Posts Tagged ‘herbal formula’
Oct 30, 2013
Most people think that Chinese medicine is used only for chronic health problems, but it can be very effective for acute problems, like relieving and preventing colds. In fact, Chinese medicine has been relieving and preventing colds for thousands of years.
Herbs can help relieve your sore throat, coughing, headaches, fatigue, chills and fever. The key is using the right formula at the right stage of your cold. Before taking Chinese herbs, ask your acupuncturist or Chinese medicine doctor which one is right for you.
Gan Mao Ling- Gan Mao Ling translates to the common cold pills. This herbal formula helps to fight minor colds as well as prevent you from getting a cold if something is going around. It is best to take this formula in the very early stages of a cold, as soon as you feel run down or a little tickle in your throat. You can also take it when travelling or if someone in your office is sick. the herbs in this formula are known to have anti-viral capabilities particularly within the respiratory tract.
Yin Qiao San- Yin Qiao San is the main formula for a cold with a sore throat. In Chinese medicine, the common cold often manifests as a condition we call wind heat. The idea is that the virus or bacteria comes in through the wind and attacks the respiratory system. The main herbs in the formula, Honeysuckle and Forsythia fruit, are release the wind heat and have shown to be powerful anti-viral herbs.
Huo Xiang Zheng Qi Tang- This is a primary formula to help with stomach bugs. It can be effective for a strong stomach bug or for minor food poisoning. The aromatic herbs in this formula address the viruses of digestive system. The aromatic herbs also help the digestive system to return to healthy state after you’ve gotten the bug. You can also take this formula when you are travelling if eat something you should not have.
Ling zhi- in English it is known as Hen of the Woods or Rei Shi. Ling zhi has many positive health benefits such as reducing allergies, treating insomnia, and hypertension. In order to prevent colds, it is a great immune booster. While it is good for boosting your energy, it can also be used for insomnia. I recommend to some patients that get frequent colds to take a small dose of ling zhi daily to prevent a cold that is going around.
Jun 24, 2013
For many years in my adult life, I have suffered from cystic acne that would flare up during stressful periods in my life as well as during hormonal cycles. After years of unsuccessful and very harsh treatments from various dermatologists, I decided to research the use of acupuncture to treat my acne.
I have been a patient of Dr. Alban for the last six months, and attend acupuncture sessions twice a month in conjunction with the herbal formulas that are prescribed. As a result, my acne has diminished dramatically and I feel an overall sense of health improvement. Dr. Alban is practitioner who understands and treats the underlying causes of a condition and is extremely professional courteous.
Apr 24, 2013
Skin diseases are one of the most common reasons to see your doctor. Yet, they are often stubborn conditions which do not respond to medications. Or even worse the medications have side effects. Acupuncture and Chinese medicine offers a natural and effective treatment for many skin conditions, such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, perioral dermatitis, and others.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine has been treating skin diseases for at least 3000 years. The treatment of many skin diseases were discussed in the first known book of Chinese medicine, The Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classic (Huang Di Nei Jing). In the thousands of years since, Chinese medicine doctors and scholars discussed and debated the best approaches to treatment of skin conditions.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Understanding of Skin Conditions
The key to effective Chinese medicine treatment of skin diseases is diagnosis of the underlying imbalance causing the condition. Not everyone with a given skin condition will have the same symptoms. The different symptoms reflect the imbalance which needs to be corrected. My teacher of Chinese Medicine Dermatology, Mazin Al-Khafaji, describes this as Chinese medicine’s method of assessing various types of inflammatory processes causing the skin condition.
Let’s take eczema as an example. Some eczema may presents with wet, weeping, and crusty lesions. In this case, the imbalance is Heat and Damp Eczema. In other cases, the eczema is dry and red. This type of eczema is understood to be caused by Heat and Dryness. The Chinese medicine practitioner will use this imbalance to guide the writing of the acupuncture and herbal prescription.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment Approaches
The acupuncture and herbal formula must address the imbalance causing the skin condition. To do this, the herbal ingredients and acupuncture points are tailored to the specific imbalance causing the disease. Let’s return to the eczema I described earlier. Eczema caused by Heat and Dampness must be treated with herbs that remove heat and damp, such as huang qin and long dan cao, among others. Acupuncture points such as GB 34 and Sp 9 may be used to reduce dampness and heat. While the eczema caused by heat and dryness will require herbs that clear heat and moisten the skin including sheng di huang and mu dan pi, among others. In this case, acupuncture points such as LI 4 and LI 11 may be used to drain heat from the body.
By correcting the underlying imbalance, acupuncture and Chinese medicine can lead to long term improvement.
Here are a number of articles which explain Acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment of skin conditions.
- Eczema Treatment with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
- Psoriasis Treatment with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
- Acne Treatment with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
- Perioral Dermatitis Treatment with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
Apr 12, 2013
It finally warmed up here in New York (well kind of) and I was out for a bike ride in Central Park. It was a beautiful sunny blue sky day. The tulips are in bloom and buds on the trees are coming out. Everyone is excited to get out on their bike or go for a walk in the park. Spring is in the air.
Spring being in the air also means pollen is too. During my ride, my throat became a little scratchy. My eyes were becoming dry and irritated. After I returned home, my sinuses felt full and heavy. Allergies have arrived.
Acupuncture and Herbal Formula for Sinus Congestion
Acupuncture and herbs work wonders to prevent and treat the symptoms of allergies. Later that day I put myself on a treatment course of acupuncture and herbs to reduce these symptoms and stop the allergies from progressing.
I chose to use an acupuncture point prescription to reduce the itchy eye and boost my qi (energy). It included acupuncture points such as Large intestine 4, Stomach 36, Liver 3, San Jiao 5, Yin Tang, Du 20. He Gu, LI 4, helps to ride the head of pain. SJ 5 reduces eye itchiness. St 36 boosts qi and Liv 3 clears the wind to reduce the itching. Yin Tang relaxes and clams pain in the sinuses.
For herbal therapy, I used an herbal formula called The Sinus Congestion Formula which reduces sinus pressure, itchy eyes, and headaches.
After the acupuncture my sinus felt more open and eye itching was relieved. I’ll keep this acupuncture up weekly during the allergy season. The herbs are great to reduce the sinus pressure and discomfort.
Photo: kataghs photostream
Nov 27, 2012
Yesterday, an acupressure student of mine asked “What is Chinese Herbal Medicine?”. This is a good question that deserves a proper explanation.
Chinese herbal therapies have been used for centuries for improving health and treating disease. Chinese herbs work to bring the body’s systems back into balance so the body can heal itself, naturally.
The Chinese herbal pharmacy consists of over 500 herbs. Herbs are taken as combinations of 5-15 medicinal substances, which is called an herbal formula. Each formula is tailored to correct the specific imbalance that is the cause of the illness.
The herbal formula can be taken in a number of forms: raw herbs, pills, tinctures, or granules. “Raw herbs” are dried herbs which are then cooked together to make a strong tea or soup called a decoction. Tinctures are herbs which are extracted in an alcohol base. Granules are made by extracting the herbs and condensing the cooked formula to make a powder. To take the herbs, you can reconstituted them as a tea.
How do Chinese herbs work?
The basic idea of Chinese medicine is that the Chinese herbs and acupuncture work by correcting imbalances in the body. For example, if you have eczema which is caused by damp heat and toxins, the herbal formula will contain herbs that rid the body of damp heat such as long dan cao and huang qin.
Of course, herbs also affect the body physiologically. For eczema, many of the herbs that are used are known to have immunoregulatory properties that help to regulate the inflammatory process causing the eczema. Other herbs have immune boosting properties or anti-bacterial and antiviral capabilities.
Chinese herbal therapies are very safe when taken under the care of a Chinese medicine practitioner.
Jul 20, 2012
For years I tried a mix of different treatments for my acne. Sometimes they would work temporarily, but I always still had regular monthly breakouts and flare-ups during stressful times. After the first week of acupuncture treatments and herbal formulas, my skin had been clearer and smoother than it had been in years. After a few month treatment with regular acupuncture sessions and herbal formulas, my stress-related breakouts have stopped, and the hormonal breakouts that I do have are now very minimal. My circulation has also gotten better, as well as my overall level of stress. In sum, a completely wonderful experience!
Feb 20, 2012
Overactive bladder is a syndrome characterized by the frequent and sudden urge to urinate. Some people will feel a constant fullness and discomfort in their bladder. The syndrome can seriously disrupt your life disturbing both work and social situations.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can help. Acupuncture has been treating syndromes of frequent urination for over 2000 years.
Causes of Overactive Bladder
The precise cause of overactive bladder is often unknown. Like many other syndromes, the search for the single cause is often impossible as the condition arises from a complex interaction within the body. For overactive bladder, the syndrome probably involved many of the organs and muscles involved in urination.
Urination is a complex action involving the nervous system, smooth muscles of the bladder, the urinary sphincters, and pelvic floor muscles. The symptoms of overactive bladder may be from any one of these functions: involuntary bladder spasms creating the sudden need to urinate or a feeling of urination when the bladder is filling, although it is not totally full, or contraction of the pelvic floor muscles.
The symptoms of overactive bladder are serious, yet the syndrome itself does not pose a threat to your health. But in rare cases it can be due to a growth or obstruction or a neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, strokes, and multiple sclerosis. So it is important to check in with your physician about these symptoms.
Acupuncture and Overactive Bladder
Acupuncture offers a holistic approach to address overactive bladder. Acupuncture views the body as an interconnected whole. Rather than examining the body to find a specific organ, muscle, or tissue that is diseased, Acupuncture seeks to understand the imbalance of the interactions between the organs, muscles, and tissues. Once the imbalance is corrected, the root of the problem is improved and body can work to heal itself.
Overactive bladder is very similar to the acupuncture syndrome of frequent urination. This can be caused by many factors such as an injury to the pelvic floor while giving birth, congenital issues, an injury, and factors in your life, such as stress, grief, and pain.
The root of this imbalance can be in the kidneys, spleen, urinary bladder, or liver, and, more often than not, these imbalances are interconnected. Please note that while the organ names and some of the functions are the same in both Chinese medicine and Western medicine, a dysfunction of the Chinese medicine kidney, spleen, and liver does not mean a disease in the western medicine organ.
In Chinese medicine, the kidneys are said to “govern water.” In other words, the kidneys are in charge of water metabolism and urination. Just like in western medicine, the kidneys filter out the urine. But unlike western medicine, kidney qi (or energy) also contributes to the ability to hold urine in the bladder. So problems with the kidney qi may cause overactive bladder.
The functions of the kidney can be described in terms of yin and yang. Yin and yang are metaphors for describing different qualities. They can also be used to describe functions in the body. The ability for the bladder to sufficiently hold urine is a yin function. When there is too little kidney yin, the bladder cannot hold urine and may result in overactive bladder symptoms, such as the frequent and sudden need to urinate, which is called urge incontinence. Weak kidney yin can also cause stress incontinence, which is when urine leaks while laughing, coughing, or sneezing. Other symptoms of kidney yin deficiency are night sweats, hot flashes, a red face, thirst, frequent nighttime urination, a rapid pulse, and a red tongue.
The spleen is also an important organ in overactive bladder. If the overactive bladder is accompanied by extreme fatigue especially in the morning, loose stools, poor digestion, and a pale swollen tongue, the imbalance may be in the spleen. Often, the spleen problem is combined with an imbalance in the liver.
The liver is said to “govern the muscles and sinews,” which means the liver reflects the general health of the muscles in the body. Because the many different muscles are the key to having the ability to hold urination, imbalances in the liver can lead to overactive bladder. Another sign of liver involvement is when the condition is worsened by stress or anger.
A Holistic Treatment with Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs
The acupuncture and Chinese herbal treatment are focused on correcting the root imbalance in the body. The treatment is usually once or twice a week with acupuncture and a treatment series is usually 10-12 sessions. For some people this may be shorter and for others it may take longer. The treatment should increase one’s ability hold urination, decrease number of times one urinates at night, decrease urinary urgency, and create a smoother urine flow.
Acupuncture points such as Ren 4 and 6 on the lower abdomen as well as Bladder 23 and Du 4 on the lower back all tonify the Kidney. Kidney 7 can be added to tonify the yang, while Kidney 2 will be used if there is more yin deficiency with heat. Other points, such as Ren 3 and Bladder 64 can directly tonify the Bladder and help with incontinence. If the spleen is involved, Spleen 3 and 9 will be helpful. If the liver is in disharmony, Liver 5, 3, or 2 can help move the qi and open the channels in the genitals.
Chinese Herbal Formulas
Chinese herbal medicine can also be effective for Overactive Bladder. When taking Chinese herbs, it is very important to get diagnosed and treated by a trained practitioner of Chinese medicine. Herbal formulas such as liu wei di huang tang can be used for kidney yin deficiency, while ba wei di huang tang is effective for yang deficiency. If the root imbalance is in the spleen, wu ling san or bu zhong yi qi tang can be effective
Research on Acupuncture or Overactive Bladder
There is some research into acupuncture for overactive bladder. In one randomized controlled trial, women with overactive bladder who received acupuncture once a week for 4 weeks saw a decrease in urge incontinence and urinary frequency.
If you have questions about acupuncture for Overactive Bladder, call us 917-887-4946 or click below to make an appointment online.
1. Emmons SL, Otto L. Acupuncture for overactive bladder: a randomized controlled trial. Obstet Gynecol. 2005 Jul;106(1):138-43.
written by Joseph Alban, L.Ac.
Last Edited 2/20/2012
Feb 13, 2012
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a term that refers to medicine practices developed in China and other parts of Asia. Traditional Chinese Medicine generally covers many types of modalities including acupuncture and moxibustion, Chinese Herbal remedies, Tui Na or Chinese Medical Massage, as well as other manual therapies including gua sha (spoon massage or coining) and cupping.
In China, the term Chinese medicine (in Chinese it is called Zhong Yi 中医) often refers to the practice of Chinese herbal medicine. Although it can also refer to the entire practice of Chinese medicine. While acupuncture refers to acupuncture and moxibustion.
Some of these therapies are performed only by experienced physicians, such as prescribing complex herbal formulas or doing acupuncture. But others are considered more home remedies. This may include folk herbal remedies for common colds or manual therapies such as gua sha which can be used for nausea, car sickness, the common cold, and other common illnesses.
Common ideas in Chinese Medicine
While the therapies are diverse, done both by physician and family members, they all rest on the holistic view of the body and health that developed over 2000 years ago. A primary idea is that health is a state of balance in the body and between the body and the environment. The body has qi, energy, which flows through channel and meridians. Also, that environmental factors such as cold, heat, and dampness can cause illness. And these environmental factors represent certain illness within the body.
For example, if you have a cold, a physician may write an herbal prescription to release the heat to help you get rid of the cold. But the home remedy of gua sha spoon massage on the neck and upper back can also release the heat.
Chinese Medicine: An Evolution of Ideas
Many of the dominant concepts in Chinese medicine were discussed in the early books of the Yellow Emperor’s Inner Classics as well as the Treatise on Cold Diseases. Although they referenced older works, they are no longer in existence. Over the years, physicians and scholars have debated these ideas evolving into the contemporary tradition of modern Chinese Medicine.
Yet, it is important to understand that Chinese medicine is an evolving tradition. These are not static concepts, but ideas that scholars, physicians and even individual family lineages have expanded on and explored. Chinese medicine has a strong tradition of writing, discussion, and debate. There is a great diversity of ideas. Through experience and training a Chinese Medicine practitioner will develop their own style.
For example, certain physicians believed that the best way to use Chinese medicine for psoriasis was to clear heat and toxins from the body. However, other physicians believed that psoriasis developed from internal cold and the body must be warmed. These debates continue today.
In fact, some of the significant therapeutic strategies of modern Chinese medicine physicians were not developed until recently. As I mentioned in my last post, the development of electro-acupuncture for pain was only developed within the last century, a relatively short time for the history of Chinese medicine.
Nov 3, 2011
“The Heartbreak of Psoriasis” is a phase the author John Updike, a sufferer of psoriasis himself, used to describe his experience with the condition. While psoriasis is a skin condition, it impacts people’s daily lives in social situations and has a significant emotional impact. In addition, psoriasis may cause itching, physical discomfort, and is often associated with arthritic joint pain. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine has been extensively used to treat psoriasis.
What Causes Psoriasis?
In both acupuncture theory and western medicine, psoriasis is more than skin deep. Psoriasis is caused by dysfunction and dysregulation of the immune system, leading to an auto immune reaction. In acupuncture, this dysfunction is described as imbalances which disrupt the body and keep it from healing. Once the imbalances are corrected, your body can work to heal itself and stay healthy.
Psoriasis causes auto-immune reactions which make skin cells overgrow, leading to the development of plaques and scales. The environment also influences the development of the condition including drugs, trauma, infection, and stress.
What are Psoriasis symptoms?
Psoriasis causes the formation of round and oval raised lesions. Often there is silvery white scale over these lesions. If removed it may bleed easily, which is called an Auspitz’s sign. Itching is common, and can be severe in certain cases, but it is very variable. In those with psoriasis, the lesion may appear at a site of physical trauma, which is called a Koebner phenomenon. Many people with psoriasis also suffer from chronic joint pain and arthritis.
Psoriasis tends to affect the outside of the arms and legs more than the inside. Common areas that are most effected from psoriasis are the back, elbows, scalp, groin area, fingernails, and toenails. Some medications and drugs may exacerbate the development of this condition.
There are many types of psoriasis, the most common type being chronic plaque psoriasis. This chronic form is the most common and the lesions may last for months, even years when they develop. This form reacts well to acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment.
There are some acute inflammatory forms of psoriasis, which must be treated immediately by a physician or in the emergency department.
Psoriasis in Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
In acupuncture and Chinese medicine, psoriasis is caused by imbalances in the body. For autoimmune conditions like psoriasis, the concept of imbalances really makes sense. The immune system is overactive and the body attacks itself.
The diagnosis of the specific imbalance is based upon your symptoms, such as itch, pain, or irritation, the appearance of the skin lesions. The most common imbalances, which cause psoriasis, are blood heat, dryness, and blood stagnation. Damp heat can also be a factor, particularly in pustular psoriasis.
Chinese medicine and acupuncture doctors have long said that removing these imbalances is like hitting the reset switch. In this case, resetting the immune system.
The Most Common Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Imbalances
Blood Heat- Blood heat is characterized by the acute onset of psoriasis with possible severe itching. The lesions are often bright red irregular patterns of plaque. The size and extent of the lesions suggest the amount of heat. The greater number and larger the lesions, the greater amount of heat. The bleeding upon scratching is easy to elicit (1).
Blood Dryness- Blood dryness occurs with chronic cases of psoriasis. Itching may or may not be present. The lesions can appear pale red or dull red in color. The scales may appear to be dryer with blood dryness.
Blood Stagnation- Blood stagnation also occurs when there is long term chronic psoriasis. It often is characterized by remission and relapses. The plaques are irregular, hard, and thick and may be purplish and dry in color. Bleeding may be difficult to elicit but itching is still present.
Damp heat occurs in pustular psoriasis. This is when there is a large amount of inflammation, swelling, fissures, and exudate. The lesions may be moist and swollen and there may be pus.
Psoriasis Treatment with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine
Chinese herbal therapy works by correcting the specific imbalance causing underlying psoraisis. The prescription is tailored to your symptoms and imbalance specifically.
The treatment usually combines both acupuncture and Chinese herbal therapy. Acupuncture can help to reduce itch and, if there is pain associated with the condition, help to kill the pain. Acupuncture points such as LI 11 and LI 4 help to clear heat. GB 34 and GB 31 can help relieve the itching. Ear acupuncture and ear magnet therapy I find helps to relieve itching very quickly.
In addition to acupuncture, Chinese herbal therapy is necessary for having substantial results with psoriasis. Chinese herbs are given in formulas, which may contain 10-15 herbs. They are most often cooked and drank as teas. The ingredients are chosen specifically for your condition. For example, if there is blood stagnation and blood dryness, the formula would focus on moving the blood stagnation and nourishing the dryness.
The Immunologic Effects of Herbs for Psoriasis
A review of herbs used for psoriasis explored the immunologic effects of commonly used herbs for psoriasis (2). Chinese herbs are complex natural products. Rather than being a single chemical, like most medications, they are combinations of naturally occurring substances. Formulas are even more complex because they can have 10 or more herbs.
Three of the most powerful and commonly used herbs for psoriasis are Sheng di huang (Rehmania glutinosa), Dan shen (Salvia miltiorriza), and Zi cao (lithospermum erythrohizon).
Sheng di huang is used to cool the blood and clear heat. It is effective for many types of psoriasis, including psoriasis from blood heat and blood dryness. In the laboratory, sheng di has shown to inhibit histamine release from mast cells and regulate the cytokines TNF-α and IL-1 in astrocytes.
Dan shen is good for blood stagnation and heat type psoriasis. Dan shen was shown to reduce edema, inhibit the secretion of IFN-γ and IL-12, and inhibited the degranulation of mast cells.
Zi cao very strongly cools the blood and is often used with psoriasis. This in combination with other herbs showed a complete suppression of IL-α and TNF-α, which are factors in psoriasis. These anti-inflammatory effects may have a beneficial effect for psoriasis.
Chinese Herbal Formulas
Some of the herbs may not directly correct the immune system, but rather work synergistically with other herbs in the formula to enhance their action, or in some cases, protect from side effects. You can see how complicated the situation is and why it is important to be well trained in Chinese herbal medicine.
Licorice root, or gan cao (Glycyrrhiza uralensis), is widely used in Chinese medicine for psoriasis by boosting qi and harmonizing the effects of other herbs. It has long been know for immunoregulatory abilities. Studies are now showing that it can also reduce possible toxicity and helped to repair damaged liver cells. This is the harmonizing effect Chinese medicine doctors have been talking about for centuries.
How long does acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment take?
Overall, a treatment course for psoriasis is about 3-6 months. This time period can vary depending on the severity and symptoms you are experiencing.
I want to see psoriasis symptoms such as itching and pain to improve within the first month to 6 weeks of treatment. By the end of the second month, I would like to see a reduction in the amount of redness and size of the plaque, which will continue throughout the treatment course.
One of the phenomenal aspects of acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment is that it can lead to long term reduction in psoriasis. We describe this as correcting the imbalances in the body rather than masking the psoriasis symptoms.
1. Treatment of psoriasis with traditional Chinese medicine. Lin Li. Hai Feng Publishing, 1990.
2. Tse, T. W. Use of common Chinese herbs in the treatment of psoriasis. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology. 28: 5. 469-475. 2003
Photos: The Wednesday Island of English Wikipedia
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