Posts Tagged ‘asthma’
Apr 1, 2013
April allergies can be cruel. Headache, itchy eyes, sneezing, and scratchy throat are overwhelming. Chinese herbal formulas are very effective for reducing the runny nose and stuffiness, headaches, and itchy eyes,
Nasal Symptoms and Sinus Headache
For people with hay fever and sinus symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and sinus headache the overall most effective formulas is called Bi Min Gan Wan, the nasal congestion formula. This is a mild formula that helps to reduce headache, nasal congestion.
In Chinese medicine, itchy eyes from allergies is generally from heat. The herbal formula best for itchy eyes form heat is Sang Ye Tang. This formula has mulberry leaf and chrysanthemum flowers that help to relieve itchy eyes. Another effective formula for itchy eyes is called Qi Ju Di Huang Tang, which has gou qi zi and ju hua that stop eye itching.
Asthma with Allergies
Because allergies and asthma are so closely connected, allergies can trigger asthma attacks, those with asthma often need different herbal formulas. Sometimes there is too little qi. In this case, formulas like Jade Wind Screen works to boost qi and release external wind. Also, the mushroom Cordyceps or Reishi is helpful to boost the qi.
Dec 4, 2012
Qi is the body’s energy (Qi is pronounced “chee,” and is sometimes spelled “chi.”)
There is a mystical aspect to qi. In Chinese philosophy, qi is the building blocks of the universe. Energy combines and multiplies. It is the universal energy present in all living things as well as nature.
But there is a practical aspect to qi as well. Qi is the energy we use to keep us healthy. It allows us to work, grow, exercise, and reproduce. Imbalances in the qi can lead to many health issues.
Qi needs to be abundant and circulate through channels in the body or else illness occurs. In Chinese medicine, it is said “When the qi flows there is no pain, when qi stops, there is pain and illness.” Lifestyle habits such as poor diet, overwork, and stress or a person’s constitution can affect the amount and flow of qi. Chinese medicine and acupuncture focus on correcting these imbalances.
Imbalances of Qi
The main imbalances of Qi are Qi vacuity, or too little Qi or the Qi circulation in the channels can be impaired. This is called qi stagnation.
Those with too little qi may experience the symptoms of frequent colds, fatigue, shortness of breath, coughing, soft voice, poor digestion, a weak pulse, and pale tongue. This is also true often for people with chronic respiratory infections or autoimmune conditions, such as asthma, eczema, chronic bronchitis, or sinusitis and chronic sinus headaches.
Qi stagnation, when the qi is not circulating well, can also cause frequent colds and makes it difficult to fight them off. Those with qi stagnation will often get a cold after a stressful or emotional situation. They also may be prone to headaches, irregular bowel movements, ribside pain, and painful menstrual cramps.
May 29, 2012
I developed seasonal allergies in my 20’s. For years I did not notice my allergies so much as I noticed I was moody when the flower bloomed. I didn’t understand if everything is so beautiful why was I feeling so blue.
Eventually I realized my headaches, stuffy nose, and moodiness was allergies.
Scientists have reported that depression increases with allergy symptoms. Most people thought that mood changes during allergy season were simply related to feeling uncomfortable from the sinus pressure, headache, sneezing, and watery eyes. Recently researchers have suggested there is a connection between the inflammatory processes that lead to allergies and the feeling blue.
Inflammatory diseases in general, such as asthma and psoriasis, have higher rates of depression compared to other chronic diseases. This may suggest that the inflammatory process itself has some influence on the development of depression.
Jan 9, 2012
The Meaning of Zhen Jiu ( 针灸)
Acupuncture is not just acupuncture. In fact, the word for acupuncture in Chinese, Zhen Jiu, actually translates to “acupuncture and moxibustion” which shows how central moxibustion is within acupuncture.
Moxibustion is the warming of acupuncture points or needles. Most often, this is done through burning an herb called mugwort. It can also be done with heat lamps as well as herbal lotions.
In my office, we use smokeless moxibustion because it is treated and does not create much smoke.
How does Moxibustion work?
Just like with acupuncture, moxibustion focuses on correcting the underlying imbalance in the body.
Because it is warming, generally moxibustion is used when there is cold in the body. Moxibustion can help to warm the body and add qi as well. The warmth also helps to increase circulation.
Boosting the Qi
There is a tradition that one can use moxibustion on the acupuncture point Stomach 36 for 100 consecutive days in order to boost the body’s qi. I think this therapy is particularly effective for those with poor digestion or asthma due to low energy.
Oct 20, 2011
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine are effective treatments for atopic eczema. This guide will explain how acupuncture and Chinese herbs work to treat atopic eczema.
Atopic eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is the most common type of chronic eczema (1). Those with atopic eczema often have a family history eczema, hay fever, and asthma.
Symptoms of Atopic Eczema
Atopic eczema nearly always begins in childhood. For most people, it clears before becoming an adult. However, for some it will cycle between flare ups and remittance. Flare up can be caused by infection, stress, chemical irritants, or sometimes changes in the weather.
Eczema causes terrible itching. Particularly in atopic patients, the scratching of an itch in many cases is what leads to the development of dry, irritated, and inflamed skin associated with eczema. The itch is very intense it is often difficult to control during sleep.
Eczema can occur on the face, or patches in the body. Commonly, eczema occurs on the inside of the elbows and back of the knees. Chronic, long term eczema, may lead to thickening of the skin called lichenification.
Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine approach to Atopic Eczema
Traditionally, Chinese medicine called eczema the “wind of four crooks” referring to the eczema rashes on the inside of the elbows and knees (2).
Chinese medicine takes a holistic approach to diagnosing eczema, considering physical, emotional, and environmental factors. The primary diagnosis is made by looking at the skin. This is combined with information from taking the pulse, observing the tongue and the skin, and asking in depth questions.
In Chinese medicine, too much “heat” is a common cause of eczema, which leads to the itch, redness, and irritation. Other imbalances called “dampness” can result in swelling and in some cases vesicles. Another possible imbalance is too little energy, or what we call “qi deficiency.” The acupuncture and herbs help to clear the heat from the body or to boost the body’s energy.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment of Atopic Eczema
The treatment will often combine acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and topical herbal creams. Acupuncture is very effective to control the itching in eczema. I find that auricular and body acupuncture combination to be the most effective. After the acupuncture, I often will use magnet stickers in ear acupuncture points that correspond to the specific area of the body the itch is found. It is possible that the same physiological mechanisms which acupuncture uses to reduce pain are effective for stopping itch in eczema (3).
Chinese medicine focuses on correcting the imbalance. If heat is the cause of the eczema, we will use herbs that traditionally are used to “clear heat” from the body, such as sheng di huang (rehmannia) and jin yin hua (honey suckle) may be used to clear heat. Many of the heat reducing herbs are also potent anti-inflammatory and perhaps have immunoregulatory properties. Dampness is also a possible cause of eczema. For this, ku shen (sophroa) is effective. There are also herbs specifically for the symptoms. For example, di fu zi (broom cypress) is very effective in reducing itch.
External herbal creams are very effective at decreasing inflammation and stopping itching. For some people, reduction in inflammation and itching happens after the first visit. Generally, I want to see some reduction in itching and inflammation within the first 2-4 weeks. The treatment course is about 3-4 months.
For many patients, acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine leads to long term reduction of symptoms.
1. PubMed Health. Atoptic Eczema. Accessed 10/21/2011.
2. Mazin Al-Khafaji. Atopic Eczema “Wind of the four crooks.” Journal of Chinese Medicine. Number 77: p5-8. February 2005.
3. Pfab F, Huss-Marp J, Gatti A., et al. Influence of acupuncture on type I hypersensitivity itch and the wheal and flare response in adults with atopic eczema – a blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial.Allergy. 2010 Jul;65(7):903-10. Epub 2009 Dec 11.
written by Joseph Alban
May 18, 2011
This is the second post on herbs for traveling. This one focuses on altitude sickness.
Peru was our first high altitude trip. In Peru, we went to the Canyon del Colca, the towns on top of Canyon de Colca are at 3700 meters. At this height, altitude sickness is an concern.
We had come from Arequipa, a colonial city in the Mountains, resting at about 2300 so there was some time for our bodies to adjust. We took a 6 hour bus ride over dirt roads with the locals and their smaller farm animals, chickens and a baby lamb.
There, on top of the Canyon de Colca, we met Remijio, our guide for the three day hike. Remijio made walking into an art, with his graceful steps. He knew much about the local herbs, remedies for diarrhea, stomach pain, and gynecological disorders.
At the onset of the hike, we ascended to the highest point over the canyon, 3700 meters, but then descended over 1000 meters. Remijio kept reminding us “Despacio, descpacio (slowly, slowly). ” We were feeling ok overall, no headache, naseau, or other symptoms of altitude sickness.
I had been reading earlier about the Chinese herb called Dong Chong Xie Cao, or Cordyceps which doctors of Chinese Medicine have used for altitude sickness. Cordyceps is a mushroom that is known to grown on the bodies of worms and insects in the Tibetian pleateu. It is known to warm the body and boost yang qi.
Traditionally, cordyceps is used for asthma and allergies, cancer support, and certain types of pain and fatigue. At times, it has also been used by athletes as a energy booster.
After the three day hike, we did not have altitude sickness at all. We had been taking the cordyceps for 2 weeks prior. Yang qi warms and give the body energy helping to prevent altitude sickness.
Some have theorized that cordyceps and energy boosting Chinese herbs help the body to better utilize the oxygen in the blood, therefore helping to prevent sickness. Another theory is that these herbs actually help you produce more red blood cells giving the body the ability to carry more oxygen in the blood and prevent altitude sickness.
I have since used cordyceps on trips to China and Mexico. Giving yourself time to acclimate and following an experienced guide is the most important action to stay healthy and safe. Chinese herbs have helped to reduce my symptoms of altitude sickness.
About Buying Cordyceps
Wild cordyceps is very expensive because it is very rare. Wild cordycpes is gathered in the fields of the Tibetian plateu.
Sadly the high price tag has lead to a black market and much adulterating of the product. I recommend finding a quality company that grows natural organic cordyceps. I personally use Aloha medicinals, but I am sure there are others.
Read More: There is a great article on Chinese herbs for Mountain Sickness at the Institute for Traditional Medicine.
Mar 3, 2011
I was taken back a bit. “Yes, I love being an acupuncturist.”
“Why?” She asks.
So I thought about it for a second. I thought about how I love that acupuncture works with the body to heal itself, that it focuses on resetting the body to bring it back to balance, and I love that patients can create their own tool box of techniques to participate in their own healing.
But then I thought for another second. “ I love being an acupuncturist because acupuncture and Chinese medicine can change my patients lives.”
Chronic pain and illness can change your life.
And whether it is a person with terribly itchy and dry skin from eczema, or someone suffering from painful bladder syndrome/chronic pelvic pain syndrome, or with chronic back and shoulder pain, or someone with chronic migraines and headaches, finding relief helps to improve their quality of life.
I love that as an acupuncturist I can help people feel better.
Feb 25, 2011
Eczema causes terrible itching. The itching in many cases is what leads to the development of dry, irritated, and inflamed skin associated with eczema. I often use acupuncture to help control the itching in eczema.
A research paper from last year showed that acupuncture helps to reduce itching in people with eczema. In this study, the researched caused a hypersensitivity reaction in eczema patients. Then, they used acupuncture to help reduce that itching.
In my NYC Acupuncture clinic I often use acupuncture to help patients with itching from eczema. I find that auricular and body acupuncture combination to be the most effective. After the acupuncture, I often will use magnet stickers in ear acupuncture points that correspond to the specific area of the body the itch is found.
Read More: Here are a few posts that explain the Acupuncture and Chinese medicine approach to Eczema.
- Personalized Acupuncture and Chinese herbs for Eczema
- Acupuncture and Chinese herbs for Eczema
- Acupuncture for Winter Eczema: A Success Story
Jan 7, 2011
Recipes for the Common Cold
Jan 5, 2011
I am always searching for simple remedies for my patients to prevent colds, flu, and sinus infections. That’s why I was excited to see a short article last month in the New York Times that discusses how humming can help to relieve sinus infections and headaches.
Humming reduces sinus inflammation by stimulating the release of nitric oxide, a signaling molecule in the body which helps smooth muscle relax and vasodilation to increase blood flow. Less inflammation means the body recovers quicker and can fight off infections.
Many of my acupuncture patients have asthma and allergies, making them more susceptible to sinus infections especially during the winter months. I often recommend self acupressure to supplement the acupuncture treatment. Some traditions of qi gong and acupressure self care include humming certain tones to help stimulate the healing process. Now we know that the humming can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.