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Moxibustion and What You Should Know

Moxibustion and What You Should Know

What is moxibustion?

Moxibustion is referred as the burning of mugwort. The plant mugwort is used widely throughout different cultures in the world, specifically for food, such as Ssukguk clam soup in Korea or Mugwort mochi from Japan and China. However traditionally, mugwort is more used along with acupuncture as an important healing method in Eastern medicine.

As a classic treating modality in Chinese medicine, the use of burning mugwort can be traced back to Eastern Zhou time(256 B.C.) according to the bamboo and silk documents excavated from Mawangdui (马王堆) tomb, Henan China.

 

How can moxibustion be used?

Among all the heating treatments in Chinese medicine, moxibustion is considered one of the strongest sources of heat connected to Fire. Mugwort can be rolled into a stick and lightened and directly put close to the acupuncture point on the body.

Fine and loose mugwort can be made into a triangle tower or a rice grain size, and applied either directly on the skin, or on top of a barrier that touches the skin such as a ginger slice, ointment or salt.

In some treatment methods, burned mugwort is wrapped around the acupuncture needle so the heat can be combined with the healing power of the needle itself. Over the thousand’s years of practice and development of different lineages, moxibustion has become not only a crucial healing modality in Asian medicine, but also a form of art integrated with smelling, visual, touching and temperature sensations.

What moxibustion can be used for?

As with most forms of traditional Chinese medicine, the purpose of moxibustion is to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of qi, and maintain general health. Specifically, the application of heat from the burning of the moxa can expel cold sensations, and relieve symptoms caused by excess cold or yin, such as edema, slow digestion, fatigue, aversion to cold, collapse of uterus, low libido, and so on.

Another popular uses of moxibustion is turning the baby from breech position(bottom first) to cephalic position(head first) for labor.

 

Why moxa therapy in the summer?

Because summer is considered the golden treatment period of moxibustion. Also known as San Fu Tian (Three Crouching Period三伏天), this period usually starts from mid-July and ends mid-August according to the lunar calendar. This is a time of the year when the Yin is being repressed underground by the Yang, making those days the hottest of the year.

With the use of moxa, this is the time when winter diseases are being treated, especially immunity related such as allergic rhinitis, bronchitis, asthma, cold hands and feet. For more information, please check this wonderful video on San Fu Tian moxa by AcuHeidiLovie or this article by Six Fishes.

 

What types of moxibustion can you find at The Herb Depot?

Check our moxibustion section on our website here. All orders over $99 qualify free shipping. We deliver across Canada and internationally. 

 

June 27, 2022 by The Herb Depot
Chinese Medicine Herbs For The Skin

Chinese Medicine Herbs For The Skin

As the largest organ of the body, skin carries the job of reflecting our internal health. When there are rashes, eczema, acnes or hives, Chinese medicine never sees them as a problem of the superficial, and should not be dealt with by only “scratching the surface”.

Chinese medicine considers skin conditions as the result of both external and internal factors.

External factors

  1. Wind

Wind is known as the “chief of the hundred disease”. When the person is lack of defensive Qi, wind can easily sneak into the Cou Li level, between the skin and the muscle, causing skin issues. Skin diseases related to wind commonly do not appear on a specific location and come and go. They can causes severe itchiness, dryness, and peeling of the skin.

  1. Dampness

External damp environment and internal body dampness can both lead to damp-related skin conditions. They are characterized by blisters, fluid, erosion, and itchiness. Skin conditions caused by dampness usually have a long course of progression and hard to heal.

  1. Heat

Heat and Fire are from the same source in Chinese medicine. Heat is the stage before Fire. With Heat, the skin feels itchy and with Fire, the skin feels burning. Typical heat related skin conditions occur on the upper portion of the body, and present with redness, swelling, pustules, and erosion.

  1. Parasite

Chinese medicine consider fungal infection as a form of “Parasite” mainly because in ancient time, without the knowledge of microbiology, the itchiness caused by fungus infection lead people to think there was insects or parasite present. Ringworm, jock itch and athlete’s foot are under this category. Another skin pattern related to parasites is bug bite, causing redness, itchiness and topical inflammation.

  1. Toxicity

Toxic stimulant in the food, medication, insects, paint etc. can trigger allergic or even poisoning reactions. Symptoms are usually inflammation, swelling, oozing, papule, hives, and erosions. In an emergency, urgent care should be given.

Internal factors

  1. Blood stasis

Blood stasis related skin conditions are usually chronic. Macules or patches in the color of dark red and purple, or pigmentation on the skin are all signs of blood stasis.

  1. Blood deficiency and dryness

This is another important mechanism of causing chronic skin issues. Caused by blood and yin deficiency due to lack of nutrients or agitation, skin conditions are characterized with dryness, scale-like flake, roughness and itchiness. Skin erosion or oozing rarely happen. Psoriasis, chronic eczema, and chronic itchiness of skin are commonly seen in this category.

  1. Kidney and Liver Deficiency

Skin conditions caused by Kidney and Liver Deficiency are usually chronic. Dryness, roughness, scaling are typical conditions. Pigmentation, hair loss, warts and blood spots can also be indicated by Kidney and Liver Deficiency.

Here is a chart of using TCM diagnosis to help with choosing proper herb for your skin.

TCM pattern

Symptoms

Herbal Products

Wind

Skin condition appear all over the body without a specific location;

Severe itchiness;

Dryness

·         Ke Yin Capsules 克銀膠囊(Wind-heat)

·         Yin Chiao Chieh Tu Pien 銀翹解毒片(Wind-heat)

·         Feng Zhen Wan 風團痕癢丸(Wind-heat)

·         Jade Shield Pills 玉屏風散 (Wind-cold)

·         Du Huo Ji Sheng Wan 獨活寄生丸(Wind-damp, e.g. purpura)

·         Skin and Blood Toxin Clearing Pills 皮肤病血毒丸 (Internal wind)

·         Tian Ma Gou Teng Wan天麻钩藤丸(Internal wind)

·         Shi Du Qing Capsule 湿毒清胶囊(Internal wind and dampness)

·         Hua She Jie Yang Pills 花蛇解痒丸 (Internal wind and heat)

Heat

Redness, swelling

Oozing and erosion

·         Feng Zhen Wan 風團痕癢丸(Wind-heat)

·         Acne Sweeping Pills 珍珠暗瘡丸 (Heat toxic and blood heat)

·         Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin 五味消毒飲(Heat-toxic)

·         Huang Lien Shang Ching Pien 黄连上清片(Heat-toxic)

·         San Huang Tablets 三黄片(Heat-toxic)

·         Niu Huang Chieh Du Pien 牛黄解毒片(Heat-toxic)

·         Huang Lian Su Tablets 黃蓮素片(Heat-toxic)

·         Skin and Blood Toxin Clearing Pills 皮肤病血毒丸 (Blood-heat)

·         Hua She Jie Yang Pills 花蛇解痒丸(Blood heat)

·         Jia Wei Xiao Yao Pills加味逍遥丸 (Blood-heat)

Dampness

Blisters, oozing, erosion and itchiness; more commonly found at the lower body

·         Long Dan Xie Gan Wan 龙胆泻肝丸(Damp-heat)

·         Yujin Yinxie Tablets 郁金银屑片(Damp-heat)

·         Shenling Jianpiwei Keli 参苓健脾胃颗粒(Spleen Dampness)

·         Huo Xiang Zheng Qi Wan 藿香正氣丸 (Spleen Dampness)

·         Er Chen Wan 二陳丸(Spleen Dampness)

·         Shi Du Qing Capsule 湿毒清胶囊(Dampness and wind)

·         Eczema Adjustment Herbal Tea濕疹湯

Dryness

Chronic dryness, thickening of skin, roughness, scaly skin. Oozing and infection are less common.

·         Si Wu Herbal Soup Packet四物湯(Blood deficiency dryness)

·         Angelica Compound 當歸片(Blood deficiency dryness)

·         Tankwe Gin 當歸養血膏 (Blood deficiency dryness)

·         Liu Wei Di Huang Wan六味地黃丸(Blood heat dryness)

·         Jia Wei Xiao Yao Pills加味逍遙丸(Blood heat dryness)

Blood stasis

Darkness of skin, purple and blue spots, pigmentation, nodules, bruises and hair loss.

·         Tiao Hung Si Wu Wan桃紅四物丸(Blood and Qi stagnation)

·         Xue Fu Zhu Yu Capsules 血腑逐瘀膠囊 (Blood stasis)

·         Anti-Freckle Beauty Recovery Tea退斑茶-黃雀斑(Blood stasis)

·         Ge Xia Zhu Yu Pill 膈下逐瘀丸 (Blood stasis)

·         Shen Tong Zhu Yu Wan 身痛逐瘀丸 (Blood stasis)

Insect infection

Fungal infection, insect bite, local inflammation.

·         Mopiko Ointment 無比膏

·         Mopiko-S Ointment (Extra Strength) 强力无比膏

·         Buddha Brand (二天堂) Ringworm Ointment 癬葯膏

 

Source: 

Chen, H. (2018). External Medicine of Traditional Chinese Medicine Zhong Yi Wai Ke Xue 中医外科学 (第1版). China Press of Traditional Chinese Meidicine.

May 27, 2022 by The Herb Depot
Herbal Remedies for Post-COVID Conditions

Herbal Remedies for Post-COVID Conditions

Most people recover completely within a few weeks after contracting COVID-19. However, some have noticed lingering symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, dry cough, chest pain, lack of appetite, and insomnia weeks or even months after their recovery.

Learning from millenniums of fighting plague and pandemic throughout the history, Chinese medicine categorizes these “long hauler” conditions as Spleen and Lung injury, leading to Qi and Yin deficiency[1].

In the language of classic Chinese medicine, the treatment principal is to “reinforce the vital Qi and dispel the evil.”

Reinforce the vital Qi entails
  • tonifying the Spleen function
  • nourishing Yin and fluid to the Lung

Dispelling the evil, on the other hand, means to

  • drive out the pathogenic factors in the Lung (boost immunity)
  • clear the phlegm and dampness in the Spleen

It is important to first look at the functions of Lung and Spleen separately in Chinese medicine and how their dysfunction could lead to the lingering post-COVID symptoms.

Lung function

-Dominating qi and controlling respiration system

-Distribute defensive Qi (immune system) and body fluid to warm and moisten the muscle, skin and hair

-Dominating and regulate the water passages-water metabolism

Spleen function

-Digestion, absorption, and transmission of nutrient substance to ensure physical and mental energy -fatigue, lassitude, emaciation, poor appetite

-Keep the blood circulation in the vessels and prevent hemorrhage and bleeding

From the perspective of Chinese medicine, COVID impacts the respiratory system by causing the Lung to overwork fighting against the pathogenic factors (COVID-19 virus) and resulting in Lung Yin and fluid deficiency. And because of tremendous amount of energy focused on the Lung, Spleen’s nourishing function was neglected, causing phlegm and dampness, which lead to fatigue, mental restlessness, depression and anxiety.

Once we can pinpoint the organ in Chinese medicine related to the post-COVID conditions, it makes the usage of herbal formulas more easily tailored and efficient.

We would like to recommend following Chinese herbal patent formulae for “long-hauler” post-COVID conditions. Please consult with a Chinese medicine practitioner before deciding which product to take for your recovery. To learn more about each formula, please click into the name.

 

Spleen Qi deficiency

Formula

Function

Shen Ling Bai Zhu Capsules 參苓白術膠囊

Replenish the spleen and stomach, benefit lung qi; traditionally used for poor appetite and loose stools, cough and lassitude due to deficiency in the spleen and stomach

Xiang Sha Liu Jun Wan 香砂六君丸

Helps replenish qi, invigorate the function of the spleen and regulate the function of the stomach. It is used for diminished function of the spleen with stagnation of qi marked by dyspepsia (indigestion), belching, anorexia, epigastria (heartburn), abdominal distension (bloating), and loose bowels

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Wan 补中益气丸

Reinforce the function of the spleen and the stomach, and is used to relieve hemorrhoids. It is used for weakness of the spleen and the stomach, collapse of qi in the middle burner

Gui Pi Wan Ultra Concentrated 归脾丸

Used for deficiency syndrome of both the heart and the spleen marked by shortness of breath, cardiac palpitation, insomnia, dream-disturbed sleep, dizziness, lassitude, anorexia, excessive menstrual discharge or hemorrhoid. 

 

Qi & Yin deficiency

Formula

Function

Sheng Mai Wan 生脉丸

Supplement qi, promote the production of body fluid, astringe yin-fluid and arrest sweat. Used for chronic cough, dry cough, shortness of breath, palpitation, fatigue, insomnia.

Yang Yin Qing Fei Pills 養陰清肺丸

Replenish Yin and relieve dryness by moistening and clear lung-heat to ease the throat. Used for dry and sore throat, hoarse voice, shortness of breath, insomnia, and asthma. 

Lo Han Kuo Beverage 羅漢果冲剂

Moistens and cools the Lungs, resolves Phlegm and stops cough; Generates body Fluids and relieves thirst; Relieve constipation due to Dryness, especially if Lung Qi is not being disseminated.

Fei Re Hua Tan Tablets 肺熱化痰片

Remove heat from the lung, relieve cough, resolve phlegm and relax bowels. It is traditional used for heat in the lung marked by cough, yellowish sticky phlegm, dryness of the mouth, sore throat, and constipation.

Pinellia Expectorant Pills (Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan) 清氣化痰丸

Remove heat from the lung and eliminate phlegm. Helps relieve heat in the lung marked by cough, copious yellow sticky phlegm and feeling of stuffiness in the chest and upper abdomen.

Juhong Chuanbei Ligao 橘红川貝梨膏

Nourish and smooth lung functions and stop coughing; ideal for dry throat, mouth and cough with little phlegm. It is most effective on coughing, and phlegm symptoms caused by bronchitis and sore throat.

TRT Qiu Li Run Fei Gao 秋梨润肺膏

Moisten the lungs and soothe the throat to help relieve cough, sticky phlegm, dry mouth and sore throat.

Fritillary Cough Formula 蛇胆川贝液

Relieve cough, expel phlegm. It is used for cough due to lung-heat and phlegm.

 

Boost Wei Qi(defense qi)/immunity

Formula

Function

TRT Banlangen Granules (No Sugar) 同仁堂 板蓝根 (無糖) 颗粒

Clear heat, remove toxic heat and reduce heat in blood to soothe the throat.

Jade Shield Pills 玉屏風散

Tonify and reinforce the Qi (vita energy) & essence. Provides relief for Qi-deficiency symptoms including general weakness, fatigue, tiredness of the limbs and shortness of breath; fortifies the exterior resistance against external pathogens when needed (e.g. as a preventive measure for colds).

Ganmao Suxiaoqing 感冒速效清

Clear wind-heat and toxicity. Help coldness, headache, coughing, dry throat, sore throat, swollen cheeks and fatigue limbs

Ganmao Qingre Keli (Sweetened) 感冒清热颗粒

Dispel wind-cold, release the exterior and clear heat. It is used for colds with headache, fever, aversion to cold, general pain, running nose, and cough and dryness of the throat.

Tonsillitis Relief Capsules 扁桃腺炎胶囊

Resolve inflammation associated with upper respiratory tract e.g. tonsillitis, bronchitis and pharyngitis.

Natural Inflammation Relief (Xiao Yan Ling) Tablets 天然消炎靈

Clear heat, to relieve heat toxin and to resolve cough and tonsillitis due to excessive heat toxin of lung and stomach.

Yuen Kut Lams' Kam Wo Char 源吉林甘和茶

Sooth dry throat, clear heat, and refreshes the mouth.

 

[1] http://www.scm.cuhk.edu.hk/zh-cn/articles-redirect/237-skypost/2120-2021-05-26-sc

April 25, 2022 by The Herb Depot
A Guide to healthy menstruation with Chinese herbal medicine

A Guide to healthy menstruation with Chinese herbal medicine

As mentioned in Lara Briden’s book Period Repair Manual, your period is not just your period; it is an expression of your underlying health. Many holistic health practitioners would probably agree that if you fix your health, you will fix your period. So instead of crouching in bed every month questioning why, let’s take a step ahead using natural remedies to answer how?

Recently, we have been told by a few customers that how acupuncture has helped with their menstruation, reduced their period cramp, and pre-menstrual syndromes. Chinese herbs have also been the essential go-to method for regulating menstruation and the “hormonal imbalance” for centuries.

In this article, we will discuss two types of imbalances (Deficiency type and Excess type) to demonstrate how Chinese herbs and food remedies can invite a pain-free and easy flowing period.

Note: Before you choose an herbal remedy, it is IMPORTANT to match your conditions with the symptoms associated with each TCM patterns. If possible, consult a professional TCM practitioner. This is the only way to find the suitable remedies that can help you.

 

Deficiency Pattern

Blood deficiency

TCM patterns
Symptoms
Menstrual conditions
Single Herb
Formula
Blood
deficiency
Scanty period, weakness, tiredness, dull complexion, dizziness, blurred vision, numbness tingling of the limbs, weak pulses, pale tongue
- Pain and cramps
- Amenorrhea (complete loss of menstrual bleeding)
- Irregular cycle
 
 
 
 

Food suggestions: Avoid raw, cold-temperature foods and cooling fruits. Choose more warming food such as basil, onion, cardamon, cinnamon, leek, scallion, sweet rice, etc.  Small amount of animal products, eggs, fish may be necessary. Women with deficiency amenorrhea should avoid consuming large amounts of green and yellow vegetables, such as dark leafy greens, micro-algae, and vegetables containing carotene[1].

 

Spleen Deficiency

TCM patterns

Symptoms

Menstrual conditions

Single Herb

Formula

Spleen deficiency;

Deficient digestive fire 

Poor appetite, weakness and tiredness, loose stools, slight depression, pale complexion, bearing down sensation in the abdomen

- Pain and cramps

- Menstrual hemorrhage (excessive and extended bleeding)

Ginseng

Dang Shen

Huang Qi

Bai Zhu

Zhi Gan Cao

Chen Pi

Gui Pi Tang

Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang

Fu Zi Li Zhong Wan

Si Shen Tang


Food Suggestions: Avoid foods with cooling properties because they weaken the digestion. Take sweet and/or pungent food such as oats, spelt, sweet rice; onion, leek, ginger, fennel, garlic. Food must be chewed well and at least moderately well-cooked.

 

Coldness 

TCM patterns

Symptoms

Menstrual conditions

Single Herb

Formula

Coldness

Scanty, purplish-black menses, cramps that are eased by hot compresses, clear and abundant urine, attraction to warmth

- Pain and cramps

- Menstrual hemorrhage (excessive and extended bleeding)

Gui Zhi

Gan Jiang

Xiao Hui Xiang

Rou Gui

Ai Ye

Dang Gui

Warm Uterus Capsules

Shao Fu Zhu Yu Wan

Fu Zi Li Zhong Wan

Fu Fang Yi Mu Cao Capsules

Food Suggestions: Avoid raw, cold-temperature foods and cooling fruits. Choose more warming food such as basil, onion, cardamon, cinnamon, leek, scallion, sweet rice, etc. Add pungent food such as onion, leek, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, fennel, garlic, nutmeg. When using ginger, the dried form is better than fresh ginger for warming purpose.

 

Yin deficiency

TCM patterns
Symptoms
Menstrual conditions
Single Herb
Formula
Yin deficiency
Hot flashes, night sweating, dizziness, tinnitus, tiredness, insomnia, irritability, feeling hot in the night, scanty dark urine, dry stools, red tongue
-Menopausal syndromes

Food Suggestions: Add foods that “build the yin”, such as mung bean, bean sprouts, string bean, seaweed, spirulina, millet, black bean, tofu, kidney bean, barley, and black sesame seed. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, coffee, excessive and poor-quality meat, etc.

 

Excess Pattern

Liver Qi Stagnation

TCM patterns
Symptoms
Menstrual conditions
Single Herb
Formula
Liver Qi stagnation
Pain under ribs, irritability, depression, moodiness, premenstrual breast distension, abdominal distension
- Pain and cramps
- Irregular cycle
- Menstrual hemorrhage (excessive and extended bleeding)
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Food Suggestions: If you tend to overeat, eat less to reduce stagnancy. Moderately pungent food to stimulate the Liver out of stagnancy, such as onions, mustard greens and spices.

 

Blood Stasis

TCM patterns
Symptoms
Menstrual conditions
Single Herb
Formula
Blood stasis
Stabbing pain in the lower abdomen, purple-clotted menses, dark purple tongue with red spots
-Pain and cramps
- Amenorrhea (complete loss of menstrual bleeding)
- Irregular cycle
- Menstrual hemorrhage (excessive and extended bleeding)  

Food Suggestions: Food that disperses stagnant blood, such as Aduki beans, peach-seed, scallion, chives, cayenne and other red peppers, ginger, turmeric, vinegar, etc. Avoid cold, very sweet and highly mucus-forming foods including meat, dairy, eggs and ice cream.

 

Excessive Heat 

TCM patterns
Symptoms
Menstrual conditions
Single Herb
Formula
Excessive Heat
Heavy menstruation, abundant blood, red face, irritability, dry mouth, dizziness, feeling hot, insomnia, red tongue with yellow coat
- Menstrual hemorrhage (excessive and extended bleeding)   

Food Suggestions: Cooling food such as spinach, Swiss chard, seaweed, celery, cucumber, and red raspberry tea. Restrict red meat, alcohol, coffee, and warming food in general.

The holistic view of our body, mind and soul is what makes Chinese medicine a beautiful healing tradition. This means that the healing of Chinese medicine is not merely focused on the end of a singular symptom (e.g. pain) but to rebuild the homeostasis of the body.

Usually once the whole-body system is running in balance again, the pain will automatically disappear, as well as other untold conditions. This process does not necessarily need to be long, and often can take place in a few treatment sessions with acupuncture and herbal medicines.

All of the products mentioned in the article can be found here: 

https://theherbdepot.ca/collections/healthy-menstruation

 

 

Reference:

  1. https://www.americandragon.com/
  2. Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with whole foods: Asian traditions and modern nutrition. North Atlantic Books.p.400

 

Completing Your Plant-Based Diet with Herbs

Completing Your Plant-Based Diet with Herbs

We eat plants so that we can have a closer touch with the earth. Sourced from local farms Chinese herbs can nourish and tonify to make your vegetarian and vegan diet more complete. 

February 07, 2022 by The Herb Depot
Body, Mind, Joy and Herb

Body, Mind, Joy and Herb

“There are no physical symptoms that do not affect the Shen(mind) and no emotional disorders that do not produce physical manifestations.”

 

November 02, 2021 by The Herb Depot
Pain: A Story of Communication

Pain: A Story of Communication

"Where there is stasis, there is pain".

What does our pain say to us? And how do we respond?

June 01, 2021 by The Herb Depot
Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning

Our homes get a spring update - why shouldn't our bodies too?
March 17, 2021 by The Herb Depot
Tags: spring
How to Cook Chinese Herbal Medicine - How to Prepare Chinese Medicine - TCM herbal tea - Cooking instructions herbal tea - Cooking herbal tea - Practitioner TCM - Acupuncturist - Acupuncture Canada - Cooking herbs - Cooking Chinese herbs

Brewing to Heal

Cooking instructions are for general use only. It is recommended to follow the instructions provided by your licensed TCM practitioner. 

February 28, 2021 by The Herb Depot
Preventative Health is an Act of Community Care

Preventative Health is an Act of Community Care

A perspective on personal preventative health for the care of the community.
January 25, 2021 by The Herb Depot