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Together with acupuncture, herbal medicine is a major pillar of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
The unique characteristic of Chinese herbal medicine is the degree to which formulation is done.
A formula may contain anywhere from 4 to 20 herbs that each have different actions, organ focus and functions. Herbal medicine can be applied for any pattern of disharmony – excess or deficient, cold or hot, yin or yang, internal or external disorders. However, of all the TCM modalities, herbal medicine is the most effective option when the primary treatment principle is nourishing the body to rebuild substance (such as blood, body fluid, all types of tissues, etc.). Diabetes Type 2, osteoarthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, infertility, miscarriage, menopausal syndrome, night sweats (even long after women’s period has stopped), Parkinson’s disease, Raynaud’s phenomenon, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, anemia, anorexia, eczema, hair loss, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune conditions, hypothyroidism, helicobacter pylori, chronic gastric ulcers, etc. For more information on herbal medicine, read the article on Chinese Herbal Medicine – A Brief Introduction. This guidance also includes detailed recommendations in lifestyle, exercise, and emotional health. While changes in habits are not a pre-requisite for treatment, client’s active participation in implementing these recommendations can greatly enhance treatment results beyond the treatment visit, allowing clients to go longer between sessions and helping cultivate long-term better health. This type of treatment, conducted through simple TCM consultation and assessment, is particularly useful for:  pregnant women, people with skin disorders, chronic pain, or chronic, complicated, still unknown-caused illnesses where long-term health is a consideration. For more information on dietary therapy, read the article on Using the 5 Flavours to Meet Your Body’s Needs. All information herein provided is for educational use only and is not meant to substitute for in-person advice of a qualified health professional. Whereas western medicine uses modern drugs to treat diseases, traditional Chinese medicine uses herbal medicines to cure illness. The Chinese pharmacy is a large chest of drawers, mostly wooden, containing hundreds of herbs.
Nowadays, traditional Chinese medicine is regaining its former importance, both in China and abroad. The practice of acupuncture is centuries old and it is practiced as part of many different medical systems – its isn’t just the Chinese who have traditionally done  it! For the UK alone, The National Collaborating Centre for Women’s and Children’s Health estimate one in seven couples (1) have problems with infertility at some point.
TCM has been practiced in the West from small beginnings in the 1970s growing to the extent where many European and American cities and even small towns have TCM clinics in many neighbourhoods. TCM has a long history of seeing patients with male and female infertility problems, indeed for much of China’s long history, it was the official healthcare system. Much media focuses attention on recent interest in Traditional Chinese Medicine for female subfertility, whether on its own or combined with modern reproductive medicine such as IVF.  However, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) also has a long history of seeing patients with male reproductive medical needs.
TCM practitioners seeing male patients with difficulty starting or adding to their family frequently offer acupuncture. In the West less standard scientific format research appears readily available for the men than the women into acupuncture or Chinese herbal interventions, although many case studies exist, especially of course in China itself. Recently, the media has picked up on success stories and interest in combining In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) reproductive medicine with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) acupuncture. Whilst there appears to be a way to go before TCM can be evaluated to satisfy science in the West, the safest conclusion is probably this does not automatically mean the treatment never works. About MeDaniel J Clarke blogs on acupuncture with contributions from his friends (See About The Authors). Copyright © 2007 Can Acupuncture Really Help People With Difficulty Starting A Pregnancy? Other Common Names: Chinese angelica, female ginseng, dang gui (Chinese), toki (Japanese), tanggwi (Korean), Chinesische Engelwurz (German), kinesisk angelikarot (Swedish).
Description: Dong quai is a member of the Umbelliferae family and is a fragrant perennial plant which can grow up to 2 meters tall, and produces white flowers in early summer. It is considered in traditional Chinese medicine to have a warm nature and a sweet, acrid, and bitter taste. The key components of dong quai are n-butylidenephalide, ligustilide, n-butylphthalide, ferulic acid, nicotinic acid and succinic acid.
Chinese herbalists have used dong quai for thousands of years to strengthen heart, lung and liver meridians and today it is widely used by Chinese families as a tonic and spice. Based on traditional use it is thought to be useful for pre menstrual syndrome (PMS) specifically lack of bleeding, painful periods, menstrual cramps and menstrual migraine.

Dong quai has also been used traditionally for recovery from childbirth and related ailments, fatigue and low vitality. The herb is thought to contain natural hormones (oestrogens) and has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes.
Dong quai, often in combination with other herbs, is believed to be of benefit for verity of women’s health issues such as menopause and problematic periods. It is suggested that it may be useful for natural treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
The Medicinal Herb Dong Quai (Angelica sinensis)The root of Angelica sinensis contains active compounds that increase the cardiac rest period between heartbeats and relax blood pressure inside the arteries which in turn helps to increase blood flow. Animal testing indicates that dong quai reduces the formation of plaque in the blood vessel walls and the herb could therefore be relevant as a preventive agent against atherosclerosis, angina pectoris, myocardial infarction (heart attack) and hypertension.
Preliminary results from research conducted on animals suggests that dong quai may have strong tumor inhibitory and immune-enhancing effects. Tea in the form of extraction or decoction to treat anemia and for poor blood circulation: one cup 2 or 3 times daily. Dong quai contains osthole and ferulic acid which may inhibit platelet aggregation and thus should not be taken with anticoagulants and drugs that increase the risk of bleeding.
About Latest Posts Follow MeThordur SturlusonA biologist, zoologist, scuba-diver, blogger and aspiring herbalist with interest in nature conservation, animal protection, herbal medicine and medicinal plants. Ling prescribes are customized formulas, or modifications of time-tested formulas that have been used for centuries.  Formulas are designed to treat the exact phase of the client’s condition, taking into consideration the person’s relative strength or weakness to maximize the chance for health success.
Ling delivers herbs as granulated herbal extracts, which are highly concentrated powdered extracts.
Ling is dietary, or nutritional therapy, an adjunct treatment therapy.  She provides detailed suggestions on which foods, food herbs, kitchen spices, teas, and methods of cooking are best for clients based on the conditions and TCM patterns they present with.
Totally different from the principle of western medicine, theories of tradition Chinese medicine are concerned with an emphasis on balance throughout the whole body. Hundreds of ancient herbal medicines, including iron for anemia, mercury for syphilis, arsenic for skin disease, and opium, are still used in traditional Chinese medicine.
Both western medical care and traditional Chinese style care exist in China, although the western medicine system seems dominant.
However, this site exploresTraditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), as it is perhaps the most famous and widely practiced of the acupuncture traditions in the Western world.
Whilst the practice may perhaps have been viewed in the 1970’s and 1908’s as more esoteric, or even as weird, wacky nonsense, it has gradually shaken off its negative press and replaced it with a more medical reputation.  Centuries old it may be, but in modern China it is practiced alongside modern medicine, in the same hospital, run by the state, with white coats and stethoscopes rather than perhaps the ‘smells and bells’ fondly imagined by romantically minded westerners in the 1970’s. Click on the links to explore how acupuncture is used with male and female subfertility patients and how acupuncture is used with IVF. Some practitioners are able to offer additionally Chinese herbal medicine alongside it.  It is impossible to adequately discuss the TCM medical theory in depth here, but broadly speaking a brief outline may be useful. A notable 2005 study by an international team in Germany and Italy included 40 men who had a 2 year history without the desired pregnancy with their partners. In considering this issue, some interesting, and sometimes confusing information comes to light. One drawback is randomised controlled double-blind trials (RCTs) employed within modern orthodox medicine often group patients together by its own diagnosis, then treat them in a standardised way regardless of the TCM diagnosis. It is interesting to remember there are also practices within modern conventional medicine which are not fully understood. In China it has been cultivable for more than 1500 years, mostly in the southern and western parts of the country.
Dong quai is typically found growing in damp mountain ravines, meadows, river banks, and near the sea. There are also significant amounts of vitamin A, carotenoids, vitamins B12, Vitamin E, ascorbic acid, folinic acid, biotin, various phytosterols, calcium and magnesium. It is a very popular herb in China and the only other herb in Chinese herbal medicine that is more used is Chinese licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis). Dong quai may reduce spasms in the smooth muscles around the arteries which could help improve blood flow to the veins. These effects are believed to be due to the substances coumarins and ferulic acid found in the root. The polysaccharides found in the root might be able to increase the ability of the natural killer cells and other immune cells to destroy tumors. Throughout ages, people seeking healing have often turned to herbal medicine that include the use of plants and plant products.

Large public hospitals in cities across the country offer both traditional Chinese and Western approaches to medical treatment. One third of China’s outpatients appointments use TCM (that’s 1.3 billion treatments in 2008), offered often as well as modern conventional medicine by 49% of China’s doctors (4).
TCM characterises health as the times when the body’s Qi flows smoothly, in the correct order, without any impediments or erratic movements. All men were diagnosed using modern medicine as experiencing “idiopathic infertility” due to oligospermia (low sperm density), asthenospermia (difficulties in sperm motility) or teratozoospermia (difficulties in sperm shape and structure).
In the case of persons seeking therapy using Traditional Chinese Medicine, this information cannot be taken as medical advice and persons are advised instead to consult a suitably qualified professional practitioner. Another clinical trial [9] found no significant effects, but suggested that their study may have been ‘under-powered’ (meaning not conducted on a large enough scale).
Any woman considering TCM acupuncture for this issue is best advised to visit a practitioner with adequate training, hygienic practice and a willingness to answer any question she may have. Researchers continue to study the potential of the herb as a treatment for cancer and HIV (AIDS).
The herb has antibacterial effect and may be helpful to suppress the growth of various bacteria like hemolytic streptococcus, Bacillus typhi, Bacillus dysentricae and Bacillus choleraei. In the process of a treatment, the diagnose procedure involves four steps: observing, listening, and smelling, inquiring, and palpating. Before the advent of industrial prepared medicines, herbal remedies were commonly prescribed and their effectiveness is now being rediscovered by many practitioners.
But Chinese physicians claim that herbal medicines do not have side effects and can be used as dietary supplement. Those whose medical condition is less serious or urgent, are more likely to seek a doctor who practices traditional methods, and who can better restore long-term harmony to their body.
International Estimates of Infertility Prevalence and Treatment-Seeking: Potential Need and Demand for Infertility Medical Care. Qi which is imbalanced would be encouraged back into a more regulated state to encourage the body towards regaining health by healing itself. These conditions can be said to be very common among male patients seeking help to conceive. Professional associations representing TCM practitioners in the UK include The Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine (UK), the  British Acupuncture Council and the Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine.
It contains a group of compounds called psoralens which can increase sensitivity in the sun. 28 received acupuncture twice a week for 5 weeks, compared to 12 who did not as a control group. Quantitative evaluation of spermatatozoa ultrastructure after acupuncture treatment for idiopathic male infertility. Reduction of blood flow impedance in the uterine arteries of infertile women with electro-acupuncture’.
The special methods of treatment also include acupuncture and moxibustion, breathing therapy and medical massage.
The study found acupuncture resulted in a general improvement in sperm quality and suggested its use alone or alongside assisted reproduction technology (1). With its unique theoretical frame work, diagnostic methods and abundance of historical literary materials, traditional Chinese medicine claims its place as an integral part of the medical sciences of the world. In modern use, many TCM practitioners do also interpret modern medical findings but within a TCM theoritical framework – again, being unlikely to use the same protocol for every case.
It is worth remembering that some areas of conventional modern medicine are better studied and understood than others. Acupuncture often can’t attract the large budgets for research common for modern pharmaceutical drugs. This may be part of the explanation of why although it is widely used in the East, it is not as conventionally accepted in the West, as Western physicians may struggle to locate locally acceptable scientific resources on clinical uses. Any man considering TCM is best placed to consult a qualified practitioner, and not hesitate to enquire of their training, qualifications and professional memberships.

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