Mar 302016

Here’s an article about one of my favorite Chinese herbs:
The Cold Remedy That Actually Works!

Here’s more links about this herb on my blog:
Top Chinese Herb for Immune System Support

Mar 142016

I have understood for years that patients can use their Health Savings Accounts (HSA) for purchasing dietary supplements or herbal remedies that I recommend for treatment. This is the case also for Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA). As a licensed Acupuncturist in the state of California, I am called a “primary care provider” and it is within my scope of practice to “prescribe” herbs and supplements.

However, I have been told by many patients that they have been told that my supplement or herbal prescriptions would not be covered by their HSA or FSA. What I did in the past was give patients a “superbill”, which is a insurance bill or form. It shows my licensing information, my NPI# (National Provider Identifier), and has CPT codes for procedures performed (in my case, acupuncture), and diagnosis codes (for example, cervicalgia, lumbago, sciatica, knee pain, etc). However, now I have a formal form that I can give patients along with a superbill, which will be signed by me to give to the insurance company, or service company of your HSA or FSA.

For reference, this form can be found here:
Reimbursement Form

Jun 092015

Seeing that Integrative Medicine is making great crossroads into the American healthcare system, I decided to write an article discussing this. It was published in Lotus Guide, April/May/June 2015 issue.

I also cover this warning: “Americans: Do NOT Assume OTC Drugs Are Safe!”

2015: Current State of Integrative Medicine in the U.S.

Thanks to John Weeks, of the Integrator Blog whose great posts gave me the inspiration for this for article too (see references in article)!

Aug 252014

A few articles highlighting the commonly used herb in Chinese Medicine, Jin Yin Hua, or Honeysuckle Flower – a powerful antibiotic and antiviral:

Micheal Tierra article on Honeysuckle Flower

Honeysuckle Flower Reference on Acupuncture Today

Jake Fratkin article (one of my teachers) – Modern Applications for Antiviral Therapy

Aug 192014

While most of us in the US may know of tumeric as a spice coming from India, it has been in the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Materia Medica for as far back as 657 A.D. Tumeric is in the same plant family as ginger, commonly used in both Chinese herbal medicine and Chinese cooking1 . Tumeric is from the plant known as Curcuma longa, hence Curcumin became the name for the main active ingredient in tumeric.

In TCM, we commonly use at least three species that belong to the Curcuma genus. Each one contains Curcumin but each plant has different unique medicinal qualities. In the last few years, Curcumin has become popular as an anti-inflammatory herbal ingredient and is used in many western herbal and supplement products for musculo-skeletal injuries and arthritis, and for anti-cancer support. However, the various Curcuma species have been used in Chinese Medicine for a long time for pain syndromes, benign or malignant masses, and much more.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) or Jiang Huang (literal English translation is “ginger yellow”) is used in TCM to treat chest and hypochondriac (anterior rib area) pain, epigastric pain, dymenorrhea, and hepatitis liver pain. It is also used to treat pain syndromes such as tendonitis, bursitis, and arthritis, especially in the upper limbs. Additionally, it is used to treat pain from certain types of infected sores and lesions. Modern research has shown it does have an anti-inflammatory effect and antiplatelet effect. Additionally, it has also shown the ability to lower both cholesterol and triglycerides levels, and has demonstrated an ability to increase production and excretion of bile.

Curcuma aromatica or Curcuma domestica (Yu Jin) is used in TCM to treat pain, cramping and bloating associated with menstruation, especially irregular menstruation. It also treats abdominal masses, especially those in the hypochondriac region and disorders such as liver cirrhosis, or hepatomegaly or splenomegaly (liver or spleen enlargement). It also has the ability to stop certain types of bleeding (based on diagnosis) such as vomiting blood, hematuria (blood in the urine) or nosebleeds. It is also used to treat certain types of disorientation, epilepsy, mania and other psychologically-related disorders. It will also treat jaundice and gallstones.

The root or rhizome of another species, Curcuma Zedoria or E Zhu, is traditionally considered one of the strongest herbs to break up masses, especially in the abdomen. Masses can be tumors, either benign or malignant. This herb is used in formulas for many types of cancer in TCM, however, modern research has shown this herb is most effective against cervical cancer. E Zhu is also a strong pain-relieving herb, especially used for abdominal pain, including certain types of epigastric or hypochondriac fullness, abdominal distention or hardness, and pelvic inflammation. It is also used for dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), amenorrhea (lack of menstruation) and indigestion . Additionally, this herb has shown antiplatelet and anti-thrombotic properties, along with having antibiotic-like effects against Staph, Strep and E. coli.

In TCM, all health conditions, including pain syndromes or diseases, are treated after determining a diagnosis based on analyzing a patient’s signs and symptoms, along with by observing the tongue and pulse, all of which help determine the affected organs and the pattern of disharmony in the body. Once a diagnosis is made, an herbal formula will be prescribed, never an individual herb as often assumed by western patients. This is because an individual’s diagnosis is complex and specific, and in order to treat it, a combination of properties of herbs are needed to be most effective.

So, here are a few examples of modified traditional Chinese herbal formulas that I prescribe in my clinic, when appropriate, that contain Curcumin in them, along a description of their specific clinical applications (all products are from Evergreen Herbs):

1) Jiang Huang
Arm Support
Shoulder: periarthritis of the shoulder, frozen shoulder, capsulitis, rotator cuff tear, rotator cuff tendonitis, bursitis, inflammation and pain of the shoulder, subluxation or dislocation, AC (acromioclavicular) separation.
Elbow: lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), medial epicondylitis (golfer’s elbow), olecranon bursitis, tendonitis.
Wrist: carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, sprain and strain.
General musculoskeletal injuries: tendonitis, bursitis, arthritis of the arm.
Numbness, decreased range of motion and atrophy of the arm.

2) Yu Jin
Shine – Depression with low energy, prolonged sadness or irritability, and lack of interest in daily activities.

Calm Jr – ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), autism, hyperactivity, impulsiveness, difficulty in focusing, inattentiveness, restlessness; childhood convulsions, epilepsy, seizures and twitching of muscles.

Liver DTX – Liver damage with high levels of SGPT and SGOT; liver detoxification: enhances the normal metabolic and detoxification functions of the liver; hepatitis: treats hepatitis with or without jaundice, repairs liver cell damage; liver cirrhosis from excessive alcohol intake; addiction: detoxifies liver during alcohol, drug or smoking cessation; cholecystitis with increased liver enzymes, possibly with liver impairment.

Migratrol – Migraine headache: acute and chronic; tension headache: acute and chronic; cluster headache: acute and chronic.

Cholisma ES – High cholesterol and triglycerides levels; fatty liver; obesity; prevention and treatment for the conditions above.

Back Support (Upper) – Acute injury or trauma to the chest, ribs, or thoracic area with pain, inflammation, swelling, or bruises; upper back stiffness and pain, scapular pain and/or pain between the scapulae; subluxation of the thoracic vertebrae; rib fracture.

3) E Zhu
CA Support – Cancer patients who suffer extreme weakness and deficiency and cannot receive surgery or chemotherapy and radiation treatments; late stage, terminally-ill cancer patients with pain and suffering.

Resolve (Lower) – Fibrocystic disorders in the lower half of the body, such as fibroids and cysts in the uterus and ovaries; endometriosis; palpable masses and benign tumors of the female reproductive organs; female infertility due to obstruction in the lower abdominal region (i.e. tubal obstruction); pelvic pain due to obstruction in the lower abdominal region; scarring or blood stagnation in the pelvic cavity from surgery.

Arm Support – described above

1 The only dish I have seen in Chinese restaurants that has turmeric in it is ‘Singapore Noodles’. I especially like it because it combines turmeric with rice noodles (vs. noodles with wheat), which is great for those who are gluten sensitive.

1. Chen, John K. and Tina T. Chen. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. AOM Press: 2004.
2. Bensky, Dan and Andrew Gamble. Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica. Eastland Press, Revised Edition: 1993.
3. Clinical Manual of Oriental Medicine, 2nd edition, Lotus Institute of Integrative Medicine. (Descriptions of Evergreen Herbs products.)

May 092014

It seems like every season, whether it be Spring or Fall, or Summer or Winter, various patients have symptoms of hayfever or environmental allergies – this need not be the case!! Allergies are a symptom of our immune system needing support so that we can handle exposure to the environment, whether it be from pollens or animal dander, molds or mildews, or even dust. Our standard medical system of allopathy does us a disservice by prescribing anti-histamines, which suppress symptoms and suppresses the body’s natural response to exposure, hence making the condition worse in the long-term. The best long-term solution is to stimulate our body’s natural ability to handle the exposure so that it does not respond to a substance like it is a toxin – a healthy body should tolerate exposure and handle it gracefully, and not respond to pollens and dust like they are toxins!

For more information, see my document on how I treat allergies naturally:
Treating Hayfever or Environmental Allergies with Natural Medicine

Sep 202013

This cookbook is a jewel! Dr. Mao, as he is affectionately known, is a 38th-generation doctor of Chinese Medicine, a co-founder of an acupuncture college, a prolific author, and of course, a well-respected authority on Chinese Medicine. Hippocrates said ‘let food by thy medicine’, and Dr. Mao shows one how in this book full of recipes from centenarians and from many years of experience with patients from around the world. The intro to this book gives ‘Top Ten Longevity Habits for Good Digestion and Good Health’ and the recipes focus on using his ‘Top Ten Healing, Anti-Aging Foods’ (which I must add, is very similar to my ‘Top Ten Foods for Longevity’ article written in 2010). Additionally, Dr. Mao’s book lists commonly-used culinary herbs and spices for specific health conditions, and each recipe notes which health condition(s) it can benefit. There is also specific menu combinations given for certain health conditions. But the real ‘treasure’ of this ‘jewel’ are the recipes themselves! Besides being healthy, these recipes are unique, scrumptious, and most of them are simple and easy too, so one who is new to cooking healthy should not be overwhelmed at all. Sample recipes are: Banana Buckwheat Pancakes (gluten-free), Avocado Hummus, Chicken Mango and Butternut Squash Soup, Vegetable Almond Pie (gluten-free), Millet Pilaf, Curry Vegetables with Brown Rice, and Pecan Pudding. (Some of the recipes use dried Chinese herbs, all of which are readily available at my office from my ‘herbal pharmacy’ – GoJi berries, hawthorn fruit, chrysanthemum, etc.) And I must lastly mention Dr. Mao’s Hot Herbal Cereal recipe – it is a combination of over 20 grains, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes that his family has been eating for generations – it is really a ‘one-stop, complete-nutrition meal, as he describes! Definitely consider adding this treasure of a cookbook to your kitchen shelf!

Dr. Mao is also the author of several other books, many of which I consider ‘must-haves’ for those interested in Chinese or Natural Medicine – Second Spring: Hundreds of Natural Secrets for Women to Revitalize and Regenerate at Any Age and Secrets of Self-Healing: Harness Nature’s Power to Heal Common Ailments, Boost Your Vitality, and Achieve Optimal Wellness.

Apr 032013

Monograph on Curcuma Longa, published by Alternative Medicine Review, a peer-reviewed CAM journal years ago now, summarizing research on Curcumin (now considered the main active ingredient in Curcuma Longa).

Curcumin Monograph

Mar 132013

I purchase all of my Chinese raw, dried herbs, which I use in customized formulas and tinctures both, from Spring Wind Herbs. This company is considered the premier supplier of quality Chinese herbs and is owned by Andrew Ellis. All herbs are tested for pesticide residues, and increasingly more and more are even available as USDA Certified Organic. I usually try to purchase the organic version also, unless the cost difference is extremely high (but typically isn’t the case at all).
For more information, see
Spring Wind Herbs or
Spring Wind Herbs Quality

Mar 132013

Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is the world standard of herbal medicine and these guidelines are used, amongt testing for heavy metals, pesticides and bacteria, by Evergreen Herbs, a family-run business with 3 generations of Chinese herbal scholars bringing quality medicine to practitioners and patients alike. Keep in mind also that most herbs are coming from Taiwan, so why the quality is so high. Evergreen Herbs and Herb Safety

The formulas are fantastic and bring my patients much healing! The pharmacology tomes written by John Chen and Tina Chen are a boom to phytomedicine worldwide and research is the basis of this materia medica. Order book: Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology from Evergreen Herbs or Amazon.

Nov 292012

Dear Sheryl,

Thank you SO MUCH for aiding in my extraordinarily speedy recovery from my total knee replacement surgery, which I had on June 25, 2012. I owe much of it to your skillful acupuncture techniques, very specific herbs, and your expert advice on nutrition and other helpful suggestions, before and after my surgery.

I have well surpassed the expectations of my surgeon, Charles E. Wilhite, M.D., nurses and physical therapists. Not only am I experiencing more flexibility (up to the maximum), but less swelling and redness around the incision. My incision is getting smaller by the day and I’ve been told by my surgeon that it will be nearly invisible sooner than expected. He said outright, “Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it!”

I have also had other problems that you have been able to help me with. You have worked wonders for injuries sustained by me a few years after being struck and rolled over on by a car in 2000. At the time I was being treated by a chiropractor with a “cooky cutter” approach for a few years until you were recommended by my massage therapist, Elizabeth Evans, CMT, who worked on me in the same chiropractor’s office. Recently you saved me from having risky surgery on the vertebrae in my neck by your remarkable acupuncture techniques.

If someone were to ask me to pick only one health care provider, it will be you!

Thank you again,
Arleen P.
Magalia, CA

Nov 292012

Yunnan Bai Yao

My first experience many years ago with this traditional Chinese medicine was dramatic. I was studying in Taiwan. One afternoon I fell in my tiny shower and cut a deep crescent of forehead and scalp open on the shower head bracket. Bleeding profusely, not speaking Chinese well yet, I got dressed, clamped a towel over my forehead, and ran across the street to my teacher. He took one look and got out some brown powder, which he sprinkled into the wound, and made me also swallow some. I thought I would be getting an infection and probably die far from home with this strange treatment. I had been imagining stitches, scarring, and pain. However, the bleeding stopped immediately and there was no swelling or pain. After less than a week of taking more of the Yunnan Bai Yao daily and placing it on the cut, the wound was nearly healed. After only a week, the large curved flap looked like an old wound, and it healed with almost no scar. I generally scar and bruise easily so this was amazing. Now, years later, there’s no mark. I still use it on any cut, before going to the dentist or having a procedure like a colonoscopy, and on my cat as well, in small doses.

Once I was at a workshop, and a friend there had been having violent nosebleeds. As the evening went on his nose began to bleed profusely. I always carry some Yunnan Bai Yao in my purse for emergencies. Another friend who is a TCM practitioner was there, and we gave the “emergency pill” to our friend, and had him snort some of the powder into his nose. The bleeding stopped. He went to a local emergency room where he had recently been treated for the nosebleeds, and the doctors there were very surprised at the lack of bleeding and swelling they expected to see. He did not need a painful cauterization, and even was able to rejoin our gathering.

More recently I recommended it to a friend about to have surgery on her nose. She and her surgeon expected her nose would be quite disfigured as the cancer on her nose would have to be dug out, bit by bit, leaving a pit. However, she took the red “emergency pill” in the packet of Yunnan Bai Yao the day before the surgery, swallowed some of the capsules and following her surgery she used the powdered form in the wound and took the capsules daily. It healed with little swelling or bruising in a very short time, and after a few weeks her nose showed no sign of the procedure. The depression in the tip of the nose filled in completely. Her surgeon was astounded, and very interested in learning more about this Chinese “wonder drug.”

J Walker

Nov 292012

For almost thirty years I have relied on acupuncture to heal from illness and injury. Ten years ago when I moved to Paradise I found Sheryl to be an attentive and capable practitioner. Her skill with herbal medicine and acupuncture nursed me through one of the most dire flues I have ever had. Also during stressful times I have used acupuncture to assist me, most recently as I undertook a Graduate degree. Often during an acupuncture treatment I would fall asleep, aside from rebalancing my system, this would allow me to recover the much needed rest that I had missed due to studying, reading, or paper writing.
Furthermore, I have found that when I injure a muscle, acupuncture can relax the strain.
Diane Buuck, PhD, MFT

Nov 012012

This Traditional Chinese Medicine patent medicine is very famous for treating the symptoms of hayfever and other allergies (dust, pet dander, etc.) such as a runny nose (rhinitis), itchy eyes and nose, sinus congestion and headaches. It even can be used on your pets too for their allergies! For more details, see this patient handout:

Bi Yan Pian

Sep 222012

Great article summarizing using Chinese Herbal Medicine for treating viral infections, specifically focused on the H1N1 virus. Chinese Herbal Medicine and the novel H1N1 virus
This article is written for the Chinese Medicine professional, but referred to here to educate the public as to how viral infections such as influenza can be treated with Chinese Herbal Medicine.

Aug 062012

This is a Traditional Chinese Medicine recipe for cough, with or without phlegm: Pear and Rock Sugar Elixir recipe. It tastes great, is very easy to make and you will even think you just had a dessert that is good for you!! It is basically poaching a pear and making yourself a nice, little cough syrup.

It is traditionally made with Apricot Kernels, or Xing Ren, but almonds can make this recipe easily accessible to anyone. And if you want the Chinese medicinal for more effect, Xing Ren is always available in my office at a very reasonable cost.

More ideas for variations to this recipe:
– Apple juice (organic, unfiltered) could be used instead of the sugar and water.
– Cinnamon and/or cloves and/or ginger could be added if one has a ‘cold’ cough (clear, watery, or white phlegm, or other symptoms of cold, such as chills, no sore throat).

Jun 212012

For almost thirty years I have relied on acupuncture to heal from illness and injury. Ten years ago when I moved to Paradise I found Sheryl to be an attentive and capable practitioner. Her skill with herbal medicine and acupuncture nursed me through one of the most dire flues I have ever had. Also during stressful times I have used acupuncture to assist me, most recently as I undertook a Graduate degree. Often during an acupuncture treatment I would fall asleep, aside from rebalancing my system, this would allow me to recover the much needed rest that I had missed due to studying, reading, or paper writing. Furthermore, I have found that when I injure a muscle acupuncture can relax the strain.
Diane Buuck, PhD, MFT

May 242012

Dr. Daniel Weber is a scholar in the field of Integrative Oncology, with a focus on using Chinese herbal medicine or isolates from Chinese herbs to treat cancer. He has done numerous clinical trials, especially regarding herbal isolates to treat breast cancer. He is the author of several books on the subject of Chinese herbs to treat cancer and has also been honored in China with an appointment to The Oncology Special Committee (OSC) of the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies (WFCMS) in 2011. For more info, see Dr. Daniel Weber’s bio

Dr. Daniel Weber’s research site
Dr. Daniel Weber is also the founder of the Association of Integrative Oncology and Chinese Medicine
Dr. Daniel Weber’s products, focusing on cancer treatments Panaxea – Specialty line of Chinese herbal remedies, including isolates (sold only to practitioners since they are trained in their use).