Chinese Herbal Medicine Cabinet

Chinese Herbal Medicine Cabinet
by Justine Myers, Lic. Ac.

These Chinese herbal remedies are great to have on hand when you’re feeling ill.  Here’s what I always keep at home in my medicine cabinet and take as soon as I need them in order to feel better and recover quickly:

Yin Chiao: this is truly a miracle remedy for a sore throat at the start of a common cold.  With its powerful anti-viral properties it can help fight off a cold within 1-2 days when taken as directed so you don’t go on to suffer for 10+ days with a full-blown cold.
Indications: sore throat at the start of a cold.
Instructions: The key to success is to take 5 pills as soon as possible when your throat starts feeling sore, then repeat doses of 5 pills every 2-4 hours until your throat is no longer sore.  Your sore throat/cold should resolve within 1-2 days if you take it as directed.  (Note: if you don’t take it right away, it’s still worth taking it within 24 hours of the onset of a sore throat – but the likelihood of it preventing a cold progressing altogether is better the sooner you take it.  If your cold doesn’t resolve after 2 days of taking Yin Chiao, discontinue taking it.).
Helpful Tip: I keep a bottle at home and I also keep one in my purse, which I take with me to work, when traveling, etc.  You might want to keep one at home, and an extra bottle in your backpack, car, office or other location where you spend lots of time – so it’s with you when you need it.
Potential Side-effect: loose stools or diarrhea may occur 1-2 days after taking Yin Chiao, especially in people who are easily prone to these conditions.  If you have some Curing Pills on hand, taking 1 dose of 2 Curing Pills 1-2 times a day for 1-2 days can help mitigate the digestive side-effects and keep your digestion running smoothly.

Upper Chamber Pills (Cang Er Zi Wan): for colds and allergies with sinus symptoms and headaches, sinus infections
Indications: sinus congestion with thick nasal discharge, post nasal drip with thick phlegm, frontal/sinus headache and/or sinus pain/pressure associated with common cold, sinusitis or allergic rhinitis.  It can also help dizziness associated with sinus congestion.  Unlike Xin Yi Wan, these don’t help with loss of sense of smell.
Instructions: 12 pills, 2x/day (that’s a total of 24 per day) until symptoms resolve (may be several days to a week).  Or you can take 8 pills, 3x/day as directed on the label (I prefer twice a day for simplicity – it will work well either way).
Helpful tip: When I’m all stuffed up I will take these and use some saline nasal spray and/or neti pot and find it very helpful.  I never take other drugstore over the counter medications as I prefer this treatment much more and there are no side-effects.

Clear Wind-Heat Teapills (Sang Ju Yin Wan): these pills are helpful for an irritated/scratchy throat with a dry cough (different than the sore throat without cough, in which case Yin Chiao is more appropriate).
Indications: a dry cough and irritated throat typically occurring at the onset of a common cold or flu
Instructions: 12 pills, 2x/day (that’s a total of 24 per day) until symptoms resolve (typically 1-3 days), or you can take 8 pills, 3x/day as directed on the label (I prefer twice a day for simplicity – it will work well either way).
Helpful tip: These pills work best when taken as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms, and may help prevent the progression of the illness so you feel healthy again after 1-2 days.

Clean Air Teapills (Qing Qi Hua Tan Wan): these pills for coughing with phlegm/mucous help reduce the severity of coughing and lessen phlegm/mucous production.
Indications: coughing with thick phlegm that typically happens with a chest cold/upper respiratory infection
Instructions: 12 pills, 2x/day (that’s a total of 24 per day) until symptoms resolve (this could be a few days up to a week), or you can take 8 pills, 3x/day as directed on the label (I prefer twice a day for simplicity – it will work well either way).

Curing Pills: a classic Chinese formula for curing a variety of acute digestive conditions.
Indications: stomach virus, food poisoning, upset stomach, nausea, gas, bloating, diarrhea, loose stools.  Also useful as remedy for hangovers and overindulgence of heavy foods.
Instructions: 3 capsules, 1-3 times per day for 1-2 days depending on the severity of your symptoms and how quickly they resolve.
Potential Side-effect: constipation may occur 1-2 days after taking Curing Pills, especially in people who are easily prone to it.

Suan Zao Ren: for insomnia with anxiety
Indications: difficulty falling asleep and/or difficulty staying asleep with anxiety, also useful for night sweats.
Instructions: follow instructions on the label.  Can be used occasionally for acute bouts of insomnia, or nightly ongoing for chronic insomnia.

Dr. Guo’s 37 Healing Salve: a topical salve for musculoskeletal pain, stiffness and muscle tension.  Contains a blend of Chinese herbs and Western herbs, as well as arnica, camphor, menthol, Vitamin E and essential oils which help reduce inflammation, improve circulation and relieve pain.
Indications: for musculoskeletal pain, stiffness and muscle tension.
Instructions: apply 3-4 times per day to affected area.

 

 

Other remedies you may find helpful to have on hand:

Eight Righteous Teapills (Ba Zheng Wan): treat and prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Indications: If you tend toward frequent UTIs, keep them on hand in your medicine cabinet and during travel and take them when you feel like your risk for getting a UTI is high, or when you start to experience symptoms of burning/painful urination.
Instructions: 12 pills, 2x/day (that’s a total of 24 per day) until symptoms resolve, or you can take 8 pills, 3x/day as directed on the label (I prefer twice a day for simplicity – it will work well either way).

 

Bi Yan Wan: for allergies/hayfever with itchy/watery eyes and/or sneezing, and allergic rhinitis and sinusitis with nasal discharge.
Indications: unlike Upper Chamber Pills and Xin Yi Wan, these pills address the itchy/watery eyes and sneezing aspect of allergies, along with runny/stuffy nose.
Instructions: 6 pills, twice a day (that’s a total of 12 per day), or if you prefer you can follow the instructions on the label and take 4 pills, 3 times per day.  Take them as long as you’re experiencing allergies.

Magnolia Flower Pills (Xin Yi Wan): for colds and allergies with sinus symptoms and headaches
Indications: common cold, sinusitis or allergic rhinitis with congestion, runny nose, post nasal drip, frontal/sinus headache and loss of smell.  Does not address thick nasal discharge or dizziness associated with sinus congestion (Upper Chamber Pills are better for those symptoms).
Instructions: 12 pills, 2x/day (that’s a total of 24 per day) until symptoms resolve (may be several days to a week).  Or you can take 8 pills, 3x/day as directed on the label (I prefer twice a day for simplicity – it will work well either way).

Free and Easy Wanderer (Xiao Yao Wan) and Free and Easy Wanderer Plus (Jia Wei Xiao Yao Wan): these formulas are helpful for general physical and emotional balance with a variety of symptoms, and is also good for Women’s Health.  The plus type is better for people who tend to feel hot, and for stronger irritability.  Ask us which type is right for you.
Indications: reduces stress and irritability, improves poor appetite, reduces tension headaches, regulates digestion, and is useful for PMS and irregular menstruation.
Instructions: 12 pills, 2x/day (that’s a total of 24 per day) until symptoms resolve, or you can take 8 pills, 3x/day as directed on the label (I prefer twice a day for simplicity – it will work well either way).  This formula can be taken for 1-3 days for acute symptoms, or for chronic conditions it may be taken for several weeks or months.

Zhi Bai Di Huang Wan: helpful for menopausal and perimenopausal hot flashes and night sweats
Indications: perimenopausal/menopausal symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety and insomnia.
Instructions: 6 pills, 2x/day (that’s a total of 12 per day).  This formula can be used long-term until symptoms resolve.

 

 

 

Tao Hong Si Wu Wan: for menstrual irregularities and and menstrual cramps.
Indications: irregular periods, late periods, scanty menstrual flow, menstrual cramps.
Instructions: 12 pills, 2x/day (that’s a total of 24 per day) until symptoms resolve, or you can take 8 pills, 3x/day as directed on the label (I prefer twice a day for simplicity – it will work well either way).  I recommend taking it daily through at least 3 cycles for irregular, late and/or scanty periods.  If cycles are regular with mild to moderate pain, take it 1 week prior to period and first 2 days of period.

Stasis in the Lower Palace (Shao Fu Zhu Yu Wan): for painful periods with PMS and premenstrual depression, endometriosis, fibroids and other menstrual irregularities.
Indications: moderate to severe menstrual pain, heavy periods, irregular periods.  Often helpful for the above manifestations which commonly occur with endometriosis and fibroids.
Instructions: 12 pills, 2x/day (that’s a total of 24 per day), or you can take 8 pills, 3x/day as directed on the label (I prefer twice a day for simplicity – it will work well either way). This formula can be taken long term.  It’s recommended to try it for at least 3 months, and may be continued as long as it’s needed.

Margarite Beauty Pills: for acne
Indications: primarily for acne, but may also be helpful for certain manifestations of eczema, rosacea, skin rash or hives, particularly when there is redness and pimples.
Instructions: 6 pills twice a day (that’s a total of 12 per day) until skin is clearer.  May be used short term for acute bouts of acne/hives/eczema, or longer term for chronic skin conditions, but only if it is tolerated well.  Ask Justine whether this formula is right for you.
Potential side-effect: loose stool or diarrhea.

 

Please ask us for help selecting the best herbs for your particular health conditions.  You’re welcome to come by anytime our office is open to ask for assistance and purchase herbs.
All doses listed above are for adults; please ask Justine for the recommended doses for children.