Chinese Herbal Medicine Can Improve Your Health

As Herbal Medicine Week approaches learn the how Traditional Chinese herbal medicine can improve your life and health. Here’s how these natural herbs make the ideal homeopathic remedies.

Chinese Herbal Medicine

Herbal Medicine Week takes place in June every year and 2018 is no different. The 16-24 will see the The National Institute of Herbalists hold events throughout the UK.

The run-up is a great time to address the relevance of herbal medicine in today’s society. Alternative medicines and therapies such as acupuncture and cupping have already gained in popularity. Now, there has never been a better time to learn about herbal supplementation.

Traditional Chinese medicine herbs are often used in the John Tsagaris Clinic. These natural herbs each have their own specific characteristic and medical uses. They treat different issues and help rectify the over-activity or under-activity of yin and yang, energy and blood and help restore the body to its normal physiological functions. Chinese herbs have been used for centuries and once they affect the body in any way, they are considered medicines.

There are many different families of herbs, such a adaptogens. These are the ‘powerhouse’ herbs. Here’s what you need to know.

What are Adaptogens

These particular herbs were investigated in the late 1940s by modern Western scientists and the term ‘adaptogen’ was established.

Characteristics of Adaptogen Herbs

  • Adaptogens are non-toxic even in high dosages.
  • They produce a balanced defence against stress.
  • They normalise the whole body towards homeostasis which is the internal system’s ability to remain constant and balanced despite external stressors.

Stressors often cause hormones to kick into high gear as a fight or flight response. In the past they were mostly life and death matters.

For most of us, today’s dangers are usually less dramatic but the body’s internal reactions remain the same. We, however, don’t usually fight or flight! The resultant stress and anxiety created causes poor health and accelerates the ageing process.

How Adaptogen Herbs Work

  • Adaptogens support the adrenal function, thus counteracting the adverse effects of stress.
  • They enable the body’s cells to access more energy.
  • They help cells to eliminate toxic by-products of the metabolic process.
  • Oxygen is utilized more efficiently.
  • The proper regulation of bio-rhythms is enhanced and sped-up.
    Stress and fatigue are neutralised.
  • Mental and physical performance is enhanced.
  • Adrenal hormones are regulated through an anabolic (building-up) effect.

The adrenal gland hormone output is efficient and conserved in response to physical and environmental stress. Adaptogens allow one to obtain extra stamina and energy.

During physical activity, more glucose is then released into the blood. The adaptogens help the glucose cross the barriers and enter the tissues more easily. Also, the elevated levels of glucose have been observed to return to normal more quickly in the presence of adaptogens.

Therefore, there is more energy available to carry out difficult tasks, to perform better, with less fatigue. The body can then achieve high mental and physical performance.

Types of Adaptogen Herbal Medicine

Ashwagandha: For a mental kick-start.

This tonic is wonderful for exhaustion, memory loss, muscle weakness, and insomnia. It benefits the ‘resistance’ and ‘exhaustion’ phases of adrenal fatigue. It is capable of normalizing cortisol levels, whether they are too high or too low.

Astragalus or Chinese Milk Vetch: For a super-charged energy boost.

It is a classic Chinese herbal energy tonic with considerable immune-enhancing properties. It tones the adrenals, lungs and spleen. It is antiviral, antispasmodic, improves glucose tolerance and fluid balance.

Borage: For improving convalescence.

This helps to restore the adrenal glands after internal stress of cortisone or steroid use. Often used after fevers as a diaphoretic and long term for convalescence. Thanks to its emollient and anti-inflammatory action it’s useful in respiratory ailments. It can also be used to stimulate milk flow in nursing mothers.

Dang Shen: For an antioxidant surge.

Western research has demonstrated its strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and analgesic capabilities. Used in Chinese medicine for fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite and vertigo.

Devil’s Club Root: For stabilising blood sugar.

This has a balancing effect on the endocrine system and is used for those whose energy levels vary considerably during the day. It is used for the treatment of diabetes, and unstable blood sugar. It’s also used to treat tuberculosis, swollen glands, burns, wounds, and stress headaches.

Fo-ti, Ho Shou Wu: For overall rejuvenation.

It is used to treat dizziness, weakness and numbness, and helps to support the healthy function of the liver and kidneys.

Rhodiola or Golden Root: For improving body resistance to stress.

It works to improve immune function, and helps with depression, long-term memory and cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat).

Korean Ginseng: For increasing physical performance and mental endurance.

Used to treat adrenocortical hypo-function which means it stimulates the adrenal gland. It helps to increase the ability to handle stress and improves mental fatigue and physical endurance. Great for adrenal exhaustion, supporting immune function, improving visual acuity, and supports faster post-op healing.

Licorice Root: For a serious body boost.

Increases cortisol levels and mitigates problems with low blood pressure. Helps with adrenal exhaustion, including Addison’s disease. Also works as an anti-inflammatory, mild laxative, pancreatic tonic, and an immune stimulant with anti-viral properties. Can also be used topically for herpes, eczema and psoriasis.

American Ginseng: For achieving balance.

A great example of an adaptogen herb with a balancing adrenal effect. It helps with nervous exhaustion from overwork while boosting blood circulation. It helps to treat diabetes, depression, general lassitude, and irritability, lack of concentration, worry, neurosis and depression.

Schisandra: For beauty and vitality.

Renowned as a beauty tonic, it’s considered to be a youth preserving herb. It has been used for centuries to make the skin soft, moist and radiant.

It is said to be a powerful tonic for the brain and mind too, and is believed in China to improve memory. It is also said to be an excellent sexual stimulant. It is said to strengthen the whole body, preventing poor liver function and strengthening kidney function.

Shatavari: For a power pick-me-up.

Similar to Korean Ginseng, Shatavari can be applied topically for relieving stiffness in the body. It also helps to restore fluids and sooth inflammation. It’s useful for treating dysentery, diarrhoea, stomach ulcers, coughs, and dehydration.

Wild Yam: For natural pain relief.

Wild Yams are anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, anti-rheumatic. They can also help with nausea in pregnancy, uterine and ovarian pain and diverticulosis.

What Adaptogens Are Not

Adaptogens are not vitamins. They are not a medicines that cure any particular illness or condition. It effectively assists the body in using its own resources to achieve optimum levels of physical, mental and emotional health.

Most people are not aware of any obvious changes during the first few days or weeks. Over time, however, you may begin to notice important long-term improvements, resulting from your body’s internal balance and wellbeing.

Contact our clinic to book Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine treatments. You can also begin by using adaptogens for skin care with The Fundamentals kit.

Winter Skin Care