Biomedical science has reduced foods to the sum of their calories and micronutrients. While it is important to understand the biochemistry of what we eat, it is also important to realize that the qualities, colors, textures of our foods and the ways they are cooked play just as much of a role as their "nutrient content" in influencing our health. Traditional Chinese medicine has much to teach us on this subject.
By reducing sympathetic nervous system activity, acupuncture can be a valuable tool in treating mild-to-moderate hypertension. In some cases, it can obviate the need for antihypertensive drugs which often have a lot of side effects. Researchers at the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California, Irvine, are learning how acupuncture works at the neuronal level.
Ampelopsis brevipedunculata aka Porcelainberry, a rapidly growing vine in the grape family, has become a bane of many American gardeners and landscapers, owing to its rapid and invasive growth. In Japan, it has been used as a medicinal for centuries. Recent research suggests the "grapes" from this plant can halt liver fibrosis and improve liver function in people with hepatitis.
What works for attention deficit disorder? Depends on the kid, says Dr. Stephen Cowan, a holistic pediatrician who uses the Five Elements concepts from traditional Chinese medicine in working with attention problems in children. He believes modern drug therapies, with their one-size-fits-all philosophy, are doing more harm than good for many of these kids. The Five Elements approach recognizes that children are different from one another, and opens up a healthier way of addressing this increasingly common problem.
Stress, sleeplessness and weight gain are inter-related and self-reinforcing problems that wreak havoc on an individual's health. Researchers are starting to understand how these problems are connected. The good news is, a combination of two Chinese herbs, Magnolia and Phellodendron, can safely and effectively break the metabolic cycles that drive these conditions.
Seirogan, a combination of wood creosote, geranium extract, and phellodendron bark, was first developed by the Japanese army over 100 years ago, for the treatment of diarrhea and other intestinal ailments. Today, Seirogan is a household name in most of Asia, and it recently entered the American market as a safe botanical medicine for diarrhea.
Maitake literally translates as "Dancing Mushroom," so named for the joy experienced by Japanese mushroom lovers on finding a thick cluster of these delicacies. Maitakes are not only delicious; they contain powerful immunomodulating compounds that are proving effective in the management of insulin resistance and diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Kampo is a form of Japanese botanical medicine that has its roots in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Kampo formulas are widely used by medical doctors in Japan, and recently, a Japanese herbal medicine company called Honso introduced Sho-Saiko-to, a formula for liver disorders, and a whole series of Kampo formulas, into the US.
The principles of Tibetan traditional medicine hold that just as the physical body has a digestive system for food, the mental-emotional "body" has a digestive system to process information and emotions. This system, known as the Purusa, plays a key role in health and illness, explains Vladimir Badmaev, MD, an expert on Tibetan medicine.
Chinese medicine makes use of hundreds of different herbs. But only a handful are in common use in the US. Astragalus, Aconite, Ephedra and Panax Ginseng are among the big six described by Michael Arnold, MD, a physician who practices Chinese herbal medicine.