Herbal Medicine

Herbal Remedies for Abdominal Pain

Herbal Remedies for Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain, bloating gas and heartburn are conditions that affect many of us.  In fact, according to a Merck corporation survey, 7% of us suffer from abdominal pain on a daily basis!  Abdominal pain is caused by many complicated issues that require careful diagnosis and treatment for lasting relief. 

Many of us aren't satisfied with the therapeutic options provided by western medicine.  More and more unwanted side effects are being discovered by patients taking these medications long term.  For example, proton pump inhibitors like Priolsec and Prevacid have been linked to pernicious anemia, kidney disease and kidney failure. 

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine offer non-pharmaceutical options for people with chronic digestive disorders. At Inner Gate Acupuncture the clinicians take a careful health history, including a detailed description of your symptoms and their progression over time.  They combine this with an analysis of current diet to determine the best herbal remedies and diet changes for specific abdominal complaints.  

Below are effective herbal formulas used for abdominal pain.  Although the names may seem strange they simply reflect the Chinese names for the herbs in the formula.  These are five of the many commonly used formulas of Chinese herbal medicine for abdominal pain. 

Liu jun zi tang:  This formula is warming and aids with distention and pain in the abdomen.
Shu gan wan: This formula is moving and aids with bloating and pain. 
Shen ling bai zhu wan:  When there is heaviness and a sluggish digestion with loose stools this formula is helpful. 
Gui pi wan:  This formula nourishes and helps when patients are fatigued and feel weakness. 
Xiao yao wan: Stress can play a major role in digestion causing abdominal pain. This formula helps when stress is causative. 
Bao he wan:  This simple formula is designed to be taken when over eating leads to stomach pain.  Everyone should have this on hand for after Thanksgiving!

Remember these are medicines and although they are not prescriptions they should only be taken after being prescribed by a Chinese medicine practitioner.  We supply only high quality herbs and have the training to choose the correct formula for you.  

 

Back to School Immune Support

Back to school immune system support

Back to school means it time to boost everyone's immune system. As cooler weather encroaches we are all forced to spend more time indoors with other people, often with closed windows and poorly circulated air.  These are conditions that expose us to more bacteria and viruses than any of us would like. 

Here are a few practical ways for us to prevent those bacteria and viruses from getting us sick.  These methods are simple but they may prove more difficult to practice than you think. 

  • Washing hands regularly: Just using a simple soap to clean the hands a few times per day can greatly diminish our exposure to viruses and bacteria. 
  • Keep your fingers and hands off your face and mouth:  It is estimated that people touch their faces hundreds of times per day!  Much of this touching is habitual and unconscious. If we focus carefully we can break this habit and reduce our exposure to the bugs that make us ill. 
  • Click Here for a link to a video that shows the most effective way to wash hands with soap and water. 

Chinese medicine has several powerful approaches to maintaining a healthy immune system. These time tested ideas can add potent weapons to your germ busting arsenal.

  • Yin Qiao San: This ancient formula has many modern day equivalents. It serves as the base for Wellness formula and the popular product Airborne.  Taken in it's raw herbal form or as an alcohol tincture it reaches it's most potent concentration.  This formula is good for early onset colds when your throat is raw and your body is achey.  Once phlegm is present as nasal congestion or post nasal drip the cold has penetrated too deeply and yin qiao san is no longer the best formula.    
  • Cupping: Yes that popular therapy that Michael Phelps exposed to the world for it ability to relieve muscle pain and tension is also used to strengthen the immune system and defend against colds and flus. 
  • Acupuncture: Acupuncture has specific points that are used to increase white blood cell count, open the lungs, and calm the nervous system, all components of a healthy immune system.

If you do get sick, don't give up hope. There are many acupuncture techniques and Chinese herbal formulas designed to counteract colds and flus and shorten the duration and intensity of these illnesses.  Call us and we will be happy to get you in and on the road to recovery.  

 

3 Ways Chinese Medicine Helps Endometriosis

3 WAYS CHINESE MEDICINE HELPS ENDOMETRIOSIS

Endometriosis is a women’s health condition where uterine cells grow outside of the uterus, commonly in the ovaries and fallopian tubes.  Because endometrial tissue is regulated by hormones, women will experience increased pain close to their menses.  While Western medicine focuses on hormonal therapy and laparoscopic surgery, Chinese medicine works to regulate the menstrual bleeding and reduce the severity of pain.

Acupuncture reduces pain
A 2010 research study showed that a series of 10 acupuncture treatments significantly reduced pain levels for women with endometriosis.  We generally treat patients over the course of 2-3 menstrual cycles to effect significant change.  Women receiving acupuncture should be aware that it takes time for treatment results to last.

Acupuncture reduces inflammation
Researchers say inflammation is the main cause of endometriosis pain.  The insertion of needles can greatly alleviate the inflammation that occurs during the menstrual cycle, as well as afterwards.  Because acupuncture improves circulation it reduces both inflammation and pain.  As part of the treatment plan, women should come in for acupuncture treatment the week before their period begins.  

Chinese herbal therapy reduces endometriosis symptoms
Chinese herbal medicine has a long and extensive history of working with women’s health concerns, including endometriosis.  There are many different formula that can be used to treat endometriosis.  Our practitioners always perform thorough intakes and evaluations to determine which formula or modification of formula are best for our patients.  

Manage Seasonal Allergies with Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine


In light of the complications and unknown risks associated with pharmaceutical medication, illuminated in the above article, it is fortunate that acupuncture and Chinese medicine offer options for natural relief from allergies.  

At Inner Gate Acupuncture we use acupuncture and Chinese medicine to improve immune function and reduce the inflammatory responses associated with allergies.  

Acupuncture works by treating and strengthening the lung organ system. When the lung is strong the immune system's hypersensitivity is quieted. Acupuncture also works by controls inflammation and reduces the aggravation of the mucus membranes.  


Acupuncture can treat:

  • Runny nose

  • Itchy eyes

  • Sneezing

  • Asthma

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Nausea/ vomiting

  • Fatigue

  • Difficulty sleeping

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine offer a natural and side-effect free way to control, prevent and eliminate allergies.  When employed by our skilled acupuncturists these modalities eliminate the need for over the counter medications and strengthen the entire body, fostering a powerful and effective immune system.  

Time For Nettles!

Kopiva.JPG

Right now young shoots of stinging neetle plants are popping up all over Oregon. They can sting you so be careful handling these pokey plants.  The leaves and stems, which have small spines on them will cause mild skin irritation and itching when they touch the skin.  However, it is well worth the effort to harvest these delectable plants.  

The stinging neetle is rich in vitamins and minerals.  It also contains active compounds that reduce inflammatory cytokines in our bodies.  It is used in the treatment of arthritis, allergies and other inflammatory diseases.  

Due to their high mineral content stinging neeltes promote hair and finger nail health. Nettles are often found in shampoos and other care products.  They are also often used in formulas to nourish the blood and improve circulation.   

Stinging neetles are easy to harvest.  Check local regulations regarding harvesting plants. Be sure to bring gloves, a good bag and cutting shears!

Once the plants are collected they can be cooked into foods, made into alcohol tinctures or boiled into tea.  Once thoroughly cooked the stinging fibers of the neetle become neutralized.  

Images From Wikipedia

Stinging Nettle Recipes

  Image Credit:   Kopiva.JPG

Image Credit: Kopiva.JPG

Chickpea & Nettle Soup

This is a hearty and satisfying soup.  It is filling and warming, richly peppered with warm aromatic spices.  This soup is a lovely addition to a cool spring evening.  

Ingredients:
Two large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
A baking potato, peeled and diced
Two white onions, peeled and sliced
Garlic to your liking
Spices such as cumin, cinnamon, coriander, cloves, or star anise
Lots of fresh nettle tops
A can of chickpeas
Vegetable stock, six cups

Making soup isn't particularly difficult. Experiment with these ingredients and have fun making this soup.  

Lightly fry the spices in the oil until they become aromatic. Don't overheat them, this will change their flavor.  Remove the spices and add the onion and fry in the oil until soft. Then throw in the potatoes.  Cook for a just a couple minutes before covering with stock. Heat to a simmer until the potatoes are cooked then blend the soup.

Wash the nettles removing any thick stems and any dirt. Wear gloves for this part of the process. Cook them in rapidly boiling salt water then drain them in a colander. Chop up the nettles and add them to the soup.  Pour in the can of drained chickpeas. Heat throughly and serve. 

Nettle Aloo

In Indian cuisine potato and spinach is a mainstay.  It is know as aloo saag, literally "potato and spinach". This recipe simply replaces the spinach with stinging nettles giving the dish a fresh and delicious flavor.  

Ingredients:
One large white onion, finely chopped
Three cloves of garlic, finely chopped
One teaspoon of mustard seeds
Two teaspoons black onion seeds
Two teaspoons fenugreek seeds
Salt and pepper
2-3 potatoes, depending on size, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
Nettles, lots.

Blanch the nettles in boiling water then drain in a colander. Finely chop them and set them to one side.

Boil the potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes. Stop before they are fully cooked.

Fry the spices in oil, lower the heat then add the onion and cook until soft. Add in the garlic and then the potatoes. Cook until the potatoes are soft throughout then add the chopped nettles. Cook the greens down with a little water if necessary, season and serve with rice or another curry.

Thanks to Alex Rushmer for these lovely recipes!