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kouzoku
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06 Apr 2013, 2:35 pm

Does anyone have Chinese Medicine as a special interest? If so, I'd like to ask a few questions.



1000Knives
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06 Apr 2013, 5:24 pm

YES!

It's been a bit of an interest for me as of late. I've always liked red ginseng and astragalus even when I knew nothing about Chinese medicine. I got a UTI sorta problem awhile back, and used TCM principles to fix it. I've never actually seen a real TCM doctor, though. I'd quite like to. In my case, my issue was when I took up weightlifting, the recommendations thrown about are always like, ridiculously high meat/fat diets, which in TCM terms raise heat, and make you more yang. In my case, I'm already I think (not that I've had a doctor confirm this) quite yang and heated, so it pretty much gave me a host of energy/health problems. And my UTI (actually it was epidymitis, YAY...), well, I was eating all kinds of "heat" foods in summer, along with having way too many.

It's really neat to study. I think for daily life, the most useful thing imo isn't so much the herbs, but food choices based upon composition/activity/season. You can take all the herbs in the world and if your diet is s**t, you'll feel like crap. Also, mental feelings affects your health, too. Vastly. But with the diet thing, you can kinda observe a lot. IE, I have a friend who's a raw vegan. He gets cold much easier than I do.

Right now, besides a relatively higher carb/less meat diet (especially it getting warmer out...) is I'm off ginseng now. I only take small doses of schizandra and astragalus in the morning, and that's all for herbs. Astragalus is a chi-booster, and schizandra balances things out well. Ginseng (I was taking eleuthero, which really isn't ginseng) is too much of a stimulant, imo.



kouzoku
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07 Apr 2013, 1:55 pm

Wow, that's very cool. I am very serious about wanting to study all aspects of Chinese medicine. There are a few doctors around where I live, and also a college of Chinese medicine, but it's quite expensive to study there. So, I thought I could start with some good books. I don't know which books, though, because I don't want to read the new-agey type stuff, but rather things meant for actual study of the field.

I had always wanted to be a doctor since I was young, but could never attend med school because of my health. I wouldn't even pass the rigorous selection process. Chinese medicine is something I definitely believe in, but I only have a superficial knowledge of it.

When I left my job, I realized that now I have so much time on my hands and I can dive right into study.

Do you know of some good books that might get me started? Something that's not completely over whelming while at the same time, not a new-age type of book?

I'm really happy that you've extracted some wisdom from CM. You're right in that a balance has to be maintained. There is a "supplement" culture booming, and no one seems to realize that if you live in a healthy way, you don't need those supplements (except for special cases)!



kouzoku
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07 Apr 2013, 2:59 pm

I think I'm going to start with this textbook which is for students and gives the fundamentals:

Basic Theories of Chinese Medicine



SuSaNnA
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10 Apr 2013, 11:08 am

It is nice to know somebody acknowledge the stuff of my culture-- I'm from Hong Kong.

But the difficult bit is that Chinese Medicine has a very different approach compared to science, and many of the chemicals have not been identified yet. It is also common for other Chinese scientists to claim that Chinese Medicine is fake-- because a lot of people do sell fake herbs.

Fortunately nowadays, many Chinese herbs shop do give the exact Latin name of the herb. (Biological name; or binomial) so you can look it up on biology websites.

However, not everything has to do with herbs. It is also a practice of utilizing different plants, nuts and fruits.
Some of these ingredients, however, require a certain cooking method for the chemical reaction to happen,
otherwise, the compounds wouldn't be in the plant even if it is the correct species.

I guess you can start with the basic concepts like cold/heat, interior/exterior, excess/deficiency, and yin/yang
because in reality, cold/ heat applies to any food instead of just special herbs.
cold/ heat of food also varies with the cooking method.
Steaming is the most recommended method because it changes the food the least.
Frying is often discouraged because it makes any food shift to the "heat" side.

Just to avoid confusion, "heat" and "cold" is not related to the temperature of the food.
If you eat food with a lot of "heat", then you are more likely to get ulcers and bite your tongue. Severe cases will also include a soar throat.
If you eat food with a lot of "cold", for a really long period of time, then you are likely to be more frail and weak.

For example, if you eat a lot of potato chips for an entire week. (say, 2 packages per day), you are far more likely to have constipation, more likely to bite your tongue.
An easy experiment of prove is that, try eating a lot of potato chips.
After the week, if you feel horrible, you can try drinking a lot of tea (without milk).
If you want to neutralize it faster, put some pieces of lemon in your tea, and add sugar-- it will taste lovely and will neutralize your body back to before that. (the tea usually taste better when cold, for teenagers or young adults)
(Around 1 to 2 glasses of lemon tea per day... don't overdo it, otherwise you would have diarrhea around a month later)



kouzoku
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10 Apr 2013, 4:51 pm

Yes, my body is extremely sensitive to all chemicals in this world. I completely understand the concept of balance between yin/yang, hot/cold, interior/exterior, etc. It's something I have been able to observe and intuitively feel my entire life. This is the main reason why I am interested in learning all aspects of TCM. I've held on to a lot of traditional Japanese thinking because of my mother and also my ex, who is a surgeon, learned a lot of TCM while at med school in Sapporo.

I definitely appreciate many things from your culture. My way of thinking is Daoist, which is in accordance with TCM. Thank you for your good descriptions here. I went ahead and bought a book written by a Chinese doctor which describes the fundamental principles of TCM. It also gives a history of TCM and describes the role it plays in China today. So far, it's extremely fascinating. I am going to learn all I can. Too bad I can't afford to attend the college of Chinese medicine in my area.



SuSaNnA
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11 Apr 2013, 11:41 am

kouzoku wrote:
Yes, my body is extremely sensitive to all chemicals in this world. I completely understand the concept of balance between yin/yang, hot/cold, interior/exterior, etc. It's something I have been able to observe and intuitively feel my entire life. This is the main reason why I am interested in learning all aspects of TCM. I've held on to a lot of traditional Japanese thinking because of my mother and also my ex, who is a surgeon, learned a lot of TCM while at med school in Sapporo.

I definitely appreciate many things from your culture. My way of thinking is Daoist, which is in accordance with TCM. Thank you for your good descriptions here. I went ahead and bought a book written by a Chinese doctor which describes the fundamental principles of TCM. It also gives a history of TCM and describes the role it plays in China today. So far, it's extremely fascinating. I am going to learn all I can. Too bad I can't afford to attend the college of Chinese medicine in my area.

Ah, the Japanese did do a lot of scientific research on TCM.
Without them, maybe people from the West would still think it's superstition.

Actually, I didn't learn TCM formally.
Most of the concepts were taught to me by the people of the older generations. They pass the information down by mouth.
The University I now go to only tells us which exact plant is which herb, sometimes with the name of the chemical.
Granted, the focus is general biological aspects.

I once chose a Chinese Medicine course by the TCM department for my general studies, but then I learnt that 40% of the score accounts to a GROUP project... so I left after knowing that. (I belong to the biology department)



dinetahrisingsun
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10 May 2013, 11:18 pm

Very interested myself.Just beginning to study it so don't know a whole lot yet. Interested in Chinese medicine, feng shui, daoism, and I Ching.



vixx
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12 May 2013, 10:43 am

kouzoku wrote:
Do you know of some good books that might get me started? Something that's not completely over whelming while at the same time, not a new-age type of book?


Chinese Medicine is a special interest of mine. Here is one easily digestible book I recommend for general knowledge:
Between Heaven and Earth

If you're more into clinical reading then there is a textbook called Dragon Rises, Red Bird Flies which includes a lot of specific case studies and focuses on the effects of acupuncture.



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12 May 2013, 11:23 am

A Word of Caution

When taking herbal, natural, or "alternative" supplements consider the following:

1. There may be side effects that are more harmful that the issue being treated

2. There may be adverse reactions from interaction with other herbs or drugs

3. Controlling dosage is problematic with herbs

4. Herbal treatment may be unnecessary and, while not harmful, of no benefit

5. "Natural" and "Traditional" do not even imply "beneficial" or "harmless", much less prove any such claims

6. Although some supplements contain useful drugs, they may not be suitable for self-medication because optimal control of some medical conditions should be tailored to individual risk factors and be medically monitored

7. There is always the possibility that there is a safer, more reliable, and cheaper alternative available from the drugstore

8. Subjective diagnoses and treatments are prone to subjective bias

9. No matter how many anecdotal testimonies there may be in favor of any given alternative treatment, it is extremely rare that any alternative treatment has received the intense scrutiny required to determine and confirm a direct causal connect between the alternative treatment and any "cure".



1000Knives
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15 May 2013, 3:31 pm

I bought a new Chinese medicine that seems to be helping me. Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan. Supposed to calm you down and clear heat. Both of which I have issues with. Seems OK so far. I do notice it does potentiate caffeine, though. It's getting rid of my hypoglycemia kinda issues, though. Oh well, I'll go through a bottle and see what happens. Taking twice a day 5 pills, I think max dose is 8 pills 3x a day. I tend to take below max dose for TCM medicines.

I might try buo nao wan again, but this stuff seems better now that I have a handle on how TCM diagnostics work better. Also, pretty cheap, $4.75 a bottle at my Asian market. Also, scientifically, this stuff is supposed to reduce estrogen and prolactin, which I find attractive athletically.



blueroses
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16 May 2013, 5:29 pm

Fnord wrote:
Although some supplements contain useful drugs, they may not be suitable for self-medication because optimal control of some medical conditions should be tailored to individual risk factors


I'd agree that there is no one-size fits all approach with herbs, just like any other type of medical treatment. For example, an herb like Ginger that can be helpful in controlling inflammation for one person, can be harmful for another person who has an autoimmune disorder, since it stimulates the immune system. Even when something is generally regarded as safe and is widely used, there is almost always going to be a subset of people for whom it's not.

It's a shame that Western medical doctors are not more educated on the herbal supplements, since that leaves a lot of people to either pass up supplements that could be incredibly helpful for them or try to educate themselves through the Internet and hope for the best.



luvsterriers
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18 May 2013, 10:16 am

UGH! Mom used to make some Chinese medicine for me as a child. It was supposed to be good for colds. It tasted awful! I also did do acupuncture and the doctor also made this Chinese medicine. It tasted ok.


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