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Friday, March 21, 2014

March 21th WHMonth: CHINESE HERBOLOGY - FU LING / PORIA COCOS

TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S (HEALERS) HISTORY MONTH (WHM), during the month of March ~ in addition to my weekly postings ~ I will be making DAILY postings of time tested herbal and medicinal foods used from a Medicine Woman's bag, which holds many, many herbs, generating many, many formulas, as one herb used for a cold (mullein), when combined with totally different herbs, can be used as an antispasmodic for inflammation or as an expectorant to relieve asthma or general lung congestion.

This week will be dedicated to Chinese herbs. For the 30 years that I have traveled around the country treating health imbalances with herbs and teaching herb courses and workshops, Chinese herbs have always made up a very large percentage of my inventory, and the success I've had with the efficacy of Chinese herbs are unmatched.

FU LING / PROIA COCOS / HOELEN


Fu ling is an herbal remedy used in the practice of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). It is extracted from a fungus which is found widely around the world. Many cultures, including the Native Americans, used this fungus to treat various health problems. Many Chinese herbalists and markets carry this remedy in a variety of forms, and it is also included in a number of tonics which are designed to promote general health. Harvesting fu ling is not recommended unless you are very familiar with mushrooms.


The fungi that fu ling comes from is called Poria cocos, and is found in the Polyporaceae family. It often colonizes things like tree trunks and roots, with a large mycelium hidden below the surface while the fruiting bodies of the fungus are visible to mushroom hunters. Fu ling happens to favor the ground around pine trees, and it is sought out much like the European truffle. The part of the mushroom which is used is the sclerotium, a hardened compact part of the mycelium which stores up energy for the fungus.

Fu Ling / Tuckahoe

Early Europeans who observed Native Americans harvesting fu ling referred to it as Indian bread or Indian potatoes, since they believed that the fungus was an important staple food. Slaves knew it as Tuckahoe, while others call it Polyporus, in a reference to its family. Another alternate name for fu ling is hoelen. Some herbal companies actively cultivate this fungus in Chinese red pine forests, ensuring a steady supply of the valued herb.

Fu ling is used as a general purpose yin tonic, promoting health and balance in the body. It also appears to promote urination and generally healthy blood flow, and some herbalists also prescribe it as a sedative, since the yin effects are calming. The remedy acts specifically on the heart, spleen, and kidney meridians, and it is used to treat a variety of conditions which are believed to be associated with these meridians.


The Poria cocos can destroy timber if left unattended. This mushroom has a soft texture with a sweet flavor when used in cooking. The Poria cocos is usually dried and used in ancient Chinese medication.
History and Origin
The Poria cocos is known in traditional Asian medicine to treats dampness, which is beneficial for people who are suffering from Insomnia. The Poria cocos is well known in more traditional Korean folklore as a medicinal herb which is a blessing from the Gods.
Ancient Uses
The Poria cocos was primarily used in ancient times as a treatment for tumors, inflammation and also used to treat a myriad of diseases commonly found in animals.
Modern Uses
The modern times has led to the research and clinical studies of the Poria cocos this mushroom contains monosaccharide that is responsible for its anti tumor properties. The Poria cocos has anti inflammatory properties that is essential for the treatment of joint pain, swelling and redness in rheumatoid arthritis. It has also diuretic properties that can benefit congestive heart failure and also edema in many types of illnesses. The Poria cocos also has antiemetic properties and can also benefit many gastrointestinal problems. Its central nervous system effects have also made the Poria cocos an invaluable treatment for depression. The effect of Poria cocos in depression is comparable to the anti depressant drug Prozac when it comes to effectiveness and therapeutic effects. 
This is the form I usually buy it in.
Herbal supplements should always be used with care. It is important to remember that herbs like fu ling are only one part of the larger practice of TCM, and that you should ideally see a TCM practitioner if you wish to pursue this method of medical treatment. The practitioner can examine you to form an accurate diagnosis, and a range of treatments may be offered to you in addition to herbal remedies. You should always disclose any drugs and herbal treatments you are taking to a healthcare provider, as this information is very important for safe and accurate treatment.

This next paragraph is the perfect example of how Chinese medicine differs from Western.  Make note of the references to the various way they consider "how" symptoms present: enriching the heart and spleen; draining heat and mobilizing water; calming the heart spirit . . . there are simply no Western herbs that we could choose to address the symptoms.  

The portion of the fungus that grows closer to the root is white in color and is thus known as white poria; that closer to the outer skin is pinkish in color and known as red poria. White poria is the product that is normally dispensed when just Poria (fu ling) is prescribed. Penetrating the Mysteries of the Material Medica observes that the red variety "can only drain heat and mobilize water; it does not have the many actions of white poria." Red poria is often prescribed for such disorders as scanty, dark urine or urinary difficulty. Another way of looking at this is that white poria enters the qi aspect and red poria enters the blood aspect; white poria more strongly tonifies, while red poria is more facilitating. Thus for enriching the Heart and Spleen, and calming the Heart spirit, white poria is superior, but for eliminating water and dampness, especially if associated with blood stasis, red poria is the better choice. (Chinese Herbal Materia Medica, 3rd edition).


And the Chinese Herbal Material Medica is one of my regular resource books (and is on my book list on the left.







Thursday, March 20, 2014

FEATURED CRYSTAL/GEMSTONE 2 of 2 for MARCH: BLACK TOURMALINE


Black Tourmaline (Schorl) Gemstone




Black Tourmaline aka Schorl is an essential stone for everyone to have. It is a very powerful stone with pyroelectric effect. It was even associated with the philosophers philosophers stone and thought to facilitate enlightenment. It is also called the guard stone because it guards the energy bodies. We are all light beings, everything in this universe is composed of light or energy. Ancient alchemist knew about this that’s why they used black tourmaline to balance the polarity of positivity and negativity via transmutation or neutralization. Believe or not, turns out that Benjamin Franklin worked with tourmaline stone in his grand experiments and inventions.  So these stones are no secret, but ancient.

Black tourmaline resonates with the root chakra, and the earth star chakra, which governs our connection to the earth. The earth star chakra is about six inches under our feet. When we are horizontal, lay stones about six inches below the feet, but when vertical, you can place the stone between your feet. When we feel deeply affected by global changes, societal injustice, environment causes, or just the opposite (feel nothing toward those concerns), we need to look at our Earth Star chakra, and black tourmaline is a beautiful helper in this realm. Black Tourmaline is used as a grounding stone, put at the earth star, it helps us to connect to Mother Earth energy and draw up her energy by rooting us into her loving body. It helps transmute and purify negative energy. Perfect for empaths, intuitives and psychics, and those engaged in healing work. It also helps to counter stress, addictive behavior and anxiety, so it is great for workplace. It's also good to keep black tourmaline (in matrix, above) next to my computer to absorb the EMF floating out of the computer, bombarding one's person.




Keywords: Grounding, Balancing, Protective, Purifying, and Well being

Ancient magicians were intelligent enough to not partake in any ritual without black tourmaline in proximity. While connecting with the spiritual realms, there is always the possibility of contact and opening your energy field to anyone or anything whether positive or negative. Therefore, black tourmaline was used by the ancients as psychic shields and for protection from all adverse entities.  These are stones that people carried when facing imminent danger, stress, travelling or hostile unknown environments.  Black tourmaline essentially consumes and absorbs all negative energy, so it is the best form of protection against electronic radiation and negative spells. It guards the auric energy fields against any low vibration by creating a strong positive force field around energy bodies. It is an excellent stone to meditate with, as it clears them against its own negative though patterns, thereby allow the mind develop clear, focused and objective approach to thinking. Black tourmaline is great for students, musicians, actors, artists, athletes, writes, programmers, or any profession that involves focus and willpower. 

Healing properties of Tourmaline

Tourmaline uses differs as its colors differ. All colors are very powerful and it must be used carefully. Each person seems to react differently to Tourmaline.

Watermelon Tourmaline

Colored Tourmaline

Tourmaline is black, but also shades of red, pink, green, blue and what is known as watermelon tourmaline, which is a crystal with green on the outside and pink in the middle. 

Watermelon Tourmaline 

There are seven varieties of tourmaline that occur in various colors; pink, red or rubellitegreen tourmaline, blue or indicolite, black or schorl, watermelon and tourmalated quartz.

The watermelon tourmaline is a rare variety that displays three different colors in the same crystal - green (the skin of the watermelon), pink (the sweet fruit) and white (the rind). As in the gem stone ametrine, the colors of the watermelon tourmaline occur 100% naturally. This is a rare occurence in nature.

What watermelon tourmaline can do for you

  • Attract love
  • Balance the male and female energies within yourself
  • Remove imbalances (and guilt) caused by conflicts and confusions
  • The green part feeds your life force, while the pink soothes and harmonizes

Healing properties of watermelon tourmaline

All of the tourmalines are used for their strong healing energies. The watermelon variety is used by crystal healers to encourage a calm, centered state of mind.


Green Tourmaline
Green Tourmaline meaning
All the tourmalines contain a wide scope of healing effects. The multi-colored tourmalines combine several qualities.  Green Tourmaline (also known asVerdelite) brings a joy for life. It promotes an appreciation for the many wonders that life has to offer. It encourages patience and openness, as well as sincere interest in fellow human beings.  The magical uses of this stone include the stimulation of creativity. It is also used toattract money and success in business.


Healing properties of green tourmaline

Green tourmaline strengthens the heart and offers detoxification effects.

Pink TourmalineThe pink tourmaline will bring love and friends. Tourmalated quartz aids peace of mind. It is found in many countries including Burma, United States, Brazil and Zimbabwe.  





Benefits of Black Tourmaline:




·         Black Tourmaline is a MUST for any spiritual and conscious being.
·         Creates a positive force field around your body.
·         Assist in spiritual awakening
·         Builds self confidence and trust in self.
·         Balances all and mostly root/base chakra.
·         Eliminates fear, build courage.
·         Eliminates depression, negative thinking pattern.
·         Balances the brain.

Zodiac Sign: Black Tourmaline is associated with Libra.

Chakra: This gemstones balances all chakras, but has the most influence over the ROOT chakra.


Feng Shui:

In Feng Shui, you can create a positive energy grid around your home using black tourmaline.  Place Black Tourmaline stones in a bowl at the north east section of your home, (north east symbolizing earth and air energies). Then place the stones in each corner of your home, and in your windows. You can amplify this force field grid protection with Selenite. This powerful energy grid will dispel any electromagnetic smog, psychic, mental, emotional and even guests with negative energies. 

Cleanse & Activate:
Cleanse the Black Tourmaline stones with alkaline/distill water, then leave in the sun to recharge all day.  Afterwards, they need to be activated in a meditation. Placing the crystal in your left hand and reflecting, invoke the powers of the stones and other attributes of black tourmaline you wish to summon into your life.









March 20th WHMonth: CHINESE HERBOLOGY - DON SEN

TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S (HEALERS) HISTORY MONTH (WHM), during the month of March ~ in addition to my weekly postings ~ I will be making DAILY postings of time tested herbal and medicinal foods used from a Medicine Woman's bag, which holds many, many herbs, generating many, many formulas, as one herb used for a cold (mullein), when combined with totally different herbs, can be used as an antispasmodic for inflammation or as an expectorant to relieve asthma or general lung congestion.

This week will be dedicated to Chinese herbs. For the 30 years that I have traveled around the country treating health imbalances with herbs and teaching herb courses and workshops, Chinese herbs have always made up a very large percentage of my inventory, and the success I've had with the efficacy of Chinese herbs are unmatched.


CODONOPSIS LANCEOLATA / DON SEN


MEDICINAL PART: root

THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS: stomachic; cardio tonic; builds immunity and raises resistance; lowers blood pressure; raises blood sugar

INDICATIONS: chronic fatigue, hypertension; loss of appetite; indigestion due to hyperacidity; loose bowels; pale complexion; exhaustion after surgery or childbirth; body bloating and facial swelling due to edema; immune deficiency; hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

Since this herb acts similarly to ginseng, it can be substituted for the latter when ginseng is too costly or in short supply. It is often used instead of ginseng for mild chronic conditions that do not require high-potency herbs.  Recent research has also established dang shen (don sen) as an effective preventive against many forms of heart disease.  Since it lends itself well to cooking, it can be used daily in the kitchen as an ingredient in stews, soups, and porridges, or simply boiled in chicken broth, as a general nutrient tonic for the whole family and a specific preventative against heart disease.

According to the traditional Chinese view, the reason that this herb is such a reliable energy tonic is because of its affinity for the spleen and lungs, which are the two major organ-energy systems responsible for the extraction of energy from food and air through digestion and respiration.  Codonopsis is used to treat HIV infection and to protect cancer patients against side effects of radiation treatment.  It is also used to boost the immune system; and to treat weakness, loss of appetite (anorexia), chronic diarrhea, shortness of breath, noticeable heartbeat (palpitations), asthma, cough, thirst and diabetes.

As a cooling herb, codonopsis is useful in any illness in which "spleen chi deficiency"- a deficiency of digestive energies - is the underlying cause.

Codonopsis is a relatively inexpensive herbs that is often substituted for Panax ginseng in herbal tonics.  It is believed to have an action similar to that of panax ginseng, but milder.  Often used by poorer Chinese patients, it is commonly referred to as "poor man's ginseng".  Its relatively low cost does not diminish its place as one of the more important Chinese herbal medicines. Don sen has been used as an astringent in excessive uterine bleeding, and for rheumatic and other joint pains, and described as an aphrodisiac, general tonic and styptic.  Pharmacological research has confirmed that the herb promotes digestion and metabolism, helps to strengthen the immune system, stimulates the nervous system, dilates peripheral blood vessels,and inhibits adrenal cortex activity, thereby lowering blood pressure.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March 19th WHMonth: CHINESE HERBOLOGY - ASTRAGALUS

TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S (HEALERS) HISTORY MONTH (WHM), during the month of March ~ in addition to my weekly postings ~ I will be making DAILY postings of time tested herbal and medicinal foods used from a Medicine Woman's bag, which holds many, many herbs, generating many, many formulas, as one herb used for a cold (mullein), when combined with totally different herbs, can be used as an antispasmodic for inflammation or as an expectorant to relieve asthma or general lung congestion.

This week will be dedicated to Chinese herbs. For the 30 years that I have traveled around the country treating health imbalances with herbs and teaching herb courses and workshops, Chinese herbs have always made up a very large percentage of my inventory, and the success I've had with the efficacy of Chinese herbs are unmatched.

Astragalus ( Huang Qi ) 黃耆


MEDICINAL PART: root
The root is often cut in long strips and thus often
referred to as 'tongue depressors.'

THERAPUTIC EFFECTS: immunitonic; cardiotonic; diuretic; controls profuse perspiration; lowers blood pressure; lowers blood sugar; improves circulation in flesh and skin.


INDICATIONS: immune deficiency; cancer; chronic fatigue; high blood pressure; prolapse of internal organs; diabetes; cold and weak limbs; colds and flu; bronchitis; hepatitis; adrenal deficiency.


INCOMPATIBLES: Chinemys reevesii (tortoise shell); opiates.

According to Chinese herbology, this herb enhances immunity by protecting the body from colds. It also stimulates production and circulation of immunological factors in the blood. 

Modern Chinese research has shown that astralagus helps the body resist virus infections, particularly in the lungs, by increasing production of interferon, an immune factor that inhibits viral growth.


Orally, Astragalus is used for treating the common cold and upper respiratory infections; to strengthen and regulate the immune system; and to increase the production of blood cells particularly in individuals with chronic degenerative disease or in individuals with cancer under going chemotherapy or radiation therapy. [I have a very strong formula that I've had great success with when used during this period.  If interested, please let me know. "theherbalist1750@gmail.com"]  It is also used orally for chronic nephritis and diabetes.  Astragalus is also used orally as an antibacterial and antiviral; a tonic; liver protectant; anti-inflammatory; antioxidant; and as a diuretic, vasodilator, or hypotensive agent.

I've used this herb for many years in many of my formulas.  It's efficacy is dependable and thorough. I ALWAYS use it along with Don Sen (tomorrow's featured herb) - together the herbs strengthen formulas and boost the body's strength and longevity and resistance to disease in general.  Astragalus is commonly used in combination with other herbs. For example, in combination with Ligustrum lucidum (glossy privet), astragalus is used orally fortreating breast cancercervical cancer, and lung cancer.


Topically, Astragalus is used as a vasodilator and to speed healing.

Astragalus ( Huang Qi ) 黃耆 Use Cautions:

There are many varieties of astragalus ( Huang Qi ) 黃耆. Some are toxic. The varieties used in Chinese herbal medicine is relatively safe but in rare cases it might cause rash.

Because of this herb's powerful enhancements of immune response, it is currently under study as a treatment for AIDS. AIDS patients show an unusually high count of T-suppressor cells, which impair immunity by suppressing activity of T-cells, one of the body's primary immune factors. Astralagus has been shown to significantly reduce the number of T-suppressor cells in cases of human immune deficiency. 











March 18th WHMonth: CHINESE HERBOLOGY - DONG QUAI

TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S (HEALERS) HISTORY MONTH (WHM), during the month of March ~ in addition to my weekly postings ~ I will be making DAILY postings of time tested herbal and medicinal foods used from a Medicine Woman's bag, which holds many, many herbs, generating many, many formulas, as one herb used for a cold (mullein), when combined with totally different herbs, can be used as an antispasmodic for inflammation or as an expectorant to relieve asthma or general lung congestion.

This week will be dedicated to Chinese herbs. For the 30 years that I have traveled around the country treating health imbalances with herbs and teaching herb courses and workshops, Chinese herbs have always made up a very large percentage of my inventory, and the success I've had with the efficacy of Chinese herbs are unmatched.

I would like to take a few minutes to explain some healing therapies from various cultures and their herbal efficacies, and how we can benefit from this invaluable difference.  When I first began my herbal studies (I studied Western herbology first, back in the 80s) I was amazed at the power of the Universe and how in the Creator's infinite wisdom herbs were designed to heal physical illnesses in man and animals.   In my studies I came to realize that the various parts of plants (roots, bark, stem, leaves, flowers, fruit, seeds) were designed to heal various parts of man's anatomy (like the Doctrine of Signatures" where herbs/plants look like the parts of the body they heal, i.e., ., the walnut is healing for the brain; kidney beans are good for the kidneys - click here for a fuller description and interesting pictures: Doctrine of Signatures).   

Further, the Chinese principles of healing are deeply connected to their Spiritual belief system, God and the cycles of nature.  Their principles of Yin and Yang are applied to every facet of their being.  When considering illness and remedies, they look at the yin/yang aspect of the person before they consider the remedy.  If you have a cold with diarrhea, chills and runny nose, the symptoms are yin in nature, and so the remedies will have to be yang in nature in order to restore balance.  If your symptoms present as yin and your personal constitution is also yin, they may determine that your symptoms are actually yang deficient as opposed to just simply yin, and would consider dominating the formula with some herbs that yang-ness which strengthen the yin-ness.  This approach gives us a totally different perspective on both the patient and how to view the actual symptoms, and subsequently the best way to treat.  In Western herbology, you just take the herbs for a cold, without even considering anything as deeply as the Chinese system.  I will continue tomorrow with further cultural variances and how we should adopt and utilize them to broaden our tools for healing.

In traditional Chinese medicine, only ginseng is more esteemed. The name dong quai means proper order and for thousands of years the dried roots have been used to restore a healthy order to the body. Since ancient times, dang-quai has been an important herb for women. The phytoestrogens in dong quai work to bring the body's natural estrogen into balance. Historically, it has been prescribed for uterine bleeding, painful menses, and other abnormalities of the menstrual cycle. For menopausal women it addresses symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings.

Dong quai, or dan-gui is one of nine species of angelica, part of the parsley family, a plant family known for vegetables like carrot and parsnips, herbs like parsley and caraway, and its highly toxic members, including poison hemlock.


A decoction of the whole root is considered diuretic and strongly antibacterial. Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antispasmodic activity have been confirmed in experiments. Considered the most important Chinese herb for menstrual disorders, its blood tonic, circulation-enhancing, pain-relieving, tranquilizing, and liver-protecting qualities are sometimes overlooked. Dong quai contains many nutrients, from metals like cobalt, copper and manganese, to plant sterols, which have similar chemical structures to human hormones like estrogen. Among the active medicinal ingredients are coumarins, essential oils, and various flavonoids. Dong quai strengthens the immune system by increasing production of white blood cells, assisting the liver in ridding the body of toxins. This immune enhancement may come into play in cancer prevention and as an adjunct to debilitating effects of treatment.

Dong quai, which literally means “restore proper order,” is considered an important botanical in China, Japan and Korea, where the herb has been used for thousands of years. Also known as Chinese angelica, this member of the parsley family is harvested for its leaves and roots, which contain a variety of fragrant organic compounds called coumarins that are specific to plants. Because the dried root is rich in vitamins A, B-3, C, E, iron, magnesium and other minerals, the herb is commonly used to prepare tonics.Dong quai, which literally means “restore proper order,” is considered an important botanical in China, Japan and Korea, where the herb has been used for thousands of years. Also known as Chinese angelica, this member of the parsley family is harvested for its leaves and roots, which contain a variety of fragrant organic compounds called coumarins that are specific to plants. Because the dried root is rich in vitamins A, B-3, C, E, iron, magnesium and other minerals, the herb is commonly used to prepare tonics.

This herbal remedy is very often suggested to patients by many modern herbalists to be used in the treatment of the majority of gynecological ailments and disorders, these conditions can include persistent menstrual cramps, the presence of some irregularity or a retarded menstrual flow, and to treat physical weakness during the menstrual period of affected women. While the use of the dong quai is not suggested in pregnant women, the remedy is also said provide physical relief from the many symptoms which occur during the process ofmenopause in women. The remedy is also known to be useful in the treatment of disorders such as hypertension and additionally, it is said to possess very effective antispasmodic properties in individuals afflicted by muscular spasms. The herb is also used to induce blood purification and to provide nourishment, for which it has a great reputation-and lastly, it has also been used in the treatment of constipation in individuals affected by this disorder.

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17th WHMonth: CHINESE HERBOLOGY: Peony

TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S (HEALERS) HISTORY MONTH (WHM), during the month of March ~ in addition to my weekly postings ~ I will be making DAILY postings of time tested herbal and medicinal foods used from a Medicine Woman's bag, which holds many, many herbs, generating many, many formulas, as one herb used for a cold (mullein), when combined with totally different herbs, can be used as an antispasmodic for inflammation or as an expectorant to relieve asthma or general lung congestion.


This week will be dedicated to Chinese herbs. For the 30 years that I have traveled around the country treating health imbalances with herbs and teaching herb courses and workshops, Chinese herbs have always made up a very large percentage of my inventory, and the success I've had with the efficacy of Chinese herbs are unmatched.


Peonies have been cultivated in China since about 900 B.C.  The white peony is one of the oldest remedies in Traditional Chinese Medicine. They are a very beautiful and fragrant ornamental flower, but the root is the part valued in Chinese medicine to treat conditions such as abnormal menses, night sweats, abdominal pain, sores and injuries.

White Peony is an herb that is a great ally to other fertility herbs, and works best when combined with other fertility herbs.  Sometimes Western herbalists cannot resist using a TCM herb because it works so wonderfully.  White Peony is one of those, and has been used for painful menstruation, known as dysmennorhea, endometriosis, uterine fibroids and PCOS.  Medicinally the root of Peony is used, and is dried to be boiled down tomake a strong tea (decoction), or a tincture or liquid extract.

Peony is often combined with Dong Quai for iron deficient anemia, which is characterized by fatigue, depression, dizziness, constipation and pal complexion.  Traditionally, a decoction of peony and dong quai is given twice a week, for a month, to increase hematocrit levels.

Usually in autumn, the root barks of a four year old Peony plant is boiled and dried to use for medicinal purposes.  The most popular health benefit of the Peony root is as an antispasmodic which helps to relax muscles.  It is used to relax cramps in the calf, abdomen and limb muscles.  It is also used for treating cramps that are caused by epilepsy attacks, bouts of asthma and cramps during menstrual periods.

One of my favorite (and world renown) combinations is Bupleurum (yesterdays featured herb) and Peony. Allow me to share one of the formulas I have to treat diabetes: LIVER REJUVENATE: Schizandra, Blessed Thistle, Bupleurum, Peony, Golden Seal, Licorice. Two capsules are taken both morning and night. This formula is taken as a supplement to the "LIVER REBUILD FORMULA" (part of a complete regimen) which aids in purifying the blood and resolving liver problems.

Other key health benefits of Peony roots include its use as a sedative which helps calm nerves and other nervous conditions.  It is used as a diuretic for bladder and kidney related problems.  It is also used as an analgesic to relieve headaches and pain during menstruation; as an anticoagulant, blood coolant and blood purifier especially for the stomach and liver.  It also provides nourishment to the blood.  It is used in treatment of jaundice.  Antifungal and antibacterial properties of Peony roots are helpful in curing gastrointestinal infections.  It is also used to treat skin problems and to make the skin look healthier and younger.  A doctor should be consulted before using Peony root, as it should not be used by pregnant and nursing women.

Traditional Suggested Usage
-Dried herb decoction of root: 3-6g dried root decocted in 3 cups water. 1-3 times a day.
-Liquid extract: 3-5mL, 1-2 times a day.
Combines well in equal parts with Licorice Rt. and Dong Quai.
*Do NOT use into pregnancy. Do not use if using blood thinning medications, if you have a history of bleeding problems, or if you have a history of heavy menstrual bleeding.
References:
1. Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health, Aviva Romm, Churchill Livingstone, 2010
2. Down There Sexual and Reproductive Health, Susun S. Weed, Ash Tree Publishing, 2011

Sunday, March 16, 2014

March 16th WHMonth: CHINESE HERBOLOGY: Bupleurum

TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH (WHM), during the month of March ~ in addition to my weekly postings ~ I will be making DAILY postings of time tested herbal and medicinal foods used from a Medicine Woman's bag, which holds many, many herbs, generating many, many formulas, as one herb used for a cold (mullein), when combined with totally different herbs, can be used as an antispasmodic for inflammation or as an expectorant to relieve asthma or general lung congestion.


This week will be dedicated to Chinese herbs. For the 30 years that I have traveled around 
the country treating health imbalances with herbs and teaching herb courses and 
holding workshops, Chinese herbs have always made up a very large 
percentage of my inventory, and the success I've had with the 
efficacy of Chinese herbs are unmatched.

BUPLEURUM (Bupleurum chinese) root is bitter and pungent in taste, and cooling (anti-inflammatory) in action. It releases internal tension and lowers mental stress, anxiety and anger (including PMS); reduces dizziness and vertigo; warms coldness of hands and feet caused by tension; stimulates the immune system; improves circulation; reduces fever and liver inflammation; stimulates bile flow; protects the liver; and improves digestion. It is one of the most highly revered herbs in Chinese medicine for detoxifying (and is almost always used together with Peony) the liver.  Its therapeutic properties include antipyretic, analgesic, antinauseant.

Bupleurum is used for respiratory infections, including the flu (influenza), swine flu, the common cold, bronchitis, and pneumonia; and symptoms of these infections, including fever and cough.

Some people use bupleurum for digestion problems including indigestion, diarrhea, and constipation.

Women sometimes use it for premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and painful periods (dysmenorrhea).

Bupleurum is also used for fatigue, headache, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), trouble sleeping (insomnia), depression, liver disorders, and loss of appetite (anorexia).

Other uses include treatment of cancer, malaria, chest pain (angina), epilepsy, pain,muscle cramps, joint pain (rheumatism), asthma, ulcers, hemorrhoids, and high cholesterol.

One of my favorite (and world renown) combinations is Bupleurum (tomorrow's featured herb) and Peony. Allow me to share one of the formulas I have to treat diabetes: LIVER REJUVENATE: Schizandra, Blessed Thistle, Bupleurum, Peony, Golden Seal, Licorice. Two capsules are taken both morning and night. This formula is taken as a supplement to the "LIVER REBUILD FORMULA" (part of a complete regimen) which aids in purifying the blood and resolving liver problems.

Bupleurum is also used in combination with Panax ginseng and licorice to help stimulate adrenal gland function, particularly in patients with a history of long-term use of corticosteroid drugs.

This herb is very useful for some circulation issues if caused by internal tension, such as with erection problems, neck tension, "freezing up" under stress, Pre-menstrual tension, and it even sometimes helps with dizziness caused by Meniere's disease. It also helps with tension caused by exposure to excess drugs, chemicals and other toxins, or a diet high in poor quality fats.

Its primary use for a "tense restricted liver" includes symptoms such as anger, tension in the center of the body that you can't release, and various liver issues such as heat sensations, itching, a feeling of being toxic, headaches, irritability, etc. But, beyond that, the TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) concept of liver energy regulation can be applied in a wide variety of seemingly unrelated health problems such as infertility (the liver regulates hormones), emotional issues (the liver regulated some neurotransmitters), heart health (the liver manufactures cholesterol) and many others.

Bupleurum root is a main ingredient in a formula called "Rambling without a destination," which is the formula  used to treat the same conditions as the root, but in persons with additional signs of weakness and nutrient deficiency. Drs. Dan Bensky and Randall Barolet, in their excellent 1990 professional TCM textbook Formulas and Strategies, quote an ancient text that recommends this formula for "girls with weak blood and Yin deficiency."