In this issue you will find:
- Important PCOM Dates
- Traditional Chinese Medicine Can Help Adrenal Fatigue
- Natural Immunity Boosts
- Studies Indicate Acupuncture Can Improve Memory and Learning Capacity
- Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day
December 1st: (Tuesday) New York Open House
December 7th: (Monday) Chicago Open House
January 21st: (Thursday) New York Open House
Adrenal fatigue often occurs when people are stressed out at work or home. During periods of excessive stress, our adrenal glands become overworked and produce excess levels of cortisol in response to the body's fight or flight response. This prevents the adrenal glands from producing other hormones we need.
So how does one know if they have adrenal fatigue? The symptoms include listlessness and lack of energy, especially in the morning. People suffering from adrenal fatigue also like to take afternoon naps to "recharge their batteries." They always seem to lack the energy they need to perform the daily tasks of living. And they frequently crave foods high in carbohydrates, sugar and caffeine. Another symptom of adrenal fatigue is that sufferers just can't seem to get enough sleep. For some reason, adrenal fatigue typically occurs more often in women than men. Some studies show that adrenal fatigue may even be linked to fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism.
Traditional Chinese medicine regards adrenal fatigue as a deficiency in the kidneys. Initial treatments usually begin with the Kidney Yin building herbs--such as Rehmannia root--which should be taken for a period of 60 to 120 days. Follow up treatments include the Kidney Yang tonics. Among these are Fenugreek, a warm, bitter and aromatic seed that can be prepared as a gruel with milk or tea; Damiana, spicy leaves combined with cinnamon, dried ginger and lemon peel; and Ashwaganda, a bittersweet powder used to improve sleep and clear the stressed mind (mix a teaspoon of the powder in heated raw milk and drink daily).
Changing one's diet can have a significant impact on reducing the symptoms of adrenal fatigue. In particular, changing when and how much one eats during the day can produce some positive results. Instead of eating three big meals per day, small meals spaced out more frequently during the day can help. One should also eat foods that nurture the kidney. These include pork, sprouts, eggs, beans, barley, sardines, cheese and blueberries. Other foods that may help one's kidney yin deficiency include kidney beans, black sesame seeds, walnuts, asparagus, sweet potato, string beans, celery, parsley, grapes and plums. In addition, one should consider avoiding heavily sugared sodas, alcohol, and highly salted foods. Smokers should try to stop or at least cut down on their intake of tobacco. And by all means, stress and other emotional strains should be avoided, if possible.
Acupuncture can also help suffers of adrenal fatigue. TCM practitioners will stimulate key points associated with the kidney. In some cases, acupressure may be self-applied just inside the ankle between the medial malleolus and the Achilles tendon. One should massage the area in a clockwise motion for five minutes on each side of the foot and repeat daily for best results.
For centuries, herbs and spices have been used in food and as medicine. Ranging from mint tea to common ingredients in pharmaceutical drugs, herbs play an important part of our everyday life.
The increased use of medicinal herbs among the general public has encouraged further examination of herbs’ effects upon humans. Recently, much research has focused upon certain herbs that possess hypolipidemic, antiplatelet, antitumor, or immune-stimulating properties, which may be useful in preventing colds, avoiding infection, and even reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. A wide variety of phytochemicals in these herbs has been identified which contain these immune system-stimulating properties.
Astragalus, Echinacea, Ginseng, licorice, and green tea are among those herbs that play a role in providing antioxidants, stimulating the activity of protective enzymes in the body, or inhibiting nitrosation (a class of chemical compounds considered carcinogenic, or “cancer-causing”). Many of these herbs contain potent antioxidant compounds that provide significant protection against chronic diseases. The volatile essential oils of commonly used culinary herbs, spices, and herbal teas inhibit mevalonate synthesis and thereby suppress cholesterol synthesis and tumor growth.
The most popular herbal remedy for promoting immunity, Echinacea, was first used by the North American Plains Indians to ward off infections. Echinacea increases the activity of the immune system in a non-specific manner, stimulating the overall activity of the cells responsible for fighting all kinds of infection. In contrast to antibiotics, Echinacea make our cells more efficient at attacking viruses, bacteria and abnormal cells – including cancer cells.
Echinacea has long been used to promote mucosal immunity in treating upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) in children and adults. Researchers at Elmhurst College examined the effects of Echinacea on mucosal immunity and the incidence of duration of URTI. This 2007 study yielded positive results: “Echinacea may attenuate the mucosal immune suppression known to occur with intense exercise and reduce the duration of URTI that subjects incur.”
In 2007, researchers at Emory University in Atlanta researched the use of alternative medicine on HIV-positive women. The use of complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) to treat chronic illness, especially HIV, is becoming increasingly widespread. Their findings showed that many people suffering from HIV are incorporating complimentary and alternative medicine – including the use of herbs – as an alternative to prescribed antiretroviral regimens (HAART).
Over 80% of the world’s population depends upon plants for health and healing. While much of the world relies heavily on pharmaceuticals (most notably in the United States and Europe), the root of health and healing may rely upon these ancient remedies.
For more information on herbs and health, visit an acupuncturist, practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) or nutritionist for a thorough consultation of your herbal needs.
Studies Indicate Acupuncture Can Improve Memory and Learning Capacity
The key modalities of TCM are mainly designed to do one thing – restore the flow of qi, or “vital energy.” Interestingly enough, these modalities such as acupuncture, are proving to be effective when studied in the treatment of diseases or conditions that allopathic (Western) medicine recognizes as being due to blockages of some sort.
Case in point, a very recent study showed that acupuncture can be very helpful in improving decreased learning and memory capacity, when such loss is associated with cerebral ischemia – or decreased blood flow, to the brain.
The study was published in 2008 in the medical journal Neuroscience Letters, and investigated the efficacy of electro acupuncture. In electro acupuncture a very minute electric current is introduced into the needles. The study was conducted using rats whose memory and cognitive functions were impaired by the hyperglycemic and decreased circulatory effects of diabetes resulting in cerebral ischemia. In such studies memory and learning ability is measured in terms of long-term potentiation, or LTP. LTP is defined as the ability of two adjacent neurons to communicate with each other; it is LTP that is impaired in cerebral ischemia and other related cognitive disorders.
In the study, after stimulation via electro acupuncture, significant LTP was restored in the diabetic rats. These results indicate that electro acupuncture can be effective in restoring memory and learning capacity in conditions such as cerebral ischemia, where impaired LTP is a factor.
In a related study, standard acupuncture techniques have also been shown to help with certain specific memory syndromes, most notably, what is colloquially referred to as “post-menopausal brain fog.” During perimenopause and menopause many women report memory loss, which often continues after menopause. Western medicine attributes this “brain fog” to estrogen’s role in stimulating the brains production of acetylcholine, which is a chemical related to rapid recall. This particular study and others published in the Journal of Chinese Medicine have shown acupuncture’s ability to promote the production of estrogens, and ease many of the symptoms of menopause including osteoporosis, and presumably estrogen related memory loss.
The studies suggested that “acupuncture at shenshu plus a point of the lower conception vessel may aid endocrine function and normalize hormone levels, while the governing vessel points on the neck (at GV-16) and head (at GV-20) may specifically augment the treatment effects for improving mental function.”
Studies such as these provide evidence-based verification that TCM modalities can be helpful in preventing and/or treating Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions of age related memory loss.
“He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.”