Long before the advent of Western medicine, Chinese medicine has already reached its Golden Age. These days, illnesses such as diabetes, cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc. rely on blood tests and sophisticated scientific instruments for monitoring and detection. Can Chinese herbal wisdom be used to treat these ailments? Do hundreds of year old natural remedies have a role to play? If the herbalist knows how, of course, the answer is yes. Although it may not be a direct and easy way, nature always provides us with the things we need.
We will attempt to explain how the transformation can be done. With his keen knowledge of herbs, the herbalist needs to make use good reasoning and superior skills to make the herbs work in the modern world. This may necessitate a knowledge of the nature of the illness, and equally important, the adaptation and cultural background of Chinese medicine. Let us use the following examples:
People during old times did not have the luxury of indoor plumbing – there were no flushing toilets at that time and excrements and urines were gathered and picked up every morning from each home and converted into fertilizers. People always saw ants around their urine containers in some homes of people with diabetes. This gave rise to the term “sugar urine” because everybody knew ants loved sugar. Eventually, people were able to identify people with diabetes and their symptoms. The cause or causes of diabetes, however, was still vaguely understood save for it being associated with issues in the kidneys and to sugar.
The Chinese herbal plan of treatment for diabetes is to regulate the water content, increase blood flow, burn off the excess sugar, nourish the blood, and reinforce the kidneys, since diabetes means sugar content in the urine.
Recently discovered by modern scientific methods, cholesterol is a substance in the body that has no equivalent in classical Chinese medicine in Cleveland. Without the benefit of blood tests, the Chinese could not have possibly known that cholesterol existed in the body at that time. This is the reason there is no herb for cholesterol in the dictionaries of herbs, except in advertising and rumors. Presently, has there been any lab test that can verify an herb for cholesterol?
The appropriate plan of treatment for cholesterol is to strengthen the liver and the stomach with the correct herbs so that cholesterol can be more effectively broken down and pushed out of the body since most cholesterol is derived from fat and the food we eat. This strategy depends on certain herbs and a couple of major organs to do the work.
High Blood Pressure
Nowadays, a person’s blood pressure can be easily measured with a simple modern instrument. During ancient time, people depended on the feeling of a “swollen head” or a “rushing pulse” which were very unreliable. The reality that high blood pressure can quickly lead to a stroke was not well understood. This is the reason the Chinese has the term “shong feng”, which literally means being stricken by the wind. This means that during ancient times, the Chinese weren’t sure about what caused a stroke. Using the wind factor to denote a stroke was not only highly inaccurate, it was puzzling and convenient as well.
The aim of high blood pressure herbal therapy is to regulate water in the blood, boost blood flow, and relax the body especially the liver. There are various herbs for application when the right plan has been defined this way.
Around 200 A.D., the notion of contagious disease was first discussed. Unfortunately, the concept of the flu virus never arose in classical Chinese medicine without the help of the microscope, which was invented much later. “Gan mao”, which means catching something dangerous is the Chinese term for flu.
For a long time, the Chinese were able to understand the flu quite well by carefully observing the symptoms and of the disease even without being aware of the existence of the flu virus. They were also able to devise a plan of treatment for the disease, which has shown to be extremely effective. By removing all the “disease poisons” from the body, Chinese herbal therapy for cough and flu can help people get well within a few days. In comparison, Western medicine solely relies on antibiotics to destroy the flu virus. We all are in agreement that the body has the ability to kill the virus because of our powerful immune system. Should we aid the body in killing the virus or should we destroy the virus for the body? It all depends on the kind of treatment plan you want to take.