Online Pharmacy Reviews

New Hope for Sufferers of Insomnia

insmonia

A recent study published in the journal Radiology has revealed that people who suffer from insomnia have damaged white matter tracts in their brains. White matter tracts are bundles of axons that connect different parts of the brain.

Researchers suspect that these white matter tracts become damaged due to loss of myelin, the insulating, protective coating around nerve fibres which helps them to function more optimally.

In Chinese medicine, this decrease in thickness or effectiveness of myelin sheaths is said to be caused by “yin deficiency”, and interestingly, yin deficiency is also known to be a common cause of insomnia. This may be why yin tonics have been so effective at improving sleep over the thousands of years that they have been in use.

Our Shou Wu Plus tincture and our Shou Wu Tea contain longevity herbs that are also known as yin tonics, and have improved the sleep of many of our customers. Our Fem-Mate tincture also contains yin tonics, and may be used by our female customers to improve sleep, while also balancing their hormones and helping to relieve menopausal symptoms.

Further research is needed to clarify why changes in white matter integrity negatively affect sleep. But in the meantime, it appears that the traditional technique of using yin tonics to improve sleep has now been supported by Western science. If you struggle with insomnia, you should consider giving some of these remedies a try.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/people-with-insomnia-might-have-damaged-brain-connections-mri-scans-show_uk_57065bfee4b01e4956fd18ac



About the author: Rebecca Wong has been working in the herbal business since 2000.  She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.

New Thoughts on Salt

salt

According to Chinese medicine, too much salt weakens the kidneys. This theory has gone hand in hand with Western thinking, since salt is known to increase urinary output so that excess sodium is excreted, and the proper amount can be maintained in the blood.  This increase in urination places greater stress on the kidneys and can weaken them over time.

However, a new study testing Russian cosmonauts for their ability to handle long-term space travel has shown that this thinking is faulty. While there is increased urinary output when high amounts of sodium are eaten, it’s not because you drink more fluids. You may -feel- thirsty when you eat too much salt, but this study shows that you do not actually drink more water – you eat more food.

It now turns out that the high urinary output after salt ingestion occurs because glucocorticoids from the adrenals break down muscle and fat tissue for their fluid content. This break down of tissues also uses up more energy, which leads some scientists to suggest that increased salt intake may actually help with weight loss.  Previously, they had assumed that increased water intake after eating too much salt would cause you to gain water weight, not lose it.

It is not yet clear if increased ingestion of salt will help with weight loss, but even if it is, it would not be the best long-term solution for weight problems. Increased adrenal output of glucocorticoids would only weaken kidney/adrenal functioning in the long run. Since you actually feel hungrier when you eat more salt, the weight loss effect could also be blunted if you eat more calories than you use.

Read the original article on the NYTimes website for more details.



About the author: Rebecca Wong has been working in the herbal business since 2000.  She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.

The Magic of Berberine

berberine

Berberine is a plant extract known for its strong yellow colour and bitter taste.  It’s present in high quantity in many well known bitter yellow herbs, like goldenseal, barberry, Oregon grape root, Chinese scutellaria, and phellodendron.  Herbalists all over the world recommend plants containing berberine for their potent digestive effects.

In scientific studies, berberine has been proven to lower blood sugar, reduce cholesterol and triglycerides, and aid with weight loss.  Because berberine strongly stimulates the flow of bile, it can also be used to help relieve constipation and aid in the removal of excess hormones from the body, thereby relieving symptoms of conditions caused by hormone imbalances.

Our Coptis tincture contains the Chinese herb coptis, also known as goldthread, which has one of the highest amounts of berberine of any herb in the Chinese medicinal pharmacopia.

Excerpt:  “Several studies show a benefit of berberine in resetting PCOS. Taking berberine 500 mg three times daily for 3 months can reduce fasting plasma glucose, markers of insulin resistance, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, testosterone levels, and waist-to-hip ratios. Furthermore, berberine can increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and sex hormone binding globulin in women compared with placebo. In addition, berberine is superior to metformin, a common prescription for PCOS, at improving lipid parameters, reducing waist-to-hip ratio, and increasing SHBG in PCOS patients”.

http://www.saragottfriedmd.com/for-the-love-of-berberine-what-it-is-and-why-i-take-it-to-lower-blood-sugar-bad-cholesterol-and-weight-plus-5-faqs/



About the author: Rebecca Wong has been working in the herbal business since 2000.  She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.

Transform Your Pain, Heal the World

sitting

Negative emotions are painful. They’re also frightening. Even though everyone has experienced emotional pain, we’ll do virtually anything to avoid it.

A recent study done by social psychologists at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville found that 67% of men and 25% of women would chose to electrically shock themselves rather than sit quietly by themselves.  It’s when we sit quietly by ourselves that painful thoughts and emotions become hardest to avoid.

It’s understandable to want to avoid our thoughts and feelings, but by preventing them from being felt, we create a lot of stagnation in our bodies. This stagnation occurs particularly in our liver, which is the most emotion sensitive organ.  Prolonged denial of our emotions can make us sick.

If, however, we allow those emotions to be felt, if we sit and allow the pain to wash over us, we can transform it. Pain that is felt is no longer destructive. It becomes compassion, empathy, and understanding. Pain that is felt also becomes less frightening, and when we no longer fear pain, we are more capable of accepting the pain of others.

When we open ourselves to the pain of others, we begin to change the world.

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2014/07/people-would-rather-be-electrically-shocked-left-alone-their-thoughts



About the author: Rebecca Wong has been working in the herbal business since 2000.  She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.

Boosting Energy without Caffeine

stairs

Judging by the long morning line-ups at coffee shops like Starbucks or Tim Horton’s, there’s a society-wide coffee addiction going on.

And while coffee has recently been shown to have some health benefits, like a lowered risk of developing dementia, type II diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, it’s wise not to overdo it.  Drinking too much coffee, particularly late in the day, can cause sleep problems and many people don’t like it’s addictive qualities.

According to Chinese medicine, caffeine is known to increase congestion in the liver, and if you have adrenal weakness, caffeine can cause over-stimulation of the adrenals that may eventually lead to adrenal exhaustion, and burn-out.  If you suffer from liver congestion or adrenal weakness, you should find other ways to boost your energy level.

Luckily, a new study published in the journal Physiology and Behavior shows that a brisk climb up the stairs will generate more energy than taking either caffeine pills or a placebo.  If you’re trying to break your coffee addiction, why not give it a try?  As a side benefit, it’ll also take you away from your desk and help you lose weight too.

http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/walking-stairs-boosts-your-energy-more-coffee-does



About the author: Rebecca Wong has been working in the herbal business since 2000.  She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.

The Power of Nature

Nature-View

What if there was a natural, drug-free way to control anxiety, lift your mood, decrease stress, and reduce your blood pressure.  Even better, what if that remedy didn’t cost a thing.  Would you do it?

I think most people would, if they knew what it was.  A tip: it’s not surfing social media, and it’s not on the news.  It can’t be found in any television program, or by eating a particular kind of food.  It’s even easier than that.  All you have to do is spend time in nature.

Studies from Japan and from Stanford University show that taking a walk through a forest or park decreases worry, anxiety and depression, while lowering heart rate and decreasing blood pressure, compared with the same length of walk through an urban neighbourhood.

If you’re feeling tired and burned out by life, relief is just a step away.  Take a walk in your local park.  Drive to a conservation area and go for a hike, either alone, or with friends. You’ll find you’re not only more relaxed, but can also think more clearly because a brain that’s “chilled out”, rather than burned out, just works better.

Excerpt:  “Nature lulls us with soft fascination, helping to rest our top-down, direct-attention faculties” — or the parts of our brain that are involved in effortful thinking, which are constantly triggered by the stimuli of urban environments. “With that restoration,” Williams writes, “we become more relaxed and can perform thinking tasks better.”

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2017/04/the-original-natural-remedy-for-burnout-nature.html



About the author: Rebecca Wong has been working in the herbal business since 2000.  She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.

We Were Born To Run

Marathon, black silhouettes of runners on the sunset

Humans were born to run. This is the conclusion of researchers at the University of Utah who argue that our ability to run was what initially distinguished us from apes. We may not be the fastest mammal on the planet, but we are exceptional endurance runners – a skill we used to outrun and exhaust our prey.

This could be why running is so good for our health. A new study has found that people who run tend to live an extra three years longer than non-runners, even if they only run sporadically, are over-weight, or if they also smoke and drink.

In more concrete terms, for each hour you run, you add an extra seven hours to your life.  No other form of exercise provides the same bang for your buck.

Excerpt:  “Why running should be so uniquely potent against early mortality remains uncertain, Dr. Lee says. But it is likely, he says, that it combats many of the common risk factors for early death, including high blood pressure and extra body fat, especially around the middle.

It also raises aerobic fitness, he says, and high aerobic fitness is one of the best-known indicators of an individual’s long-term health”.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/12/well/move/an-hour-of-running-may-add-seven-hours-to-your-life.html



About the author: Rebecca Wong has been working in the herbal business since 2000.  She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.

Avoid These Drugs

drugs

How often do you use cold medications when you are sick?  How long have you been taking your tri-cyclic anti-depressant?  Your answer could be used to determine your likelihood of developing dementia when you’re older.

A new report in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) has shown a strong link between the use of anti-cholinergic buyambienmed.com drugs, such as Benadryl, Advil, and Paxil, and an increased risk for dementia.

Short term use of these anti-cholinergic drugs may not cause any problems, but their effects appear to be cumulative.  The longer these drugs are taken, the greater the chance of developing dementia and other cognitive problems as you age.   This is problematic for those people who have been taking anti-cholinergic drugs for years.  People on anti-depressants, anti-anxiety drugs, Parkinson’s medications, and drugs for an over-active bladder may have felt they had little choice in the matter, but now that concerns are rising, it might be a good time to research other options.

The reason that anti-cholinergic drugs may be harmful to your brain is because they work by blocking acetylcholine.  That’s the chemical that transmits electrical impulses through your brain and other nerves, allowing you to learn and remember.  The longer acetylcholine is blocked, the more the brain appears to shrink.

If you have been taking anti-cholinergic drugs, now may be a good time to try to wean yourself off of them, particularly if you already have a family history of dementia.   Below is a link containing a list of common anti-cholinergic drugs.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/18/health/otc-anticholinergic-drugs-dementia/

Where Can I Find A List of Anticholinergic Drugs?



About the author: Rebecca Wong has been working in the herbal business since 2000.  She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.

How To Treat an Injury

images

Chinese medicine theory has long disagreed with the notion of icing injuries.

According to Chinese medicine, pain is thought to be caused by “blood stagnation” which blocks the flow of qi. The best way to stop pain and improve healing is to get qi moving. This can be achieved by stimulating blood circulation through the injured area with gentle movement, and by keeping it warm. Cold compresses only make blood circulation more sluggish, which will worsen pain in the long run.

Science now appears to have caught up with Chinese medicine. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research notes: “topical cooling (icing) seems not to improve but, rather, delay recovery from eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage”.

If you want to use ice to stop swelling of an injury, it is best alternated with soaking in warm water. The ice reduces swelling, while the warm water stimulates blood circulation, drawing stagnant blood out of the area and replacing it with fresh blood flow so it can heal.

http://www.macleans.ca/society/the-end-of-the-ice-age/



About the author: Rebecca Wong has been working in the herbal business since 2000.  She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.

Find Contentment in a River – The Wisdom of Moderation

stream

You can often find in rivers what you cannot find in oceans“. ~ Indian proverb.

Going beyond is as bad as falling short“. ~ Confucius

Never go to excess, but let moderation be your guide.” ~ Cicero

Throughout the ages, philosophers and sages have advised against the extreme in any physical endeavor. Whether by eating too much, sleeping too much, or working too much, we can quickly turn something that’s meant to be beneficial into something harmful.

How about exercising too much? In recent years, marathon races have become fashionable as a way to prove your physical fitness while also strengthening your soul.  In one afternoon, you can push your physical limits while simultaneously donating to your favourite charity.  Amateur athletes love them, and every major city around the world now hosts at least one race each year.

But are they really good for your health?

“There does seem to be a point of diminishing returns with exercise. The health benefits seem to drop among people who run more than twenty miles a week, more than six days a week, or faster than eight miles an hour.”  – from the journal “Medicine & Science”

In the case of triathlons, marathons and even quadruple marathons, the wear and tear on joints and the increased pressure on your heart can erase many of the benefits that come from more moderate levels of exercise.  According to a study published in the British medical journal “Heart”, years of excessive exercise can cause thickening of heart tissue, potentially leading to scarring, irregular heart beat, or even sudden death”.

So, if you like to run, more power to you!  But you might want to keep the distance to only a few miles per day, and take your time. You’ll still be getting all the health benefits, yet avoid all the damage to your heart and joints.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/is-running-marathons-bad-for-your-health/



About the author: Rebecca Wong has been working in the herbal business since 2000.  She has received her training in acupuncture and herbalism from respected authorities Paul Des Rosiers and Vu Le at the Ontario College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Toronto, and Michael Tierra at the East West Herb School in California.