Cure for the common cold?

Monica Seelig, Dip App Sc (acu), Cert Chin Herbs

Monica Seelig, Dip App Sc (acu), Cert Chin Herbs

By Monica Seelig

Just as the warmth of the summer months are followed by the cooler autumn and winter months, so too the inevitable winter bugs come out of hiding. Chinese medical wisdom teaches us that if we do not look after ourselves and prepare for the winter, our immune systems will not be strong enough to fight off the winter bugs.

We are frequently told that we cannot ‘cure’ the common cold, but there are many ways that we can be pro-active and either prevent ourselves getting a cold, or when we do succumb, prompt treatment with acupuncture and herbal medicines can dramatically reduce the severity and duration of a cold or ‘flu.   With the reality of antibiotic resistance already in our community, and the fact that taking antibiotics for viral infections are not only ineffective, but also detrimental to your general health, the need to look for an alternative is paramount. Chinese medicine has been effectively treating colds and ‘flu’s for thousands of years.  The beauty, I believe, is that rather than identifying and targeting treatment on a specific bug, we look at how your body responds to the attack, and support your body to fight it.   When you think about it, the bugs that cause you to get sick mutate and change frequently, while the signs and symptoms of a cold or the flu are very easily recognized.

If you succumb to a cold or ‘flu every winter, now is the time to be pro-active.  Start taking immune stimulating herbs to build up your resistance.  A favourite Chinese herbal formula is Yu Ping Feng San.  The main ingredient in this formula is Huang Qi, commonly known as Astragalus, which is known in western herbal medicine for its immune stimulating properties.

Basically, colds and ‘flu’s are seen as an external pathogenic attack in Chinese medicine, long before microscopes we invented and microbes identified.  They called it “Xie Qi” which translates as Evil Qi”, and anyone who has had a really bad ‘flu would know why!  There are “hot” and “cold” type attacks.  The hot type causing symptoms such as fevers, sore throats and coughs; and the cold type manifesting in chills and blocked or runny nose.  Each is treated differently with acupuncture and herbs.  The hot type using heat dispersing herbs and acupuncture points, and the cold type using warming herbs.

Yin Chiao in capusles for flu symptomsYin Qiao San and Xin Yi San are effective herbal formulas to use in these scenarios.  As the attack invades the body from the exterior, the pulse is felt on the surface of the body, known as a “floating” pulse.  It is a sign that the immune system Qi is coming up to the surface of the body to fight the bug.  Interestingly, I find that acupuncture needling need only be shallow as you do indeed feel the Qi closer to the surface of the body.

For alt hot and cold, headaches, nausea, and dizzinessFor alt hot and cold, headaches, nausea, and dizzinessIf the pathogen isn’t dealt with and released from the body, it can penetrate deeper into the body, and then go even deeper and affect the internal organs.  “Shao Yang syndrome” is a sign that the pathogen has penetrated deeper into the body.  This condition manifests as alternating chills and fevers, nausea or vomiting, fullness in the chest, bitter taste in the mouth and low energy.  Left untreated, this condition can often cause a lingering post viral fatigue.

Harmonising herbs and acupuncture will be needed.  If there is a pre-existing Lung weakness, a chronic cough can develop.  There are many Chinese herbal formulas that are very specific and effective in treating these types of coughs, whether they be dry or productive.

Cough medicine for over 1 year olds. Honey and licorice taste.

Cough medicine for over 1 year olds. Honey and licorice taste.

So don’t delay.  Start taking control of your health now.  A little bit of planning and prompt treatment will see you doing the things you enjoy in life rather than spending it sick in bed.

 

 

 

 

Red Peony Range for Children

Stevia sweetened granules for whatever ails your child.

PS Also, be like a hawk where your children are concerned. The slightest nose dribble was instantly dealt with herbs when my children were young. And now we have the convenience of granulated formulae specifically designed for children. (Rosalba)

Cancer Prevention with Dr William Li

In this video Dr William Li discusses ways in which to prevent abnormal angiogenesis (creation of blood vessel to enlarge tumors). He clarifies that only 5-10% of tumours are gene influenced and the rest (90 – 95%) is up to your environment of which diet holds a large influence. He lists foods that demonstrate anti-angiogenesis. What is most interesting is that he found that foods have synergy i.e. when two foods that had “weak” anti-angiogenesis are combined they have a better effect than one good one. This has been known in Chinese for centuries with many formulas having more than one herb dedicated to assisting the function of the main herb. With testing of his new anti-angiogenesis drugs, he has some great results with some cancers but only mild responses with other cancers so he comes to the conclusion that prevention would be better than cure. Then he displays a chart of foods and compares them to common drugs which have some anti-angiogenesis action and the new anti-angiogenesis drugs. Vitamin E beats the new drugs in anti-angiogenesis action. Vitamin E is found in: raw sunflower seeds, dry roasted almonds, boiled spinach, paw paw, silver beet (Swiss chard) and other green leafy vegetables and blueberries. Other high anti-angiogenesis foods were tea, turmeric and green tea. In India, studies have shown that the low prostate cancer rates were due to the turmeric which is consumed virtually every day. Tumeric on its own is difficult for the body to absorb but it was found that the pepperine from chili enables the absorption of this anti-cancer herb (synergy at work again). Further down the list were fruits and other vegetables and not so surprising (at least not to me) were soy beans. As Dr Li says, with this list I could go home and make an anti-cancer meal. Note no animal products (bar glucosamine which comes from shellfish) made the anti-angiogenesis list.

What this video goes to show is the importance of prevention and how we can take control of this prevention with our diets. It also goes to show that removing parts of the body (some women have had breasts removed) does not prevent cancer.  In Chinese medicine, food is considered the first choice medicine and when this is not effective then herbs are used. The best doctor is said to be one who prevents their clients from getting sick. As I often say to my clients: You only get one body and if you want it to last well with few breakdowns then take care of it, feed it well and love it.

Rosalba

Stress and rich food – a rash result

Too much stress can affect people in different ways. Some people get headaches or  muscular spasms or insomnia or digestive upsets etc. Combine excessive stress with some delicious pre-Christmas goodies and yours truly broke out in a rash, two days before everyone came to lunch. I woke with the sensation that my skin was on fire and I desparately wanted to scratch it off. I gave myself some acupuncture which eased the itch enough for me to gather my senses. I had a busy day in the Maleny clinic (on Coral St) to get through and I had no fever, no sore thoat, in fact nothing that would indicate it was contagious. It looked like hives. Most importantly was its location – along the Liver and Gall Bladder channels (armpits to outside knees and groin to ankle) and on the abdomen above the liver. I got to work and took some patent Chinese herbs that were good for rash and some for Liver stagnation. They gave me the relief for about 2 hours but were not exactly the right formula. I needed the herbal granules but they were far away in Brisbane. What to do? I needed to get through the Christmas celebrations. In desperation, I went to the chemist. They gave me Telfast tablets. One tablet in 24 hours was all that was required. Sounded good, bought them, took them and got about 3 hours relief! But I couldn’t take another on the same day! The itch was progressing down the arms but specifically along the Small Intestine and Colon channels – those yummy chocolates, a week ago,had done me in. So I stopped at the Organic shop and picked up some chlorophyll as well. I needed to detox big time! Back to taking the patents until I could get back to Brisbane. On the 26th, I took my mother back home to Brisbane and was able to mix up some herbs in the clinic. Relief at last! I took a large dose 3 times a day for the next week and the itch and sensations of heat subsided and the lumpy rash flattened and faded. I will continue to take the granulated herbs and the chlorophyll until the rash is completely gone.

Rash is dispersing and fading

The other beauty about the herbs is that I used some to make a cream to apply topically as well. Try that with a Telfast tablet!

Infertility and digestion

This morning Monica and I were working on a new brochure to give out to obstetricians/gynaecologists. After looking at a few websites for inspiration and seeing the usual discussion on balancing menstrual cycles and focus on the reproductive system, it came to mind a case I had treated several years ago.

A woman of 39 years had come to me for treatment of ulcerative colitis (ulcerations in the colon). She was experiencing bloating, alternating bouts of constipation and diarrhoea and some minor bleeding from the anus. She did not feel well on the western medication and had decided to try another way. She was a practitioner’s dream patient. She kept extensive notes on what she ate and how her bowels reacted every day. After a few treatments of acupuncture and herbs she had improved significantly. We started to spread out her treatments to monthly visits and during this time she started IVF treatment as her husband had had a vasectomy during his first marriage and it was no longer reversible. Her first egg collection resulted in only 2 poor quality eggs from only one ovary that did not fertilize. Her gynaecologist told her that she had “old ovaries” and that she should consider donor eggs. Understandably the next time I saw her, she was quite upset and her colitis had flared again with the fertility drugs and the stress. I asked her if she would give me 3 months to work on getting her system right before trying any further IVF treatments. She was concerned because of her age, 39, but I assured her that 3 months in the scheme of things was not going to make a great deal of difference.  So we began again working on her digestion with acupuncture and herbs.

My focus remained mainly on her digestive function with only one herb and only added a couple of points that would assist the reproductive system. In Chinese medicine, the digestion (Earth element) with its ability process the pure and impure, and transformation and transportation of the energy derived from our food provides an integral support and nutritive mechanism for the reproductive system. In the journal of Chinese medicine (British), I read of a famous doctor who had a secret formula for making childbirth easier. His family of doctors had passed down this formula over the generations. He decided to have it patented so it would be available to all in China and not just to his patients. It went through vigorous scientific testing, in vitro and on animals but they could not find how the formula stimulated the uterus. The answer was that it didn’t stimulate the uterus but strengthened the digestion thereby provided the energy that the reproductive system needs to function.

After 3 months it was Christmas so she decided to wait with the IVF until the new year. We continued with the herbs and the acupuncture. In the New Year she started the IVF cycle. This time scans showed 12 follicles of varying sizes. Both ovaries had responded. Six eggs were harvested. Four fertilized. Two were implanted and she became pregnant. We continued with the acupuncture and herbs until the end of the first trimester, treating the nausea and helping to maintain the pregnancy. The baby was due around her 40th birthday. She came in again for assistance in getting the birth process happening. She had a natural birth, much to her doctor’s surprise, and delivered a healthy baby boy.

HRT Alternatives

So you’re a woman at a change over point in your life and instead of celebrating the liberation from the monthly bleed; you are suffering hot flushes, sweating, sleeplessness, anxiety and a host of other symptoms you weren’t expecting or wanting. You’re not too enthused about the prospect of HRT and you’ve tried all the off-the-shelf products and have had little or no relief.

Thchinese-herbsen its time for a herbal prescription tailored to your needs. We (at Alba Therapies) don’t use Black Cohosh in any of our successful individualised herbal prescriptions. Why? There is a herb called Black Cohosh in Chinese herbal medicine but is a different species to those used in pre-packaged preparations. It too reduces heat, but it is recommended not to be used long term in cases of Yin deficiency, which is the main syndrome in menopause. Notice I said “main” not only.  Perhaps once or twice in over ten years of practice has anyone walked into the clinic with only one syndrome. Menopause is hardly ever only one syndrome but a complex interactions of various systems in the body. It all depends on how you have treated your body in the last 20-30 years on how many syndromes present themselves. Our herbs are in a convenient granule format, no boiling required. Add acupuncture to your treatment plan and speed up the whole process.  Herb preparations equate to the cost of your daily capuccino. So you can be free of your symptoms and truly celebrating this part of your life.