Chinese Herbal Medicines and Their Benefits
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been used for thousands of years to promote health and treat illnesses. This holistic approach to medicine includes practices like acupressure, tai chi, and Chinese herbal medicines.
One of the fundamental principles of TCM is the concept of yin and yang, which are opposing energy forces that make up the body's vital energy, known as "qi." Qi flows through the body via channels, or "meridians," which are responsible for the proper functioning of bodily organs. Yin and yang govern different bodily functions, and an imbalance of these forces can lead to a blockage of qi and a range of health problems.
Chinese herbal medicines are primarily plant-based, and formulas are usually a combination of several herbs tailored to meet the specific needs of individual patients. Below are the most commonly used herbs in Chinese medicine and their health benefits:
Ginseng: Asian and American ginseng varieties are popular for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, improving brain functions, and strengthening the immune system. It may also reduce the risk of certain cancers and improve health in chemotherapy patients.
Red Yeast Rice: This fermented rice and yeast combination treats circulatory and digestive disorders and is also popular as a dietary supplement for lowering cholesterol.
Astragalus: This yellow Asian herb treats various conditions like diabetes, hay fever, kidney disease, and diarrhea. It improves the immune system and has antiviral properties that help prevent colds.
Yu Xing Cao: This flowering plant treats menstrual and circulatory disorders and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are known to stop bleeding.
Gotu Kola: This herb is often called the "herb of longevity" and is commonly used as a dietary supplement, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant. It is also beneficial for people suffering from diabetes and memory loss.
Ginger: Known as a natural antibiotic, ginger has antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties, making it excellent for treating digestive problems, nausea, and vomiting. It also boosts the immune system and prevents diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Chinese Herbal Medicines for Lockdown Woes
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more significant than ever to boost the immune system and maintain overall health during the lockdown. Here are some Chinese herbal formulas that can help:
Jade Windscreen Formula: This formula boosts the immune system and creates a protective screen to shield the body. Astragalus is one of the three herbs used in this concoction.
Gan Mao Ling: This "cold formula" treats cold or flu, sore throat, and stiff neck. It consists of Chinese herbs with antiviral properties and is best used in the early stages of a cold.
Ding Zhi Wan: This formula is used for anxiety arising from fatigue or weakness.
Mien Pien: This formula is used to treat anxiety and insomnia.
Xiao Yao San: This formula enhances mood, reduces stress, and alleviates pain and digestion-related problems.
Suan Zao Ren Tang: This formula treats insomnia, agitation, and irritability.
Six Flavor Teapills: This formula improves sub-optimal health and delays aging.
Bu Nao Wan: This formula is used to increase brain power.
Ginkgo Formula: This formula promotes longevity and overall well-being and is an effective antidepressant.
Bi Yan Pian: This pill is highly effective for nasal or sinus congestion.
Healthy Practices Prescribed by TCM Practitioners
Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners also prescribe certain healthy practices that can help maintain optimal health, including:
Sleeping early: TCM experts recommend sleeping before 10:30 pm to allow the body to repair itself.
Drinking warm or room temperature water: Cold water can block pores, leading to heat blockage and reduced energy flow. Warm water helps flush out toxins and promotes digestive health.
Drinking herbal teas: Herbal teas can help detoxify the body and boost the immune system.
Having a wholesome breakfast: Skipping breakfast can damage the digestive system and shorten one's lifespan.
Avoid walking barefoot: Walking barefoot can weaken immunity and make the body colder, especially for women during menstruation or those with kidney problems.
Avoiding very hot food: Very hot food can harm the tongue, throat, and digestive tract, causing ulcers.
Taking Chinese Herb Formulas
Chinese herbal medicines are available in various forms like teas, tinctures, powders, and pills. Mixing the herbs with a small portion of water and consuming it is the most common way to take them. Adding sweeteners like honey can reduce the effectiveness of the medicine. It's essential to consult a TCM practitioner before incorporating Chinese herbal formulas into your health routine.
TCM is a holistic approach to medicine used for thousands of years. Chinese herbal medicines are an integral part of TCM and are primarily plant-based. They are used to balance the body's yin and yang energies, promoting health and treating illnesses. Chinese herbal formulas like the jade windscreen, gan mao ling, and six-flavor tea pills effectively boost the immune system and treat various health conditions. In addition to taking herbal medicines, TCM practitioners recommend healthy practices like drinking warm water, eating a wholesome breakfast, and getting enough sleep.
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