Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Herbs & Doctors

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by mezombie, Mar 11, 2007.

  1. mezombie

    mezombie Member

    If you want to learn more about Chinese Herbology, here are some interesting websites:

    American Herbal Products Association - Serves its members by promoting the responsible commerce of products which contain herbs and which are used to enhance health and quality of life.

    China Information Service System on Traditional Chinese Medicine - Over 20 databases on traditional Chinese medical research and clinical citations, herbal medicines, herbal formula, TCM products, TCM industry, etc. Also provide all kind of TCM information from China. This index page is in English.
    URL: - Provides consumers and healthcare professionals with results of independent tests of products that affect health and well-being.

    Crane Herb Company - This site features a number of professional resources, including a great database of symptoms and formulas.

    Dangerous Herbs - The deadly dozen dubiously-salubrious denizens of the DA (Drug Administration). Basically this is a nice article that compares causes of death by herbs to other causes.

    Dispensing Procedures For Chinese Herbal Medicines - The dispensing and prescribing of herbs are specific skills and knowledge is required of the pharmacist that spans both responsibilities.

    Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases - Agricultural Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture.

    First, Do No Harm - takes a look at how to avoid harmful TCM herbal interactions based on TCM theory and tradition.

    Herb Research Foundation - provides a search service from their specialty research library containing more than 300,000 scientific articles on thousands of herbs.

    HerbMed - Categorized, evidence-based resource for herbal information with hyperlinks to clinical and scientific publications. Not all herbs are listed, mostly those that have been noticed by the West.

    Images of Herbs - Excellent database features pictures of herbs, properties, and functions. All its missing is the Pinyin names for the herbs.

    Institute of Traditional Medicine - Subhuti Dharmananda is one of the most prolific writers in the Oriental medicine biz today. His articles are well researched and a valuble gift to us all, from this refreshingly non-commerical website.

    Medicine at your Feet - Somewhere in Hawaii, David Leonard, L.Ac., is putting people back in touch with the wonders of creation.

    Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center's "About Herbs" - Western and Chinese herbs documented mostly by biomedical indications, functions and mechanisms.

    One-Garden - Certified Organic and Biodynamic Chinese Medicinal Seeds. Grown in the USA at this non-profit source.
    URL: - Includes numerous herb monographs. Pretty good resource, but be ready to put on your cowboy hat, because the herbs are described mostly by their western indications and functions.

    Plant It Herbs - is a Chinese medicinal plant nursery specializing in the cultivation of wild medicinals in Athens, Ohio since 1996.

    Psychospiritual Aspects of Herbal Medicine - By Michael Tierra. Single article looks at herbs, emotions, the spirit and stuph.

    Register of Chinese Herbal Medicine - The RCHM was set up in 1987 to regulate the practice of Chinese Herbal Medicine (CHM) in the UK. We now represent over 400 fully qualified practitioners of Chinese Herbal Medicine.

    TCM Online - Over 20 databases on traditional Chinese medical research and clinical citations, herbal medicines, herbal formula, TCM products, TCM industry, etc. Also provide all kind of TCM information, including acupuncture, diseases, TCM books, Site in Chinese.

    The International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplemen - database provides access to bibliographic citations and abstracts from published, international, scientific literature on dietary supplements. The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health produces this database.

    Traditional Chinese Medicine Database - Some areas of this extensive database that spans Western and traditional Chinese medicine cost money others are free with registration.

    U.S. Food and Drug Administration - Recalls and Safety Alerts. This page features alerts and recalls from the past 60 days. Very interesting stuff, actually.

    Wei Laboratories, Inc. - Very credible site features herbal products for pain, bone, lung, and fatigue issues.

    What's Cooking? - This article looks at ways to alter the functions of TCM herbs through cooking, steaming, parching, charring, etc. Pao Zhi is how its described in Chinese which translates to 'frying and cooking'



    [This Message was Edited on 03/12/2007]
    [This Message was Edited on 03/17/2007]
    [This Message was Edited on 03/25/2007]
  2. Shalala

    Shalala New Member

    great inffo
  3. Slayadragon

    Slayadragon New Member

    Thanks for the information!

    I am trusting my TCM doctor for the time being, and think the stuff he has given me has done a lot to allow me to handle the die-off from the Famvir. I would highly recommend TCM for that purpose.

    (There's someone here taking Valcyte---I think maybe empty2void---who's also had success with TCM during the experience of taking the drug.)

    I would like to read more about the topic when I have the time, though.

    Best, Lisa

  4. mezombie

    mezombie Member

    You are all welcome.

    Now, any tips on how to find a good D.O.M., Lisapetrison, Empty2void?

    I went to one who was highly recommended by someone with CFS, and was very disappointed. Just as with M.D.s, there seem to be some who focus on "fatigue" and treat everyone alike.[This Message was Edited on 03/13/2007]
  5. Slayadragon

    Slayadragon New Member

    My husband and I inadvertently stumbled upon one about a decade ago. My husband is from Taiwan (lived in the U.S. since 1982), and he and I became friendly with the owner of a Chinese restaurant in Chicago.

    She happened to mention that her husband had been a TCM doctor in Taiwan. I had just gotten sick at the time, and my husband was having liver problems. So we asked if we could see him. I don't think he had a license in the U.S., but seemed to have a fair number of Chinese clients.

    He just asked a couple of questions about our main health symptoms, did the standard pulse measurements, looked at our tongues, that sort of thing. He didn't ask for diagnoses at all (which was fine because CFS was a very vague theory I had at the time and my husband's liver enzymes were elevated for no apparent reason).

    I had just been diagnosed as about to have a miscarriage, and so he mostly worked on that for me. He resolved my husband's liver enzyme problems (which had been going on for about three years) permanently in about a month.

    After a while we stopped going. My husband was feeling much better, and since I didn't speak Chinese I couldn't go on my own.

    I didn't even think of the TCM again until I got really weak on the Famvir and was thinking about ways to build up my internal strength. Suddenly a lightbulb went on and I decided that this would be the best way to go about it. I decided that even if I had to get my husband to do it (he hasn't spoken Chinese to anyone other than his mother in about eight years), I was going to find someone.

    It turned out to be easy though. I did an Internet search and found a 7th generation TCM doctor from China, who had then gone to medical school in China. He had been in the U.S. for quite a long time and had published a good number of papers (with excellent methodology) in what seemed to be good TCM journals.

    I made an appointment and went to his office. He spent only 10-15 minutes with each patient, but (both during the meeting and after I used the herbs) I came to the conclusion that he was so good that that was plenty of time. He asked only a few questions about my health on the form, then took my pulse and then examined my tongue, fingertips and fingernails.

    Upon reflection, I do not think it was necessary for me to have told him that I had CFS or that I was on an antiviral for it, or for that matter the list of the all the drugs/supplements that I was taking. TCM doctors treat by the state of the body, not by Western diagnoses. All that my giving him the information did was get him to give me a lecture on how if I were well I wouldn't need all those supplements (as if I didn't know that). He was especially disapproving of the antiviral and asked me to bring more information about it to the next meeting. (I will do so, but don't intend to give them to him unless he brings up the subject.)

    After I said that it would make me happier than anything in the world if I didn't have to take any supplements, drugs or Chinese herbs, he seemed satisfied. The prescriptions (five different herb combinations and cookies containing a grain product called Job's Tears) all seemed designed just to strengthen my organs (especially the spleen network, to a lesser degree the kidney, liver and female ones) rather than to treat any particular illness. I felt an immediate effect, and within about 10 days I was tolerating the drug remarkably better. I would be in far worse shape without his treatments, I am sure.

    He also gave me some reishi tea, which I have yet to use. i will add it eventually.

    He was quite insistent that he had had many CFS patients, and that he could make me pretty much all better within a year and totally well (with no Western or TCM medicine) within two years. He commented that I had come in on my own whereas many of his CFS patients had to lie in the back room because they could not sit up, but that then they got better. I responded that if it weren't for the supplements I was taking, I wouldn't have been able to come in on my own either. That got him to drop the idea of my ceasing to take the supplements for the time being (with the exception of the ginseng and licorice, which obviously are his purview).

    I do not believe that TCM doctors can cure CFS. (I do believe they may be able to cure the less serious problem of chronic fatigue, which may or may not be in the same family as what I have.) I do think that supporting my body during this process (both in tolerating the antiviral and then helping my body to quickly get back on track to rebuild my immune system and general strength) through TCM will be very helpful.

    For those CFS patients who just want to get better in general, I think Chinese medicine might be very helpful with regard to addressing what I consider to be "second-tier" problems---e.g. adrenals and other endocrine problems, yeast, detoxification, perhaps sleep and heart. I think I managed to fix all those problems on my own using Western treatments (mostly natural stuff and bioidentical hormones, along with Lamictal and Klonopin), but TCM would have been another way to do it.

    Anyway, I believe that TCM doctors must be trained in China, Taiwan or Hong Kong. This is actually my _only_ seems unlikely that anyone who worked as a doctor in one of those countries would not be at least somewhat helpful. (This doctor's side line of his own TCM herbs sold to doctors throughout the U.S., his papers in English-language scientific journals, his degree from a Western medicine school in China, and his huge clientele of mostly Chinese patients were plusses but not essential.)

    I do not think it matters if the doctor can speak anything more than broken English (even though this doctor's English was basically perfect), and I think it is totally inconsequential whether he (or conceivably--if unlikely--she) can explain what the herbs are supposed to do. My doctor gave me a book with explanations of the purpose of all the herb combinations that he offers (most of which are standard formulas, a couple of which he developed himself), which was nice but also not necessary. Herbs and herbal combinations always can be looked up on the Internet, of course.

    I also think it is totally unnecessary (perhaps even distracting) to bring up the diagnosis of CFS. Merely listing symptoms (fatigue, can't get out of bed most of the time, can't sleep, constipation, can't think very well, etc.) seems much more helpful.

    Traveling a good distance to see a TCM doctor seems to me worthwhile. I drive four hours to see my CFS doctor every 2-4 months. I would travel that far to see this doctor that often as well.

    I know that empty2void has had success using a Chinese doctor "long-distance." Based on her reports I don't doubt that it helped her a lot, but this is not conventional Chinese medicine. Pursuing a non-conventional Chinese medicine doctor could be helpful, but then again it might not since quality variance is high.

    With doctors trained in China, Taiwan or Hong Kong, the likelihood that you're going to get someone who does not know enough to help the great majority of patients at least somewhat is exceedingly low.

    It's like going to a doctor in America who practices Western medicine. Obviously some Western doctors are better than others, but there is a minimum standard of care that can be expected in many areas (e.g. diagnosing and curing gonorrhea, setting broken bones).

    The same thing is true of TCM doctors, for health complaints that are within their purview. This is considered "real" medicine in Chinese countries, recognized as totally legitimate even as the countries themselves have become totally Westernized and excellent Western medicine (certainly in Taiwan and Hong Kong, increasingly in China) has become widely available.

    You've got to infiltrate the Chinese community to get such a doctor though. I tend to think that in cities with established Chinese communities (meaning with kids who speak English), such doctors may be relatively easy to find. Otherwise, following word-of-mouth leads or traveling somewhere else (admittedly difficult with CFS) might be necessary. I doubt there's any city in the Midwest other than Chicago where anyone good is practicing, for instance.

    This is probably not very encouraging for most people. Perhaps eventually, especially if the U.S. allows more Chinese to emigrate (which might happen as an exchange as more Americans want to go to China in order to make money), this will change. Perhaps good TCM doctors even will be trained in the U.S. Based on my experience with American health practitioners who claim to be practicing TCM, this has yet to occur though. (Again, maybe there's someone somewhere who apprenticed with a "real" doctor, although I would probe a lot to be sure. Or better yet, go to a good Chinese doctor just once, as a comparison point.)

    All of this is my opinion, of course. And far more opinionated than the vast majority of things that I've written on this list. Disagreements are welcome, of course.

    Best, Lisa

    [This Message was Edited on 03/13/2007]
  6. mezombie

    mezombie Member

    Thanks, Lisa. I posted the question partially to bump this for those interested in pursuing TCM.

    The D.O.M. I went to was a Chinese doctor trained in China. Like you, I wouldn't go to any D.O.M. who wasn't. I went to her mainly for acupuncture, hoping to get help with my migraines. I give her credit for being honest and letting me know that if I didn't see any improvement after a a dozen sessions it probably wasn't worth pursuing further.

    I didn't go to her for my CFS, but she was aware of it. What put me off was her insistence on having me attach a card the size and shape of a credit card over my heart. She claimed her CFS patients has seen remarkable improvement with this device, but wouldn't (or couldn't) explain to me what was so special about it (or what it contained). I suspect there was some sort of magnet in it.

    I wore it, and had a dentist appointment later that day. Well, that card had an effect,all right. I turned absolutely gray and had to lie down. My dentist and her assistants were very concerned. Needless to say, I took the thing off and returned it to the D.O.M. She refused to acknowledge that the device was connected to this incident.

    BTW, I did all the same "work" that brought you up to 60-70% of your former functioning. It clearly worked for you, but didn't for me. I don't "credit" myself for its failure. I think we're all different.

    If I pursue TCM, it will be to try another means to support essential systems.

    I have started googling, and there is a Chinatown near me. I only found two practitioners there. Others are scattered throughout the city. I will do more sleuthing when I'm able.

    Take care,
    [This Message was Edited on 03/13/2007]
  7. Slayadragon

    Slayadragon New Member

    I had acupuncture for a while with a couple different practitioners trained in America. No noticeable effect.

    The "super acupuncture" my doctor does (neural therapy) has had a major effect. The turbo charged version helped, and I think he's better at it than many people. Mostly he just follows my instructions with regard to where the energy is congested. I can feel the congestion and--if I press very hard when I do have congestion--eventually can find little knots _way_ deep in those places. If he doesn't hit the knots precisely, even the turbocharged acupuncture does nothing. (Well, he generally does about 100 little pricks during a session, and most of them hit the right places.)

    Sometimes he has used regular acupuncture needles (mostly one on the third eye) to supposedly balance me after a treatment. I don't think it makes any difference.

    Anyway, my point is that I don't think that acupuncture would be a useful treatment for me no matter how good the practitioner. It's possible that I'm wrong though.

    What I did feel was helpful was reflexology, which I had several times during my last trip to Japan. They pressed so hard that it gave me bruises in some spots, but I think it made me able to tolerate the trip. These were Chinese people living in Japan though---the Japanese do not seem to be able to do this either.

    I've been to a reflexology place in SF on a couple of trips. This place is staffed by Chinese people, although I'm not clear how many of them studied in China/Hong Kong/Taiwan. It was somewhat helpful, but more for helping my feet (after walking on SF hills and standing for a good part of the day teaching an executive seminar) than reconstituting the body.

    The Chinese woman you describe sounds horrible. Exactly the kind of health practitioner I dismiss immediately,, regardless of what sort of therapy or medicine they specialize in. Argh.

    I am certainly aware that you have done as much to try to improve your health as anyone on the board (and considerably more than I have for myself). It's frustrating for me to see that you're still in bad shape, and it must be really frustrating for you. I have no idea how much better you would be if the vertigo thing were resolved, although after my experience with vertigo am certain that I would be totally debilitated if I hadn't managed to get rid of it. Anyway, I feel bad for you.

    I hope that my posts don't make it seem like I think that anyone can get as well as I have by doing the things that I have done, or by doing anything that is currently available. Some people are inherently more ill than others, or are ill in ways that are far more difficult or impossible to fix at this time. I'm going to have to go back to my recent posts and make sure that I am not suggesting otherwise.

    Undoubtedly I'm not giving you any information that you don't already know, but perhaps my comments will help other people decide whether this mode of treatment is worth pursuing in general or for special circumstances. If my current treatment makes me get substantially better or all better, I will give as much credit to the TCM as I do to the antiviral. And that's saying a lot, of course.

    Best, Lisa

  8. Slayadragon

    Slayadragon New Member

    How old was the Chinese doctor you saw? Maybe she was trained during the Cultural Revolution.

    Just a thought.....
  9. mezombie

    mezombie Member

    Please accept my apology for that critical statement I made in my post--I really should have deleted it. I'm just very grouchy today, and it doesn't seem to take much to set me off. I'm sorry you got in the line of fire.

    You have been and continue to be very helpful to me and others. I particularly appreciate the thread "mezombie(bppv)", not only for its content but for the obvious concern and kindness on your part that prompted it.

    I'm in the midst of a push/crash cycle, that time of month, and general information overload. That's no excuse, but maybe it explains my grouchiness. Plus, I don't seem to be getting better, while others clearly are.

    Like you, I do believe TCM can really help (not cure) people with chronic illnesses. Once I deal with other priorities, I hope to find a decent pracititoner to add to my health care team. The one I saw is probably around 60 by now.

    The geek in me likes having sites like the one in the first post to refer to. I figured others might also be coming at TCM with a strong intellectual bent and might find it useful and comforting.

    Speaking of comforting, I started a Tai Chi class last week. The teacher is very centered and easygoing, and there are only three students! Our next meeting is tomorrow, and I hope it will help me chill out a bit.

    Thanks for everything you do for all of us on the board. Please don't stop! I hope you can just ignore my little outburst and that we can continue our correspondence.

  10. Slayadragon

    Slayadragon New Member

    Well! The Cultural Revolution was officially between 1966-1969 (and continued to some extent through 1976).

    If that doctor is 60 now, that would have made her about 20 in 1966. Right on the money.

    I hated the thought that maybe a good number of TCM doctors trained in China etc. might not be good. Blaming the Cultural Revolution for this particular instance (and then maybe screening in the future by age) makes me feel much better.

    My current Chinese doctor is somewhere between 60 and 70. But having trained with his dad from a very young age would make him immune to the political mess in the educational system, I think.

    Your post was perfectly fine. I am very lucky to have made as much progress as I have, and really wish you were better too.

    Best, Lisa

  11. Slayadragon

    Slayadragon New Member

    Oh, no, definitely don't take it out. I may go back and read it carefully myself.

    Best, Lisa

  12. California31

    California31 New Member

    Where do you live now....there are former SFe, NM DOMs in San Diego....if that could help you.
  13. mezombie

    mezombie Member

    I found your post very interesting, and I'm sure others will, too.

    Different strokes for different folks, you know what I mean? I think the most important thing is for the patient and practitioner to feel comfortable with each other.

    Thanks for your additions to this post.
  14. clerty

    clerty New Member

    one of the top TCM docs here in Singapore for acupuncture and acuressure massage I think it is helping as I got 10 hrs sleep last night as for herbs well they made me really sick so In the bin they went !!!
    he is briliant and he is also a proper doc !!!
  15. Daisys

    Daisys Member

    Good thread, thank you! I printed out the list and hopefully will wade thru at least some of it soon.

    I'm going to an acupuncturist/TCM practitioner in the Puget Sound, Jessica Bolding. She studied in Hong Kong and built up a successful practice there. She sees patients in Tacoma and on Vashon Island.

    She adjusts both the acupuncture and TCM to my CFS and FM treatments. When I told her I'm going to ask the doctor to treat me with AVs, she said she could adjust the medicine to be more supportive of the immune system, and less antiviral in itself. That's to enhance the AV treatment, by helping my body cope with it better. What she's had me taking so far healed her sister of chronic EBV infection. I do have issues with EBV, so hopefully it's helping me. I take so many supps, it's hard to pinpoint any one's effects, but it all seems to be doing good. I'm back where I was before this last relapse (brought on by menopause I believe).

    She is a very good acupuncturist, going by my results.

    Years ago, when I lived in Seattle, I went to a doctor in the International district, named Hen Sen. Several of my friends went, and two of them were benefited a lot by going. One has a liver disease that alopathic medicine can do nothing for, and she is in remission. Hen Sen's daughter trained to take his place when he got older. She started as a very young person. If anyone goes there nowadays, they'd see the daughter. If Hen Sen is around, he must be well over 100 now.

    I recommend either pratitioners for anyone in the Puget Sound area who want TMC.
  16. mezombie

    mezombie Member

    Thanks, Clerty and Daisys! It's great to hear about personal experiences with TCM from members like you.

    More contributions to this thread are welcome!

  17. cherylsue

    cherylsue Member

    Lisa, I just read this post, and noticed Dr. Guo promised you a year or two to get better. Yeow! Does that mean I will have wait that long for things to get better? You mentioned your husband had immediate improvements. I was hoping for the same.

    Impatient in Chicagoland.

  18. cherylsue

    cherylsue Member

  19. cherylsue

    cherylsue Member

  20. Fmandy

    Fmandy New Member

    I just stumbled across this googlefind :

    Traditional Chinese Medicine

    The results of the study suggest that both Gorei-San and Toki-Shakuyaku-San reduce airway smooth muscle tone via a postjunctional mechanism probably through stimulation of the sodium pump and the subsequenthyperpolarization/repolarization of the cell membrane. These effects may contribute to the antiasthmatic properties of these herbal medicines.

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