Five Acupuncture Points for Summer

Summer is a season of abundant energy and light, long days, pool parties, ice cream and lemonade. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recognizes summer as the time of year that has the utmost yang and therefore the element associated with summer is fire. In TCM, there are specific energetic pathways related to each season and element. For the season of summer, the heart and small intestine are the connected pathways. continue reading »

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Seven Ways Acupuncture Can Help Men’s Health

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a complete medical system that has been around for nearly 3,000 years. It combines nutrition, herbs, acupuncture and other modalities to help keep the body functioning properly, while also treating any ailments that might occur. TCM has been used to treat both men and women, regardless of their age, and TCM is frequently becoming the medical choice for those who prefer to use holistic forms of medicine to heal themselves. continue reading »

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TCM and Libido in Men

If your love life is lackluster, have you considered Traditional Chinese medicine to help a sagging libido? Acupuncture and herbal formulas may just be the ticket to improve your sex life and reignite your fire. continue reading »

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Why You Should Get Regular Acupuncture Treatments

Everybody knows you should see your family physician at least once a year and your dentist at least twice a year. But not everybody knows about acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine and the many benefits it can provide for you. If you start incorporating acupuncture into your health and wellness regime, you may not have to rely on the family physician so much for those minor little issues. Let’s look at how getting regular acupuncture treatments can help you stay happy and healthy. continue reading »

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Acupuncture and TCM for Sprains and Strains

We’ve all heard of and maybe even experienced a sprain or a strain. But do you really know the difference? A sprain is defined as a stretch or tear of a ligament. A strain, on the other hand, is defined as an injury to a muscle or tendon. Sprains can result from a fall, a sudden twist or a blow to the body that forces a joint out of place, while a strain can happen from twisting or pulling a muscle or tendon. continue reading »

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Herbal Tonics for Allergies

An allergy occurs when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance, called an allergen.  This could be anything from something you inhale to something you touch to something you eat.  An allergic reaction may cause sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, a running nose, a sore throat and rashes. In severe cases, allergic reactions can induce something known as anaphylactic shock, which can actually be deadly. continue reading »

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Five Reasons to Get Acupuncture for Allergies

Allergies, seasonal or otherwise, is one of the biggest health issues people deal with in the United States. And the numbers are rising every year. Part of this is because our agricultural practices have changed drastically in the past 40 years and our bodies are not accustomed to dealing with genetically modified foods or the excessive amounts of pesticides now being put in and on our food. We are also being over-medicated with antibiotics used in livestock we eat and that we are prescribed by our own doctors. This has created superbugs like MRSA that no longer responding to antibiotics. Our immune systems just can’t keep up. So every year, the number of people experiencing allergies is increasing. continue reading »

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Diabetic Nephropathy

Diabetes mellitus is a disorder of carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism due to absolute insulin deficiency or resistance of body tissues to the circulating insulin. It’s characterized by chronic hyperglycemia with many complications which may be acute or chronic. One of the chronic complications of diabetic mellitus is damage to the kidneys, a condition known as diabetic nephropathy. Significant number of patients with diabetic nephropathy (20–40% of diabetic patients) progress to end-stage kidney failure with the need for dialysis or kidney transplantation.1

The presence of protein in the urine at a level known as microalbuminuria in a patient with diabetes mellitus signifies the presence of diabetic nephropathy. Diabetic nephropathy is the leading cause of end-stage kidney failure globally.2This is one of the causes of mortality among diabetic patients.

Persistent presence of protein in the urine results in damage to renal tubules. Some medications for blood pressure have been demonstrated to reduce albuminuria and delay the progression of diabetic nephropathy and are therefore the mainstay in the management of diabetic nephropathy.2Nevertheless, many diabetic patients still end up with end-stage kidney failure. This is a pointer to other possible mechanisms of kidney damage apart from those blocked by these medications.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been widely used to treat and control diabetes and its complications such as diabetic nephropathy in many scientific researches.1 TCM has advantages over the conventional medical approaches in the prevention of diabetic complications because of less toxicity and/or side effects.1 These preparations are available in capsules, pills and decoction. While some contain single agent, others are combinations of two or more substances. Some of the TCM that have shown potential benefits are as follows:

  • Chaihuang Yishen granule (CHYS) is a combination of more than one substance and has shown potential therapeutic benefit in rats with diabetic nephropathy by preventing renal fibrosis.
  • Compound Rhizoma Coptidis Capsule (CRCC) composed of rhizoma coptidis, Kudzu root, dwarf lilyturf, and Loquat leaf. CRCC has demonstrated renal protective effects by slowing down the progression of DN in rat specimens.
  • Danggui buxue tang (DBT) slows the progression of diabetic nephropathy. In addition, it lowers the blood glucose and triglyceride.
  • Danggui Shaoyao San (DSS) contains six herbal substances. It prevents glomerular damage and affords a good blood sugar control in animal studies.
  • Hachimijiogan (HJG) is a popular herbal medicine in Japan with ability to reduce blood sugar and protein excretion in diabetic nephropathy. It may slow down the progression of kidney damage in diabetic patients by blocking the processes that are involved in diabetic nephropathy.

Other preparations that have shown benefits in diabetic nephropathy in animal studies include Fufang Xue Shuan Tong (FXST), Hachimijiogan (HJG), Hu-Lu-Ba-Wan (HLBW), Liuwei Dihuang Pill (LDP), Oryeongsan (Wulingsan), Oryeongsan (Wulingsan), Qizhi Jiangtang Capsule, Qiwei Granule (QWG), Shenkangwan (SKW), etc.

In a review of different studies on the effect of Chinese herbal medicine (CHM) on the level of protein in the urine in patients with diabetic nephropathy, Xiao et al. reviewed a total of 29 studies. As many as 84 different kinds of herbs were included in 29 herbal preparations.

One of the studies reviewed by Xiao et al. tested Arctiin compared with placebo (a drug that doesn’t contain any active ingredient) in patients with diabetic nephropathy. Arctiin, after two months of treatment, showed significant improvement reduction in protein excretio.2

Fourteen (14) different CHM were compared with blood pressure medications. The rates of protein/albumin excretion were assessed. Ten (10) trials reported significant improvement in the amount of protein in the urine after treatment with CHM compared with those treated with blood pressure medications. CHM showed significant improvement in proteinuria compared with blood pressure medications in 8 studies.2

Some studies also review Chinese Herbal Medicine plus blood pressure medications versus Placebo plus blood pressure medications. Silymarin and standard treatment showed significant improvement in the change of urinary albumin-creatinine ratio from baseline compared with placebo plus drugs. Turmeric plus medications showed significant improvement in the change of protein-creatinine ratio and proteinuria from baseline compared with placebo combined with medications.2

Seven studies reported no adverse effects during treatment while eight trials reported non-serious adverse events. Some of these include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and loose stools after taking Arctiin granule. These symptoms could be tolerated by patients. Overall, no serious adverse event was reported by any of the studies.

With rising incidence of diabetes mellitus, the number of people with diabetic nephropathy will continue to rise. Some blood pressure medications have been known to reduce the rate of protein excretion in diabetic patients but the percentage of diabetic patients with end-stage kidney failure is still rising. Thus, there is need for CHM either in combination with the above medications or as singular agent for the management of diabetic nephropathy.

References

  1. Sun G, Li C, Cui W, et al. Review of Herbal Traditional Chinese Medicine for the Treatment of Diabetic Nephropathy. Journal of Diabetes Research, 2016, 1-18. doi:10.1155/2016/5749857
  2. Xiao Y, Liu Y, Yu K. et al. The Effect of Chinese Herbal Medicine on Albuminuria Levels in Patients with Diabetic Nephropathy: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2013, 1-11. doi:10.1155/2013/937549

 

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Five Acupuncture Points for Spring

Spring is the season of growth, regeneration, increased activity and new beginnings. During the season of spring, people experience many changes. Allergies, high blood pressure, headaches, sinus pain and congestion, anger, irritation and tendon problems are just some of the issues common to the spring months. Many of these problems can be attributed to increased wind in the environment. And while there is nothing that can be done about external wind, internal wind can be addressed and diminished using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and the many modalities it incorporates. continue reading »

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Mental/Emotional Aspects of The Heart

The major responsibility of the heart in TCM is housing the mind and controlling the shen. “Shen” can be seen as the overall healthiness of the mind. When you look at a healthy person in good spirits, you know how you can see that in their eyes? There is a certain bright clarity and sense of health that shines from within. We acupuncturists would say that this person has good shen. continue reading »

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