For generations, the Chinese have long been using herbs to treat disease and ailments. In fact, the mystic energy that surrounds the healing powers of Chinese herbs can be traced back over 3000 years. Now, across the globe, reasearchers and pharmaceutical companies are joining forces to bring traditional medicine to the twenty first century, and for good reason. Bring your witches brew of flowers, seeds, fruits, leaves, roots, bark and branches as we discuss 5 surprising facts around Chinese herbs.
We all want to stay healthy and look younger. Ageing gracefully is the norm in China. After all, a Chinese Empress had porcelain skin thousands of years before serums were invented. If you’re in pursuit of the fountain of youth, Reishi mushroom (Ling Zhi) can help slow the aging process. Studies have shown these little mushrooms to be effective at boosting your immune system and fighting cancer. They are known as the mushrooms of immortality. This herb is called an adaptogen. Adaptogens help improve and boost your immune system. Reishi is also known to alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy such as nausea and kidney damage, and protects cellular DNA by raising antioxidant capacity. You can find them at your local Chinese grocery store or dried up in the supermarket.
There are a number of known herbs that powerfully boost libidio and increase sex drive. If there’s one thing: horny equals healthy. Your sex drive is a good indicator of your overall health. Pine Pollen in Chinese medicine tradition is used as a jing-enhancing herb (meaning a herb to restore your vital and sexual essence). Pine Pollen is a powerful vitality and androgenic substance, enhancing your sex drive and helping to restore your endocrine system.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ. It plays a significant role in eliminating toxins. Chinese Medicine has a range of herbs that have been used successfully by women over generations. Pearl powder is a little hidden gem, made from oyster shells. The oyster shells contain lots of amino acids, which help to rejuvenate the skin. In clinical research, pearl powder has been shown to soothe inflammation, promote healing and and calm redness and skin irritations.
Hot flushes, sweating through the sheets, and the need to strip down naked are all signs of menopause. Wild Yam (or dioscorea villosa), which should not be confused with the yams you may have in your kitchen, has traditionally been used to manage painful menstruation, cramps or nausea in pregnancy. The wild yam is a different species known for its active ingredient diosgenin, which is a phytoestrogen. Diosgenin contains an ingredient similar to DHEA, a precursor to human sex hormones. Wild Yam has been used as a natural alternative to estrogen replacement therapy to treat post-menopausal vaginal dryness, PMS and increase libido in men and women.
There are hundreds of herbs in Chinese Medicine designed to balance the body and reduce stress. While Ginseng might not directly impact the organs and hormones involved in fertility, it plays an important role in stabilising the body’s response to stress. You might think stress is a little out of place, but currently stress is the leading cause of health related illnesses worldwide. Ginseng is thought to profoundly influence the hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis, influencing the adrenal and pituitary glands involved in the stress response, and the pituitary gland that directly influences our sex hormones.
Words by Dr. Amanda Waaldyk.
Dr. Amanda Waaldyk is a renowned doctor of Chinese medicine and acupuncture. She is the owner and founder of Angea Acupuncture and Yoga (Angea) Clinic. Dr. Waaldyk specialises in fertility, helping thousands of women (and men) achieve their dreams of pregnancy through her a self-developed, specialised method. She also produces her own line of 100% organic herbal teas to help everything from period pain to ovulation.