Ring in Chinese New Year with Herbs and Remedies

Although the 2008 Chinese New Year is still several weeks away (February 7), it’s never too early to begin ‘celebrating’ the Year of the Rat by using medicinal remedies and treatments that have been proven effective for hundreds of years. The Chinese people rely on a myriad of natural herbal remedies to cure virtually all types of physical complaints and diseases ranging from allergies and skin conditions to problems associated with aging and sexual dysfunction.

Regarding remedies involving herbs and other natural plant products, some of the most common ones are those many people use on an almost everyday basis. These include cinnamon bark and powder, ginger root, ginseng (which is actually three different kinds of roots), garlic, and of course a number of medicinal teas. Ginseng roots in particular are used in wide variety of remedies ranging from capsules, teas, ointments, and other forms. The most common variety is what is known as panax ginseng radix or Oriental ginseng is very much in demand in Chinese medicine. It is a favorite among athletes and others needing remedies to increase physical endurance. Due to its being a natural product, it is accepted by international authorities monitoring athletic competitions. Oriental ginseng is also effective in nourishing the spleen (one of the body’s main supplier of blood cells), the lung, and in replenishing vital body fluids.

Another common Chinese herb, ginger root, called Gan Jiang in Chinese, is used to treat a number of conditions including nausea, motion and morning sickness, flatulence (bloated feeling connected with overeating and constipation), and for upper respiratory infections including coughs and bronchitis. It is especially effective for cancer patients who suffer from nausea when undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Ginger can be drank in medicinal teas, taken in capsule form, or simply eaten raw. Ginger is also an important spice and taste additive in Chinese and other types of foods.

Cinnamon is a common spice that is also widely used in Oriental medicine. Cinnamon bark and powder is used to warm the body and stimulate the kidneys as well as reproductive organs. It is widely drunk in teas and is easily prepared by simply boiling pieces of cinnamon bark in water.

Flowers are also widely used in Chinese medicine, with the chrysanthemum flower (the national flower of Japan) being widely used to cure sinus congestion and to aid digestion, especially after eating heavy, greasy foods. It is often made into a tea and is a refreshing drink on a hot summer day.

Virtually all kinds of plants and animal products, including fungus, bones and deer antlers, and marine plant and animal products are used in Chinese medicine. Due to their usage for more than 3,000 years, one can find a Chinese medicinal remedy for virtually any type illness.