St. John’s Wort- Herb/Drug Interaction, Part 1

St. John’s Wort- Herb/Drug Interaction, Part 1

Although St. John’s Wort is not a Chinese herbal medicine, it is an important Western herbal medicine to be educated about.  This herb is of particular importance due to its popularity and because it is easily purchased over the counter in health food and herb stores throughout the US.  St. John’s Wort is used for mild depression.  Since it has been shown to be effective herbal prescription, it is very popular.  St. John’s Wort is often self-medicated, without first seeking the advice of a health care practitioner.

            St. John’s Wort usually takes about 1 month before it has a therapeutic effect St. John's Wortfor the individual.  Although St. John’s Wort is for mild depression and has slow onset, the power of its biochemical constituents should not be underestimated when used in combination with Western medication!  As written in a journal by the American Academy of Family Physicians in 2008, “St. John’s Wort is the supplement that has the most documented interactions with drugs.” According to an NIH article, from Department of Experimental Pharmacology, in 2009: “Hyperforin, which is believed to contribute to the antidepressant action of St John’s wort, is also strongly suspected to be responsible for most of the described interactions.”

 

…To Be Continued in Part 2

 

Written by,

Yasmin Spencer, LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM

1460 G Street, Arcata, CA 95521

(707)822-7400

 

Bibliography

  • Paula Gardiner, MD, MPH, Russel Phillips, MD, Allen F. Shaughnessy, PharmD, January 1, 2008. American Academy of Family Physicians.  “Herbal and Dietary Supplement-Drug Interactions in Patients with Chronic Illness.”  Retrieved from:  http://www.aafp.org/afp/2008/0101/p73.html
  • Borrelli F, Izzo AA.  December 11, 2009.  National Institute of Health- Department of Experimental Pharmacology, University of Naples Federico II.  “Herb-drug interactions with St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): an update on clinical observations.”  Retrieved from:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19859815
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St. John’s Wort- Herb/Drug Interactions, Part 2

St. John’s Wort- Herb/Drug Interactions, Part 2

 

…Continuation from Part 1

 

            I highly recommend St. John’s Wort for patients with mild depression whom wish to utilize Western herbal medicine alone.  However useful this herb is on it own, it is not to be used in combination with Western pharmaceutical medication without first consulting with the individual’s doctor.  In addition, if it is approved for use alongside with Western medicine, it should still be monitored carefully.  St. John’s Wort should never be used at the same time as an SSRI’s, specifically because the combination can potentially cause Seratonin Syndrome.  According to the American Family Physicians, in an article written April 1, 2005, “Serotonin syndrome is caused by a systemic excess of serotonin and is defined when at least three of the following signs and symptoms are present: mental status changes, diaphoresis, myoclonus, hyperreflexia, diarrhea, fever, tremor, in-coordination, seizures, tachycardia, and QT interval prolongation.”

Due to the large amount of research done about Seratonin Syndrome, this contraindication is well known.  However there has been additional research that indicates that St. John’s Wort also has herb/drug interactions with other medications as well.  According to an article published in the University of Maryland, St John’s Wort should not be taken with the following medications, without first discussing it with your doctor, “Antidepressants- tricyclic antidepressants, SSRIs, and MAOIs, Antihistamines, Dextromethorphan, Digoxin, Drugs that suppress the immune system, Drugs to fight HIV, Birth control pills, Reserpine, Sedatives, Theophylline, Triptans, Warfarin.”  In addition, the article goes on to state, “Because St. John’s Wort is broken down by certain liver enzymes, it may interact with other drugs that are broken down by the same enzymes. Those drugs may include: Antifungal drugs…, Some calcium channel blockers (taken to lower blood pressure), Statins (drugs taken to lower cholesterol).”

In conclusion, St. John’s Wort is an important herb to be aware of, so as to guard against potential drug-herb interactions.  St. John’s Wort should be used with caution, if used at all, with Western herbal medicines.  In addition, it would be best to also use it carefully, if at all, in combination with Chinese herbal medicines.  A person should be monitored carefully when taking both St. John’s Wort and Chinese Herbal Medicines simultaneously.

Written by,

Yasmin Spencer, LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM

1460 G Street, Arcata, CA 95521

(707)822-7400

 

 

Bibliography

  • Paula Gardiner, MD, MPH, Russel Phillips, MD, Allen F. Shaughnessy, PharmD, January 1, 2008. American Academy of Family Physicians.  “Herbal and Dietary Supplement-Drug Interactions in Patients with Chronic Illness.”  Retrieved from:  http://www.aafp.org/afp/2008/0101/p73.html
  • Borrelli F, Izzo AA.  December 11, 2009.  National Institute of Health- Department of Experimental Pharmacology, University of Naples Federico II.  “Herb-drug interactions with St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): an update on clinical observations.”  Retrieved from:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19859815

An Overview of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Part 1

An Overview of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Part 1

We have all taken medicine for a headache, insomnia, or a stomachache that only offered temporary relief.  The reason that the relief was temporary is because the root (or underlying cause) of the illness was not treated.  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnoses and treats the root of an individual’s ailment through pattern diagnosis.  Today, I will inform you about the methods used by a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the pattern diagnostic utilized, and about how TCM prevents and treats illness.

In TCM, the individual is treated, not the disease.  An underlying principle of Chinese medicine is that the body knows how to heal itself.  The practitioner works to remove obstructions to health, support deficiencies, clear/drain excesses, etc.  A person’s body will resolve the ailment once the practitioner is able to balance the pattern they demonstrate.

The methods used in TCM are Acupuncture, Herbal remedies, Tui-na (an invigorating Chinese style of body work, also used as a treatment modality for young children), cupping, Gwa Sha (which is a scraping technique used on the skin to pulls out toxins from the body- the marking that is made on the skin is called the “sha”), and Moxibustion (which is a compressed plant that is burned close to the skin and has a deeply warming effect on the body).  All of these approaches utilize pattern diagnosis to treat the meridians (or energy pathways) and the organ systems of the body.  Treatments are very safe and effective.  A Chinese Medicine Classic, the Spiritual Pivot, states in chapter 17, “It is by virtue of the twelve channels that human life exists, that disease arises, that human beings can be treated and illness is cured.”

…To be continued in Part 2:

 

Written by:

Yasmin Spencer, LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM

1460 G Street, Arcata, CA 95521

(707)822-7400

 

Bibliography

 

  • “Acupuncture, a Comprehensive Text,”  The Shanghai College of Traditional Medicine, translated and editied by John O’Connor and Dan Bensky.
  • Giovanni Maciocia, “The Foundations of Chinese Medicine” pg. 127
  • Spiritual Pivot, Chapter 17, by Wu Nian Jian
  • Five Branches University education  (MTCM)

An Overview of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Part 2

An Overview of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Part 2

…Continuation of Part 1:

Traditional Chinese Medicine is able to treat the root (or source) of an illness because it utilizes pattern diagnosis. Pattern Diagnosis consists of tongue and pulse diagnosis, listening to the patient’s symptoms, and looking at the patient’s color and movement.  According to Giovanni Maciocia in The Foundations of Chinese Medicine, pg. 127 “…the nature of the pattern is often related to its specific cause of disease.”  The pattern that is looked for involves a combination of signs and symptoms that have a foundation in yin and yang theory.  These patterns indicate that the body is hot or cold, deficient or excess, whether the illness is internal or external, etc.  The pulse indicates the state of the organ systems, meridians, blood, qi (energy), yin (fluids of the body), and yang (body circulation and warmth).  Looking at the patients tongue is like looking at a mirror of the patients body system and can indicate to the practitioner if certain channels and/or organ systems are hot or cold, deficient or excess, and more.

Chinese medicine is able to prevent illness before it occurs and to effectively treat an already existing illness.  These treatments harmonize all parts of the person.  The diagnostic methods utilized allow a practitioner to recognize a pattern of illness before it manifests symptoms for the patient. Because each person’s body is unique, a single western medicine diagnosis can have several different TCM diagnoses.

Yin and Yang are emblems of the fundamental duality in the universe, a duality which is ultimately unified,”  as stated in Acupuncture, a Comprehensive Text from the Shanghai College of Traditional Medicine.

 

Written by,

Yasmin Spencer, LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM

1460 G Street, Arcata, CA 95521

(707)822-7400

 

Bibliography

 

  • “Acupuncture, a Comprehensive Text,”  The Shanghai College of Traditional Medicine, translated and editied by John O’Connor and Dan Bensky.
  • Giovanni Maciocia, “The Foundations of Chinese Medicine” pg. 127
  • Spiritual Pivot, Chapter 17, by Wu Nian Jian
  • Five Branches University education  (MTCM)

Support for Living a Healthy and Fulfilled Life with Asian Medicine, Part 1

Support for Living a Healthy and Fulfilled Life with

Asian Medicine, Part 1

“The oneness of all life is a truth that can be fully realized only when false notions of a separate self, whose destiny can be considered apart from the whole, are forever annihilated,” are the words of LiJunfeng, Sheng Zhen Wuji Yuan Gong in “A Return to Oneness.”   Please support your family and friends by informing them about the benefits acupuncture and herbal medicine.  We are all connected with people who have ongoing health issues that inhibit them from living a full life.  Today I will offer a perspective as to why the health of our body, mind, heart, and emotions is a key aspect of living a whole and fulfilled life.  I will then talk about why Asian medicine is an alternative and a support to Western medicine.

The health of an individual’s body, mind, heart, and emotions is an essential aspect of living a whole and fulfilled life.  Anyone who has ever experienced a chronic illness (physical, mental or emotional), or been in chronic pain can tell you how difficult it can be to enjoy their life, their relationships, and their family.

An individual is unable to fulfill their aspirations in life if they are decapitated by illness.  This can intensify the ailment for the individual, because as said by Hicks, Hicks, and Mole in the text “Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture” in 2004, “…the Chinese consider it detrimental to people’s health not to achieve their potential as human beings.”  The happiness of the individual is an aspect of the peace and unification of our families and communities.

…To be continued in Part 2.

 

Written by:

Yasmin Spencer, LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM

1460 G Street, Arcata, CA 95521

(707)822-7400

 

 

Bibliography

 

  • NIH: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9809733, 1998
  • LiJunfeng, Sheng Zhen Wuji Yuan Gong, “A Return to Oneness.” Manila, Philipinese: International Sheng Zhen Society, 1996
  • Chen EM, “Tao te Ching”. New York: Paragon House. 1989
  • Hicks, Hicks, and Mole, “Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture,” Churchill Livingston, 2004
  • Lu, H, “A complete tranlation of the Yellow Emperor’s classic of internal medicine (Su Wen)”. Vancouver: Academy of Oriental Heritage. 1972

Support for Living a Healthy and Fulfilled Life with Asian Medicine, Part 2

Support for Living a Healthy and Fulfilled Life with

Asian Medicine, Part 2

…Continuation of Part 1:

Asian medicine is complimentary to Western medicine and at times offers an alternative, or a support to Western medical treatment and/or medicine.  Western Medicine is very good for acute and emergency situation.  Asian medicine is not appropriate for emergency situations.  However, it can treat some acute issues (such as colds/ flu, sprains, back pain, etc) without the negative side effects that medications, such as antibiotics or pain medications, can cause.   A comment from the NIH Consensus Conference in 1998, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9809733, “…promising results have emerged, for example, showing efficacy of acupuncture in adult postoperative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting and in postoperative dental pain.”  Asian medicine is very good for treating chronic conditions (in addition to many acute conditions). The extent of treatment that Western medicine can provide for many chronic conditions (such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and rheumatoid arthritis) is to prescribe pharmaceuticals.  These medications very rarely resolve the source of a person’s illness and often have negative side effect.  There are certain chronic illnesses in which long-term pharmaceutical use is essential, such as thyroid replacement hormones, certain mental illnesses, and more.  Often the individual is given an additional medication to treat the side effects of the original pharmaceutical (some patients are on a “shopping list” of 10 or more medications).  I call this a biochemical nightmare!  Asian medicine can successfully treat the side effects of many medications, without creating additional complications.

Asian medicine is non-invasive and is oriented toward harmonizing or balancing the patient.  Acupuncture and herbal treatments are holistic, which means that there are rarely negative side effects.  If a negative response does arise it can be treated.  The person’s body and source energy is supported and strengthened through acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments.  Lu H states in “A complete translation of the Yellow Emperor’s classic of internal medicine (Su Wen)” 1972- chapter 78 that “The way of medicine is so wide that its scope is as immeasurable as the heaven and the earth, and its depth is as immeasurable as the four seas.”

I have just discussed the importance of staying healthy so as to live a fulfilled life.  I also discussed Asian medicine as an alternative and support to Western medical treatment.  “The sage does not hoard. Having worked for his fellow beings, the more he possesses. Having donated himself to his fellow beings, the more abundant he becomes.”  Chen EM, “Tao Te Ching”. 1989

 

Written by:

Yasmin Spencer, LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM

1460 G Street, Arcata, CA 95521

(707)822-7400

 

Bibliography

 

  • NIH: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9809733, 1998
  • LiJunfeng, Sheng Zhen Wuji Yuan Gong, “A Return to Oneness.” Manila, Philipinese: International Sheng Zhen Society, 1996
  • Chen EM, “Tao te Ching”. New York: Paragon House. 1989
  • Hicks, Hicks, and Mole, “Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture,” Churchill Livingston, 2004
  • Lu, H, “A complete tranlation of the Yellow Emperor’s classic of internal medicine (Su Wen)”. Vancouver: Academy of Oriental Heritage. 1972

What To Do Before and After Your Acupuncture Treatment

What To Do Before and After Your Acupuncture Treatment

Before:

acu2

  • It is essential to eat before a treatment to avoid feeling light, headed, dizzy, or faint.
  • It is best to eat something light 2 hours ahead of time.
  • If you don’t have time to eat 2 hours ahead of time, be sure to eat something before your treatment.  Please don’t eat a large or heavy meal  (meats, etc).
  • Also be sure to drink water before and especially after your acupuncture treatment.
  • Try to avoid coffee, or other caffeine the day of your treatment.
  • Tongue diagnosis is an important aspect of Chinese medicinal diagnostics, so it is essential to not alter the tongues appearance before a treatment.
  • If you scrape your tongue, please do not scrape it before your treatment.
  • Avoid purple grape juice, candies that will die your tongue a different color, or any other substance that will change the color of the tongue.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes to your appointment.
  • Try to arrive 10 minutes early, or on time.  If it’s your first appointment, please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment to fill out paperwork, or do the paperwork ahead of time.  This initial paperwork can be found on the website:  http://eastbayfivelements.com/links/
After:
  • It is ok to eat soon after your acupuncture treatment.  It is probably still a good idea to not eat a very large or heavy meal.  Be sure to eat!
  • Avoid alcohol on the day of your treatment.
  • Please do not do vigorous exercise after your acupuncture treatment.
  • The treatment continues to work even after you are no longer on the table.  It is best to relax after your acupuncture treatment, if possible.  Drink a lot of water.  Taking a hot bath is also a great post-treatment ritual.  If you have your acupuncture treatment before going to work, then try to avoid stress on that day.
  • Some people find that they are more sensitive after their acupuncture treatment.  If you are going through particularly emotional time, it may be useful to schedule your acupuncture appointment on a day and time when you don’t have any social demands afterwards.  This is not true for everyone and some people find going to work or socializing after acupuncture doesn’t bother them.

 

written by,

Yasmin Spencer, LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM

1460 G Street, Arcata, CA 95521

(707)822-7400

Bibliography

*Coursework at Five Branches University