natural medicine

Tea Medicine Series: Hawthorn

This little gem is also known as Shan Zha. Hawthorne may be new to us, but it is a medicinal supplement that has been used throughout history throughout Asia, Europe and North America for its health benefits.

The leaves and flowers contain beneficial flavonoids and procynaidins. Flavonoids activate endothelium-derived relaxing factor and inhibit phosphodiesterase, thereby increasing vasodilation. Therefore, patients who take warfarin/Coumadin, vasodilating, antiplatelet, and/or anticoagulant medications should make sure dosage of this herb is moderate.

Hawthorn fruit herbs are often included in herbal formulas for indigestion. Hawthorn fruit helps break down animal fat and supports digestive function. It has been found to be effective in lowering serum cholesterol and blood pressure. [1] [2]

Check your family medical history and examine your daily diet. If you are concerned about your heart health or have history of high LDL levels, a small dose of hawthorn tea may benefit you. Every little bit counts!

[1] Rajendran, S. et al. Effect of tincture of crataegus on the LDL-receptor activity of the hepatic plasma membrane of rats fed on atherogenic diet. Atherosclerosis. 123(1-2)::235-41, June 1997.

[2] Zhe Jiang Zhong Yi Za Zhi (Zhejiang Journal of Chinese Medicine), 1991; (6)::245.


Alcohol Abuse Related Disease Now Affecting Children

Fatty liver diseases are often associated with alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is thought to be the fastest growing cause of liver disease in both Western and developing world. What is causing excessive fat accumulation in liver cells in people who do not abuse alcohol?

Researchers posit that dietary consumption of fructose and uric acid concentrations may play a significant role in disease progression in NAFLD. Please refer to the original study for further in-depth information.

Whether the study is conclusive or not, there is no reason to not make healthful modification to mitigate potential health problems--especially for children. Replace sodas and juices with healthier options such as tea (oolong, green, pu-erh tea, and black teas are excellent choices to combat western diets) and whole fruits instead of juices (yes, including natural/ organic sources) as juices contain high concentrations of fructose. Nature provides balance when we consume whole fruits--natural sugar, fiber, and satiation when consumed naturally.

As an acupuncture professional, we can help patients by providing good herbal supplement, patient education including nutrition with medicinal properties, and providing support treatment with acupuncture.