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Chinese herbs for cystic acne and acne scars

Chinese Medical approaches are excellent at alleviating skin symptoms and ailments such as Acne, Cystic acne, Eczema, and Psoriasis.


As an Oriental Medical Physician, I commonly hear my patients saying the following, “I have tried everything, every wash, every prescription, every natural remedy – and still my skin will not clear up.” And it is frustrating for them, understandably so. But it is because their condition has been viewed from a certain perspective (external perspective) – and so no matter what you use, because you are still viewing with the same external lens, the approach to the problem remains the same, even if the wash or drug is different.

Let’s change the approach. Let’s look at this the Chinese way, inside–>out.

If you read the previous blog on “How to remove wrinkles from the face naturally”, you will know already that there are 3 core reasons our skin develops a problem and 2 main organ sources that inspire this problem when their energies are blocked:

LUNG: Responsible for the upward and outward movement of Qi, our skin is said to be the 3rd Lung. Whenever there is a skin issue, the Lungs are always treated. Acne manifests on face.

STOMACH: Responsible for the efficient burning and churning of food. When we overwhelm the Stomach with heavy, cloying foods – as a bi-product of IN-efficiency it produces a “dampness” that lingers in our systems. Acne manifests on face and chest.

  1. Poor circulation (the skin needs blood/fluid nourishment)
  2. Energy/Channel stagnation (the skin needs Vitality/Source/God/Qi nourishment)
  3. A membranous fluid imbalance causing an extreme temperature shift (usually due to nutritional reactions, physical and emotional stress, or both – this is poetically known in Chinese Medicine as the “Heat Evil / Internal Dampness syndrome”)

 

The biggest reasons behind #’s 1,2 & 3 are emotional, psychological and physical stresses that create a downward vicious cycle that looks something like this: Stress occurs, our minds interpret that stress, our brains respond to what the mind has interpreted by way of releasing constituents for the body to physiologically respond/react to that stress. So what we see are food cravings or loss of appetite, we see deregulation of hormones, we see a reach for chemical assistance (pharm/rec drugs, foods, alcohol, tobacco), we see muscular tension and physical injury, we see over/under exercising, we essentially see the body go into a spiral of trying to keep itself in balance while it believes it is under duress. Certainly, our skin is not the only thing that suffers – long term (without healthy tools to handle stress) our systems suffer and inevitably manifest serious diseases.


Under stress we no longer breath properly, our rhythms are off, the breathing is shallow; Under stress we do not digest our foods properly; Under stress we do not think properly (perpetuating testing or interview anxieties); Under stress our hormones are irregular due to cortisol circulating within our systems….the cycle goes on and on. So where do we break this cycle?

Anywhere.


No matter where we start, we break this cycle. If you can start paying attention to your breathing, great; if you can start regulating exercise, great; if you can supplement your stress with proper nutrition, great. If you can alleviate your body tension through massage therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, exercise, gardening, talking to friends, stretching, whatever works for you, great.

In the meantime, your skin suffers.


While you work to stabilize your internal reaction to environmental stressors, you can commit to alleviating skin eruptions on your face, neck, back and chest by treating your external environment (your skin).

The Alchemist Collection has developed, The Acne Serum, an all-natural, chemical free daily treatment rich in omegas 3,6,9 and vitamins A, B, C, E that has been formulated with powerful herbs that regenerate damaged skin cells that have caused acne scarring, contains anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and antioxidant properties and seamlessly regulates circulation to encourage proper skin nourishment. The Acne serum works to prevent deep, painful, cystic acne from occurring anywhere on the body, rescues skin from acne scars and assists in quickly alleviating current pimple and cystic acne outbreaks. Daily use will retrain the reactive skin areas to remain calm under duress while you make adjustments in your life as you see fit.

How to remove wrinkles from the face naturally

How to remove wrinkles from the face naturally

According to Chinese Medicine, wrinkles can be viewed as stages of depletion reflecting onto the skin.

In Chinese Medicine, the skin is an outer reflection of our inner health. Our skin is said to be supported and nourished by two major organs, our Spleen (also Pancreas) and our Lungs. The Spleen responsible for the building of Qi (Vital Life Force) and Blood through the incorporation of food nutrient and the Lungs for its ability to disseminate that blood into the layers of the skin (up and out).

Understanding how the skin is nourished allows us to know how best to support the body’s natural way of keeping our skin healthy looking.

No matter if the wrinkles exist due to dehydration, muscle tension, nutritional factors causing sluggish metabolic rate or excess waste production, the 3 main goals to prevent the aging process or reduce aging skin is to:

  1. Replenish blood and catalyze it into circulation
  2. Target the face
  3. Nourish the Yin (heavy, cooling, nutrient dense elements) of the body

All Acupuncturists or Oriental Medical Physicians will resoundingly tell you that beauty must always begin from the inside in order to be reflected onto the face (skin). So what you put into your body by way of thought, food, drink, and breath will affect your skin – and it starts with your ability to produce “Qi”. And not just “qi”, but we call it “Big Qi”, or more specific “Big Qi of the Chest” which gives us our vital energy that is processed by our Lungs and manufactured by our body’s metabolic potential.

THE INTERNAL WORK

Excellent fats, antioxidants, and enzymes from fruits, proteins from meats or nuts or legumes – all of these food items can contribute to an excellent “Qi build”. Sticking to nutrient dense foods, rather than empty caloric foods, which build nutrient levels in the blood stream for the body to use. Food also contains high percentages of simple water, which assists in further hydration of the cells.

Water, which will literally cleanse every cell membrane within your entire system if you can commit to hydrating on a daily basis, is necessary for flushing acids and toxins and other by-products out of the system – allowing the cells to be clear and receptive. Better hydration also regulates oil secretion glands, which enables a proper skin ph balance.

Skin requires a constant supply of water and oxygen to maintain it. Diaphragmatic Breathing not only increases oxygenation to the system, but with every inhale it pulls the very powerful diaphragm muscle up off of your Liver (allowing the Liver to fill with new blood for detox) and with exhalation it presses the diaphragm muscle back down squeezing freshly detoxed blood out of the Liver to enter into circulation. Utilizing the diaphragm muscle also decreases the muscle strain in the neck (Scalene muscles) which typically take on the burden of shallow breathing and can cause extreme neck tension which then reduces circulation to the face – causing a sallow complexion, finer wrinkle lines due to dehydration and lack in blood flow (enter oxygen, removal of waste).

THE EXTERNAL WORK

INTERVENTIONS: I am always going to say, “go do acupuncture” – for almost every health goal a person wants to achieve. This one is no exception. Acupuncture facilitations communication within the body. In other words, our bodies function at highest potential when the lines of communication are open – they are closed because we close them in our chronic stress-reactive states of being – Acupuncture opens those lines of communication back up. When the volume of communication is turned back up, many things begin to happen, the brain begins to send the messages to the organs to release the constituents (such as an enzyme) that are responsible for catalyzing production of other vital constituents such as hormones, other enzymes, regulators etc. – the things that are required for proper function.

HABITS: Stick to the all-natural items you can find on the shelf or internet. Do your research on the brands that are making these products, who does their manufacturing, what ingredients are being used, how are they sourced? The Alchemist Collection makes an all-natural topical line and soon to be dietary supplement line. Our ingredients are responsibly sourced, fairly traded, cruelty-free, scientifically vetted to ensure proper identification and safety, our formulas have been designed to work, as they have been for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. We make an excellent facial product known as the “Facial Rejuvenation” – it comes in a serum base (for younger skins, or more sensitive skins), and a cream base (for more mature skins, or skins exposed to harsher/dryer environments).

Our Facial Rejuvenation formula is designed to replenish blood flow to the face and encourage proper circulation for balancing color, balancing tone, nourishing cells, and developing moisture; all of the oils which are rich in antioxidants, Omegas 3,6,9, and Vitamins A, B,C and E have been carefully combined to ensure proper PH balancing, collagen production, cellular regeneration and tissue repair; there are also over 15 infused powerful herbs famous for their astringing, moisturizing, anti-aging properties; the added essential oil formula was designed to lift the emotional state, lift the moon, lift the spirit, awaken the mind to a relaxing and peaceful place. It is an incredibly well-thought out product sure to be a favorite on anyone’s shelf.

 

Natural remedy for Bee, Wasp, Yellow jacket, Stingray stings and bites

Natural remedy for Bee, Wasp, Yellow jacket, Stingray stings and bites

Denaturing a protein based sting with heat stops pain instantly.

We have all had the unfortunate experience while walking in the woods, playing at the pool, doing yard work, playing in our forts or taking out the trash to have been stung by 1 or all of these critters. Certainly, I have, and so has my son and my little nieces and nephews. Chinese Medicine has an excellent approach safe for all ages for these types of situations; The Art of Denaturing the Sting.

Not all insects have a heavy protective proteins inside of their venom, but the majority of our domestic critters do: The Bee, Wasp, Centipede, Scorpion, Mosquito, Horsefly and Sting Ray most certainly do. So when you come into contact with one of these guys, reach for the heat!

THE PROCESS:

Stop the Pain: Most (if not all) Chinese Medical physicians have a moxibustion stick on them for varying issues to address with their patients. Moxibustion sticks are great because the heat and the ash are very controlled in the stick, so it is very safe to use. Furthermore, the herb Mugwort is packed into the stick and is excellent at penetrating deeply into the bone level of the body without burning the skin. You can use this heat process for Mosquito bites, stingray stings, wasp stings, centipede stings, scorpion sting, bee stings and yellow jacket stings.

  • LIGHT STICK: When using a moxibustion stick  you will simply take a lighter and light the end until you see a strong red heat emerge at the tip (a fire will not occur). Blow on the end to make a strong heat.
  • PLACEMENT: Place the end of the stick as close as you can to the area of skin that has been stung (without touching the skin) and hold there until you, your child or the other person feels that hot searing knife-like sting that comes with feeling too much heat, and then quickly remove. The person (or you) that you are doing this too will say “OUCH!”. You will not burn or sear the skin when doing this, so do not be afraid to do it, and as soon as that initial heat bite is felt, the entire sting pain will be gone immediately because you have broken apart the proteins that protected the venom. 
  • SAFETY: This procedure is safe to do on adults, children, and animals. You will not catch anything on fire and you will not cause a serious burn by doing it. You will bring instant pain relief to yourself or child. When finished with the moxa stick, cover the end with aluminum foil to snuff out the smolder (do not use water).
  • SUBSTITUTIONS: In a pinch, I have used a cigarette, I have used a lighter, I have used a very hot shower or bath water, I have used boiling hot towels. I recommend you use these items with caution if you are forced to use anything other than a moxa stick. (feel free to travel with it!)

Stop the histamine reaction: If you or your child are sensitive to this type of bite, grab your anti-histamine and take it just to be safe.

Use external creams: Many of my patients have begun to use The Alchemist Collection’s “Chest Rub” to put on their wasp and Scorpion stings (which are VERY stubborn and last for a few days). You may ask, why the Chest Rub? Surprisingly, in a pinch – a patient of mine only had the Chest Rub salve on her when she was stung by a wasp, so she used the Chest Rub on it and it worked. Wasp sting pain gone, red rash that was growing receded and disappeared. So that’s another option as well!

 

How to heal anal fissures at home naturally

How to heal anal fissures at home naturally

Next to Kidney stones and childbirth, anal fissures are one of the most dreadful pains a person must face daily.

A rip or tear of the anal canal can be as deep as the sphincter or also very superficial and are generally caused by the stretching of the anal mucosa; this usually occurs due to constipation, straining during defecation, passing hard/large stool, dehydration or blood deficiency (usually in the elderly), prolonged diarrhea, childbirth, dietary choices or inflammatory bowel disorders.

Because of the varying etiologies (reasons) a person would have developed anal fissures in the first place, the targeted treatment requires customization. But we can break it down into some general principles that can be applied to specific cases.

  1. Alleviate pain
  2. Change lifestyle habit to unravel core issue
  3. Heal the tissue from the inside out
  4. Repeat daily until permanent change has occurred.

Now, let’s get started and get you out of this situation:

ALLEVIATE PAIN (Symptom relief)

Sitz Bath: It is imperative when dealing with the bowel contents that the area remains as clean as possible. So, plan this into your day – after every bowel movement submerge your lower half into warm water. This is called a sitz bath or hip bath. You can buy an easy to use and manage sitz bath kit that fits over the toilet bowl to achieve this easily. A small bag comes with this kit; you should put warm water, 1 tablespoon of Epsom salts and 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil.

CBD oil from Hemp: If you have Crohn’s the best way to reduce your symptoms is high concentrations of CBD oil from the cannabis plant; Hemp, which is legal in all 50 states is easily found – we compound it here at The Alchemist Collection and 500mg concentration of CBD oil from Hemp is recommended. DOSE: 10 drops under the tongue (let absorb for 90 seconds then swallow) x 3/daily. CBD targets inflammatory markers that go off in the body and turns them off – in the cases of Crohn’s, the inflammation markers fire off in the gut, CBD works with the Endocannabinoid system to turn off the inflammatory markers by reducing gut motility.

CHANGE LIFESTYLE HABIT TO UNRAVEL THE CORE ISSUE (work for the cure)

Drink more water: I can safely say this to everyone. You think you are drinking enough water, I promise you are not. We are all existing in a perpetually dehydrated state because we do not drink enough plain old water throughout our day. If you have to buy a Camelbak to achieve this, do it (they make Camelbak for children as well).

Increase intake of fiber: If your issue is constipation as the main cause of your anal fissures, you must look at your nutritional intake. Increasing fiber (25g-35g daily) will be the best thing for you. You can do this through increasing fruits, vegitables, and whole grains. You can also supplement with herbal fibers that will soften the stool and inspire stool passage like Heather’s Tummy Fiber (all natural, organic fiber + gut motility and stool softener).

There are no incurable diseases. Only incurable people.

HEAL TISSUE FROM THE INSIDE OUT (internal/external repairing)

You must begin your healing from the inside out. Your body has a remarkable way to take what you give it and use it to heal itself at rapid cellular growth rates. Once you have alleviated your symptoms (taking you out of the “fight/flight” nervous system that is triggered by pain and dread and you have changed some habits, your can look at repairing the problem. If you skip the initial processes and go straight to the repair process, it will be like trying to fill a water glass that has a hole in the bottom of it, or putting a band-aid on a serious puncture wound. You will spend a lot of money on “healing agents” that under the right circumstances will work very well, but under the skip the steps circumstance will not work for you and you will find yourself saying “I have tried everything there is nothing that works”.

George’s Aloe Juice: A highly refined aloe vera juice (tastes like water), famous for its abilities to coat your membranes protecting them from further damage. This shield of protection from harsh internal environments (acid, bile, free radicals, etc) will allow the body to repair itself. Whether you are constipated or dealing with Bowel Diseases (such as IBS, Crohn’s, Diverticulosis or bacterial infections causing diarrhea) you will want to be using the aloe. HOW TO TAKE: 2oz (shot glass) amount between meals on an empty stomach. Do not take aloe juice with important medicines and supplements, aloe coats the membranes and will not allow reabsorption to occur.

Repopulate the gut: If you are dealing with chronic diarrhea, or autoimmune disorders repopulating the gut in order to reduce inflammation and create higher gut integrity to support your immune function is imperative.

  • Organic Mushroom Blends: Oriental Medicine is a huge fan of the fungi, we use it herbally to our advantage more times than not. There is an old story I remember being told by one of my teachers and it goes something like this: “There are many ways to deal with a thief in your house. You can shoot it dead and it will rot in your house, or you can bang a bunch of pots and pans and make the thief scared enough and uncomfortable enough to run out of your house and never come back, either way – you choose.” Fungi acts to make a well-balanced environment custom to your particular flora situation. A well-balanced flora environment is not comfortable to a thief (or overgrown bad fungi), the bad fungi cannot flourish and will either eliminate itself or be eliminated.
  • Activated Charcoal: If you have unspecified diarrhea or Cock’s Crow diarrhea you may want to consider activated charcoal to assist. It will quickly restore and bind gut motility to halt the dangers of diarrhea. Not only does it halt diarrhea, but it neutralizes poison and toxicity, binds to it and removes it from your body (if you are poisoned, overdose or food poisoned – grab the activated charcoal). Activated Charcoal is now commonly being used after chemotherapies and after taking the harsh chemicals needed for imaging contrasts. If you feel you have eaten something, taken something or a totally mysterious reason you have diarrhea that will not stop and now anal fissures are occurring. Activated Charcoal is going to be a good, safe and very effective friend. (feel free to take it on your travels).
  • Probiotic Blends: It is certainly no secret that probiotic use has not only been proven to help repair gut damage, but they secondarily help brain function. Simply put, probiotics are “good bacteria” that help us to reproduce major brain neurotransmitters that are stored in our guts (serotonin-to stabilize our moods- 95% stored in our gut and there are over 100 million more to be named).
  • External Ointments: Typically, this is where people will start, but it should be the thing you reach for once all the other processes have been put into motion. The Alchemist Collection makes an awesome tissue repairing ointment known famously as the Wound Repair Ointment. The ointment is made of the purest and most potent healing oils available to us, it also contains the wonderful healing agent Zinc Oxide and therapeutic grade essential oils known for their anti-microbial and tissue regenerating effects. You can insert a dollop of this ointment into your rectum at nighttime before you go to bed so you are already laying flat for the next 6-8 hours. This ointment also helps with rectal tearing and vaginal tearing.

 

What treats nail fungus?

What treats nail fungus?

Does this sound familiar?

A patient, who has tried everything natural on the shelf (to no avail), walks into the foot doctor’s office with a toenail (or finger nail) fungus. Foot doctor suggests pulling out the nail. Patient declines. Lamisil is prescribed for the fungus. Patient is intrigued. Doctor explains side effects of Lamisil. Patient quickly searches about Lamisil on the internet. Patient sees LIVER DAMAGE as a side effect. Patient remembers Acupuncture friend talking about nail fungus being a manifestation of Liver disharmony and thinks “better not”.

Time and time again, as an herbalist and Oriental Medical Physician I am asked about significant nail fungus on toes and fingers and what natural things can be done about it. And the best thing about this question is that there is plenty that can be done about it and permanently.

Fungus is fungus, if it is manifesting on the outside of us (like our nails), it has undoubtedly come from an ecological imbalance within us. Just as a garden that has been over watered or undernourished, our internal environments must have ecological balance. Equal parts, water, bacteria, fungus, heat and cooling agents. So when someone sees a flower wilting in their garden and they try to spray a magic non-wilt extract on the flower, it doesn’t make much sense when you think about it ecologically. As a gardener, you have to think of all the possibilites; “Is the flower not getting enough water?”, “too much sun exposure”?, “too much water exposure”, “unhealthy ph in the dirt?” – many things must be considered.  The same goes for our bodies.

That is why you have tried every product on the shelf and it has not worked for you.

Yes, as an OM Physician I can blame this one on your Liver. After all it is this powerhouse of an organ that is responsible for detoxing the junk from our blood streams and dealing with excessive carbs and fats (glucose – aka – sugar). Should I point my finger at the gut, which is most likely overpopulated by fungus we don’t want. Or should we just go straight to the lifestyle habits that have thrown the body into an imbalanced state while trying to keep up with our eating on the run-high carb-high sugar-high alcohol-high stress-no sleeping way of life?

The answer is Yes.

If you have a straight up fungal infection you got from toe rot while hiking the rain forest one summer or too many pedicures in not so sanitary places, no problem, My broad range anti-fungal extract will work great on the external fungal infection. It will take out your nail fungus in about a month with commited applications. However, if you have tried every product on the market (and even a few on the black market) and you have never seen a result, you have to take out your gardener lenses and look at your life, don’t wait until New Year’s to do it, or for your loved ones to say the words “When are you going to take care of that?”

So let’s walk through this process together.

Be honest checklist. . .

  • Do you eat too many simple sugars? In case you are pretending to not know what those are let me help: cake, cookies, donuts, chocolate bars, sodas, fast food.
  • Do you drink alcohol?
  • Do you eat fast food?
  • Do you eat foods high in fats like fried foods? (yes, this includes french fries and bacon).
  • Do you eat heavy carbs? (Pasta, bread)
  • Are you going through menopause?

For systemic fungus to be cleared from the body, there is no magic pill, or “in 3 easy steps” (unless those steps include changing diet, changing lifestyle, adding supplements) you are going to want to eliminate what is listed above for a certain period of time. You pick it, it is your nail fungus, the longer you can refrain from sugar, heavy carbs, (possibly dairy) and alcohol, the better this will work. 3 months is an excellent college try. 2 weeks is a good time frame because you made a great effort to change “got to” habits and it will help you continue the program. 1-3 days….. you don’t really want to get rid of that nail fungus.

Nutrition/Lifestyle

This is #1. In Chinese Medicine we say “True healing is in the life”, and that is to say, look into the life to find the cure. Make some eliminations (use guide listed above).

Supplementation

Get yourself on an excellent probiotic, let’s start populating your gut with good stuff. In Chinese Medicine we seek to strengthen and balance the body, we do not go after the germ. You can either choose to take an excellent probiotic, or you can choose to use an organic mushroom blend (mushrooms are amazing at repairing the gut and repopulating it with what your particular gut needs, in true customize fashion). You can also take a daily tablespoon of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar if you like that sort of thing. And last, but not least, let’s add some Milk Thistle to help out the Liver function and reduce sugar cravings.

External Washes

Here is now when you can tackle the fungus from the outside while working on the inside. Take your pick. I make an aged, broad spectrum anti-fungal with powerful Chinese Herbs, I love mine, it works great. There are others out there too.

 

 

 

 

Recover Naturally from Acute Injuries with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Recover Naturally from Acute Injuries with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Understanding Stage 1 trauma can reduce the progression of an acute injury into chronic pain.

Recovering from a muscle injury and athletic injury causing acute pain requires diligence during the Stage 1 (acute) phase which begins from the moment of the injury and usually lasts from one day to a week.

This stage is characterized by Inflammation. Inflammation has four elements:

  1. Swelling
  2. Redness
  3. Pain
  4. Heat.

In the traditions of Chinese Medicine (TCM), swelling is understood to be the slowing down of the body’s qi (vital life force energy), blood and other body fluids. Because the force of an injury will often rupture capillaries and other blood vessels causing a “black and blue” swelling, injuries are also a shock to the body and mind, further disrupting the flow of qi and blood.

It is, therefore, imperative to address a Stage 1 injury (acute stage) with Pain & swelling alleviation as well as increasing the circulation of blood and Qi flow by encouraging the mind/body connection for the release of necessary immune cells.

The Aged Trauma Extract and Trauma Salve  were developed out of the need to have this well-rounded Stage 1 trauma treatment at your disposal. Like ice, it reduces swelling quickly and alleviates pain; and like spice or heat, it encourages blood and qi flow while relaxing the muscles to calm the mind for immune regulation.

APPLICATION METHODS

MASSAGE

The best method of application is a “massage” technique of some kind. That is to say a gentle, circular, rubbing motion into the area of trauma so the salve can penetrate into the deeper layers of the body through the skin stimulation of circular motion. Not only is this more favorable, but you need less of the salve in treatment, by utilizing massage technique for a deeper treatment requirements (bone bruising, contusions, etc).

PACK THE AREA

Another application is to pack a traumatized area with a large scoop of the salve. For example, softball and baseball players will typically present with hip bruising all the way into the bone (from sliding on the ground, or getting hit with the ball). This type of injury requires constant application of the Trauma Salve so at night when sleeping, you can take a generous scoop of the salve, place it over the bruise and cover with a gauze pad or even paper towel. Allow the salve to absorb into the area of trauma throughout the evening of sleep. Not only will the salve work on the injury, but it will greatly reduce pain to assist in sleep.

 

INDICATIONS

Thousands of years ago, bruising formulas were developed for “fighters” and the “battlefield”. Acute injury to the tissue and bone. Our Trauma line (Trauma Salve, The Aged Trauma Extract ) , is no different, as it is based on the TCM concepts of Stage 1 trauma requirements. However, many of my patients have experimented with the salve and have used it for a number of different things, below is a list of successful clinical applications.

  • Bruising of any kind
  • Thin skinned bruising, apply all over body in the morning to reduce bruising throughout the day
  • Painful and swollen varicose veins
  • Swelling due to traumatic hits and falls (bumps, sprained ankles)
  • Facial skin dryness (especially in menopausal women)
  • Foot dryness due to side effects from cardiovascular medication
  • Bruising prevention from botox injections
  • Pain, swelling or bruising due to dropping objects on toes or slamming finger in doors and drawers.