Chinese Medicine & GPs

Herbal King Traditional Chinese Medicine

We are happy to have this opportunity to explain a little about the background of Chinese Medicine, or “Zhongyi” as it is pronounced in Chinese, to explain how it works in China and how it could work here in the UK to truly compliment conventional medicine. The easiest way is to run through a short scenario of the Traditional Medicine practice of diagnosis and prescription and once that has been explained show how modern development has refined the products to be easier to take, more easily regulated and more easily prescribed by conventional doctors.    

Finally we can discuss how conventional diagnostic methods can and do help traditional practitioners to make even better decisions on the treatment methodology. We will present a few case histories looking at the better known cures available and finish with open discussion about which ever area particularly interests you.

Our first scenario is a patient suffering from bronchial difficulties. The initial meeting gives the patient the opportunity to describe their symptoms and give a detailed case history followed by the doctor’s diagnosis through Looking, Listening, Asking and Touching.

Looking will include signs from the tongue, the eyes and the skin, which frequently reflect the underlying condition.

Listening is building our case history and the patient describing their feelings.

Asking is of course the practitioner questioning facts not clearly described such as if the patient was in pain , what sort of pain throbbing, sensitive to touch or movement or whatever.

Finally touching which includes what you all understand such as using a stethoscope but also what appears to be more unusual taking the multiple pulse readings that a Chinese doctor is taught. This can give a picture of the present condition of internal organs and blockages in energy flow as well as the external conditions.

Energy flow is one of the theories accepted by Chinese medicine but usually ignored by western medicine. We call it Qi, the vital life force, in India I believe it is called Prana or in ancient Greece the Aura. This is one of the reasons why there is a difference between living organisms such as medicinal herbs and inert chemicals when refined into pharmaceuticals.

We will look at this further when we see and talk about some of the herbs we use.

So first we begin the examination, the patient explains that he has breathing difficulties and coughs blood. We ask more details about when this happens morning, evening, when taking exercise or all the time. Does our patient smoke? We listen to his chest and take his pulse. The pulse is not just about how fast the blood flows but in what way it flows. Described in Chinese with analogies to water as like a river flowing or a stream, tumbling over rocks or gently meandering or even sluggish. The different pulse readings on each arm feel the effects in different body organs, heart, liver, spleen and kidney. So we begin to form our opinion of how we should treat this case.

We have at hand about 400 standard herbs used for everyday medicine out of the approximately 3000 medicinal herbs researched by Chinese Medicine Institutes. These four hundred herbs have been used for many centuries and their effects, toxicity and methods of use are known to be perfectly safe without most of the long list of side effects recorded in conventional medicine. One point to make here, is that the usual method of ingestion of Chinese Herbs is 100% the same as for food or particularly soup. The quantity and mixture taken is really like a dietary supplement for which our digestive system is designed to absorb naturally (which is of course unlike many chemical pharmaceuticals). The advantage of this, is the lack of adverse side effects in taking Chinese Medicine and the disadvantage is the gentleness of reaction and the time it takes to build up the dosage absorbed by the body. A result of this is that Chinese Medicine is often used for chronic illnesses where the timescale is less immediate. But even so in emergency treatment we also have fast reacting herbs and other methods of treatment including acupuncture. But I do not want to get into that area just yet. In this example of a case history we will select a number of herbs. The Primary herbs will be to improve the lung efficiency (the lung flexibility) a herb that does this is Du Zhong or Cortex Eucommiae. Another herb Kuang Dong Hua will clear phlegm and expel toxins. These could be called the Secondary herbs. Supporting herbs will be those that have an anti-viral effect to prevent infection and those that build up the immune system to prevent re-infection. For the coughing up of blood it might be necessary to add Dan Shen which makes the blood vessels more flexible so that they can stand the explosion of a cough without breaking. The total group in any one prescription could be up to 10 different herbs.

Unlike western herbal medicine we believe that all the herbs are necessary to make the prescription work well.

At a two day conference on Chinese Medicine at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Prof Philipson from Imperial College London presented a paper that showed the result of testing many Chinese prescriptions and in every case he found that if you tried to analyse the prescription for one single active ingredient (that could then be synthesized as a pharmaceutical) he found that the more you took away from the complete Traditional prescription the less well the reduced formula worked.

So we now have a prescription for our scenario and the doctor will weigh out the herbal prescription making up one weeks’ packets of herbs. We still use traditional scales as much as an object of interest and because they are accurate to within one gram and can be used quickly for bulky multi size products like herbs.

This formula makes seven packets for seven days. These are used one day at a time the packet is first soaked in a saucepan, then brought to the boil and allowed to simmer for twenty minutes or so. The aqueous solution or liquid is then poured off as a herbal tea. The saucepan is refilled and the process repeated for a second cupful. As I said earlier the effect of herbal medicine is quite gentle but for accuracy sake we can first mix the two cups and then separate them again to make each of equal strength but in reality if you had a strong one in the morning and a weaker one in the evening the dosage is still the same. Or weaker in the morning and stronger in the evening it does not matter. What matters is that the herbs are being gradually absorbed by the body.

So this is our first demonstration from seeing the patient to producing the medicine. As you can see it is basically a dark and slightly bitter drink similar in appearance to strong black coffee.

It is not particularly nice to taste, smelly to cook and time consuming so you might well ask why do people take it? The answer is because it works and it works in many cases for which there is no alternative choice. We have lots of emails from people all over the world saying when I was in London I tried your Enliven Lung sachets and was impressed by the instant relief.

What are Enliven Ling sachets actually the same as this Traditional formula. But where modern technology comes to our aid and the prescription that we have just described as been made by our company commercially produced in a factory in exactly the way we have just described and then freeze dried into granules and packed in a sachet that only requires opening adding boiling water and stirring like a coffee. So this overcomes the inconvenience and necessity to individually make each prescription. Of course this can only be used for the major diseases that most commonly come to our notice.

The individual preparation allows for additional herbs to combat other symptoms such as pain or sleeplessness. We can of course give these separately but in most cases the standard prescriptions are quite sufficient.

Apart from the freeze drying process herbs can be ground into powder and encapsulated so that they can be easily swallowed and absorbed with water. We have many products like these.

Or more specifically herbal teabags for different diseases. So, although the traditional theories and prescriptions are still being followed (why? because of their thousand years clinical use and experience as efficacious). Even so they do not have to supplied in a time consuming bad tasting way or prepared by people who are not fully aware of how they work, the results will still be as traditionally expected.

Now we started with a case of bronchial problems or pulmonary lung disease that was effectively cured. I think it is now time to look at some of the other areas that we confidently tackle every day.

Firstly, the best known are treatment of skin diseases. Psoriasis the production of immature cell regeneration that appears as red patches frequently on the thinner skin areas around elbows, knees. hands, shins and along the spine but sometimes all over as in this case.

A herbal prescription was given to feed the cells in production and regeneration. This is the most important part, but a Cream is used for the cells already appearing on the skin surface. This is one reason why steroids do not work well because they do not treat the unformed cells only those already affected and on the surface. Finally a similar solution to the drink can be used as a wash externally to be absorbed through the skin.

We too often get cases that have been years in developing and of course this affects the time in recovery. Many people turn to Alternative Medicine as a last resort. Fortunately even those who have failed to get relief for years can still find it in our treatment. It just takes longer. In this case you see the initial photo before treatment I will now show you after three months. It is interesting to note that the cure works from the middle of the patch outwards and so will start to develop like rings and now if we look after six months you see the psoriasis is nearly clear. Two more slides show psoriasis on the legs before and after in only two months, the last photo was taken two weeks before the end of treatment.

We do similar work with Acne, Eczema, Ringworm and Dermatitis.

Or in the treatment of growths, cancerous tumors, fibroids and other cases where cell regeneration has become abnormal. The herbs act as signals to the immune system that help it determine the healthy from the abnormal cell regeneration. The growth will become defensive, the outer casing become hardened and introverted and eventually become starved and shrink. The classic case is fibroid growth in the womb. The growth starts, attracting ever increasing supplies of blood and rapidly grows in size. A herbal capsule taken will prevent this happening and starve the growth by embolism until it shrinks and finally disappears. At the same time we can nourish the hormones that help the natural menstrual cycle release the entire membrane lining cleanly and reduce scarring which is where the fibroids usually start. We have cases that have started the size of an orange and shrunk to less that 2cm in just two months. The treatment as always builds up over time. But put against the alternative of a hysterectomy it is a far cheaper and safer method of treatment.

A similar formula is also used in the treatment of infertility, where we offer a course that firstly cleanses the womb and makes the membrane lining in a better condition for egg attachment and at the same time feed the egg growth and (if necessary) treat the male sperm count.

So that proper conditioning before getting pregnant the mother the best chance of successful conception. All the babies in these photos were to mothers who had tried IVF unsuccessfully or had miscarriages and after treatment had normal single births by natural conception. The cost was approximately one tenth of IVF and without the risk of multiple births.

Next what about viral attack, HIV, hepatitis B & C all these can be treated by herbal pills.

What we ask you as GPs to do is look at our treatment with an open mind. Let us work together to try and demonstrate that the body can cure all these diseases if it is fed properly with the right products.

Because it is natural cures that Chinese Medicine uses, not surgery.

Each virus has a specific target. The virus gets into which ever cell that that specific virus affects and it is worth noting here that although the hepatitis virus for instance circulates in the blood through the whole body it only gets hosted in the liver where it feeds on the cells proteins and reproduces itself within the cell which is why the body has such difficulty finding it and treating it. The herbs cleanse the system and help identify the infected cells for the immune system to attack.

Most viruses can be treated in this way. The only reason why Aids and HIV are more difficult to treat is because they unusually host themselves in the very immune system cells that should do the attacking. So that unlike any other virus Aids and HIV eventually gets a free rein as the immune system collapses and of course why the sufferer usually dies of pneumonia or other infection rather than the Aids itself.

We were asked to speak at the fourth international conference on HIV and Traditional Medicine in Dhakar in Senegal in July together with the health ministers of South Africa, Ghana and Senegal and the Regional Director of the World Health Organization to demonstrate how our herbal pills can treat the effects of Aids.

We are also more interested in working here in the UK and we now have special medical records for anti-viral research, specifically HIV and hepatitis B so that they can be assessed by our PhD researchers. You each have a copy in your papers. We look to GPs like yourselves to co-operate in publishing a paper on the results from patients independently gathered by clinics like yours and monitored throughout the process. Only this way can we prove to the NHS the effectiveness of herbal remedies. We can in the process share the income from the treatment with our partners. Giving you individually the chance to assess the efficacy as well as the NHS. In China this co-operation between traditional medicine and conventional medicine is normal and any hospital has its traditional medicine department just along the corridor from the x-ray department and the general physicians department.

Conventional medicine recognizes the ability of herbal medicine to feed and build the immune system such as after it has been damaged by chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Or after viral infection, so herbal medicine is used not only in curing the disease but also in well being treatment. This is especially important in terminal cases where the accent is on making life as bearable and comfortable as possible. Herbal medicine is also very good in feeding micro-circulation in the brain or head which is why it often looks strange on the labels of herbal products that might list the benefits of the product as hair loss, memory loss or Parkinson’s disease all caused by poor micro-circulation in the head. The hair follicles are starved of nutrition and eventually fall out therefore anything that stimulates micro-circulation including massage or herbal medicine helps feed healthy hair growth. The same is true in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, M.S. and senile dementia. Our leaflets describes all the illnesses that we can help treat. Often in real terms far more cheaply and with less side effects than conventional medicine. However with the one being private and the other paid for on the NHS we suffer a great disadvantage unless GPs are allowed to try it and start to request treatment for complimentary medicine, which is why we are here today informing you of the opportunities.

This all ready fortunately works for acupuncture. But do you realize the difference between the ability of the normal western trained acupuncturist and a Chinese acupuncturist with a Master’s degree. Firstly, acupuncture originated in China and the theory of how it works is more clearly understood. The theory of meridians and collateral branches and the theory we spoke about earlier of Qi the energy force that stimulates. Apart from conventional acupuncturists using usually no more than one inch long needles to stimulate the reaction we use needles up to four inches or longer because we are stimulating the soft tissues and muscles not as is often believed in the West the nervous system. This is why when properly used acupuncture gives a warm relaxing glow or sensation that gently passes along the tissues like the waves spreading out from dropping a pebble into water. The stimulation gently flows and gradually dissipates as it goes. But if it had directly the nervous system that was stimulated the sensation would be immediate and is like an electric shock.

Another form of treatment involves either massage the application of pressure or vacuum cupping which is the reverse. The vacuum in the cup draws up the skin and increases the circulation in that area. If used with massage oils the cup can be gently moved around in a very pleasing and relaxing sensation that quickly reduces stress and tension.

Taken as an extract from a  presentation to the Chi Conference at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London on 14th March 2009.