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Traditional Chinese Medicine TCM

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) experts answer your queries. Remember, you should not self-medicate. Always consult a practitioner.

I Feel Itchy All Over    

"I am a 42-year-old female and I've been getting eczema on and off over the past two years. I have very itchy patches on my shin, my elbows, on the skin of my outer ear and on my neck. What causes this and can TCM help? I have tried steroid cream which helps temporarily till the condition flares up again."

Eczema is usually caused by a deficiency in lung "qi" and blood, stagnation of damp heat in the skin, or wind. This translates into dryness and malnourishment of the skin due to heatiness in the blood. It also causes the liver to be overactive. Chinese medicine and acupuncture are able to treat eczema by dispelling heat, eliminating dampness, expelling wind, calming the liver, removing heat from the blood and nourishing it.

You should avoid overheating, sweating, stress, sudden temperature change or humidity, harsh soaps and detergents to prevent the condition from flaring up. Steroid cream is not recommended for long-term use as its commonly known side effects include skin-thinning and new flare-ups can develop when treatment is discontinued.

Baby Doesn't Want Milk

I have a six-month-old baby girl. She has a very poor appetite and does not like drinking her milk. Are there any supplementary foods she can take, and can "tui na" help her?

It is important to monitor her weight to determine if she is underweight. The average weight gain for a six-month-old baby is 600g per month. Babies who are about six months old tend to have relatively weak functions of the lung and spleen. This may result in ailments like cold, indigestion and abdominal pain. You can give her mashed vegetables, fruit and egg yolk as supplementary foods. "Tui na" can improve her lung and spleen function and increase her appetite because it removes blockages of the meridians and stimulates the flow of "qi" and blood circulation to promote healing.

I Can't Sleep

"Lately, I have trouble sleeping. I hear that wolfberry fruit ("gou qi zi") and chrysanthemum tea can treat insomnia. Is it true?"

Insomnia is mostly caused by emotional changes that generate heart "fire", liver "fire" and a deficiency in "qi" and blood. To treat insomnia, we need to dispel the heart and liver "fire", strengthen the digestive system and nourish the "qi" and blood. Both the wolfberry fruit and chrysanthemum flower are good for nourishing the liver and improving eyesight but they are not commonly used to treat insomnia. To treat insomnia due to deficiency in blood, you will need: l0g of longan aril ("long yan rou"), l0g of parched spine date seed ("suan zao ren"), and 12g of gordon euryale seed ("qianshi"). Boil the ingredients with 1 litre of water over a strong fire. When the water starts boiling, reduce to a slow fire and continue decocting the mixture for 20 minutes. Drink it as a tea.


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