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Ask the Herbalist - Chinese Remedies

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QUESTION: I have been diagnosed by a Chinese practitioner with a spleen qi deficiency caused by a cold internal dampness. Can you recommend any Western herbs to treat internal dampness?

ANSWER: I'm not a Chinese Herbalist, and though I am familiar with chi and the oriental view of the body, I'm certainly no expert and hardly qualified to suggest something western. What did your Chinese herbalist suggest? Surely they suggested something when they diagnosed your problem? Chinese herbalists are very good and I respect them. If they suggested something for your condition, I would stick to that and not try to substitute without knowing exactly what is going on.


  I am currently taking an herbal mixture recommended by my MD. The names of the herbs are strange to me. I have not been able to get any info on them through the net. They are:
"dioscorea opposita root"
"cooked Rehmannia glutinosa root"
"cornus officinales fruit"
"poria cocos herb"
The last ingrediant listed is cinnamon bark, the only familiar name to me. Any thing you can tell me will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  "dioscorea opposita root"  The common name is Chinese wild yam or Mountain Medicine, Pin Yin it is called Shan yao, the latin name is Dioscorea opposita.  Root tells you what part of the plant was used to make the medicine.  It is used for low grade diarrhea, gas, bloating, fatigue, to moisten & tonify the lung (emphysema, dry cough, dry throat, dry asthma), in wasting & thirsting diseases  (most often diabetes, but any wasting disease), low sperm count, impotence, nonspecific leukorrhea, freq. urination.

"cooked Rehmannia glutinosa root"  The common name is Chinese Floxglove or Processed Rehmania, Pin Yin is Shi Di Huang, the latin name is Rehmannia glutinosa.  Root tells what part was used.  One of the major blood tonics.  for irregular periods, erratic bleeding, heavy post partuum bleeding, bleeding fibroids, endometreosis, reckless blood, blood in urine, scanty urine, dry hard stools, dry Mucus Membranes, spotting, & coughing blood.  It is also used for impaired Kidney function or the structure, nightsweats, easily broken bones, dizziness, hearing problems, This is one of the herbs used in Women's 4 herb tea with Dang qui, Ligusticum & White Peony.  A great Female tonic.

"cornus officinales fruit"  The common name is Chinese Dogwood, Japanese Cornel, Pin Yin is Shan Zhu Yu, the latin name is Cornus officinalis or C. officinales.  The fruit is a berry used to make the herbal medicine picked when yellow to orange color and sour taste.  Cornus officinalis berries are a tonic and stimulant for the kidneys. They are useful for incontinence, impotence or lack of sexual desire, and certain infections of the urinary tract. They are also useful in stimulating the sweat glands, which can be helpful during fevers. They helps to overcome the condition of lightheadedness and weakness in the knees which some individuals experience when standing.

"poria cocos herb"  The common names are Poria, Tuckahoe, Indian Bread,  the Pin Yin name is Fu Ling, the Latin Name is Poria Cocus. Poria is used for providing relief from diarrhea, poor appetite, and other disorders of digestion. It is also useful as a selective tonic for the blood pressure, balances electrolytes by raising or lowering adjusting the body's balance of sodium or potassium as needed. This fungus has been used in oriental and western herbalism as a treatment for cancers and other chronic ailments. This herb helps calm the shen.

"cinnamon bark" The common name is Cinnamon (Chinese cinnamon not Ceylon), the Pin Yin name is Gui pi, the Latin Name is Cinnamonium cassia, C. quizhi (use cinn twigs)    C. rouqui (use thin young bark).  Cinnamon is used to increase circulation for cold hands and feet, chills without sweating, good carminative for gas and nausea, good for colds and flu to raise body temp and give warmth when chilled.  Good for blood sugar control, sweetener, good for rheumatism if worse in cold damp weather. Good for structure of kidneys.

The formula you are on is probably called Kidney One a traditional Chinese medicine.

The symptoms associated with this remedy are:
Coldness of the hands or feet; hair loss & early gray hair; incontinence or frequent urination; weak libido, impotence; seminal emission, premature ejaculation, infertility; edema and swelling of legs; easy to catch cold, and turn to asthma; low back pain and ache; early menopause; fear, tension, and stress; insomnia; dream-disturbed sleep; short of breath & tiredness; urinary tract and prostate problems.