Shingles Treated the Chinese Way

by Paul Lin

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) can offer a wide range of modalities for the treatment of Shingles. This includes, but is not limited to, using internal and topical herbs, moxibustion, acupuncture, cupping, and bleeding, or any combination of these different modalities.

• Internal herbs: Because of individual differences and the variations of this condition, Shingles can be differentiated into as many as 15 patterns according to Chinese medicine theory. The main causes of this condition are “Fire,” “Heat,” and “Damp.” The main organs involved are liver and gall bladder, but heart and spleen can sometimes be involved too. The most common pattern is “damp heat resides in the liver/ gall bladder meridians.” To treat this pattern, practitioners of TCM most often use or modify the classic formula known as “Long Dan Xie Gan Tang.” Its main ingredient is Chinese Gentian root among nine other herbs. In my experience, Valtrex might be able to reduce the sores; it does not always address the underlying pattern – damp heat. As long as there are still signs of damp heat, this formula can still be used.

• Topical herbs: Xiong Huang (Realgar) and Ming Fan (Alum) are the main substances for this application and might be enough by itself, if treated in the early stage (within 1-2 days) of Shingles.

• Moxibustion: This method uses Ai-Ye (Mugwort leaf) moxa stick ember heat to warm the local infected area, to release toxins. One classic text of Chinese medicine, Yi Zong Jin Jian, emphasizes that one should always apply this method in case of infection, within seven days.

• Acupuncture: With this method, 4-15 disposable needles are inserted from both sides (1 cm away) of the sores diagonally (15 degree) towards the other side, in a square or cross fashion to circle the infected area. The idea is to invigorate the blood locally, regulate the flow of Qi, and prevent further spreading of the infection. Electrical current is sometimes applied to the needles to reduce the pain or to the area where needle manipulation is difficult. Depending on the pattern differentiation, other body points are selected as well: LI4, LI11, GB20, GB34, TB5, TB6, ST36, ST40, Liv 13, Liv14, Sp6, Sp10.

• Cupping/Bleeding: One study (55 people) shows that bleeding the inner and outer corners of thumb and big toe nails can be very effective. One study (36 people) uses needles to poke the sores then uses a vacuum cup on top for 10-15 minutes. Another study (110 people) uses fire cupping without breaking the sores. They all seem to yield good results.

Wonder Berries

As age affects us all, Dennis Steinke realized he was feeling it too soon. His fingers felt stiff in the mornings — to the point where he could barely uncurl his hands without pain. Then he found Goji berries and things started to improve. A lot. Every morning he takes one ounce of dried berries, plumps them up in 16 ounces of water, blends them up in the blender and drinks two ounces of the juice. (Making your own juice that has the entire berry and all of it’s benefits is a more economical way to partake of this little super food.) Goji Berries are great for our joints because they contain Beta-Sitoserol, which is an anti-inflammatory agent. The little red fruit grows on the Goji shrub in Asia, specifically the western part of China, Tibet and Mongolia. It is known to strengthen the heart and alleviate heart palpitations, and also helps fight insomnia and forgetfulness. It contains polysaccharides, which control the pituitary glands that produce HGH, a powerful anti-aging hormone. Goji juice can be used by pregnant women to alleviate morning sickness. In clinical trials, it has shown to partially reverse sexual dysfunction in seniors. It is used to boost the immune system, has some anti-cancer properties, has been used successfully to treat hepatitis B, it aides in weight loss, and can also support the body’s detox efforts.

Dennis found that by drinking Goji juice in the morning and by using chia seeds, he was able to drop his cholesterol 60 points in only two months. So why aren’t you taking Goji Berry juice regularly?

Find Goji Berries at Seattle Pride Coffee House, Eau Claire; Mother Natures Foods, Eau Claire; and Weavers in Fall Creek.

Planning Your Wedding with the Environment in Mind

More and more couples are trying to find a way to have an earth-friendly wedding celebration. The wedding industry is adapting to ensure that holding a green wedding will still involve the elegance that many couples want on their special day. “There are all kinds of ways to have a green wedding without sacrificing style or taste,” says Millie Martini Bratten, who is the editor in chief of Brides magazine.

How can you “green” your wedding? Try these ideas:

Attire
• Try a vintage or ‘gently’ used dress from a shop or a relative
• Dresses come in eco-friendly fabrics such as hemp, silk, organic cotton, or bamboo
• Grooms/men can rent tuxedos

Ceremony & Reception
• Consider a daytime outdoor wedding or reception – no need for electricity or lighting
• Choose locally grown or produced products – less fuel is needed to transport them
• Opt for pillar candles in glass hurricane lamps instead of floral centerpieces

Invitations
• Print invitations on recycled paper
• Buy invites from companies that use wind power
• Skip save-the-date cards
• E-mailing guests about your wedding website can be a great alternative to sending out traditional paper invitations

Favors
• Choose favors that are useful beyond the event
• Make a donation to an eco-friendly organization in lieu of favors

Honeymoon
Consider taking an eco-tour
• Reserve trips through eco-travel agencies
• Seek hotels and resorts that recycle and reduce energy consumption

What’s Biodynamic?

Biodynamic products are made without artificial pesticides, hormones, or fertilizers. US executive director of the Demeter Association, which certifies Biodynamic products like wine, coffee, flowers, meat, and cheeses, says that some farmers also enrich their soil with oak bark, dandelions, and horsetail hairs to promote healthier plants and animal feed.

Cell Phone Facts

  • Every year, upgrades or damage make 100 million cell phones obsolete.
  • In 2007, the recycling rate for cell phones was just 10 percent.
  • The average life span of a cell phone is 18 months.
  • Each year in April, the EPA’s Plug-In To eCycling program sponsors a “National Cell Phone Recycling Week” to encourage proper phone disposal.
  • The world’s largest cell phone recycler, ReCellular, collects 25,000 cell phones daily from more than 40,000 collection sites.