SYDNEY – After 3,000 years, the secrets of acupuncture have been unlocked by researchers.
MorrySilberstein, professor at Australia’s Curtin University of Technology (CUT), has developed a new theory that explains, for the first time, the scientific reasons why acupuncture works.
We have never really had a scientific explanation for how acupuncture actually works, he said. If we can explain the process scientifically, we can open it to full scientific scrutiny and develop ways to use it as a part of medical treatments.
His research suggests that the insertion of an acupuncture needle into the skin disrupts the branching point of nerves called C-fibres, which transmit low-grade sensory information over very long distances.
We have known for some time that acupuncture points have a much lower electrical resistance than nearby areas of skin, Silberstein said. It is possible that this is because C-fibre nerves branch at acupuncture points.
Scientists do not know exactly what role C-fibres play in the nervous system; however, Silberstein has a theory.
This network of nerves possibly exists to maintain our state of arousal or wakefulness, and its disruption by an acupuncture needle numbs our general sensitivity to pain, he said.
It may provide us with new methods of treating sleep problems, pain and high blood pressure, he said, besides furthering our understanding of the autonomic nervous system.
These findings are slated for publication in the Journal of Theoretical Biology.
The most remarkable remedy for loss of memory or forgetfulness is the use of the herb rosemary, botanically known as Romarinus officinalis. Rosemary has long been regarded as a herb for remembrance. In ancient times, the Greeks and the Romans prepared fragrant distilled water from the flowers of this plant and inhaled the odour so that ‘the evils were destroyed from the mind and the memory no longer played tricks.’ Rosemary is considered to be an antidote for mental fatigue and forgetfulness. A tea made from this herb, taken once or twice a day, is a refreshing drink and an effective natural remedy for enhancing mental agility.
Amnesia treatment using BrahmiBooti
Another herb useful in amnesia is perennail booti, botanically known as Bacopa scrophulariaceae. About seven grams of this herb should be dried in the shade and ground in water, along with seven kernels of almonds and half a gram of pepper. This mixture should be strained and sweetened with twenty-five gm of sugar. It should be drunk every morning for a fortnight on an empty stomach.
Amnesia treatment using Sage
The herb sage has also been found beneficial in the treatment of a weak memory or loss of memory. It acts on the cortex of the brain, mitigates mental exhaustion and strengthens the ability to concentrate. A tea prepared from dried sage leaves can be used regularly for this purpose.
Amnesia treatment using Almonds
Almonds are very valuable for restoring a poor memory caused by brain weakness. They contain unique properties to remove brain debility and to strengthen the brain. Almonds preserve the vitality of the brain and cure ailments originating from nervous disorders. Ten to twelve almonds should be immersed in water overnight and their outer skin removed. They should then be made into a fine paste and taken, mixed with one teaspoonful of butter or even alone. Inhaling ten to fifteen drops of almond oil through the nose, morning and evening, is also beneficial in the treatment of brain weakness.
Amnesia treatment using Walnuts
Walnut is another unique dry fruit valuable in countering brain weakness. About twenty grams of walnuts should be taken every day. The value of walnuts is enhanced if they are taken with figs or raisins in a proportion of ten gram each, everyday.
Amnesia treatment using Apples
Apples are useful in amnesia. The various chemical substances contained in this fruit such as vitamin B1, phosphorus, and potassium help in the synthesis of glutamic acid. This acid controls the wear and tear of nerve cells. Eating an apple a day with one tea-spoon of honey and one cup of milk is beneficial in the treatment of loss of memory and mental irritability. It acts as an effective nerve tonic and recharges the nerves with new energy and life.
Amnesia treatment using Other Fruits
All fruits which are rich in phosphorus are valuable mitigators of amnesia, as they invigorate the brain cells and tissues. Apart from apples, almonds, and walnuts, which have been discussed earlier, other phosphorus-rich fruits are figs, grapes, oranges, and dates. Their intake is highly beneficial in loss of memory due to brain debility.
Amnesia treatment using Cumin Seeds
The use of cumin seeds is another valuable remedy for amnesia or dullness of memory. Three grams of black cumin seeds should be mixed with two teaspoonfuls of pure honey and taken once a day, preferably, in the morning.
Amnesia treatment using Black Pepper
Five seeds of finely ground black pepper, mixed with one teaspoon of honey are also beneficial in the treatment of this condition. This preparation should be taken both in the morning and evening.
Acupuncture, herbal medicine become more popular in U.S.
LOSANGELES, — When Dr. Francis Yu started his acupuncture clinic in California in 1970s, most of his patients were Chinese. But now, half of his patients are non-Chinese.
“More non-Chinese Americans begin to accept the Chinese way of treatment, such as acupuncture, cupping and herbal medicine. Another truth is, at least in California, nearly half of those who have acupuncture licenses and operate acupuncture clinics are not Chinese but Americans who do not know Chinese,” said Yu who owns his two-storied TCM Healing Institute in Arcadia in the suburbs of Los Angeles.
Dr.Yu‘s remarks echoed the recent press reports that alternative medicine is finding wider acceptance by doctors, insurers and hospitals in the U.S.
People turn to unconventional therapies and herbal remedies for everything from hot flashes and trouble sleeping to cancer and heart disease. They crave more “care” in their health care as more people distrust drug companies and the government.
California became the first U.S. state to license qualified acupuncture practitioners as primary care providers in 1978. As of2004, California has licensed more than 9,000 acupuncturists. Now the figure is estimated to exceed 15,000. California constitutes nearly half of the licensed acupuncturists in the U.S.
Dr.Yu told Xinhua that in the early days, acupuncture was not accepted and respected by the mainstream. Most Americans did not regard acupuncture as alternative treatment. But as time goes by and when more U.S. hospitals and research institutions set up acupuncture treatment centers, more Americans turned to the Chinese acupuncture and herbal medicine to cure diseases conventional American doctors could not treat.
He said recently one American lady on her 40s came from Florida to treat her pain on the neck. But Dr.Yu told her she needed to remove her plaque in her artery. She received cupping treatment for several times and when she went back to Florida, her doctor told her the plaque was gone and she felt much better.
She then recommended her friend, a 47-year-woman, to see Dr.Yuin the hope she can get pregnant. Dr.Yu said the treatment was going on, and he was not sure whether the lady could get pregnant at her age. But those cases show that more Americans are willing to try the Chinese way in medical treatment.
In California and other states, when a doctor has an acupuncture license, the doctor can give herbal treatment to the patients. Although traditional Chinese medicine is not legal in California , doctors with acupuncture licenses can treat patients with cupping and herbal medicine.
The legal use of herbal medicine was made possible 15 years ago when the U.S. Congress decided to allow dietary and herbal supplements to be sold without Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Since then the number of products soared, from about 4,000 then to well over 40,000 categories now.
The increasing acceptance of alternative treatment such as acupuncture and herbal medicine was also made possible by big healthcare insurances that cover expenses of patients who accept treatment of acupuncture, cupping and herbal medicine, Dr.Yu said.
Although Dr.Yu said the government regulation seemed ridiculous for doctors to have an acupuncture license first before they can practice other Chinese medicine such as cupping and herbal treatment, it legalizes the practice of acupuncture and other ways to treat patients in the Chinese way in the U.S.
Increasing numbers of big hospitals and institutions, including Johns Hopkins Hospital and the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center at the University of Maryland Medical Center, have established integrative medicine units that bring together conventional and alternative approaches to care.
The alternative treatment includes stress reducers like meditation, yoga and massage besides acupuncture and cupping.
Studies show that the number of Americans willing to try alternative treatments continues to increase. A 2007 survey by the federal government found that more than one-third of adults and nearly 12 percent of children in the U.S. used alternative therapies, including acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy and herbal supplements.
But many mainstream physicians continue to be skeptical of alternative therapies, alleging their efficacy has not been proven and their successes may be nothing more than variations of the placebo effect.
Concerns over the effectiveness and safety of herbal supplement have prompted the U.S. FDA to issue its first guidelines for good manufacturing practices to improve supplement safety.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is also filing more complaints about deceptive marketing in herbal supplements.