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Rara

The true effects of herbs?

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I am currently having acupuncture treatment for stress and insomnia and I have an appointment with the herb clinic next month. After going back to the whole "eat more cooling foods, drink green and peppermint tea" foundation, prior to seeing the herb specialist, it makes me wonder...

 

How solid is this advice if my diet currently has a lot of yang foods? I may be answering my own question here but I want to know what you all think.

 

For example, if I eat meat and rice/pasta/potato daily, some chocolate and fried food a few times a week, how much impact would drinking peppermint tea and eating raw fruit, steamed vegetables etc really have?

 

The therapist told me that I have lots of heat and that cooling foods will help but I wonder if the "yang" foods I'm currently eating will be cancelling out the small "yin" foods and herbs? Or whether it's more a case that the "yin" foods and herbs are actually softening the impact of the "yang" foods that I consume...

Edited by Rara

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Certain foods can sometimes act as medicines helping to restore the balance, and it's not always a matter of quantity. Small amounts can have great effects. While this may well be of help, it's probably best that you reconsider and gradually make some changes to your daily diet overall. Go easy on yourself, but be persistent. Your therapist should be able to give you guidance in this.

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Herbs can be extremely powerful and helpful, but most Westerners are so far out of balance that suggesting that doing a little peppermint tea will help would be laughable if they didn't have the serious problem that they do almost nothing to address the real underlying issues and the imbalances remain.  The lack of result from such unsatisfactory methods gives the false impression that herbs don't work, which is not laughable, it is tragic.

 

Westerners should be given stronger herbs that taste awful and cannot be put in food and are hard enough to choke down in teas in pill form, that way powerful herbs that can address the real issues will be able to get inside and do some good.  What people will find is that as their underlying imbalances change their taste in food will change and their diets change with them.  Once the deep seated imbalances are taken care of it is possible to maintain balance by diet alone, but trying to get to that state merely with diet is almost impossible. 

 

I base the above on a good understanding of theory and a couple of decades of hard won practical experience, but I don't have time to go into details.

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Usually you have to reduce the offending foods, as well as increase their counter-nature foods.

 

I am wary of translating a lot of things to modern terms, but internal heat due to improper lifestyle is usually because the metabolites of rich foods eventually cause the body's detoxification pathways to slow down. A liver and kidneys that are constantly being bombarded by the uric acid breakdown of meat, or the constant removal of excess creatine, will show as low grade inflammation in the body, even if the person is not directly experiencing pain or discomfort. These "toxins" have a cumulative effect and they over-stimulate the body's tissues in a negative way, until they are cleared. This is why people with heat signs tend to be excitable, hyperactive, and have difficulty achieving true rest ("yin" is consumed). They are energized but in a wired way.

 

Stress amplifies the effect because when the body is in sympathetic mode the digestive organs, including their detoxification pathways, function far less optimally. The buildup of stimulating food byproducts mentioned above add to this effect of stimulation. There's less over all clearance.

 

Basically, your own native cortisol combined with the by products of rich foods is irritating your entire body. Most cooling foods either supplement the detoxification process of the body (i.e. glutathione in beets, one of the "coldest" vegetables, augments the liver's ability to scavenge oxidizing free radicals from the body), or they promote secondary processes which remove crap from the body. Peppermint, for example, increases flow of bile. Bile contains bilirubin, which the liver scavenges from the blood. Bilirubin is a byproduct of red blood cell breakdown, which in the presence of high cortisol happens more quickly.

 

The token recommendations that modern TCM herbalists make, IMO, are not very useful. We're taught in school to always add these recommendations at the end of every appointment, but a true shi liao (TCM / medicated diet) requires its own comprehensive consult. Most TCM practitioners get less than 30 hours of shi liao training in school, which mirrors other practitioners across many fields: MDs (4 credit hours), NDs (less than 50 hours), chiropractors (none), massage therapists (none), etc. Diet is sooo under-emphasized in modern schools.

 

If your diet is mostly rich carbs and meat, then long-term you're going to have problems. Winter time is the most appropriate for these foods, but once you hit Spring and beyond, they should not be such high quantity. For people with such excess, you could go on a fast and your body will literally burn off all the backlog of crap as energy until it's all gone.

 

No need to feel too bad about it though. Most modern people eat hardly any fresh veggies regularly, and when they start feeling run down they just start drinking coffee to get through their day.

Edited by Orion
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When you add different foods to your diet, you increase diversity of your microbiota in your intestines. The role of microbiota and its diversity is still not fully understood but growing volume of study suggests that diverse intestine micro flora contributes to better immune response, stable emotions, and overall health.

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Herbs can be extremely powerful and helpful, but most Westerners are so far out of balance...

 

The whole planet is in utter mess.

 

About the original query,

 

It's not just diet (and how mindfully you eat as well) what you need to address:

 

1. Emotions, first cause of disease inclusive of the following:

1.1 Desire

1.2 Lust

1.3 Hatred-resentment

2. Too much thinking inclusive of excessive computer work

3. Physical activity...oriental energetic exercises should be the first choice, hiking and surfing are excellent exercises as well.

 

The ultimate goal is returning the flow of the 5 elements in your body-spirit to that of Nature because from the moment you are born

that flow is blocked and the blockages continue to grow exponentially the older you get.

 

By the way, Chinese herbs are great but one needs to also

compromise and start to 'tidy up the house.'

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Usually you have to reduce the offending foods, as well as increase their counter-nature foods.

 

I am wary of translating a lot of things to modern terms, but internal heat due to improper lifestyle is usually because the metabolites of rich foods eventually cause the body's detoxification pathways to slow down. A liver and kidneys that are constantly being bombarded by the uric acid breakdown of meat, or the constant removal of excess creatine, will show as low grade inflammation in the body, even if the person is not directly experiencing pain or discomfort. These "toxins" have a cumulative effect and they over-stimulate the body's tissues in a negative way, until they are cleared. This is why people with heat signs tend to be excitable, hyperactive, and have difficulty achieving true rest ("yin" is consumed). They are energized but in a wired way.

 

Stress amplifies the effect because when the body is in sympathetic mode the digestive organs, including their detoxification pathways, function far less optimally. The buildup of stimulating food byproducts mentioned above add to this effect of stimulation. There's less over all clearance.

 

Basically, your own native cortisol combined with the by products of rich foods is irritating your entire body. Most cooling foods either supplement the detoxification process of the body (i.e. glutathione in beets, one of the "coldest" vegetables, augments the liver's ability to scavenge oxidizing free radicals from the body), or they promote secondary processes which remove crap from the body. Peppermint, for example, increases flow of bile. Bile contains bilirubin, which the liver scavenges from the blood. Bilirubin is a byproduct of red blood cell breakdown, which in the presence of high cortisol happens more quickly.

 

The token recommendations that modern TCM herbalists make, IMO, are not very useful. We're taught in school to always add these recommendations at the end of every appointment, but a true shi liao (TCM / medicated diet) requires its own comprehensive consult. Most TCM practitioners get less than 30 hours of shi liao training in school, which mirrors other practitioners across many fields: MDs (4 credit hours), NDs (less than 50 hours), chiropractors (none), massage therapists (none), etc. Diet is sooo under-emphasized in modern schools.

 

If your diet is mostly rich carbs and meat, then long-term you're going to have problems. Winter time is the most appropriate for these foods, but once you hit Spring and beyond, they should not be such high quantity. For people with such excess, you could go on a fast and your body will literally burn off all the backlog of crap as energy until it's all gone.

 

No need to feel too bad about it though. Most modern people eat hardly any fresh veggies regularly, and when they start feeling run down they just start drinking coffee to get through their day.

Awesome post Orion :) I began strength training again last February so have been using the yang foods to fuel that. I felt such exercise helped channel my aggression built up from family conflict and the anxiety that comes with having my own business.

 

Therefore, my therapist didn't want to interfere too much with my diet. But I have eliminated all caffiene and most alcohol (easier now Christmas is over) so I'm just working with introducing yin foods on top of my predominantly "bulking" diet with hope that it will pay off...

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Herbs can be extremely powerful and helpful, but most Westerners are so far out of balance that suggesting that doing a little peppermint tea will help would be laughable if they didn't have the serious problem that they do almost nothing to address the real underlying issues and the imbalances remain. The lack of result from such unsatisfactory methods gives the false impression that herbs don't work, which is not laughable, it is tragic.

 

Westerners should be given stronger herbs that taste awful and cannot be put in food and are hard enough to choke down in teas in pill form, that way powerful herbs that can address the real issues will be able to get inside and do some good. What people will find is that as their underlying imbalances change their taste in food will change and their diets change with them. Once the deep seated imbalances are taken care of it is possible to maintain balance by diet alone, but trying to get to that state merely with diet is almost impossible.

 

I base the above on a good understanding of theory and a couple of decades of hard won practical experience, but I don't have time to go into details.

I will be getting prescribed herbs next month...I'll certainly see what they say I should cut out of my diet as and when that time comes!

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The whole planet is in utter mess.About the original query,It's not just diet (and how mindfully you eat as well) what you need to address:1. Emotions, first cause of disease inclusive of the following:1.1 Desire1.2 Lust1.3 Hatred-resentment2. Too much thinking inclusive of excessive computer work3. Physical activity...oriental energetic exercises should be the first choice, hiking and surfing are excellent exercises as well.The ultimate goal is returning the flow of the 5 elements in your body-spirit to that of Nature because from the moment you are bornthat flow is blocked and the blockages continue to grow exponentially the older you get. By the way, Chinese herbs are great but one needs to alsocompromise and start to 'tidy up the house.'

Sure. Comes full circle when I am naturally obsessed with building another business right now (100% behind a computer) and then waking my body up by doing my gym work (currently at home, like my new business is!)

 

I get fresh air with my freelance work that I do about 2-3 times a week, outside on my feet at events. But it's still work (and unreliable for security hence the new business venture)

 

So I guess I'm overworked due to the desire in itself to get financial security for myself, fiancee and future family (which is the long term plan) With such committments, I'm struggling for any other time or space to meditate.

 

I found that 2011-2013 I was fine in this department. I became more placid, meditated daily, looked after some plants, survived on little money, only weighed 144 lbs and did less intense exercise and eating. But I lacked competitive nature and I made the decision to cultivate strength and to "man up" and move forward with my career so I could provide more for my relationship. Something about my calmer, carefree self felt selfish, even if I was less heated. But now I'm 168 lbs (training and eating) so that means I've pushed my body to gain 28 lbs in under a year along with adding to my workload.

 

So I am hoping that I can carry on my current path and train myself to do all in a more cool, relaxed manner and to be able to get the right balance in my diet at the same time.

Edited by Rara
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I'm curious if you wouldn't mind explaining these a bit further. I know about the actions resulting from lust, like excessive ejaculation, but lust in of itself? Hatred is obvious... it's pretty stagnating.

 

Just wondering how you view the others as health problems.

 

Emotions, first cause of disease inclusive of the following: 1.1 Desire 1.2 Lust 1.3 Hatred-resentment 2.

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I'm curious if you wouldn't mind explaining these a bit further. I know about the actions resulting from lust, like excessive ejaculation, but lust in of itself? Hatred is obvious... it's pretty stagnating.

 

Just wondering how you view the others as health problems.

Desire I say is damaging. Like my desire for achievement....

 

...the stress I go through sometimes to reach said "desired result" has both mental and physical impact.

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Only too much stress for too long is damaging. A moderate level of stress keeps you in form. Just think of the astronauts who are in a constant fight against muscle degeneration because they lack the "stress" of gravity. Nature's simple rule is: What you don't use, you lose.

Also with desire, whether it's good for you or not is a matter of how it affects you.

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Any desire either sexual or not is dopamine release in the nervous system. The more dopamine you have the less serotonin and the more serotonin the less dopamine. You may say that dopamine is the Yang Qi and the serotonin is the Yin Qi but to me Yin Qi would be the cortisol, the serotonin would be a modulator of the two, it has a damping effect. The herbs restore the serotonine balance as well as other meditation and qigong techniques. If you have too much serotonin in the system you become dull, unmotivated, they say it's the happiness hormone, but only if it's in balance with the others, just by itself will lead to depression.

 

http://www.withoutagym.net/dopamine-and-serotonin/

 

For example Rehmannia is said to be Yin and nourishing kidney-liver meridians, but that doesn't mean it increases cortisol, on the contrary it regulates its production, hence is an adrenal protector. Also because of the Yin effect due to sugars it contains it helps building muscles:

 

http://www.itmonline.org/arts/rehmann.htm

 

This coincides with the claim made for rehmannia that it builds up the flesh and muscles, which may be a response to the iridoids.  This effect has not been researched, though one of the studies cited above mentioned that a rehmannia-based formula increased the animals’ body weight.  There is a precedent for such traditional claims being verified.  Lycium fruit, which is frequently used with cooked rehmannia to build up the flesh and muscles in persons suffering from wasting diseases, contains betaine, a substance that is used by the poultry industry to aid the growth of chickens and is now used as a supplement by American weight lifters to increase their muscle mass (see: Lycium fruit).

 

The mechanisms are very complex, but just for the sake of simplification these explanation are just as good as "has a tonifying effect" or "it is nourishing the kidneys".

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Unfulfilled sexual desire can be related to the Chinese medicine concept of "yin fire"...where the mingmen fire flares up and overstimulates the heart. In this sense, sexual desire can act as an internal cause of disease. Ejaculation can be excessive and be harmful, but desire itself can too. It's best to not cultivate lust. Maciocia thinks that ejaculation can actually act as a release valve for the unfulfilled sexual desire, providing a sense of fulfillment and thereby cause that mingmen fire to go back into the lower jiao into concealment.

 

The same concept applies to any desire that remains unfulfilled. You want what you can't have and it creates frustration...frustration is stagnancy and not a healthy qi flow. Not to say that desire itself is bad...it's the basis of life...if you're working toward something, you're providing that fulfillment, and all is well.

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Unfulfilled sexual desire can be related to the Chinese medicine concept of "yin fire"...where the mingmen fire flares up and overstimulates the heart.

 

Yep, exactly so does coffee produces Yin Fire, even if in a different way the outcome is the same. Porn and coffee have the same effect.

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This is funny how ginseng earned a bad reputation because of a faulty study when the patients drank coffee in the same time with the ginseng treatment. That was in '79 and to this day these "side effects" are perpetuated in the literature.

 

http://www.itmonline.org/arts/i.htm

 

Quote:

The herb was eventually being consumed by millions of Americans. Unfortunately, a very small number of consumers began using the herb in unusual ways (unusual applications of a Chinese herb similarly occurred, but on a much bigger scale, with ma-huang; see: Safety issues affecting Chinese herbs: The case of ma-huang). The result of the misuses of the herb was reports of adverse effects. In 1979, a Los Angeles physician, Ron Siegel, published a clinical note in the Journal of the American Medical Association (6) about a "ginseng abuse syndrome." In an evaluation of 133 people in the Los Angeles area who had been taking ginseng frequently (for one month to two years), it was found that 14 (10%) reported symptoms that were then depicted as being part of this syndrome (though a larger number reported one or more symptoms, falling short of the abuse syndrome). Typical symptoms were nervousness, irritability, insomnia, skin eruptions, and morning diarrhea.

 

In fact, the study by Siegel, which was uncontrolled, had numerous flaws (7). All of the people reporting these "adverse reactions" were consuming caffeine (mainly coffee), which has these exact side effects (except skin eruptions). Those who were in the study all reported that they experienced an energizing effect of ginseng, which implies that this was the primary reason for persistent use of the herb. Further, Siegel had later admitted that several of the cases of ginseng abuse syndrome were from people who were using ginseng in an attempt to get "high" and were sometimes administering unreasonable amounts (up to 15 grams per day). In China, ginseng is reputed to calm the disturbed spirit, being a typical remedy for anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.

 

The doses of ginseng described in Chinese literature for typical medical applications often exceed those that most Western consumers get from commercial ginseng products, so the difference between what the Chinese claim (a calming effect) and this adverse side effect (agitation or energy stimulation) may well have nothing to do with using ginseng in high doses or for prolonged periods, but from other things taken at the same time in an effort to overcome lethargy. Nonetheless, the list of side effects from this 30 year old article are still brought out by virtually every writer who wishes to present the pros and cons of using ginseng.

Edited by Andrei
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