Monday, April 27, 2009

Herbs Oils and the flu

What is the Swine Flu ad what can you do?

An in depth definition can be found at the CDC site According to the CDC, the symptoms of the swine flu (pig flu) are similar to that of the regular human flu: 1. Fever 2. Cough 3. Sore Throat 4. Body Aches 5. Chills 6. Fatigue. In some cases vomiting and diarrhea have been reported. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
For children, the warning signs that they might need urgent medical care are: 1. Fast breathing or trouble breathing 2. Bluish skin color 3. Not drinking enough fluids 4. Not waking up or not interacting 5. Being so irritable that the child does not want to be held 6. Flu-like symptoms improve but then return with fever and worse cough 7. Fever with a rash.
It is always better to be safe than sorry but keep in mind that there are regular colds going around and that seasonal allergies are also in play.
Regarding prevention, common sense as always prevails. First and most important: wash your hands. Try not to rub your eyes or put our hands in your mouth. Try to stay in good general health. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. Try not touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
From a Chinese medicine perspective we look at strong viruses as Toxic Heat. With thousands of years of history, Chinese medicine has had to work with many pandemic viruses and has therefore developed ways in which to deal with them. Within the Chinese medicine pharmacopoeia there is a category called " Clear heat and relieve toxicity". This class of herbs is used to work with the adverse effects of infectious disease. Here is a small sampling:
Jin Yin Hua: Flos Loncerae Japnicae, has been tested with good results with PR8 strain of the influenza virus as well as in cases of severe pneumonia.
Lian Qiao: Fructus Forsythiae Suspensae, with its antimicrobial has proven to be very useful in cases involving staphylococcus aureus.
Ban Lan Gen: Radix Isatidis, is a favorite on mine. It is antimicrobial, antiparacitic, it has been used successfully in the treatment of encephalitis and of course has very strong anti viral properties.
Most often herbs such as these would be mixed together with other herbs t create a medicine specifically suited for each individual patient adressing paricular constitutional strengths and weaknesses as well as specific symptoms.
A final regarding essential oils, something we can do at home. I have found that a mixture of organic tea tree and clove diffused into the air can be very effective protection against airborne pathogens.

Please if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Cold wind blowing

Summer is here. Time to loose the jacket and head for the fields, (or Central Park anyway). Although it is 60 degrees and sunny a 1:30 it gets chilly later and this is a great opportunity to catch a cold. The latest thing circulating is a head and chest flu. Early signs are stiff neck and shoulders with a scratchy throat. If the only symptoms are eyes and nose related you may be suffering from seasonal allergies. Seasonal allergies may require stronger herbs, however symptomatic relief can come from strong Mint Tea. In china town you can pick up some dried peppermint (BO HE) at a good price.
A home remedy for the beginnings of a common cold is: 6 -7, 50 cent size slices if fresh ginger steeped in hot water (like you are making a cup of tea) for 10 mins. The ginger will help you to sweat. After it has steeped, you can add honey ( to soother you throat and to make the ginger less spicy) and a 1/4 lemon to support Lung Qi (to be explained at a later time). While you are using this remedy, stay home and rest. This can be repeated 3 or 4 times throughout the day.
Feel better!
Any questions?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Monday evening

Keeping the focus is part of the healing. On the part of the acupuncturist the focus is the choise of a point needled and then the needling itself. From a text book perspective a particular point can perform any number of functions. However, in practice, not every practitioner can elicit every function. In other words, the efficasy of needling depends on skill and part of that skill is intent. Chinese medicine is regulatory in nature. Acupuncture points stimulate the movement of qi along channels or meridians running along our bodies. Properly placed and exicuted this energetic stimulation elisits a physical response which hopefuly results in healing. Acupuncture in particular and Chinese medicine in general demand focus and intent for success. In this way does the energetics of the practitioner's intent effect the strength of the needling and therefore the depth and effectiveness of the treatment.