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41184 U.S. 6
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Growing our roots in Denver, Urban Herbs is the new standard in accessible Chinese Medicine, providing sliding-scale herbal consultations for the community and an unbeatable online Chinese herbal pharmacy for practitioners. With over 360 bulk and granular Chinese herbs for customization, two passionate practitioners, and a one-of-a-kind online formula creation system, Urban Herbs works to both support and unify its expansive network of herbalists with the ever-growing community of patients.

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Read up on the benefits of Chinese Medicine here at the blog!

 

Classic Formulas for Women's Health Seminar with Sharon Weizenbaum

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Please join Urban Herbs and Charles Chace for a two-day seminar with Sharon Weizenbaum.  This weekend will give students an understanding of women’s physiology and pathology from a classic formula perspective.  Through this unique perspective the practitioner can offer a much more effective treatment for a wide variety of women’s health issues.  After a morning training in Shang Han Lun style women’s physiology, another day and a half will be spent exploring a variety of formulas that express how to bring a woman’s pathological presentation back into a physiological state.

Sharon will share cases of her own as well as those of other physicians, explaining concepts like:

  • Why her patient's fertile mucous increased to the point of achieving pregnancy with the application of Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang,
  • Why Dang Gui Shao Yao San can increase or decrease amniotic fluid,
  • Why vitalizing blood can save a threatened miscarriage and how to determine if this is the correct method,
  • How to fine tune a dysmenorrhea formula to greatly increase efficacy,
  • And much more!

Students will learn the applications and modifications of the following formulas for gynecology, pregnancy, and post partum

  • Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang
  • Chai Hu Gui Zhi Gan Jiang Tang
  • Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan
  • Gui Zhi Tang
  • Dang Gui San
  • Fu Zi Tang
  • Wen Jing Tang
  • Dang Gui Shao Yao San
  • Tao He Cheng Qi Tang
  • Xiong Gui Jiao Ai Tang
  • Dang Gui Jian Zhong Tang
  • Xia Yu Xue Tang
  • Zhi Shi Shao Yao San
  • Yang Dan Tang

All of this will be taught in a way that illustrates clear diagnosis through the paradigm of classic formulas of the Shang Han Lun and Jin Gui Yao Lue.  In this way, students will be given tools for understanding the foundational principles of the Shang Han Lun that will illuminate their use of formulas and their practices in many ways beyond the direct content of the course.

 

About Sharon


Sharon Weizenbaum, L.Ac. is the founder and director of White Pine Healing Arts and White Pine Institute.  Sharon began her study of Chinese medicine 30 years ago, graduating from the New England School of Acupuncture in 1983 and spending several years studying with acupuncturist, Kiiko Matsumoto.  After practicing for 7 years, Sharon traveled to live and study in Hangzhou, PRC in 1990.  While there she interned and studied with Dr. Qiu Xiaomei and Dr. Cheng Yufeng in gynecology and obstetrics at the Zhe Jiang college of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  She also studied extensively with the gynecology doctor Zhu Shurong from Shanghai.  Upon returning from China, Sharon taught for three years at the Northwest Institute of Oriental Medicine in Seattle before returning to settle in Amherst, Massachusetts.  

Click Here to Register Today

Last Year's Scholarship Winning Essay!

Urban Herbs

Chinese Herbs and Public Health

By Lea McLellan

            While many people in the United States have heard of using Chinese medicine for issues like chronic muscle pain, migraines and even fertility, less people are aware that Chinese herbs can be an enormous help when it comes to that all-too-common seasonal public health concern — cold and flu viruses. These unpleasant, highly contagious viral respiratory infections can range from mild to severe, sometimes taking weeks to fully recover. Western medicine offers no cure for these highly infectious viruses, and the vaccines available do not prevent all strains of flu. Not only can Chinese herbs be used to strengthen the immune system and prevent cold and flu conditions altogether, but for many patients, a regimen of Chinese herbs can spell the difference between a few days of sniffles and a full week in bed.

            Chinese herbal medicine is highly individualized. Therefore, all colds are not treated equally. Depending on the patient’s unique symptoms, as well as the stage of the sickness, a practitioner may prescribe a range of herbs. The most basic way to categorize cold and flu is into wind-cold or wind-heat symptomology. Patients exhibiting “hot” symptoms such as sore throat, congestion and chills and fever with fever predominant, are likely suffering from a wind-heat condition. These patients will want to take “cool” herbs such as peppermint and chrysanthemum. More commonly than using single herbs, a formula such as Yin Qiao San (Free and Easy Wanderer) will be used to treat the condition. Patients exhibiting “cold” symptoms such as thin, watery mucus, and fever and chills with chills predominant are likely suffering from a wind-cold condition and should be treated with warming herbs such as ginger and green onion. Ma huang (ephedra), found in Ma Huang Tang is a classic warming herb that treats cold and flu. Gui Zhi Tang is perhaps a more popular formula in the United States, and relies heavily on the warming and healing properties of Gui Zhi, or cinnamon.

          Of course, the beauty of Chinese herbalism is that there is not a one-size-fits-all mentality when it comes to treating colds, or any condition for that matter. Formulas can be tailored to meet the specific needs of the patient. For instance, if a patient is exhibiting significant aching and tightness in the upper neck and back — a common symptom of colds and flu — a practitioner might alter a classic formula to include Qiang Huo, known for its ability to relax the upper back and shoulders. If a patient is suffering from blocked nasal passages, the practitioner may focus more heavily on herbs that clear the sinuses. Just as no one person is the same, no one cold or flu condition is going to be the same.

          While the common cold and flu is thought to be largely untreatable in Western medicine, Chinese medicine is able to treat the root cause of this condition with surprising success. If caught in the early stages, a condition may be avoided completely. If caught later on, patients usually become better much quicker, eliminating days of sickness. This means less missed workdays, less time spent recuperating in bed and more enjoyment of the fall and winter seasons. Not to mention, less doctor visits and less reliance on antibiotics for conditions that aren’t likely to respond to antibiotics in the first place. 

          Regardless of your medical perspective, most can agree that prevention is preferred to having to treat a condition. While flu vaccines attempt to answer this need, there are limits to the flu vaccine’s effectiveness. Luckily, we have Chinese herbs to help build our immune systems and protect us against both wind-cold and wind-heat invasions common during seasonal shifts. Again, Chinese medicine is not a one-size-fits-all approach to wellness. Some herbs and herbal formulas may be better suited to certain people according to their constitution. However, “immune-boosting” herbs — or tonic herbs, as they are called within Chinese medicine — are generally safe for all to take, and can be very effective in maintaining health and wellness. Some of the most common tonic herbs are astragalus (huang qi), ganoderma (ling zhi), and cordyceps (dong chong xia cao). Astragalus, in particular, is said to boost wei qi, which is the level of qi that is most affected by wind invasions, protecting us from cold and flu pathogens. 

       There is no doubt that Chinese medicine can be utilized to effectively combat our most prevalent public health concerns. A Chinese herbal teacher once wisely observed that American Chinese medicine patients typically visit an herbalist or acupuncturist when all else has failed, and Western medicine doesn’t seem to have the answer. Ideally, that mindset would be flipped, and people would turn to herbs first to treat their conditions the natural way — then move on to more extreme measures, if needed. Certainly in cases of cold and flu, Chinese herbs can be wonderfully effective.

What is Topical Chinese Medicine and Why is it Used?

Urban Herbs

Topical Chinese Medicine refers to using Chinese herbs externally, as opposed to ingesting them internally as a tea, pills, or tincture.

Chinese herbs have been used topically for thousands of years.  There are numerous conditions for which a topical application of Chinese herbs would be appropriate.  For example, many cuts and lacerations can be packed with a Chinese herbal poultice or plaster.  These are made by mixing a single herb or an entire formula with a binding agent, such as white rice vinegar, water, oil, slippery elm, flaxseed, cornstarch, or flour.  This allows the herbs to interact directly with the damaged tissues and may help reduce bleeding or infection.  Depending on the circumstance, a poultice may be wrapped in gauze or plastic to keep the area clean and trap in moisture, allowing the skin to stay damp and the herbs to be more rapidly absorbed over time.  Plasters, poultices, and compresses should be cleaned off and changed regularly.

Chinese herbal formulas can also be ground into a powder that can then be decocted and placed into a basin for a foot soak.  These are commonly used to treat ankle sprains, gout, or infections of the foot.  Soaks have long been used to help detox the body through the feet and many associate the benefits with aiding sleep and helping to energetically ground the body.  Depending on the condition being treated, different herbs will be used in the formula- such as herbs going to the bones to help with fractures, herbs going to the tendons to help with sprains, or antifungal herbs to help with conditions like Athlete’s Foot.

A number of dermatological issues can also be treated by Chinese herbs topically.  A facial cream can be made by combining Chinese herbs with certain oils to treat acne, psoriasis, and the effects of aging.  Specific formulas will be used after assessing the patient’s constitution and current dermatological concerns. 

When would a topical application of Chinese herbs be appropriate?

Directly applying Chinese herbs can be useful for cuts and lacerations, hives, rashes, aches, stings, burns, and bites.  They can also be appropriate for more internal conditions such as congestion, headaches, infections, and insomnia. The most important thing to remember is to get the appropriate herbs as determined by your practitioner.  It is important for a practitioner to prescribe herbs that are right for your constitution.  Some herbs may be very hot or very cold and would thus be appropriate for different situations.  If you have a lot of redness, inflammation, and swelling, cooling herbs may be more appropriate and may be mixed with aloe, apple cider vinegar, or cabbage.  For hot poultices, we may mix the herbs with ginger, onion, or cayenne to help bring out infections. 
 

If you think a topical application of Chinese herbs is appropriate for you or you just have any questions regarding a customized Chinese herbal formula, please contact us at Urban Herbs!  We are happy to discuss different treatment options with you and determine the best course of action to get you feeling your healthiest!

De-Stress with Chinese Medicine

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Ways to Deal with Stress

Are you busy, overwhelmed, and STRESSED OUT?!  Ugh, what a pain!  Well you are not alone.  In this country, 73% of the population reportedly experience psychological symptoms caused by stress.  Even worse, 33% feel they are living with extreme stress!  Whether it is job pressures, financial concerns, relationship issues, or chronic health problems, stress seems to be on the rise.  It may seem overwhelming at times and difficult to get through the day, sometimes it may even be paralyzing.  Many assume that everyone has to deal with stress and fear that it might never go away, but we are here to tell you how Urban Herbs can help.
 
Stress is not something to take lightly.  It can significantly impact your life.  From poor nutrition, sleep deprivation, or media overload, sometimes stress can seem like a Catch 22; “If I’m not sleeping, I’m stressed, if I’m stressed, I’m not sleeping.”  Co-worker tensions, loss of job, medical bills, and health crises are all too common triggers for a stressful experience.
 
Although this seems to be a new and growing epidemic in the United States, stress has been around for nearly forever.  The body innately has always had to deal with stress by releasing epinephrine and cortisol from the brain’s sympathetic nerves.  The liver produces more blood sugar in a stressful episode to give you more energy to deal with the trigger.  Your autonomic processes like taking slow, full breaths, are interrupted so your sympathetic system can decide whether to “fight or flight”. These are all very acute ways that the body is programmed to handle stress; however, if it lingers for a long time or becomes a chronic concern, these adaptive behaviors of your body can lead to more pressing health concerns.  That cortisol that your brain releases can affect your body’s ability to fight fat, the increased blood sugar levels can lead to risking higher chances of becoming diabetic.  Respiratory diseases could result from the constant stress on your lungs, narrowing arteries and higher cholesterol levels increase the chance of heart disease, stress can lengthen or shorten the menstrual cycle and lead to reproductive concerns, and ongoing stress decreases the body’s ability to fight infection by lowering your immune response, which unfortunately can also bring about eczema, acne, and even hives.
 
Scary stuff for sure. 
 
So what can Chinese medicine do about it??
 
Acupuncture and Chinese herbs can greatly improve chronic stress in someone’s life.  Some of the major symptoms of stress can include poor judgment, moodiness, a feeling of detachment, excessive worrying, a negative outlook, and even physical pain. During an intake with a Chinese Medicine Practitioner, we may ask you some questions to get an idea of which organ is most greatly affected by your stress.  One common symptom is noticing pain just under your rib cage, especially on the right side.  This signifies a potential imbalance in the Liver organ in Chinese medicine, which energetically is the “store-house of emotion”.  If your Liver isn’t smoothly coursing Qi (aka the energy is stuck) it will be more difficult to relieve the chronic stress.  Specific acupuncture points on the hands and feet are used in combination to help move the blocked Qi and soothe the Liver.  Another way this can be accomplished is through movement and exercise.  Do you ever notice that your stress is somewhat alleviated after a good long run?  This may be the case for some.
 
Another symptom of stress we commonly see is over-worrying, especially at night before bed.  People who have a tendency towards “monkey-mind” might be experiencing some sort of Spleen and Heart imbalance in a Chinese medical sense.  Other symptoms that go along with this pattern include not feeling rested in the morning, over-sweating, and the feeling of your heart pounding.  In this case, we may use acupuncture points to help strengthen the Spleen and relieve heat from the Heart. We could also prescribe Chinese herbs that would act to harmonize these organs to relieve the long-term stress.
 
Shortness of breath and a tendency to catch every cold/flu that is going around could be indicators of a Lung imbalance in Chinese medicine.  In this case we may choose acupuncture points to help “open the chest” or increase the body’s immune system. Studies have found that acupuncture increases the number of T4 cells in the body.  These are the “fighter” cells that go and attack a pathogen that has entered the body and ward off illnesses.
 
As is the case with everything when speaking to a Chinese medicine practitioner, a separate protocol would be needed to handle each person’s specific case.  Different acupuncture points and Chinese herbs are chosen to balance the body and decrease the level of stress in each individual’s life.  If you are interested in finding out how Chinese medicine can help you with your stress, whether it be chronic or acute, all-consuming or just simply something you are noticing is on the rise in your life, give us a call today!  We are here to help you live the best life you can!  Our phone number is (720) 638-6622 or you can always email us with any questions atinfo@urbanherbsco.com.
 
Check out the graphic above to learn about some small ways you can impact your stress right now.  Self-care is the first step in any health care practice and your commitment to getting better goes a very long way when dealing with stress.
 

How Can Chinese Herbal Medicine Help You Get A Better Night's Rest?

Urban Herbs

One of the most common concerns we treat here in the clinic is insomnia.  Insomnia comes in all forms- difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, restless sleep, or not feeling rested in the morning- and each one significantly impacts your life.   Nearly 70 million people suffer from some form of insomnia each year and one study showed that employers are losing $18 billion dollars a year in lost productivity due to sleep issues.  This is an epidemic in the United States and we would love to tell you how Chinese medicine could help!! 
 
For centuries, Chinese medicine has been commonly used to help patients get a more restful, rejuvenating night’s sleep.  Insomnia is caused by and affects each individual differently, and thus, requires a unique treatment protocol to address it. One of our favorite aspects of Chinese medicine is that every person we see receives a unique herbal formula made just for them.  Your age, activity level, diet, and lifestyle habits all contribute to your night’s sleep so it is vital for us to speak with you to determine which systems in your body need balancing.
 
Therapy for insomnia in Western medicine has largely been based on prescribed medications such as benzodiazepines, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, or over-the-counter antihistamines.  However, these medications sometimes come with adverse side effects that make them unsuitable for long-term use.  There is also a high dependency risk associated with many sleep medications.  Patients often times become dependent on a medication to sedate their brain from the over-thinking or monkey-mind at night or a muscle relaxant to relieve pain that keeps them from staying asleep.  Chinese medicine does not simply sedate or numb your body; rather, it works to balance the organs that are not functioning at an optimal level.
 
Chinese herbs have many of the same properties of a lot of the Western medications used to treat insomnia.  For example, the herb Ye Jiao Teng has been reported to have an anti-inflammatory and anti-artherosclerogenic effect and exhibits neuroprotective effects in animal studies.  In a separate animal study, the Chinese herb Suan Zao Ren, was shown to have a sedative effect in higher doses and an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect at lower doses.  There is also promising studies pointing to the main bioactive components of Suan Zao Ren, called saponins, prolonging the sleeping time induced by barbiturates.  Yuan Zhi and Dan Shen also have been shown to have sedative effects while He Huan Hua, Huang Qin, and Huang Lian have reported anxiolytic effects. 
 
Several studies show that Chinese herbal medicine has effectively improved sleep quality, prolonged sleep duration, and exhibited fewer side effects than Western medicines, but more studies are needed to determine the pharmaco-epidemiologic studies of Chinese herbal medicine for the treatment of insomnia.  If you are interested in speaking with us about how a Chinese herbal formula could help you and your sleep patterns, please don’t hesitate and give us a call today!  We would love to help you on your journey to a healthier life, one great night of sleep at a time.
 
For more ideas on how you can start a healthy sleeping regimen at home TONIGHT, check out the infographic above and try out some of these better sleep suggestions!

Benefits of Bone Broth in Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Because of the healing benefits of bone broth, Traditional Chinese Medical Practitioners have been prescribing it as a remedy for centuries.

The first written documentation of Traditional Chinese Medicinebegins in the Second Century BC, although it is believed to have been practiced for many centuries before this.  Bone Broth has been a remedy prescribed by Practitioners since this medicine began.  The Ancient Chinese used bone broth to nourish the kidneys, support ourvital essence (qi), and build blood.  Traditional Chinese Medicine is based on an empirical science, which means that they experimented and observed nature and continually confirmed their conclusions over time.  This perspective of cause and effect is what helped them discover the health benefits of bone broth.

Health Benefits of Bone Broth #1:  Builds Blood + Repairs Cellular Damage
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, blood is an essential fluid.  This means that without blood, your body will not be able to perform its usual functions.  When blood is used throughout the day, it has to be replenished so you don’t become blood deficient.  Stress, exercise, work, and studying are just a few ways that your body uses blood.  Bone Marrow is where the body makes both red and white blood cells.  By using bones filled with rich marrow, we are able to extract this property and infuse it into our own cells.  By drinking nutritious bone broth, you are giving your body what it needs to heal itself.

Bones are some of the deepest tissues of our body.  Bone Marrow is stored inside of our bones, containing our essence, the basic substance for the constitution of the human body and maintaining its functional activities.  Modern technology has proved that within bone marrow are high concentrations of stem cells, which have the ability to differentiate into any type of cell (ie. blood cells, skin cells, etc.).  By drinking Osso Good Bone Broth regularly, you are helping your body to build a healthy and vital constitution while repairing cellular damage. 

Health Benefits of Bone Broth #2:  Nourish the Kidneys
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the main functions of the kidneys include:  storing essence, controlling reproduction along with growth and development, producing marrow, controlling the bones, and manufacturing blood.  Because of these main functions, it is easy to understand why drinking bone broth would help to nourish the kidneys.  A deficient kidney could lead to impotence and infertility, weak knees and lower back pain, tinnitus, poor memory, etc.  By strengthening the kidneys, one is able to stave the effects of aging, arthritis, and infertility.  The kidneys also help to strengthen teeth and improve the luster of our hair.

Health Benefits of Bone Broth #3:  Support our Vital Essence (Qi)
Qi originates from two main sources:  our parents at conception (original qi) and also from essential substances in nature:  air, food, and water.  By eating a healthy and nutritious diet, we are able to keep our body balanced.  Qi has five main functions.  Its promoting function allows us to maintain energy for proper growth and development as well as circulating blood and metabolizing body fluids.  Qi has a warming function to keep our bodies averaging a 98.6 degree body temperature for proper functioning.  Its defending function allows us to have a strong immune system.  Through transforming, qi is able to help our body’s metabolism and use of energy.  Qi also has the ability to “hold”, allowing our organs and body fluids to stay in the correct places.  Drinking Osso Good Bone Broth regularly, allows you to support the body’s qi and maintain health and longevity.

This blog was copied from Osso Good Bones!

Check out their awesome website and products!

Chinese Medicine and Pediatric Allergies

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A look at why allergies are becoming increasingly prevalent and how we can treat (and perhaps prevent) them!

Allergies in children:
Anyone who has spent a sleepless night blowing their nose and rubbing their already blood red eyes, drinking tea and taking every medication, Western or Eastern, know that allergies can have a very drastic effect on your life. Furthermore, they can cause great anxiety for a child who has allergies as well as the parents of the child.  There are many treatment options available for allergies and I would like to review some of them for you so that you are able to make the best decision for your child.

Between 1997 and 2007 the CDC estimates that food allergies have increased by 18% among children under the age of 18.  There have been many speculations as to why there has been such a drastic increase in prevalence of allergies.   Among the theories; vaccines, environmental toxins and GMO foods seem to be the most prominent. While we need to continue to research the cause of allergies to help alleviate their discomforts, I am going to focus on the options that are available to help your suffering today.  

 
Chinese Medical Perspective of Allergies:
Bob Flaws discusses diet as a major cause of pediatric allergies.  The theory is that when foods are introduced too early into a baby's diet it will cause indigestion and the child will develop an allergic reaction to that food.  By introducing foods one at a time it will allow the parents to observe if there is any sort of reaction to a particular food.  It is also important for parents to limit the amount of sugar and dairy that is in a child's diet.
 
In Chinese medical theory both sugar and dairy lead to phlegm and dampness, which will give rise to damp heat in the intestines that in turn can lead to an over growth of yeast and fungi in the intestine (known as dysbiosis).  Dysbiosis can lead to many health issues.  Essentially an overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gut will lead to a higher level of gut permeability.  Once there is Leaky Gut Syndrome then the bacteria and food particles that leak out of the intestines will cause the immune system to respond.  This is how food allergies end up "multiplying".  It can also explain the systemic inflammation that often occurs with food allergies.  Another cause of dysbiosis is antibiotics.  Often you will see that children develop an allergy after a course of antibiotics.  It is important that antibiotics are taken with care as to prevent further antibiotic resistance and to help prevent dysbiosis.  A child should be given probiotics after a course of antibiotics to help prevent an imbalance.

Chinese herbal formulas can be used in conjunction with dietary intervention to effectively change the body’s reaction to the allergens.  A clear bland diet is recommended to help heal the digestive tract.  Since children's spleens have not yet been fully developed, cooking foods will help the child’s ability to digest the food.  Rice is considered hypoallergenic so it is a good food source.  Sugar and dairy, again, should be avoided.  Chinese herbs that are prescribed by an herbal practitioner will be given based on the child's "pattern of health" at the time of the visit.  As someone who has taken every single steroid and allergy medication that has come onto the market between 1983 and 2010 I can tell you that changing my diet and taking Chinese herbs has provided me greater results than my myriad of Western medications ever did, and without the side effects; without any side effects. 
 
Western Treatment Options for Allergies:
Instead of focusing on underlying causes of inflammation, Western medicine looks towards trying to alleviate the symptoms.  Antihistamines are some of the most commonly used medications on the market and they are very effective at alleviating the histamine response common with allergies.  Some of the lesser known side effects of antihistamines include: impairment of thinking, depression, anxiety, altered taste and smell, low libido, increased appetite, infertility in women, and long term health issues. (Jared Sheikh, M.D., Harvard Medical School.)  Other commonly used pharmaceuticals include various types of steroids.  Steroids work extremely quickly and effectively.  Again though, they have numerous side effects that make them less attractive as an option. 

Last but not least, there are the ever-popular allergy shots.  Allergy shots are used to desensitize a patient to the allergen.  Patients may get shots with a small amount of the allergen every week for one to three years.  The frequency of the shots may decrease with time.  While various studies indicate that these are effective (particularly for bee stings, pollen allergies, dust mites, mold and pet dander) the evidence of the effectiveness (particularly long term) for food or drug allergies is still unclear.
 
While the ability to "cure" allergies seems somewhat elusive for both Western and Eastern medicine, there is some very promising research going on currently.  Current research on a Chinese herbal formula known as FAHF-1 and FAFH-2 has shown great promise in alleviating food allergies in particular.  Also, new research done on immunotherapy for multiple food allergies was highlighted in the New York Times article: The Allergy Buster: Can a radical new treatment save children with severe food allergies? This research is showing some impressive results for immunotherapy but requires further research and long-term study.

My personal belief is that the best results come by looking at the lifestyle and health overall and making changes on a case-by-case basis.  There is no one answer to allergies, but bringing your body into balance is the best start for any condition.

If you are interested in speaking with a practitioner at Urban Herbs about your child's allergies and what we can do here at the clinic, give us a call!  (720) 638-6622.

Bone Broth

Urban Herbs

One of our favorite things about Chinese herbs is that many of them are edible. Cloves, ginger, cinnamon, dates, and goji berries are some of the most popular herbs we use. In China, it is common practice to cook with specific herbs in order to keep yourself healthy. By now, many of you have likely heard of the healing properties of bone broth. Making homemade broth can help strengthen your gut lining and heal your intestines - which we now know is the foundation of health. Our favorite herb/bone broth recipe can be used as a stock to cook with or to drink daily as a health tonic. It strengthens the Spleen and Stomach and tonifies the Kidneys. Give it a shot and let us know what you think! We'll be carrying bags of the herbs at the clinic for $8.50!

Infertility and Chinese Medicine

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Infertility has become a startlingly common problem, with the CDC estimating that one out of every eight couples has difficulty conceiving and/or carrying a baby to term.  Like all gynecological issues, Chinese medicine has has great success in this area for centuries.

While painful and irregular menses are commonplace for many women, they truly are indications of an underlying disharmony within the body.  The same, often goes for infertility.  (That being said, we always recommend that you get a full work up with your OB to rule out any structural issues and find out as much as we can about hormone levels.  It should also be noted that 30% of infertility cases is America are caused by issues with the male partner).

While painful menses is often correlated with stress, and as we call it "Liver Qi Stagnation" the kidneys are often the issue when we treat infertility patients.  The kidneys, which are the foundation of health in Chinese medicine, are often over taxed with our busy and stressful lifestyles. This crashes the cortisol levels and throws the hormonal balance out of line by disturbing the Hypothalamus Pituitary Adrenal axis (HPA Axis).  Poor dietary habits and our increasingly toxic environment further tax the kidneys.

Herbs and acupuncture are great for balancing hormones so that your body is working as optimally as possible.  By treating the underlying patterns of disharmony, we often have great success where Western medicine may fail.  To regulate a woman's menstrual cycle (and yes, that includes helping with the emotional fluctuations) we generally see solid results within three cycles.  For fertility treatments we recommend 3-6 cycles of herbs and, if possible, acupuncture.

Acupuncture and Herbs are also helpful during and after pregnancy. More and more research is showing how important a woman's state of health is during pregnancy for the developing fetus.  By affecting the neuro-endocrine system we can keep you happy and healthy. 

Give us a call to see how we can help you on your journey to optimum health (and possibly a baby!). :)  720-638-6622.

Athletes are Looking Towards Chinese Medicine to Gain an Edge on the Competition

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Acupuncture for Athletes

The theory of Chinese medicine is based on homeostasis.  An athlete’s body functions at an optimal level when most balanced.  Acupuncture works by gently inserting and stimulating thin, disposable, sterile needles at strategic points near the surface of the body.  There are over 2,000 sports acupuncture points connected with 14 major meridians.  These meridians provide a highway-like system for Qi to flow through. 
 
Qi is best described as energy, or the ability for transformation.  It regulates mental, emotional, and physical balance in the body.  We look at injury and disease as a blockage of this Qi.  Similar to the analogy of a garden hose and a plant, when there is a kink in the hose, nutrients cannot flow freely to the plant and the plant suffers.  Sports acupuncture helps open the pathways to increase Qi flow to the affected area.  
 
Studies conducted by the US National Institutes of Health and the World Health Organization have consistently shown that acupuncture is a safe and effective tool to use in dealing with pain and treating injury all over the body, as well as supporting optimal wellness.   Many benefits of acupuncture appear to be related to the release of endorphins, decreased sympathetic activity, and an increased tolerance to fatigue.
 
There are several studies that have shown when needles are inserted they stimulate points that boost our natural painkillers.  A study in the Journal of NeuroImage found that acupuncture affected the brain’s long-term ability to regulate pain.  A study from UCLA Medical Center found that acupuncture increases the amount of nitric oxide in the body.  Nitric oxide causes the blood vessels to relax and widen, thereby opening up the arteries.  This allows better blood flow to the heart and other organs.
 
In addition to accelerating the healing process, acupuncture helps your body bounce back from intensive exercise. For instance, a 2008 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine discovered that participants who received acupuncture for muscle soreness 24 and 48 hours after they exercised to exhaustion reported significantly less pain than those who did not receive the treatment.
 
Studies have also shown that acupuncture enhances immune-cell function in the body. Specifically, it helps the brain increase the body’s level of T-cells, the cells that destroy bacteria and harmful viruses in the body, even days after a session.By safeguarding against sickness, athletes will miss fewer workouts and perform better.
 
Acupuncture provides powerfully effective, personalized, non-pharmaceutical and non-surgical care for athletes.  Regular treatments manage the body’s built in arsenal to protect itself.  Should an injury arise, acupuncture regulates nerve conduction and microcirculation in the area of inflammation to speed the healing process.  It works to decrease pain by stimulating endorphins, providing rapid and often long-lasting relief. 
 
Post-competition, acupuncture minimizes muscle fatigue and pain, enhances energy and facilitates rapid recovery.  This is especially important for athletes with multiple competitions in a relatively short time.  Sports acupuncture treatments fine-tune athletes strength, coordination, speed, efficiency, and power while maximizing athletic abilities by corralling energy where it is needed most.
 
My experiences working with Division I student-athletes have shown just how easily it can be integrated into training rooms across the country and how powerfully it can help!  Acupuncture is a highly effective, time-tested treatment for sports injuries because it resolves pain, accelerates healing, and increases range of motion.  Acupuncture achieves this by decreasing inflammation, swelling, and bruising; relaxing muscles and relieving spasms; lowering the body’s pain response, and improving circulation.  Acupuncture can naturally boosts athletes’ energy levels, aid in post-workout recovery, and improve overall performance levels.  If you would like to learn more or schedule an appointment to work on any of your health concerns, give us a call at Urban Herbs!  

Differences between Pharmaceuticals and Chinese herbs

Urban Herbs

Not so long ago, you might have found a chemist working behind the scenes in pharmacies to make medicine for each patient by mixing the different chemical compounds needed to form a pill.  In the recent age of immediate relief and efficiency, the idea of the “one-size-fits-all-pill” was developed.  In this way, pharmaceutical companies manufactured a single pill that would work really well for a number of related symptoms.  The downside of this mass production is that it eliminated the chance for customized pharmaceuticals. 

Often times today if you are taking one pill that gives you a side effect, doctors prescribe a second or third medication to reduce those effects.  In contrast, Chinese medicine stays true to the original concept of customized medicinals for each patient.  By creating a formula specific to one individual, based on his or her constitution, the chances of unwanted side effects are greatly reduced.   Furthermore, they target the specific health concerns of the patient rather than blanketing over a range of symptoms.  Chinese herbs can address multiple imbalances in the body.  Sometimes these symptoms may seem completely unrelated in a Western mindset, but could actually all be results of a singular imbalance.

Often times, pharmaceuticals, specifically antibiotics, can disrupt your natural gut flora and probiotics in your stomach.  This can cause irritation in the digestive tract.  Because Chinese herbs are made for your specific constitution, they tend to be less harsh on your weakest organs and work to tonify any deficiencies.  Another concern with pharmaceuticals, namely narcotics, is the powerful threat of addiction that they carry.  For this reason, many recovering addicts are fearful of taking painkillers.  Chinese herbs are non-addictive! 

Chinese herbs work by balancing the body.  If there is pain, the herbs will not only dull the pain, but also will address the blockage and work to restore a free flow of Qi.  For internal diseases, the herbs will address what organs are out of balance- sometimes eliminating dampness or dryness in order to get the body functioning properly.  For these reasons, Chinese herbs take time!  Depending on your condition, your practitioner may set up a plan for you in which the herbs you take change every week or two until the problem can be fully resolved.  Each different formula works on a separate layer of the disease mechanism.  In this way it addresses each layer one at a time in order to hopefully resolve the root issue.

Pharmaceuticals are extremely important in our healthcare system.  The advent of antibiotics in 1935 was one of the greatest discoveries of our time and it is crucial that we keep them available for the years to come.  We are currently facing a crisis of overuse of antibiotics that is leading to greater drug resistance.  This means that our bodies are being selective in which antibiotics will work and which we have already built a resistance to (perhaps from over exposure or improper use of antibiotics).  Using Chinese herbs preventatively and when initial health concerns are noticed will help reduce the rate of drug resistance and allow our antibiotics to work better for longer!