Buckwheat – 9 Great Reasons to Know it, Plant it, Grow it and Eat it!

buckwheatBuckwheat from the author’s own garden.

Buckwheat is one of those plants that may be unfamiliar to most Americans. It is a staple crop in parts of China, Russia and Eastern Europe, but is less well known to U.S. food consumers.

Buckwheat is not Continue reading

Drinking Iced Tea Raises Kidney Stone Risk: Study

Kidney stones affect about 10 percent of the U.S. population, researchers say

People who drink iced tea may be putting themselves at greater risk for developing painful kidney stones, a new study indicates.

Researchers from Loyola University Medical Center explained that the popular summertime drink contains high levels of oxalate, a chemical that leads to the formation of small crystals made of minerals and salt found in urine. Although these crystals are usually harmless, the researchers cautioned they can grow large enough to become lodged in Continue reading

More about the Herbal Chinese Heavyweight Part 2

Here, we have part two of our look at da huang (a.k.a. rhubarb), one of the pre-eminent herbal secrets in Chinese medicine. Here, we find out some of its amazing powers and the reasons for it-mostly, clearing heat and toxins away.

In part one, we looked at the first and second uses. Let’s move on to the rest of them: Continue reading

The Herbal Chinese Heavyweight Revealed

Here is the first of a quick two-part article series on one of the greatest herbal secrets in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Da huang is one of the oldest and best-known herbal medicines from the Far East. In part one, we look at its ability to fight infection and soothe the stomach.

Da huang (rhubarb, in English) has a wide variety of uses. It fights bacteria, viruses, and toxins, it clears inflammation, it soothes the stomach and promotes digestion, it promotes circulation, and it improves immunity. It has a special relationship with heat Continue reading

Top Seven Chinese Remedies to Help You Shed Some Pounds

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is one of the most ancient systems of natural medicine around. It would be considered “alternative health” if it didn’t predate our modern medical system by many millennia. We turn to it here for its top-seven remedies for fighting the battle of the bulge:

1. Jiang Zhi Jian Fei Pian: This five-word name is misleadingly long, because the sole ingredient is “da huang,” or rhubarb. One study, comparing rhubarb to two acupuncture methods, found that in just one week people taking the herb every night lost an average of 4.4 pounds. Their waistlines shrunk by an average of nearly four inches.

Many studies have drawn similar conclusions. In one, 216 people had rhubarb half an hour before each meal for three months. Significantly effective for 72 people and effective for another 118, this had an 88% success rate. where patients lost an average of 10.4 pounds. Incredibly, one study had a practitioner rub rhubarb extract into the skin of the stomach Continue reading

10 Tips for Preventing Painful Kidney Stones

Researchers at the University of Parma in Italy state that kidney stones are increasingly common in wealthy industrialized countries. The most frequent form (80%), they say, is idiopathic calcium stone disease. This type of kidney stone contains calcium combined with oxalate or phosphate. There are other types of stones, too: one type is caused by infection in the urinary tract; and another is made from uric acid crystals.

Why do kidney stones develop? Normally, your urine contains chemicals that stop crystals from forming. But these chemicals don’t always do their job. In some people, crystals form stones. If kidney stones stay small enough, they will pass through your urinary tract and won’t cause you any problems.

Sometimes, however, kidney stonesĀ  Continue reading

Introducing – Rhubarb

Alternate Names: Rheum palmatum, Chinese rhubarb, turkey rhubarb

Rhubarb root is used in traditional Chinese medicine as a laxative. Rhubarb contains powerful laxative compounds called anthraquinones, which irritate the colon and stimulate bowel movements.

Rhubarb root also contains tannins, which are believed to reduce inflammation in the colon. Small amounts of rhubarb are used in traditional Chinese medicine for diarrhea due to the tannin content.
Why Do People Use Rhubarb?

Constipation – Stool softener

Dosage Information
Rhubarb can be found as capsules, liquid extracts, and dried root.

Bowel movements usually occur 6 to 12 hours after taking rhubarb.

This type of rhubarb (rheum palmatum) should not be confused with common rhubarb.
Side Effects and Safety
Rhubarb should not be used long-term for constipation.

Pregnant or nursing women should not use rhubarb. Children should not use rhubarb.

Rhubarb or other anthraquinone-containing herbs should not be used by people diverticular disease, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, severe hemorrhoids, blood vessel disease, congestive heart failure, heart disease, severe anemia, abdominal hernia, gastrointestinal cancer, recent colon surgery, or liver and kidney disease.

Rhubarb may interact with drugs called cardiac glycosides, such as digitalis and digoxin (Lanoxin).

Rhubarb may cause harmless discoloration of urine.

Side effects of rhubarb may include strong cramping in the abdomen (due to muscle contractions, electrolyte imbalance (loss of potassium) and loss of body fluids, and dark pigmentation in the colon, called melanosis coli with longer term use. Call your doctor if you experience bloody diarrhea or prolonged abdominal pain after using rhubarb.

Long-term use of anthraquinones has been linked to the development of colorectal growths (adenomas) and cancer.

Large doses of anthraquinones may cause bloody diarrhea or vomiting.