To Your Health
October, 2007 (Vol. 01, Issue 10)
(Ping Wei San)
This formula is one of many available that work to tonify the stomach and improve digestion and elimination. It is often used when there is stomach upset, bloating and sluggish bowels due to overconsumption of cold foods and drinks. It has been used to help relieve fullness in the chest and abdomen. This can be commonly seen when people attempt to eat healthy and suddenly increase their intake of raw food, eat only salads or drink lots of iced beverages. The formula works by warming the digestive organs as a method of restoring function and helping decrease the feeling of heaviness. Similar formulas are used when people present with more heat signs like burning sensations when eating, or they alternate between loose stools and constipation.
PMS and Mental Support
(Xiao Yao San)
This formula, one of the most popular Chinese formulas used in America, focuses on supporting the mind/body balance. It has been given to women who suffer from PMS with emotional difficulties connected to their cycle. This formula soothes the mind and promotes blood movement, which also helps relieve pain and cramping.
(Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang)
This formula traditionally has been used to help strengthen weakened and debilitated patients by tonifying their core energy. It is like fixing the foundation of a house below ground so new improvements can be made above ground. An indication for this formula is when there is not enough strength to hold the body up and there is a feeling that things are sinking or collapsing. This formula has been used with various types of prolapses, frequent urination, loose stools, bleeding problems like anemia, and generalized weakness. It is used to help boost the body for many conditions and is often combined with other formulas for that purpose.
(Xiao Chai Hu Tang)
This formula has been used in Chinese medicine for hundreds of years and has kept its ancient indications while acquiring modern-day applications. It is one of the main formulas mentioned in the Shang Hun Lung, a classic text on herbal formulations from the Han dynasty, written between 202 B.C. and 221 A.D. Traditionally, it has been used for lingering colds that persist for more than five days with alternating fever and chills. It also has been used for women who catch colds right before or on the first day of menstruation. It is good for people who are more susceptible to illness during changes, like the beginning of a menstrual cycle. Recently, ongoing studies at UC San Diego and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have demonstrated its positive results on liver function for patients with hepatitis C. Over the long term, it has helped improve liver enzymes and general fatigue from chronic illness. This formula continues to be a part of many clinical trials in the U.S. and overseas.
Stephanie Pina, NMD is a licensed naturopathic physician who incorporates both Western and Eastern medicine in her private practice in Tempe, Ariz. She is also currently working on completing a Master in Oriental Medicine degree.
Dan Wen, MD, has practiced Chinese medicine and conventional Western medicine in China for 20 years. He completed a fellowship at the Mayo Clinic and has conducted research at Washington University in St. Louis, supported by a research grant from the National Institutes of Health.