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Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - September 2006 | Issue 28

In this issue you will find: Important PCOM Dates
  • September 26 – New York Open House
  • September 30 – San Diego Open House
  • October 28 – Chicago Fall Open House

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Tea Benefits for Transplanted Liver

The liver has multiple functions such as creating bile for digesting fats, storing glycogen for conversion to glucose, and secreting enzymes that aid in digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and proteins.  A healthy liver is essential to maintaining health and living a long life. 

The most common causes of liver breakdown are excessive alcohol intake, overeating, and poor diet (one high in complex sugars and fats).  These things accompanied by a sedentary lifestyle can also harm the liver because when the liver’s capacity to store energy is exhausted it begins to change the glycogen (converted food energy) into fat for storage.  A fatty liver or hepatic steatosis is the most common reason a person needs a liver transplant.  The liver becomes so clogged with fat that blood, bile, and other excretions can no longer flow freely through it and normal function stagnates becoming self destructive.   

Recently scientists have been testing the efficacy of using tea, especially green tea, in reducing the number of liver transplant rejections.  Specifically scientists are putting their attention on the polyphenols and anit-oxidants in green tea in an effort to discover if they have an effect on the scavenging of liver free radicals that react with fat cells such as those associated with high cholesterol, and if they improve circulation necessary for creating healthy liver grafts. 

Many donated livers are from accident victims, and many of these accidents are ones in which the benefactor was under the influence of alcohol.  The likelihood of a donor recipient accepting a healthy liver is only about 75%, and there is a far lower success rate for fatty/alcoholic livers.  If blood can not move freely through the transplanted liver it will not be afforded the necessary nutrients to heal and graft properly.  However, as the waiting list for liver transplants is so long, and one fifth of Americans suffer from fatty liver, compromised livers are being used in transplant surgeries.

In a study conducted on rats by Zhi Zong PhD at North Carolina Chapel Hill, it was shown that soaking fatty livers in a green tea solution prior to transplant greatly increased the success and acceptance rate of the transplant.  The green tea is thought to give rise to hepatic energy stores (glycogen in liver) and help activate the living tissue in the liver.  There is a definite adjustment period for donated livers that can vary greatly between individual recipients and can sometimes last for months, even years.  The tea is thought to act as a crutch for the body when it comes to integrating and revitalizing inert liver tissue so the body can maintain natural function.  EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) is the anti-oxidant found in green tea scientists believe is responsible for this process.  Some of its attributes are it protects against digestive and respiratory disorders, blocks actions of carcinogens, is anti-bacterial, helps lower cholesterol, increases fat metabolism, and it stimulates the immune system.  In EGCG rats, fatty liver content was reduced by up to 55% and there was a higher acceptance rate of transplant and production of healthy grafts.

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Acupuncture for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders

The word functional disorder refers to a disease or disorder when a body part functions in an abnormal manner. The Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders affects many people around the globe of different age groups, and of all genders. Western physicians have accounted that Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders are the most common illness found in most individuals in primary care or gastroenterology.

The most common Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders include the following:
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Dyspepsia
Constipation
Diarrhea
Pelvic Floor pain
Abdominal bloating
Biliary disorders
Esophageal disorders and GERD

Causes of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders are not found through a blood test or x-ray, but are identified based on the symptoms.   As there is no little understanding to these types of disorders, Western medicine uses drug and nutritional therapy to provide relief for the discomfort.  However, as each set of symptoms is different, it may take several different drug combinations, before a patient finds complete relief. One alternative therapy to help alleviate symptoms is acupuncture. Practitioners and patients around the world have successfully been using acupuncture to treat Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders for years.

Acupuncture is defined as a technique to insert and manipulate the needles in the acupuncture points on the body. This helps in curing the gastrointestinal problems and helps in healing the pain. Patients suffering from gastrointestinal disorders find acupuncture effective because it revises the acid secretion, GI motility, and visceral pain. When you apply acupuncture to the lower limbs it causes muscle contractions through the somatoparasympathetic pathway. Additionally, when you apply Acupuncture to the upper abdomen, it causes the muscle relaxation via the somatosympathetic pathway.

Acupuncture is based on the theory that there are patterns of energy flow through the body that are essential for health. Disruptions of this flow are believed to be responsible for the Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders. Acupuncture helps correct this disruption in flow at identifiable points close to the skin. Acupuncture also helps to focus on a holistic, energy based approach to the patient rather than a disease - orientated diagnostic and treatment model. There have been various studies on human beings as well as animals to indicate the fact that Acupuncture causes the multiple biological responses. These multiple responses can occur at various places such as close to the site of application, at a distance, or mediated mainly by sensory neurons to many structures within the central nervous system. This helps to activate the pathways affecting various physiological systems in the brain. Additionally, Acupuncture may also activate the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, which results in a broad spectrum of systemic effects.

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Herb of the Month -- SALVIA OFFICINALIS - RED SAGE / SAGE

The Common Sage can have white, greenish-grey or purplish-red leaves. Often, Sage products and preparations refer to, or contain 'Red Sage'. This is not a different species, it is still Common Sage, but the plants with purplish-red leaves have been used. According to medical herbalists, the red leaf sage is the preferred medicinal variety.

From at least as far back as the Middle Ages, Sage has been documented as a 'cure-all' with references to longevity in folk medicine.  Commercially, Sage has always been very popular for culinary use, with its very strong, distinctive taste and aroma. In more recent years Sage has become increasingly popular for its therapeutic use, especially with symptoms associated with the menopause.

USES OF RED SAGE
Research has suggested that the presence of volatile oil in Sage is largely responsible for most of its therapeutic properties, especially its antiseptic, astringent and relaxing actions. This also gives Sage an oestrogenic action which is partly responsible for hormonal effects, such as reducing breast-milk production.  In Chinese medicine, Sage is a 'Yin' (female) tonic with a reputation for supporting the Nervous System. Like all aromatic/culinary herbs, Sage can soothe the Digestive Tract.

HORMONES - Red Sage can;
   * Improve irregular and scanty periods
   * Promote stronger menstrual flow
   * Reduce sweating, especially during the menopause
   * Reduce hot flushes and generally help the body to adjust to
     hormonal changes

GENERALLY - Red Sage;
   * Relieves sore throats, taken internally and used as a very
     effective gargle
   * Encourages the healing process, especially for mouth ulcers,
     sore gums and external wounds in general
   * Aids digestion. Sage acts as a digestive tonic helping to
     stimulate or soothe the Digestive Tract
   * As a Nerve tonic, helps to both calm and stimulate the
     Nervous System
   * Is useful for stings and bites, especially if the fresh
     leaves are rubbed onto the affected area
   * Was traditionally used to help asthma; the dried leaves are
     often used in herbal smoking mixtures
   * Can alleviate mild diarrhoea, because of its astringent
     (drying) properties

DOSAGE
Infusion: Half - 1 teaspoon dried herb to each cup boiling water, infuse 15 minutes. Use 1 cup three times daily or used as a gargle and mouthwash as often as required.
Tincture: 30-60 drops, in water or juice three times daily.
Fluid Extract: 15-30 drops, in water or juice three times daily.
Capsules: Powdered herb min 325mg, 1-4 capsules three times daily.
Or follow the instructions on any proprietary pack of a Red Sage
product being used.

COMBINATIONS
Like all herbal products, Red Sage can be found with other herbs in combination products. For example, Echinacea and Myrrh may be combined with Red Sage in a gargle mixture to enhance its healing properties. Or, it may be combined with other 'female' herbs known to assist with symptoms of the menopause, such as, Agnus Castus or Wild Yam.

Find a product which works for you - either the single herb or a combination of herbs - and continue for a full course of treatment.

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

“If you breathe partially, you live partially”

-- Unknown