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Arthritis And Chinese Herbal Medicine

Nov 22, 2007
Most people with joint pain are diagnosed with arthritis, which is a general term for a number of different conditions that involve swollen, painful, and/or stiff joints. The two most common forms of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis, which affects more than 6.5 million people in the United States alone; and osteoarthritis, which is an age-related degeneration of joints. One in seven Americans is afflicted with osteoarthritis, and some are virtually housebound by joint pain. In the West, anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly prescribed for arthritis. In the East, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine, with their thousand-year-old history, are the major health care modalities used to fight joint and musculo-skeletal disorders including arthritis. These ancient therapies are still used because they are empirically effective, and have stood the test of time. Now they are standing to meet the tests of Western medicine.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the condition that is congruent with arthritis is called "Bi syndrome." Bi syndrome manifests as pain, soreness, or numbness of muscles, tendons and joints, and is the result of the body being "invaded" by the external climatological factors of Wind, Cold, Heat, and/or Dampness. The symptoms manifested by the individual depend on which external pathogenic factor is strong. Chinese herbal medicine views disease as an imbalance between major forces in our body--organ systems, heat versus cold, and the blockage of the flow of blood, and Qi (pronounced "chee"), the life force. Chinese herbal medicine views arthritis as restriction of the flow of blood and Qi due to an over-abundance of cold.

Arthritis and Chinese herbal medicine remedies are available in extremely complex formulations. The most common formulations are Si Miao Wan, Guan Jie Yan Win, and Du Huo Ji Sheng Wan. Most of these formulations are available as teas, extracts or tablets, which you can purchase online, from supply stores for traditional Chinese medicine, or from Asian grocery stores. Arthritis and Chinese herbal medicine formulations usually include some or all of the following herbs: Yi yi ren (Coix lachrymal jobi/Seeds of Jobs Ears seed), Fang ji (Stephania tetrandra root) , Cang zhu (Atractylodes lancea rhizome),Hai tong pi (Erythrina variegata/coral bean bark),Gui zhi (Cinnamomum cassia/cinnamon twig), Xiang jia pi (Periploca sepium root-bark), Huai niu xi (Achyranthes bidentata root),Qin jiao (Gentiana macrophylla/bitter root) ,Wu zhu yu (Evodia rutaecarpa fruit) ,Huang qin (Scutellaria baicalensis/skullcap root) , Du huo (Angelica pubescens root) , Sheng jiang (Zingiber officinale rhizome/ginger root) , Sang ji sheng (Taxillus chinensis twig/Mulberry twig, Shu di huang (Rehmannia glutinosa roo)t, Dang shen Codonopsis pilosula root), Fu ling (Poria cocos fungus), Du zhong (Eucommia ulmoides bark), Bai shao (Paeonia lactiflora root), Fang feng (Ledebouriella divaricata root), Gentiana macrophylla root, Chuan xiong (Ligusticum wallichii rhizome/lovage root), and Gan cao (Glycyrrhiza uralensis root/licorice root).

You should learn both the Chinese, and where available, the English and the scientific names of the Chinese Medicine remedies for arthritis. This way, you will be able to communicate both with merchants and your health care provider. Of course, your first consultation about your arthritis should be with your health care provider. He or she can insure that any arthritis and Chinese medicine treatments you take are safe and effective and do not interact with any other medications you may be taking. We wish you well on your healing journey.
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