From the category archives:

Chinese remedies

Prostate Health

by Ed

Prostate problems are much more commonly talked about, these days, than they were 10 years ago. There are basically four problems you can have with your prostate. Younger men are more likely to get acute or chronic prostatitis, and older men, benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH or enlarged prostate) and prostate cancer. If you have any urinary symptoms, such as difficulty starting or stopping or weak flow of urine, it is important to get your prostate checked by your doctor. Once you know what you have, it may be better to go with alternative medicine than western.

For acute prostatitis, if you are not a frequent user of antibiotics, and your immune system and digestive system are in good shape, antibiotics are probably the fastest and best way to treat your condition. Be sure to take a probiotic, such as acidophilus, after the antibiotics, to rebalance the intestinal flora. For other men with acute and for all men with chronic prostatitis, I recommend Chinese Herbal Medicine. For the chronic condition, antibiotics have a very poor success rate, and you will have to be on them far too long for the health of your gut and immune system. Chniese herbs are very effective at killing the bacteria in the prostate, with a much lower impact on the good bacteria in the intestines. However, you will still want to take probiotics to keep the intestines healthy. Chronic prostatitis will take many months to resolve, and your herbalist may recommend various lifestyle changes to help the process.

For BPH there are several excellent herbal formulas available now. Ask your health food store to recommend one, if you do not have a herbalist. At the very least, take saw palmetto for the symptoms. It is not a bad idea for any man over 50 to take saw palmetto to keep the prostate healthy.

Cancer is a scary subject for most people, and often a difficult condition to treat. Luckily most prostate cancer is very slow growing. In fact, more men die with it than of it. However, there are some faster growing ones, which seem to be on the rise. Also, with men living longer than before, even the slower growing ones are life threatening. Older men would do well to get their PSA levels checked regularly. Personally, I would choose Chinese herbs at the first signs of potential cancer, but I would certainly not rule out Western Medicine. If you have a slow growing cancer and Chinese herbs work, you will be a lot better off than if you treat it with Western Medicine.

Finally, unresolved emotional issues can be a contributing factor in prostate problems, especially chronic prostatitis and BPH. For younger men, I would ask myself if there were any childhood messages about sex being bad or dirty, or if you are aware of any guilt or shame around sex. For older men it is more likely to be feelings of losing manliness along with virility. Working through those issues can be very helpful in reducing symptoms and overcoming the disease.

First Aid Kit

by Ed

Carrying on from my last post, today I’ll talk about Chinese remedies that are good for first aid.

For burns, nothing beats Ching Wan Hung. It is an ointment about the consistency of skin cream. I am amazed by how well it works. If you can’t find it aloe vera is next best. Keep a plant around, and when you burn yourself, just cut off a leaf and squeeze the juice out of it onto the burn. Warning, home remedies are good for first degree and mild second degree burns. If you have severe blistering or any charred skin, please see your doctor.
For bumps, bruises, and sprains, there are a number of ointments. Traditionally in China the martial artists also knew enough about medicine to treat themselves for their injuries, as well as toughening their skin and bones to make it harder to injure them. This branch of medicine is called Hit Medicine.

Dit Da Jow is the most common name for ointments for sprains, etc. There are many brands. Most of the commercial ones are ok to pretty good. If you want really good quality, find a martial artist that makes his own, preferably from an old family recipe.

Zheng Gu Shui is very similar. Originally it was of very good quality. It was designed specifically to speed healing of broken bones. About ten years ago they changed the recipe, and now it is not as good as it was. If you can’t find a good quality dit da jiao, this is a reasonable replacement.

White Flower Oil is good for insect stings and bites. It is also a pretty good analgesic. Rub it on a painful area and it will ease the pain. Great for headaches, but don’t get too close to the eyes. The volatile oils in it can sting them.

Yunnan Paiyao is probably the most important thing to put in your first aid kit. It stops bleeding and greatly speeds healing of injuries. It can be used topically on bruises and cuts, as well as internally to reduce inflammation and speed the healing of all injuries. Some women with painful periods say it relieves the pain. Taking it before surgery improves recovery time significantly. Taken internally, it can also help with altitude sickness. If you are going mountain climbing, start taking it about a week before your trip.

Medicine Cabinet

by Ed

If you live in a city with a Chinatown, check out the herb stores sometime. There are a lot of interesting things there. There are also a few things that you can safely buy for home remedies. In this post I will talk about Chinese pills for acute digestive complaints and colds and flus. There are also many health food stores in North America that are selling these remedies now. And of course, you can find anything online.
All four of the following remedies are only for short term use. They do not boost the immune system or heal underlying digestive disorders.

Po Chai Pills: Used for any acute digestive complaint, such as diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, including “stomach flu”. Many people like to take it travelling, especially to third world countries. Be sure to consult a doctor if the symptoms do not clear up in a few days.

Yin Chiao Pills: These are best atken at the first sign of a cold or flu, especially with a sore throat. If taken soon enough, you can prevent the illness from coming on. In the first day or two, you can take up to double the dosage. In some people this may cause diarrhea, so you should cut back again. Take them for up to a week.

Gan Mao Ling: Similar to Yin Chiao pills, but more for colds with a cough. Can also double the dosage during the first day. The two can also be taken together for a stronger action, in which case do not double the dosage of either.

In my personal experience, these remedies are best for knocking the cold out before it gets a real hold on you. If they haven’t done that after two days, they are not so useful, though many people disagree with me on that. Remember the old saying: “Untreated, a cold lasts a week. Treat it and it only lasts 7 days.”

Huo Hsiang Cheng Chi Pien: Similar to Po Chai pills, but also indicated for catching a cold in the Summer, and symptoms of being out in the heat too long. People who get colds when it is very damp, with heavy head and a feeling of fullness also benefit from these pills.