON vacation.  The problem stems from his addiction to his sleeping pills, which he needs even on a camping trip.  Although the nightly pill provided him some sleep it made him extremely drowsy during the day, especially since he's increased the dosage to get the desired effect.  He often wanted to just sit at the camp site and take a nap. If this you or someone you know, it’s time to kick the sleeping pill habit.  

Sleeping pills are an expensive habit both monetarily and physically because of the lingering side effects. Use of sleeping pills is becoming a growing problem.  If your taking them for any length of time,  you will notice the need to increase your dosage as your body's tolerance grows. At a  certain point they become completely ineffective.  The most popular "A" sleep pills and other sleep medications were designed to be taken for only a week or two at most. If you continue on this  medication  longer than two weeks the greatest concern is the side effects, which according to the label “cannot be anticipated”.

Side effects may include: allergies, daytime drowsiness, dizziness, drugged feeling, headache, indigestion and nausea.  If you experience any of these side effects, the price you pay for a good nights sleep just went up ten fold. For some, using "A", along with taking a SSRI or serotonin boosting antidepressant, will produce unusual changes in their thinking and/or behavior, according to  the insert information. Most definitely alert your doctor if this happens to you.  

Side effects of sleeping pills can also develop or change in intensity, so keep this in mind if you suddenly develop indigestion it may be caused by the sleeping pill, not necessarily related to an otherwise digestive/gut  problem.  Other warning from the manufacturers of this medicine can cause a special type of memory loss. It should not be taken on an overnight airplane flight of less than 7 to 8 hours, since "traveler's amnesia" may occur. Yikes, what’s travelers amnesia? Do you completely forget where you are and where your going.  (Apparently this has happened or it would not be a written warning).

The most common risk with prescription sleep aids used long term, is the risk of increasing the dosage in an attempt to keep the effectiveness as your bodies tolerance level increases. The same problem my friends husband was experiencing.   The overdose warning alone scares me from going near this drug. “People who take too much may become excessively sleepy or even go into a light coma. The symptoms of overdose are more severe if the person is also taking other drugs that depress the central nervous system. Some cases of multiple overdose have been fatal.”

All we want is a good nights sleep, this is just getting to complicated. I don’t  want to die.   I’m baffled that a drug with this many warnings can sell as much as it does. There’s more on the label, lets not miss this part of the warning:  “Until you know whether the medication will have any "carry over" effect the next day, use extreme care while driving, and you should be aware that they may be more apt to fall.”   Hope your  taking mass transit if your using a lot of this drug.  Older adults, in particular need to be careful. All I can figure is most people don’t read this stuff, they do print it in extra small writing.   More from the label, “use "A" cautiously if you have liver problems. It will take longer for its effects to wear off.” “If you take this sleep aid for more than 1 or 2 weeks, consult your doctor before stopping."

Sudden discontinuation of a sleep medicine can bring on withdrawal symptoms ranging from unpleasant feelings to vomiting and cramps.” "When taking "A", do not drink alcohol. It can increase the drug's side effects. If you have breathing problems, they may become worse. "If "A" is used with certain other drugs, the effects of either drug could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor ." 

These are direct quotes from the Ambien official website.  Maybe it's time for a natural sleep aid for that restful night of sleep you so desire.

 


The Cat, The Birds and The Herbs

CatLast night I was rudely awakened at 3:00 am by a hungry cat.  He climbed up my wind chime which was hanging near a mother dove nesting with her two new babies.  Wind chimes don’t suddenly start chiming, normally they start out kind of slow and steady and usually build in volume as the wind picks up.  This was not the case last night.  The chimes were attacked as were the birds. 

  I heard a bird take flight and I jumped out of bed to see the culprit.  I was too late and it was too dark. Upset by the attack and the rude wake up call, all I could think of was  “will I be able to get back to sleep”.   Mind not quite awake… I  almost forget that I have the perfect Chinese herb formula for sleep.  I’m not usually up at 3 AM  and almost forgot,  a perfect opportunity to use my “I sleep”  herb formula in the middle of the night. When I’ve had a particularly stressful day I will use “iSleep” before going to bed.   I sleep so soundly I never had the need to use it in middle of my night.  Perfect opportunity.  So I took one packet at 3 AM.  

Happy to report I got  back to sleep within thirty minutes, even as I ruminated over the fate of the mommy dove and her babies we’ve been watching for the last two months.   Did the cat get all three.  Did the babies get away.  Could the babies fly yet. My mind  finding any reason to chatter on. (This was  the second set of eggs this year for our mommy dove or maybe it’s daughter of the first mom.  In any case, every year  a mommy dove has a nest somewhere in our yard and we are happy to be her hosts.)

iSleep Herb Pac passed the test  last night. I slept like a log till 7:00 when there was yet  another rude awakening, the alarm clock.  I found bird feathers on the ground this morning,  it’s a cruel world out there, but at  least I slept.

"Empty nest this morning"]

"Mommy dove in nest with 2 babies. (Taken just 2 days earlier)  
 
"Feathers on the ground"