Schisandra: Health Benefits, Facts, and How to Use It

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Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

Schisandra gained recognition as an adaptogenic tonic in Russia in the 1960s. Adaptogenic herbs help the body respond to stress; normalize physiological functions; increase energy, physical performance, and endurance; and recharge your adrenal glands. As a result, schisandra helps prevent adrenal fatigue. However, that is just one of the many health benefits of schisandra.

How Does Schisandra Work?

Schisandra is commonly used to treat liver disease. The active ingredients in the plant can improve liver functions by boosting the growth of liver cells and stimulating enzymes, which are responsible for many biochemical reactions in the body.

Schisandra fruit comes from the plant Schisandra chinensis, and belongs to the family Schisandraceae. The plant goes by many names, including schizandra and Chinese magnolia vine.

1. Traditional Chinese Medicine

In Mandarin, it is called wu wei zi, which translates as five-flavored berry. Basically, schisandra has all five tastes that include sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and hot. But, beyond the tastes, schisandra’s flavor components help understand how the ancient berry works. According to the five-element theory in traditional Chinese medicine, the tastes of schisandra berry benefit the qi (life force) of the five visceral organs that include the lungs, kidneys, heart, liver, and spleen. Because of its potential to impact nearly every organ system within the human body, there are dozens of reported schisandra health benefits and uses. Traditional Chinese medicine also recognizes schisandra as an herb that balances all three “treasures” within the body: qi, shen (spirit), and jing (essence).

2. Schisandra Active Ingredients

Schisandra important components, include

• vitamin C

• vitamin E

• citral,

• schisandrin,

• deoxys schizandra,

• schisanheno,

• schizandrol,

• stigmasterol,

• sesquicarene.

Certain mechanisms may allow these constituents to work similarly to phytoadaptogens, affecting the sympathetic, central nervous, immune, endocrine, cardiovascular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal systems.

The antioxidants in schisandra may also positively affect smooth muscles, blood vessels, the biosynthesis of inflammatory compounds, and the release of fatty acids into the bloodstream. This improves circulation, and builds healthy blood vessels, arteries, and blood cells. This helps explain why schisandra may increase mental performance and endurance while working under stress.

5 Potential Schisandra Health Benefits

Although schisandra is best known as for boosting adrenal and liver function, it is also used as a powerful brain tonic to relieve stress, improve concentration, focus, mental energy, and memory. It may also support hormonal balance, nourish the skin, and improve digestive symptoms, especially when these issues are linked to liver transplants. The following are five reported schisandra health benefits.

1. May Help Relieve Stress

As an adaptogenic herb, schisandra may improve the body’s ability to deal with physical and psychological stress through balancing hormone levels. Schisandra may also improve resistance to emotional trauma, toxin exposure, anxiety, mental illness, and mental fatigue. A study published in the journal Drug Target Insights in 2007 suggested that the inhibitory effects of the adaptogens schisandra and rhodiola make them natural antidepressants that positively affect the hormones and brain function when under stress. Adaptogens also help prevent colds, flu, and chronic sinusitis.

2. May Reduce Inflammation

The high concentration of antioxidant compounds in schisandra could potentially help reduce inflammatory responses and fight free radical damage. As a result, schisandra may prevent heart diseases like atherosclerosis, balance blood sugar and treat diabetes, and protect against cancer. In regards to cancer prevention, active lignans from schisandra like schisandrin have been shown to have chemo-protective effects. Leukocytes promote inflammation, and studies suggest schisandra helps control the release of leukocytes, while also improving the body’s ability to repair tissue.

3. Improves Digestion and Liver Function

A lot of research focuses on schisandra for liver function and its effects on production of various liver detoxifying enzymes. Liver health is linked to strong immunity; therefore, schisandra may protect against indigestion, infections, and various gastrointestinal disorders. A study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research in 2013 showed that patients experienced improved liver function and relief from fatty liver disease when sesamin was mixed with schisandra fruit extract. Studies also indicate that schisandra could treat chronic hepatitis and benefit patients after a liver transplant.

4. May Promote Mental Performance

Improving mental clarity and performance is one of the oldest uses of schisandra. It has been used for centuries in Russia to promote stamina and in traditional Chinese medicine to improve concentration, memory, motivation, and mental health. Caffeine can cause restlessness, nervousness, and an irregular heart beat. Schisandra on the other hand has the opposite effect of caffeine, and it can make you feel calmer while fighting fatigue. A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2013 suggested that schisandra fruit extract may be useful in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Studies also link schisandra consumption and protection against psychiatric and neurological disorders like depression, neurosis, anxiety, schizophrenia, and alcoholism.

5. May Protect the Skin

Schisandra may work as a beauty tonic capable of protecting the skin, including from sun or wind exposure, dermatitis, allergic reactions, toxin accumulation, and environmental stress. The anti-inflammatory effects in schisandra make it possible to treat skin problems. In one study published in the journal Molecular Medicine Reports in 2015, researchers found that schisandra extract inhibits ear swelling through the reduction of the inflammatory skin disorder markers: immune cell filtration, skin dermatitis, and cytokine production.

How to Use Schisandra

Schisandra has long been used as a tonic tea. Schisandra is also readily available in supplement form that can be found at most health food stores. Here are the ways schisandra is often used:

1. Schisandra capsules or pills:

Take one to three grams of schisandra pills daily with meals.

2. Powdered schisandra fruit or fruit extract:

Experts recommend no more than three grams of powdered schisandra each day.

3. Schisandra tincture:

Make schisandra tinctures with a 1:6 ratio of water and pure dried schisandra extract. You may be able to find an already prepared tincture. Take 20 to 30 drops of the schisandra tincture per day. You can split the dose twice daily, while taking it with a meal.

4. Schisandra teas, wine, or tonic:

Schisandra is also available in teas or wines. You can also make brewed wines and teas featuring schisandra. To do this, steep up to three grams in hot water for 40 to 60 minutes before consumption. For enhanced benefits, add other herbs like turmeric, licorice root, cinnamon, or ginger.

In summary, the reported schisandra health benefits include supporting adrenal function, reducing inflammation, protecting the skin, improving digestion and liver function, and improving mental performance.

Is Schisandra Safe to Use?

According to Web MD, schisandra is possibly safe to consume orally, though minor side effects may include skin rash, upset stomach, loss of appetite, heartburn, and stomach pain. Although no major side effects have been reported, most research on schisandra investigates on animals, and not humans. For this reason, pregnant and nursing women are not advised to take it.

Schisandra may also affect the way other supplements or medications are absorbed in the body. A study of rats given liver-damaging amounts of acetaminophen found that a constituent called gomisin had some possible liver damage effects, but would not prevent glutathione depletion. Some studies have also found that schisandra interacts with drugs used for cancer treatment. Schisandra impacts how drugs are processed in the liver; therefore, it may reduce the effects of these drugs or increase the risk of toxicity. For these reasons, it is always best to talk to your doctor or natural health practitioner before using schisandra or any other herbal treatment.

Sources:
“Schisandra Benefits Adrenals & Liver,” Dr. Axe; https://draxe.com/schisandra/, last accessed March 9 2017.
“Schizandra Berry (Wu Wei Zi),” Chinese Herbs Healing; http://www.chineseherbshealing.com/schizandra-berry/, last accessed March 9, 2017.
“Schizandra,” Dragon Herbs; http://www.dragonherbs.com/prodinfo.asp?number=548, last accessed March 9, 2017.
“Wu Wei Zi Schisandra Fruit/Seed – Chinese Herbal Medicine,” Yin Yang House Theory website; https://theory.yinyanghouse.com/theory/herbalmedicine/wu_wei_zi_tcm_herbal_database, last accessed March 9, 2017.
“Schisandra: Ultimate Superberry,” Medicine Hunter; http://www.medicinehunter.com/schisandra, last accessed March 9, 2017.
“Top 11 Scientific Health Benefits of Schisandra,” Self Hacked; https://selfhacked.com/2016/05/11/schisandra/, last accessed March 9, 2017.
“Top 11 Benefits of Schizandra,” Surthrival, January 30, 2014; http://www.surthrival.com/news/schizandra-benefits/.
“Schisandra,” WebMD; http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-376-schisandra.aspx?activeingredientid=376&activeingredientname=schisandra, last accessed March 9, 2017.
“Schisandra,” Gaia Herbs; http://www.gaiaherbs.com/products/ingredient/234/Schisandra, last accessed March 9, 2017.
Lee, H.J., et al., “Effects of Schisandra chinensis Turcz. Fruit on contact dermatitis induced by dinitrofluorobenzene in mice,” Molecular Medicine Reports, August 2015; 12(2): 2135-2139, doi: 10.3892/mmr.2015.3618.
Jeong, E.J., et al., “The effects of lignin-riched extract of Schisandra chinesis on emyloid-beta-induced cognitive impairment and neurotoxicity in the cortex and hippocampus of mouse,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology, March 7, 2013; 146(1): 347-354, doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.01.003.
Chiu, H.F., et al., “Improvement of liver function in humans using a mixture of schisandra fruit extract and sesamin,” Phytotherapy Research, March 2013; 27(3): 368-373, doi: 10.1002/ptr.4702.
Panossian, A., et al., “The adaptogens rhodiola and schizandra modify the response to immobilization stress in rabbits by suppressing the increase of phosphorylated stress-activated protein kinase, nitric oxide and cortisol,” Drug Target Insights, 2007; 2: 39-54. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21901061.

Source: Doctors Health Press

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Vitamin C could halt the growth of cancer

Herbs and Helpers

Researchers compared 7 substances: including 3 experimental medications
Vitamin C, also referred to as ascorbic acid, was more potent than 1 trial drug
But it would be impossible to get the required amount through eating oranges

Vitamin C could help stop cancer from spreading throughout the body, controversial research suggests.

Found in high levels in oranges, kale and peppers, British scientists discovered the nutrient starves tumours in laboratory tests.

Giving patients high doses is 10 times more effective than some drugs being trialled in the battle against cancer, the study claims.

By injecting patients with it, sufferers can get up to 500 times the amount than they would through eating.

But experts warn it is impossible to get the required amount through fruit, and that the results are still very early on.

Found in high levels in oranges, scientists discovered vitamin C starves tumours in laboratory tests. But experts warn patients could not get enough through eating the fruit

Also called ascorbic acid, its effects on cancer stem cells, which are known to fuel the growth of fatal tumours, had never before been evaluated.

However, University of Salford researchers believe they have pinpointed exactly how it starves cancer stem cells.

By inhibiting the breakdown of glucose, the mitochondria – considered the ‘powerhouse’ of cells – are unable to gain vital energy it needs to thrive.

Study author Dr Michael Lisanti said: ‘Vitamin C is cheap, natural, non-toxic and readily available so to have it as a potential weapon in the fight against cancer would be a significant step.’

Given as an add-on to chemotherapy, it could be used to prevent tumour recurrence and further progression of the disease.

It has been studied internationally as a potential treatment for cancer patients for more than four decades.

Despite being known to help boost the immune system, proven results for its effects on cancer have been relatively scarce.

Previous research has even shown that it increases the risk of the disease by triggering a biological process that damages DNA.

Giving patients high doses is 10 times more effective than some drugs being trialled in the battle against cancer, the study claims

Cancer stem cells are considered to be one of the biggest causes of chemotherapy resistance.

This is known to lead to treatment failure in patients with advanced forms of the disease, allowing it to spread across the body.

In an attempt to disrupt their metabolism, they tested a range of seven substances, according to the study published in the journal Oncotarget.

Three of these were natural products, including vitamin C, honey-bee derivative CAPE and milk thistle extract silibinin.

Epilepsy drug stiripentol was also monitored, alongside experimental drugs such as actinonin, FK866 and 2-DG.

This should not prompt anyone receiving treatment for cancer to change their diet or treatment plan Anna Perman, of Cancer Research UK

Actinonin and FK866 were found to be the most potent, suggesting two potential treatments for future scientific research.

Natural products also halted the growth of the cancerous cells, with vitamin C outperforming 2-DG tenfold in terms of potency.

Dr Gloria Bonuccelli, also involved in the study, said: ‘Our results indicate it is a promising agent for clinical trials.’

Anna Perman, Cancer Research UK’s senior science information manager, said: ‘This is an early stage study and hasn’t been tested in patients.

‘In fact, some doctors think that antioxidants like vitamin C might interfere with chemotherapy which we know can be effective treatment.

‘The important thing for cancer patients to remember is that this study is looking at the action of vitamin C in the laboratory, not the effect of eating foods or supplements that contain vitamin C.

‘This should not prompt anyone receiving treatment for cancer to change their diet or treatment plan.’

Source: Daily Mail

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US regulators CONFIRM breast implants cause rare form of cancer

Herbs and Helpers

More than 350 women told the FDA they have cancer after getting implants
Nine of those women have since died, the regulators revealed on Tuesday

The evidence is enough for the regulators to acknowledge a clear link between silicone implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a blood cancer

It comes six years after the World Health Organization first warned of a link

Breast implants can cause a rare and hard-to-treat form of cancer, the FDA has confirmed in a landmark update to its guidelines.

It comes after the federal agency received reports from 359 women claiming a link between their implants and their diagnosis of anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL), a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

As of February 1, 2017, nine of those women have died.

The update marks something of a triumph for US medical researchers, six years after the World Health Organization first warned of the potential link.

The FDA has acknowledged a clear link between breast implants and anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) after nine women with implants died of the same cancer

WHAT IS ALCL?

Anaplastic large cell lymphoma (ALCL) is a type of blood cancer.

It occurs when diseased white blood cells multiply rapidly, building up in the neck, armpit or groin.

The cancer grows quickly and, while it is often easily treated with chemotherapy, it can kill.

Symptoms include:

Fatigue
Fever
Loss of appetite
Night sweats
Weight loss

Last year French regulators became the first to acknowledge the ‘clearly established link’, ordering manufacturers to prove the safety of their products or face them being banned.

The UK Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is still analyzing the French and American reports, and has yet to acknowledge the ‘clearly established link’.

Breast enhancements are the second most-popular form of plastic surgery in the US, with more than 300,000 procedures performed a year.

Under scrutiny are implants with a textured surface – the most common type in the US, accounting for 99 percent of all used.

The regulators assured patients the cancer is easily treatable by removing the implants.

‘All of the information to date suggests that women with breast implants have a very low but increased risk of developing ALCL compared to women who do not have breast implants,’ the FDA said in a statement released on Tuesday.

‘Most cases of breast implant-associated ALCL are treated by removal of the implant and the capsule surrounding the implant and some cases have been treated by chemotherapy and radiation,’ it said.

The agency said the update has come amid a recent surge in circumstantial evidence showing a link.

‘As of February 1, 2017, the FDA has received a total of 359 medical device reports of breast-implant-associated ALCL, including nine deaths,’ it said.

‘Breast implants approved in the U.S. can be filled with either saline or with silicone gel. They come in different sizes and shapes and have either smooth or textured surfaces (shells).

‘There are 231 reports that included information on the implant surface. Of these, 203 were reported to be textured implants and 28 reported to be smooth implants.’

Some research has suggested bacteria on the outer shell introduced during implantation leads to immune system changes that trigger the cancer. However, this is not proven.

British body the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has not revised its guidance since 2014. A spokesman said: ‘We will closely monitor the results of the investigation by the French Regulatory Authority and will take appropriate regulatory or safety action if needed.’

In most cases of BIA-ALCL, women are successfully treated with surgery alone, but chemotherapy and radiotherapy may also be needed.

There has been growing concern among the medical community about BIA-ALCL since 2011, when US health chiefs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the MHRA, and the World Health Organisation issued alerts to doctors and urged them to report cases.

Since then, doctors registered with the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons BAAPS, who represent all cosmetic surgeons working in the NHS, have warned patients of BIA-ALCL.

Source: Daily Mail

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‘Wide awake drunk’ on energy drinks and alcohol mix

Herbs and Helpers

Mixing energy drinks with alcohol could be a risky combination, leading to a greater risk of accidents and injuries, research from Canada suggests.

The caffeine contained in energy drinks can make people feel wide awake and encourage them to drink more than normal.

Medics say this could also cause problems sleeping and a raised heart rate, although more research is needed.

Charity Drinkaware does not recommend mixing alcohol and energy drinks.

Mixing spirits and liqueurs with energy drinks, such as Red Bull and Monster, has become increasingly popular – in pubs and clubs, and at home.

But recent research suggests that drinking alcohol mixed with high-caffeine energy drinks could be more risky than drinking alcohol on its own, or with a more traditional mixer.

This is because it can make people “wide awake drunk” – a result of the stimulating effects of caffeine and the brain-slowing effects of alcohol.

What are the risks?

In a review of 13 studies published between 1981 and 2016, researchers at the University of Victoria, Canada, found a link in 10 studies between intake of alcohol mixed with energy drinks and an increased risk of falls, fight and accidents.

But they said they were unable to pin down the size of the injury risk because of the varied nature of the studies and the difficulty of comparing results.

When it comes to the question of whether mixing alcohol and energy drinks is harmful to health, larger studies are still needed to work this out.

At present, the Food Standards Agency and the Committee of Toxicity says the evidence is not clear.

What is in energy drinks?

Energy drinksScience Photo Library
Energy drinks contain high levels of caffeine, usually about 80mg in a 250ml can – equivalent to a mug of instant coffee.

In comparison, a 330ml can of classic Coca-Cola contains 32mg and a can of Diet Coke 42mg.

Energy drinks also contain lots of sugar as well as other ingredients, such as glucuronolactone and taurine, and sometimes vitamins and minerals or herbal substances.

Some smaller “energy shot” products can contain as much as 160mg of caffeine in a 60ml bottle.

Drink Amount of caffeine
Red Bull (250ml can) 80mg
Monster (500ml can) 160mg
Coca-Cola (330ml can) 32mg
Mug of instant coffee 100mg
Filter coffee 150mg
Cup of tea 40mg

How much caffeine is too much?

High levels of caffeine can lead to anxiety, panic attacks and increased blood pressure.

Pregnant and breast-feeding women are advised not to have more than 200mg of caffeine over the course of a day.

There is more information on NHS choices.

European advice says that most other adults are safe to drink up to 400mg a day.

Children should have caffeine in moderation – a daily intake of less than 3mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight in children and adolescents is safe, the European Food Safety Authority says.

Under current UK rules, drinks that contain more than 150mg per litre of caffeine (apart from teas and coffees) must carry a warning saying: “High caffeine content. Not recommended for children or pregnant or breast-feeding women”.

But there are currently no legal restrictions on the amount of caffeine that may be present in a food or drink product in the UK.

What are the recommended limits on alcohol?

Men and women should not drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week.

That’s equivalent to six pints of average strength beer or seven glasses of wine.

The advice, from the Department of Health, also says that it’s best not to save up units and drink them all in one go and to make sure you have alcohol-free days every week.

What you need to know about the alcohol guidelines

What’s the advice on mixing both?

Audra Roemer, study author and doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of Victoria, says: “Usually when you’re drinking alcohol, you eventually get tired and you go home.

“Energy drinks mask that, so people may underestimate how intoxicated they are, end up staying out later, consume more alcohol, and engage in risky behaviour and more hazardous drinking practices.”

The charity Drinkaware said anything that encouraged people to drink more alcohol was “a very risky thing to do, and a worrying trend”.

But Gavin Partington, director general at the British Soft Drinks Association, said there was no indication that energy drinks had any specific effect related to alcohol consumption.

“The European Food Safety Authority has concluded that it is unlikely that caffeine interacts adversely with energy drinks or with alcohol,” he said.

“However, anybody drinking alcohol should do so in moderation, whether or not it’s mixed with an energy drink.”

Any top tips?

If you’re going to mix alcohol and energy drinks, then try to reduce any risks by:

keeping a close eye on how much you and your friends are drinking
eating food such as pasta or potatoes before a night out
tracking the caffeine and sugar content of energy drinks
avoiding drinking them before going to bed

Source: BBC

 

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Acupuncture Plus Herbs Regulate Heart Arrhythmias

Herbs and Helpers

Acupuncture plus herbal medicine regulates heart beats and improves patient outcomes for patients taking drugs. Researchers from the Tianjing University of Chinese Medicine tested the efficacy of combining acupuncture and herbs with drug therapy. The addition of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapies increased positive patient outcomes by 28% for patients with tachycardia, arrhythmias, and palpitations.

The researchers tested the drug metoprolol tartrate (brand name Lopressor) in combination with acupuncture and herbs. Drug therapy, as a standalone treatment, produced a 64% total effective rate. Adding acupuncture and herbs to the treatment regimen increased the total efficactive rate to 92%.

Metoprolol tartrate is a beta-adrenergic blocking agent used for the treatment of high blood pressure, chest pain, and heart attack prevention. Statistically, this medication reduces the risk of death due to heart disorders for patients that have already suffered a heart attack. Metoprolol tartrate is also used to treat tachycardia (abnormally rapid heart beats) and arrhythmias (irregular heart beats). Acupuncture plus herbs with metoprolol tartrate produced a 92.0% total treatment effective rate. Metoprolol tartrate, as a standalone therapy, produced a 64.0% total effective rate.

A licensed acupuncturist examines the pulse of patients. Pulse analysis includes the strength, speed, and overall shape of the pulse. Patients with arrhythmias and tachycardia tend to present with rapid and irregular pulses. Symptoms and signs often include palpitations, chest oppression, angina, irritability, insomnia or poor quality sleep, fatigue, or dizziness. Notably, emotional factors exacerbate arrhythmias and tachycardia, including both panic attacks and generalized anxiety. This clinical presentation has been treated with acupuncture and herbs for over 1,000 years.

The scientists in the study tested the efficacy of combining an acupuncture point prescription and a classic Chinese medicine herbal formula with drug therapy. We’ll take a close look at how the researchers achieved improvements in patient outcomes. Next, we’ll present the acupuncture points used, a modified version of a classic TCM herbal formula, and the results.

The study design was as follows. A total of 50 patients were randomly divided into a treatment group and a control group, each consisting of 25 patients. The treatment group consisted of 16 males and 9 females. The age range was between 18 and 65, with an average age of 42.20 years. The course of disease was between 5 months and 4 years. The control group consisted of 14 males and 11 females. The age range was between 19 and 64, with an average age of 41.08 years. The course of disease was between 6 months and 5 years. There were no significant statistical differences in terms of gender, age, and disease duration between the two groups.

The treatment group received acupuncture, herbs, and drug therapy. The control group received only drug therapy. Both groups received identical drug therapies. Metoprolol tartrate was orally administered once per day. Acupuncture points were identical for all patients in the treatment group. No variation for differential diagnostics were allowed. The acupoints for acupuncture therapy were as follows:

PC6 (Neiguan)
HT7 (Shenmen)
PC4 (Ximen)
BL14 (Jueyinshu)
CV14 (Juque)

The acupoints were needled with manual stimulation techniques to achieve a deqi sensation. Next, PC6 and HT7 were rotated, lifted, and thrust rapidly for one minute. Needle retention time was 30 minutes per session. Acupuncture was administered once per day.

A modified version of the herbal formula Zhi Gan Cao Tang was administered for 30 days. It was prepared once daily and served in two portions, once in the morning and the other portion at night. The ingredients of the modified herbal formula were as follows:

Tai Zi Shen 30g
Gui Zhi 12g
Sheng Jiang 15g
Zhi Gan Cao 15g
Ma Zi Ren 10g
Da Zao 10 pieces
Suan Zao Ren 30g
He Huan Pi 30g
Wu Wei Zi 14g
Mo Han Lian 20g
Mai Dong 10g
Gan Song 6g

Before and after treatments, the electrocardiogram (ECG) changes of the patients were observed and compared. The treatment efficacy for each patient was evaluated and categorized into one of three tiers:

Recovery: Complete elimination of accompanied symptoms. Normal ECG results.
Effective: Improvement in accompanied symptoms and ECG results.
No effective: No improvement in symptoms and ECG results.
For the treatment group, the total effective rate was 92.0% with the following breakdown of improvement tiers: 17 recovered, 6 effective, 2 no effect. The control group had a 64.0% total effective rate with the following breakdown of improvement tiers: 11 recovered, 5 effective, 9 no effect. The researchers conclude that the results show that acupuncture combined with herbs is effective and increases the efficacy of metoprolol tartrate by a significant margin. Here, the integrative model of TCM with drug therapy significantly outperforms using only medications as an isolated therapeutic approach to patient care.

Combining acupuncture with herbal medicine into a treatment protocol has deep historical roots. Sun Si-miao, a famous traditional Chinese medicine doctor of the Sui and Tang dynasty, once noted that acupuncture, moxibustion, and herbs may all be combined in a therapeutic treatment regimen. Sun Si-miao clearly indicated that an integrative model of patient care is an appropriate treatment protocol. The herbal formula Zhi Gan Cao Tang has historically been used for heart beat disorders. Modern science also confirms the ancient applications. Zhen et al. find Zhi Gan Cao Tang effective for the treatment of arrhythmias. Yuan el al. find Zhi Gan Cao Tang effective for repairing some forms of myocardial damage.

The acupuncture points chosen for the study are classically indicated for heart disorders. Acupoint PC6 (Neiguan) has been traditionally indicated for heart rhythm disorders, angina, chest oppression, palpitations, and heart rate disorders. This acupoint is also indicated for the treatment of insomnia, nausea, vomiting, and fever with the absence of sweating.

Acupoint HT7 (Shenmen) is another classic acupuncture point chosen for the study. It is classically indicated for the treatment of angina and palpitations. Like PC6, it is also indicated for the treatment of insomnia. Together, the two acupoints are a powerful combination and are used in combination by licensed acupuncturists. Notably, the HealthCMi acupuncture continuing education course on the treatment of insomnia focuses on the synergistic effects of combining HT7 and PC6 in acupuncture point prescriptions. The online course covering the treatment of insomnia is due for release in April 2017.

The other acupoints used in the heart study are also traditionally indicated for the treatment of heart disorders. PC4 (Ximen) is indicated for the treatment of angina, chest pain, and insomnia. BL14 (Jueyinshu) is indicated for the treatment of angina, chest pain, mental restlessness, and chest oppression. CV14 (Juque) is indicated for angina, chest pain radiating to the back, shortness of breath, and mental restlessness.

Research confirms that the traditional indications are correct for the acupuncture points and the herbal formula. Heart arrhythmias, palpitations, and tachycardia can be life threatening and alarming. Drug therapy is an effective approach to patient care; however, research demonstrates that a combination of TCM therapy plus drug therapy is a superior treatment protocol to using only drug therapy.

References
1. Fu WX. Acupuncture combined with Zhi Gan Cao Decoction on the Treatment of Palpitations: An Observation Based on 25 Cases. Henan Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2014, 34(3):392—393.

  1. En.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palpitations
  2. State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Standards for diagnosis and curative effect of Chinese medical symptom. Nanjing: Nanjing University Publishing House, 1994:19。

  3. Zhen YH, Deng QH. Experimental Research on Antagonism of Honey-Fried Licorice Decoction on Ventricular Premature Beat of Rats [J]. Journal of Practical Traditional Chinese Medicine, 2009, 25(5): 280—281.

  4. Yuan J. The Effects of Zhi Gan Cao Decoction on the Left Cardiac Function and Antioxidative Enzymes in Ischemia-Reperfusion Injured Rats [J]. Lishizhen Medicine and Materia Medica Reseach. 2008, 19(2) :411—412.

  5. Li XG, Chen Q. Effect of Active Components of Zhi Gancao Decoction and Their Combination on Triggered Activity and Myocardial Damage in Isolated Ischemia- reperfusion Rat Heart [J]. Traditional Chinese Drug Research & Clinical Pharmacology, 2003, 14(1):6—9.

Source: HealthCMI

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