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Sacred Lotus Reviews: Books

Reviewed by Sacred Lotus on: 03/04/2013

A Manual of Acupuncture by Peter Deadman

After almost 15 years, I still regularly pick up this book to reread Peter Deadman's commentaries on the points. The experience almost always expands my understanding of Chinese Medicine. If you are serious about Acupuncture... this is the one book that you want to own. It is truly a treasure for the western Acupuncturist, and there is nothing else like it. It is also the primary Acupuncture textbook at many TCM/Acupuncture schools. 

A Manual of Acupuncture is comprehensive, concise, and very well researched.  It's also extremely well organized and the layout is consistent and simple throughout the book. The majority of the book consists of the 14 channels and individual Acupuncture point profiles, which is reason enough to own the book. In addition to this (including the extra points), students will find the area illustrations towards the back of the book invaluable for studying point/channel locations. There are major point illustrations of the eye, face, head, neck, arms, chest, abdomen, back, legs, and feet. 

The points begins with a name translation, Chinese characters, and any special attributes of the point (i.e. Luo-Connecting Point).

In addition, the point profiles include:

  • Location
  • Location Note
  • Needling
  • Actions
  • Indications
  • Commentary
  • Combinations

The commentary is a combination of modern applications, gems of wisdom from the ancient texts, and often point combinations describing relationships with other points, channels, organs, etc.

The point locations are superbly illustrated... detailing the bones, muscles, tendons, skin, and distances for each point. Most of the illustrations include relevant proximal points that aid in locating the point in question, as well as learning the local points. 

On top of all this, the book is really a joy to read....

Go check out "A Manual of Acupuncture by Peter Deadman "...

Reviewed by Sacred Lotus on: 03/04/2013

Chinese Herbal Patent Medicines: The Clinical Desk Reference

There are thousands of Chinese herbal patent medicines from different manufacturers available in the United States. While Fratkin's clinical desk reference is an older book (2001), it is still my personal favorite for referencing any of the bottled/packaged Chinese medicines. There has only been a handful of times that I have not been able to reference an off-the-shelf Chinese patent medicine (i.e. - an obscure Chinese patent bottle brought in by a patient). 

The book covers over 1,300 products, with 109 chapters, and has color photos for most of the patent medicines in the book. The table of contents is broken down nicely into 12 categories of TCM disorders. There is author's commentary on each section, where he introduces the TCM theory behind the patterns and medicines. There is also an extensive appendix of symptoms and diseases, enabling you to quickly reference off-the-shelf medicine for a particular TCM pattern within each disorder category.

The Chinese patent formulas can be looked up by either English or Pinyin indices. If you still can't find the medicine, you can browse through almost 1,000 photos of the product bottles/packages. The book also has appendices to look up the herbs by Chinese characters, pharmaceutical, botanical, and common names.

Each medicine includes:

  • Actions/Indications
  • Origin of the Formula
  • Author's Comments/Notes
  • Cautions (if any)
  • Research (if any)
  • Laboratory Analysis and Purity (if any)
  • Legality/Endangered Species (if any)
  • Ingredients (if known)
  • Packaging and Dosage

One of my favorite aspects of the 'Clinical Desk Reference' is that includes relevant clinical research on the medicines. For instance, 'Xiao Yao Wan' (Free and Relaxed Pills) contains the results of a study on 253 acute hepatitis patients taking the patent, with a general effective rate of 69%. 

Another important aspect of the book is that California FDB (Food and Drug Branch) analysis was performed on over 500 products in the book. And, if available, each patent medicine contains information on whether the sample contained heavy metals and/or pharmaceuticals. Certain patents for example had toxic levels of arsenic, mercury, lead, etc. Other medicines contained western drugs, chemical preservatives, dyes, etc. 

Other important information on each patent medicine is whether it contains endangered animal products (and illegal); such as tiger bone, rhinoceros horn, bear gallbladder, wild musk deer gland, antelope horn, crocodile gallbladder, sea horse, leopard bone, pangolin anteater scales, wild seal penis, monkey gallstones, etc. 

In closing, I would like to note that there are plenty of very safe and effective Chinese herbal patent formulas available today. This book (and others) undoubtedly inspired stricter manufacturing processes, tighter control, better regulation, and awareness and advocacy about the contents of imported Chinese medicines.

Go check out "Chinese Herbal Patent Medicines: The Clinical Desk Reference "...

Reviewed by Sacred Lotus on: 03/04/2013

The Foundations of Chinese Medicine

It is an incredible accomplishment to read and translate ancient Chinese medical texts and then present your work to the world. There is bound to be intense scrutiny, and even some misdirected blame when the philosophy is so foreign from our western thinking.

Giovanni's The Foundations of Chinese Medicine was one of the first real Chinese medicine texts I studied, besides perhaps The Web That Has No Weaver, and some books by Daniel Reid. While there has been complaints over Maciocia's translations and wordiness... I still feel it is one of the the best English texts on TCM, and should be required reading for anyone serious about learning the landscape of Chinese medicine.

Yes, there are other good books on the foundations of Chinese medicine, but Giovanni does an amazing job of systematically walking us through concepts that are inherently difficult for the western mind to grasp. The book covers Yin Yang, 5 elements, vital substances, Qi, the internal organs, causes of disease, diagnosis, TCM patterns, Acupuncture, and treatment. The material is very well organized, the diagrams are excellent, and most of the book is a joy to read.

I have seen more than one Chinese practitioner scoff after reading a passage in the book, but I've also seen many students gain incredible knowledge from ancient wisdom that would not otherwise be available. While I do believe there are translations or interpretations where Maciocia over extends his creative license, I also feel it brings about good debate, and ultimately a better understanding of the material.

While Giovanni can be verbose and repetitive at times, when I go back and reread sections of the book... I feel it is clear, well written, and the right amount of content. And, as far as personal preference, I find I like the translated terms and writing style in The Foundations of Chinese Medicine better than other author's.

As a last note, the index of the book that so many people complained about has been fixed. It will no longer lead you to pages unrelated to your search.

Go check out "The Foundations of Chinese Medicine "...

Sacred Lotus Reviews: Chinese Herbs

Reviewed by Sacred Lotus on: 02/26/2013

Curing Pills (Bao He Wan)

Bao He Wan is also known as "Curing Pills" (and "Preserve Harmony Pills") for a very good reason. Whether you've overeaten or have a hangover, everyone should have Bao He Wan in their medicine cabinet. Even if you haven't overly enjoyed yourself, Bao He Wan is still a great supplement for poor digestion. I find it's perfect for a feeling of fullness after a meal, and the heavy damp feeling after an evening of drinking alcohol.

Bao He Wan is an incredibly effective Chinese medicine for dispelling food stagnation, especially with indigestion, distention, and bloating. It's excellent for hiccups, burping, gas, acid reflux, and the nausea and vomiting from food stagnation. It can also be very useful for morning sickness, motion sickness, and colic.

In Chinese Medicine, when food stagnates in the stomach, it prevents the Stomach Qi from descending and Qi accumulates in the middle burner. This can give rise to symptoms like fullness, distention, vomiting, nausea, and acid regurgitation. In TCM, this is known as Rebellious Stomach Qi. Over eating and poor diet also damage the Spleen Qi and the Spleen's ability to transport and transform, leading to the accumulation of damp and phlegm. 

Bao He Wan contains well known Chinese herb digestives such as Hawthorn (Shan Zha), Radish Seed (Lai Fu Zi), and Medicated Leaven (Shen Qu). Combining these herbs aids in the digestion of meats, fatty foods, alcohol, and carbohydrates. Zhi Ban Xia (Processed Pinellia) and Chen Pi (Tangerine peel) dispel damp and phlegm from food stagnation (Spleen Qi Deficiency). Fu Ling (Poria) not only transforms phlegm, but tonifies the Spleen as well. Forsythia (Lian Qiao) clears the heat/burning symptoms that may be associated with food stagnation.

NOTE: Medicated Leaven (Shen Qu) contains (is processed with) wheat. If you have wheat allergies, a gluten sensitivity, or celiac disease, please use Bao He Wan with caution.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Go check out "Curing Pills (Bao He Wan)"...

Reviewed by Sacred Lotus on: 02/26/2013

Free & Easy Wanderer (Xiao Yao Wan)

Xiao Yao Wan is probably the most commonly prescribed Chinese patent medicine in the west. It goes by a few western names (translations), such as 'Free and Easy Wanderer', 'Free and Relaxed Pills', and 'Rambling Powder'. Its modern applications are fascinating as it was developed in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), almost 875 years ago.

Xiao Yao Wan's popularity is due to it being so effective at treating the consequences from the mental and environmental stresses that are so prevalent in a modern busy life...

  • Stress, Irritability, Anxiety, and Depression
  • Poor Digestion, Poor Appetite, and Loose Stool
  • TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders)
  • Female Hormone and Menstrual Cycle Imbalances
  • PMS Symptoms and Irregular Menses (i.e. - Irritability, Breast Distension, Water Retention) 
  • Menopause Symptoms (i.e. - Hot Flashes, Dizziness, Fatigue)

In Chinese Medicine terms, these stresses can cause the Liver Qi to stagnate, which in turn creates excessive control over the Spleen. Because the Spleen is responsible for transforming nutrients into blood and Qi, this eventually causes Blood Deficiency due to the Liver Qi Stagnation. Conversely, blood deficiency from any origin can cause the Liver Qi to Stagnate.

Free & Easy Wanderer (Xiao Yao Wan) soothes the Liver and spreads Liver Qi, strengthens the spleen, and nourishes blood. It's easy on the stomach, 100% natural, and great for countering stress, anxiety, and depletion. 

If you're interested in the ingredients in Xiao Yao Wan, please see Shao Yao San (Rambling Powder) in the website. 

* Plum Flower uses sulfur-free herbs and laboratory tests its products for contamination and heavy metals. They strictly adhere to traditional herbal formula recipes, and do not add any hidden pharmaceutical substances, preservatives or colors to their products.  All Plum Flower formulas are made under internationally-certified GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) guidelines.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Go check out "Free & Easy Wanderer (Xiao Yao Wan)"...

Reviewed by Sacred Lotus on: 02/26/2013

Yunnan Baiyao

Truly amazing. No medicine cabinet or first aid kit should be without Yunnan Baiyao. Putting it on cuts or traumatic injuries not only stops bleeding and prevents infection, but also alleviates the pain and quickly heals the injury. It has both anti-bacterial and homeostatic properties. If you don't have Yunnan Baiyao in your home, office, or first aid kit, go buy some today.

Yunnan Baiyao was invented in 1902 by a Chinese herb collector named Dr. Qu Huanzhang. He was said to walk the land in Yunnan, tasting thousands of herbal medicines. Its effectiveness became well known in World War II, and later in the Vietnam War, where American's witnessed Vietcong soldiers survive what should have been deadly gunshot wounds. Yunnan Baiyao is one of China's most famous medicines. 

The powder inside the capsule is applied directly to cuts and injuries The capsules are taken internally for bruising, swelling, internal bleeding, and tissue damage associated with acute traumatic injury.

Yunnan Baiyao has been used in serious wounds from gunshots, internal injuries from automobile accidents, and bleeding from surgery. It has also been used to stem nosebleeds, blood in the stool, bleeding ulcers, and both postpartum hemorrhage and blood stagnation. 

There is also a single red pill that is included in the package (or bottle if powdered), called 'Bao Xian Zi'. It is dubbed the 'emergency', 'rescue', and 'insurance' pill. It is to be taken with wine no more than once a day for serious traumatic bleeding or wounds. While it does not stop bleeding, the pill prevents shock from sudden blood loss. 

What is truly remarkable is that Yunnan Baiyao has the ability to coagulate the blood and move the blood at the same time. In Chinese medicine terms, this means that along with its ability to stop bleeding, it also dispels blood stagnation and disperses swelling. 

The ingredients of this medicine have always been a 'state secret', held by the Yunnan Baiyao Pharmaceutical Company.... until now. Apparently the FDA approval process required full disclosure of the ingredients in Yunnan Baiyao, and it was posted on both the FDA and Amazon websites.

Here are the (supposed) actual ingredients in Yunnan Baiyao:

Common Name Chinese Name Latin Botanical Part of Plant
Notoginseng Tian Qi  Panax pseudoginseng Wall Root
Borneol Bing Pian Dryobalanops aromatica Gaertn. f. Crystal
Boea Clarkean San Yu Cao Boea clarkeana Hemsl. Entire Plant
Inula Copp Bai Niu Dan  Inula cappa DC. Root
Complanatum Chuan Shan Long Lycopodium complanatum L. Rhizome
Chinese Yam Huai Shan Yao Dioscorea opposita Thunb. Rhizome
Galanga Ku Liang Jiang Alpinia officinarum Hance Rhizome
Cranebill Lao Guan Cao Erodium stephanianum Wild. Aerial Parts
Camphor Zhang Nao Cinnamomum camphora (L.) Presl. Crystal Extracts
Peppermint Bo He Mentha haplocalyx Briq. Leaves

While there are no quantities of the given ingredients, nor any information on the preparation of the ingredients in Yunnan Baiyao, it is still amazing that we now have a list of ingredients after over 100 years.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Go check out "Yunnan Baiyao"...