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Most Westerners feel like strangers to the healing apothecary herbs of China, yet some of these herbs such as honeysuckle, mint, gardenia, hawthorn, dandelion and quince grow in our own gardens. Chinese Medicine is a complete medical system, which has diagnosed, treated and prevented illness for over twenty three centuries. Chinese Medicine uses plants, minerals, and sometimes animal products prepared in specific ways and combinations of them to form therapeutic prescriptions. The strategy of Chinese Medicine is to restore harmony (balance), and the goal of treatment is to balance Yin and Yang, that represent the opposite forces or attributes such as wet and dry, cold and heat, inner and outer, body and mind. This harmony is achieved by the regulation of Qi (vital energy) and of moisture and blood in the organ networks.
In Chinese Medicine the causes of disease can come both from external
and internal factors and also form fatigue and inappropriate foods.
Each herb is classified in terms of its nature, taste and the
particular organ it enters. For example, gardenia, skullcap and
dandelion are categorized as "cold" herbs and for this
reason they are used to treat hot disorders such as infections and
inflammatory illnesses. On the other hand, cinnamon and dried ginger are
both "hot" herbs and are used to treat cold
conditions, such as "cold" arthritis (stiff joints that are cold to
touch and relieved by warmth) and "cold" stomach pain (stabbing stomach
pain relieved by warm drinks and aggravated by cold foods such as
Traditionally in Asia external washes, lotions, and creams are used
alongside the internal prescriptions. The famous properties of pearl
powder are well known and included in creams to clear the skin of
blemishes and keep it young and healthy. Many of the herbs that are used
internally as medicines can also be applied topically. These external
lotions also clear heat, damp and fire toxin away from the skin, while
healing and soothing the acne sores.
Dry skin in Chinese Traditional Medicine is due to Blood and "Yin" Deficiency (lack of body fluids and blood nourishing the skin),
and the herbs that nourish blood and Yin are used to strengthen and
moisten the skin. These herbs also cleanse the blood and improve its
quality therefore improving a quality of the skin. Many of these "blood
nourishing" herbs are used in creams as well as taken internally such as
Chinese Angelica, Wolfberry fruit, Fleeceflower root and Chinese
Some foods are moisturising for the skin such and therefore
recommended as a part of well balance and skin improving diet. Between
them avocado oil, wheat germ and almond oil, apple juice, peach juice,
oatmeal and brewer's yeast are well known and accepted "skin enhancers".