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Greenleaf Clinic Depression Treatment


David was suffering from severe depression and even attempted suicide in the past. It is quite easy to notice when depressed patients come into our clinic as they usually have very few facial expressions, which was the case with David. With an emotionless face and drooping shoulders, David sat next to me and explained to me his condition. He stated he experienced trauma during his childhood, ongoing lethargy, loss of motivation for life, fatigue, loss of appetite, and so on. Based on these symptoms, we immediately clinically diagnosed David with a case of depression.


"Would treatment be possible? They say depression can be cured with acupuncture… “


Drug treatment aims to control the neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. Psychotherapy guides the patient to understand themselves better so that they can solve the problem on their own. Then how does Eastern medicine treat depression? Is there a separate blood cell that stimulates the brain to regulate the neurotransmitters? Or is there a herb that can cure depression and make you feel better? It is hard to say that there are no such acupuncture and herbs, but Eastern medicine does not approach human diseases in this way.


Let us give an example of David. First, we identified David's physiological symptoms aside from his psychological symptoms. Physiological symptoms that Eastern medicine doctors should generally recognize are fever, sweat, thirst, digestion, appetite, feces, urine, thoracic cavity, sleep, menstruation, and fatigue or stress. For David, his body easily became cold, preferred warm water, lacked appetite and had poor digestion. His feces were very watery and had to frequently urinate, which affected his quality of sleep. He was always tired and his body felt heavy. After listing these physiological symptoms, we could see the condition of his body. The symptoms were largely divided into those caused by poor blood supply to the heart and poor fluid metabolism.


We believed that using the drug Prepared Aconite would help increase the basal metabolic rate to increase heart output, and that the herbal medicine called Poria would help with a more natural urine cycle. We gave David acupuncture twice a week and had him always place hot packs on his lower stomach at home. David expressed his body was slowly becoming warmer and was much less sensitive to cold about two weeks after continuous treatment. His feces became a little harder and more shaped, and the number of times he urinated decreased. After a month, most of David’s physiological symptoms were normalized. So then, what happened to his depression, which was the main symptom? Of course, he was able to regain his motivation, vitality and expression in life. His body and mind were cured together.


Depression is not only evident in people like David who suffer from cold body temperature. Some patients with depression complain of chest tightness and fever, and others come after excessive blood loss, such as postpartum depression. However, depression, which gets worse in the cold and dreary winter of Vancouver, is the most common like in David’s case. We can hypothesize that the heart's blood supply becomes weaker due to the cold weather, and that the control of the neurotransmitter, which affects our emotions, causes the depression to worsen.


Depression is often referred to as the 'cold of the heart' meaning it can pass by as lightly as it is, and it can be felt as common as it is. However, colds that are not treated in time can quickly be converted to various diseases, including pneumonia. It can be combined with a disease that you already have and cause serious complications. Depression is a condition in which 80 to 90 percent of patients can be completely cured through both medication and psychotherapy. We personally find depression much easier to treat than any other neurological disorder, such as panic disorder and insomnia. When dealing with depression, it is important to not miss the timing of the treatment and listen to the expert’s advice with quick judgment.

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Insomnia: What’s the Reason Behind It?

Greenleaf Clinic Insomnia Treatment



A lean caucasian woman in her 40s visited our clinic due to difficulties sleeping at night. Insomnia does not occur suddenly without showing any other problems in the body. As soon as we asked the patient if she had any other symptoms, she began to list them all out hastily. The first problem was difficulty digesting food. She often experienced indigestion, acid reflux and frequent burps. She was also very stressed which made it hard for her to control her anger and emotions. She would even often get red in the face and eyes. Although she would have high temperatures in her face and upper body, the majority of times, she would be cold. Her skin would easily get red and have bumps even from slight scratches, and she would not be able to wear earrings or necklaces that are not made of gold. Her heart felt like it was pounding and felt very stuffy. When we asked whether it was hard for her to fall asleep or to whether it was hard because she would constantly wake up during her sleep, she answered with the former condition.


Insomnia is divided into three types. The first is difficulty falling asleep. This is the condition where thoughts are clouded in the head and your body is exhausted but you cannot fall asleep. One hour, two, three hours will pass, but no matter how much effort is put into falling asleep, it is impossible. The second stage is frequently waking during sleep. This is when you wake up every few hours and have many dreams. Even if you sleep, it feels like you have not really had a good night’s sleep, and fatigue only builds up. The last of the three stages is waking up early in the morning and not being able to fall back asleep. In this stage, people often wake up around 3 AM or 4 AM and stay awake until they have to get ready for work in the morning. In general, when insomnia worsens, it is harder to fall asleep and easier to frequently wake up during the night. On the other hand, not having any trouble falling asleep and sleeping decently for a few hours, but waking up too early can exist independently.


The patient that came to see us experienced the case of having trouble falling asleep. So what was keeping the patient from falling asleep? To start, we saw the main issue as the brain’s excited state not being able to subside. The patient was a very sensitive and emotional person and rather than hiding her anger and suppressing her emotions, she was the type to express herself quite vocally. Trauma caused by certain events often causes the brain to stay stimulated, but in patients who are hot-tempered and sensitive, this condition can persist even without any specific trauma.


Next, we looked at body temperature control disorder. For normal sleep to occur, the body temperature should drop a little when asleep. The change in body temperature secretes melatonin and promotes sleep, so taking melatonin for mild insomnia is also effective. Because of this, Canadians usually take melatonin for insomnia. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends taking a warm bath for about thirty minutes two hours before bedtime. It is crucial that it is not a warm shower, but rather a warm bath two hours before you go to sleep. This is to raise the body temperature which will help to promote better sleep. However, it is hard to fall asleep if the body temperature does not drop due to stress. In this patient’s case, she was experiencing a temperature control disorder due to stress, which ultimately led to insomnia. To put it simply, she could not sleep because she was so angry.


In Eastern medicine, Rhizoma Coptidis is a representative drug for treating patients like this case. It is a representative drug of bitter medicine, but the use is indescribable, so in China people say, "Life is bitter like Huang Lian (Rhizoma Coptidis)." Rhizoma Coptidis has an excellent effect of suppressing brain stimuli, sympathetic nerves caused by excessive stress. After taking this herbal medicine, the patient was able to fall asleep without any problems. Indigestion, acid reflux and extreme mood swings were also treated with this medicine. Eastern medicine always looks at the surrounding symptoms and the main symptoms together to approach the most effective treatment.

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What Happens to the Body When It’s Stressed?

Greenleaf Clinic Stress Symptoms and Treatments



When asking “Do you have a lot of stress?” a common answer given to us at consultations is “Is there anyone who doesn’t?” Obviously it is impossible to be completely without stress since it is a reaction to the various stimuli we are exposed to simply by living. However, it is important to remember that the body’s response to stress has a certain tendency and can be found at different levels.


Normally stress can be found in 3 stages: Alarm Stage, Resistance Stage, Exhausted Stage. The alarm stage is when our body’s autonomic nerves are temporarily excited. If you get out of the situation causing stress, you will recover, but if you continue to get stressed, your symptoms will worsen. When you are in this phase you will lose your appetite or get depressed during your menstrual periods. Another symptom is an overreaction to stimuli such as vision, sound, and touch — which is commonly seen in PTSD patients. These symptoms make patients easily irritable and prone to show signs of anger. Eastern medicine treats these symptoms with drugs such as Radix Bupleuri and Rhizoma Cyperi.


In the resistance stage, the body falls into an aggressively resistant state due to being exposed to stressful situations for too long. A common reason for this kind of stress is due to blood congestion or lack of blood in certain areas in the body. Areas blood tend to congest in are the brain, heart, liver, and muscles. If the blood were to congest in your brain, you will experience symptoms such as dizziness and headache. If the blood were to congest in the heart, heart rate often goes up and causes patients to feel stuffy. When the blood congests in the liver, the pressure on the diaphragm increases, making it uncomfortable to breathe. Too much blood in your muscles causes immense sweating and causes you to feel extremely thirsty. To treat these conditions we use Ramulus cum Uncis Uncariae and Flos Chrysanthemi for the brain, Rhizoma Coptidis and Fructus Gareniae for the heart, Radix Bupleuri and Radix Scutellariae for the liver, and Gypsum Fibrosum for the muscles.


The areas where blood circulation decreases can generally be divided into the gastrointestinal tract, kidney, and the lower abdominal cavity. When blood circulation in the gastrointestinal tract decreases, the digestive function also inevitably becomes abnormal. Eating makes you bloated, nauseous, and also causes acid reflux or heartburn. Kidney abnormalities are often shown through problems with urination. You can urinate too much or not enough. You might frequently get bladder infection. In the case of the lower abdominal cavity, for females, it can cause problems in the uterus, ovary, or vagina. Medications used include Rhizoma Atractylodis and Cortex Magnoliae Officinalis for the gastrointestinal tract, Poria and Rhizoma Alismatis for the kidney, and Fructus Evodiae and Fructus Foeniculi for the lower abdominal cavity.


Lastly, the exhausted stage is when fatigue builds up and release of the hormone cortisol dramatically decreases. When cortisol release is decreased, blood circulation is hindered and metabolism is reduced, causing the body’s energy to fall. You feel extreme exhaustion, mental helplessness and lack of motivation. Your eyes become tired easily and your complexion becomes pale and you feel lightheaded. For females, menstrual flow could suddenly decrease. Appetite also decreases. The immune system becomes weaker so you catch colds more frequently, have no strength in your voice and lose your voice easily. There are many cases where the blood pressure has dropped as well. Medications used include Radix Angelicae Sinensis and Rhizoma Chuanxiong for increasing blood circulation, and Radix Astragali and Radix Aconiti Lateralis Preparata for improving metabolism and strengthening myocardial contractility to increase blood pressure.


The way our body responds to stress is extremely diverse. Treatment also needs to diversify according to these various responses. This is an obvious conclusion, but it is much easier to treat a patient who is in the reactive than the resistant stage, and resistant than in the exhausted stage. It is necessary to check whether the body is currently in the reactive stage, when it starts reacting sensitively to stress, or whether it is in the resistant stage of extreme imbalance and decline in blood due to extended exposure to stress. This is because if the body reaches the exhausted stage, the treatment period becomes longer. Therefore, we need the wisdom to take care of the health of our body and mind during the resistant stage when the body still has enough resilience and resistance to fight. We hope your body and mind are always healthy with Eastern medicine.

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Dry Mouth, Dizzy Eyes & Frequent Sighs

Dry mouth, Dizzy Eyes, Sighs Greenleaf Clinic



Julie is a working woman in her 20s. She is very ambitious when it comes to her work so she always has the urge to fulfill all tasks by herself in a perfect manner. She knows how to take care of tasks fully by herself and has a strong sense of self-esteem. Starting from a few months back, Julie became generally tired and began to lose her appetite. This was a clear result of her stressful work life and the lack of rest she was able to get. Her mouth was dry and every morning she tasted a bitter taste in her mouth. Her lips were also dry which forced her to apply lip balm to prevent her lips from getting chapped. Her eyes were strained and on the days where she had to stare at her computer screen for long periods of time, her vision was foggy. On the days where she had to talk a lot, she easily became exhausted which made her want to speak less even when she was back at home. She became easily irritated, sighed frequently and had a hard time eating due to her lack of appetite.


Now, what is happening to Julie's body?


Our body responds to stress in three stages – the alarm stage, resistance stage, and exhausted stage. Julie is showing symptoms of the alarm stage in which her autonomic nerves are stimulated. In this stage, symptoms worsen in certain stress situations. For example, more work makes you lose appetite and sigh more. They also overreact to stimuli such as vision, sound, and touch. There is even the possibility of your eyes getting dizzy and suffering from tinnitus. There is also the symptom of getting irritated and easily emotional.


However, the human body is so diverse that the reaction patterns do not appear in such common symptoms at all times. An easy example is that there are many people who eat more when they are stressed. Animals generally do not eat when they get hurt or sick, which is to temporarily increase the body's ability to resist. People are similar to animals in many ways, so it is common for us to react like that as well, but modern people have such a large area in the brain that they generally eat more.


As an Eastern medicine doctor, the first step is to look at the common symptoms. One of the most common symptoms is a dry and bitter mouth. Our saliva is secreted with an appropriate amount of IgA, an immune substance that contains sugar, and when the secretion decreases, the mouth tastes bitter. The resulting bitter taste in the mouth means that the immune system has weakened. The next symptom to look into is dizzy eyes. This symptom can be showcased in a various ways from tired eyes to dim and impaired vision, and the inability to read clearly. In particular, there are quite a few patients who say that their eyes get tired easily when they see objects passing by quickly. Some say when they get in a car, they have to close their eyes to feel relaxed or that they cannot sit on the reverse seat on a train.


Finally, the last symptom that must be checked is whether patients sigh often. Most people are unaware of themselves sighing so it is common for patients to double check with their close friends and family. Stress affects the flow of lymphatic fluid from the chest or the flow of portal vein blood, and it is inferred as a symptom that causes a slight change in the pressure of the diaphragm, which is a good indicator for checking stress. In addition, when we check the patient's stomach, we always press under the ribs to check the degree of pain, which is also a good indicator of the body's condition of sighing.


When these major symptoms are identified, we use a drug called Radix Bupleuri. Along with Radix Bupleuri, the drug Radix Paeoniae Alba is often used to relieve mental stress such as anxiety, tension and depression. Radix Bupleuri is widely used in this field as it is also used as a cold medicine for children due to its strong anti-inflammatory effects, in addition to neuropsychiatry, and is proven to be effective for liver disease. It is the second most widely studied herbal medicine after ginseng. Half of the patients we see in my clinical trial are mostly treated with Radix Bupleuri. If you get tired from stress, experience a dry mouth and a loss of appetite, and frequently sigh, we recommend visiting an Eastern medicine clinic. The diseases of the reactors are easily treated and can be prevented from turning into larger diseases in advance.

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Drinking Only Water Can Still Cause Vomiting

Greenleaf Clinic Acupuncture and Herb Treatment for Vomiting



Phillip, who called last week to ask about gastrointestinal issues, finally visited our clinic. We were expecting Phillip to describe symptoms of indigestion or heartburn based on our phone call, but in the one week between his visit and our phone call, his symptoms evolved into vomiting. Phillip further explained that while he expected to vomit when eating food, he found that he also vomited even when only drinking water — so much so that he had already lost more than 5 kg. In general Phillip did not experience any gastrointestinal issues. He was a healthy man in his 20s who ate well, slept well and had healthy bowel movement. This prompted us to ask him what could possibly cause a healthy man like Phillip to begin vomiting. He answered that he began to have a fever and a sore throat when his stomach caused him to feel nauseous which ultimately led to him beginning to vomit. After starting to vomit, Phillip said he only drank water but to no avail. Phillip ended up going to the emergency room to have a blood test and receive fluid IV injection. However, this did not stop the vomiting. Phillip said he desperately searched on the internet and realized that the only option he had not explored was an acupuncture clinic which is why he called our Eastern medicine clinic.


Patients who have not eaten properly, are barely fighting off dehydration, and have met with their doctor only to get a fluid IV injection without mitigating their symptoms are extremely desperate when they come to our clinic. Phillip was no different. He looked exhausted and despite his condition, still seemed to have reservations on whether or not Eastern medicine could help alleviate his symptoms. Although Phillip’s symptoms were serious, we told him not to be too concerned as his symptoms were very famous and common in the history of Eastern medicine. Dehydration followed by vomiting often appeared after an epidemic or a severe case of the flu. Typically the dehydration starts from extreme cases of sweating, so just to be sure we asked Phillip, “Did you sweat a lot during the early stages of the cold?” To which he replied that he experienced a lot of sweating when he began to throw up.


If you summed up Phillip’s case, he had a fever accompanied by a sore throat which evolved layered to extreme sweating and vomiting. Additionally attempting to hydrate with water still caused vomiting even if he did not eat food. To understand this from a physiological perspective, cold sweat and vomiting is due to an imbalance of electrolytes (potassium, sodium, etc) in the body. In general, electrolyte imbalances can cause a multitude of issues but in Phillip’s case, it prevented the absorption of water. Imagine this: your stomach is already full of water because the body is unable to intake the water into the bloodstream. But because you feel thirsty, you add water to the stomach that is already full. There is no way out other than up, which is why Phillip began to vomit. Additionally, the blood vessels begin to dry as the body is unable to absorb the water. This causes the body to send signals to the brain that you need to drink more water which is why you feel thirsty despite the water piling in your stomach.


These symptoms can be treated through the following medications: Poria, Polyporu, Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae, Rhizoma Alismatis and Ramulus Cinnamomi. Poria and Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae help the uptake of water from the gastrointestinal tract into the bloodstream while Polyporu and Rhizoma Alismatis help the uptake of water cycle properly into urine. Ramulus Cinnamomi expands blood vessels to increase the efficiency of the water to urine cycle. To summarize, this solution allows the uptake of water into the bloodstream and ensures that water is cycling efficiently from water to urine.


Phillip, who came in as a desperate patient, was prescribed a simple acupuncture treatment supplemented with eating Go-rei-San little by little. In these cases you should never gulp down water. Instead, like with the Go-rei-San, it was important for Phillip to let the water sit in his mouth as he drank little by little. This was so effective that by the next day Phillip was already ready to drink water. The day after, he was fine eating porridge. Still concerned, we had Phillip book an appointment for five days later. However, we got a call from Philip saying that he had made a complete recovery and was back to normal. Phillip said his conditions were gone and that he did not need any more treatment and so that we decided to terminate treatment right then and there. As we can see from this example, the effects of Eastern medicine on the after effects of a complex cold or epidemic are often surprisingly fast and effective.

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Heartburn: Why It Occurs & How To Treat It

Greenleaf Clinic Heartburn Why it occurs and how to treat it



Many people who have neuropsychological symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety commonly complain of heartburn. Conversely, patients who come to our clinic for heartburn end up diagnosed with insomnia and anxiety. This is because gastrointestinal and neuropsychological disorders are inextricably linked. People who say “I have heartburn” will burp frequently and say that they are experiencing acid reflux. This generally causes bloating and indigestion. A common complaint is a stuffy and painful chest, accommodated by a squeezing or burning pain. This pain is a result of gastric acid reaching the esophagus. This is often confused with heart pain thus earning its name “heartburn.”


So why is this happening? There are many explanations, out of which the body’s response patterns to stress, especially through blood circulation, are the easiest to understand. When our bodies are stressed for a long time, they become resistant. Picture this scenario. If a bear were to appear in front of me, my body would go into a fight or flight response. In order to maximize my effectiveness, my body needs to increase blood flow to my muscles. One point to remember is the blood flow to the heart increases as the heart output increases. When blood is concentrated to our muscles, blood is consequently limited for the gastrointestinal tract. Because your body is fighting for life or death, thoughts of hunger are naturally inhibited and the digestive tract movement is slowed.


The bottom line is, when blood is concentrated to the heart and other muscles, blood is pulled away from the gastrointestinal tract. If blood supply is unable to be readily supplied to the gastrointestinal tract, then it is only a matter of time before various gastrointestinal disorders such as reflux esophagitis, gastric ulcer, duodenal ulcer, and others occur. These in turn can cause an unspeakable amount of symptoms, such as indigestion, heartburn, constipation, and diarrhea to name a few.


The same was true for Judy, who could not fall asleep due to stress. Upon visiting our clinic, she explained that she had an upset stomach. This was caused due to her being in a state of excitement. It is called a state of excitement and not a fever because the actual temperature does not rise, but due to blood rushing the body seems heated as the face turns red easily and the tongue appears in a deeper shade of red. Judy’s heart rate was about 85 beats per minute, whereas the average person has a heart beat of 72 beats per minute.


There are cases like Judy when fever is seen due to pure excitement and other cases like Helen, when the body itself is cold but the insides fill with heat. Like Judy, Helen could not sleep and experienced heartburn. However, Helen always felt cold and had diarrhea instead of constipation. In Eastern medicine, diarrhea while feeling cold is often associated with having a cold. Thus, Helen had both a fever and a cold.


Consequently, Judy and Helen were both treated with a medicine called Rhizoma Coptidis. Rhizoma Coptidis is a very bitter herbal medicine. So much so that China has a saying for it, “life is bitter like ‘Rhizoma Coptidis’”. Despite its bitterness, it is very effective and is the first medicine that comes to mind for patients whose bodies get excited due to stress and cause inflammation in the stomach (heartburn, indigestion, etc.). Most patients who use Rhizoma Coptidis are extroverted and are commonly characterized by their tendency to speak very quickly. Judy was separately prescribed a medicine for constipation called Radix et Rhizoma Rhei to control her fever and inflammation, whereas Helen was separately prescribed ginger to treat her fever and cold. Both patients were relieved of their insomnia and heartburn without any difficulty.


Gastrointestinal diseases are often not treated well through ambulatory prescription medication. This is especially true when the symptoms are associated with stress. In these cases, it is better to consider Eastern medical treatment as it takes into the consideration of both the body and mind as one. This is one of the greatest advantages of Eastern medicine.

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“Doctor, I Have Indigestion”

Relieve Indigestion with Herbs and Acupuncture, Greenleaf Clinic



This is one of the most common complaints we receive at the clinic. However, because digestion can have many causes, it is crucial to have a more in-depth discussion with the patient. Indigestion is caused either by the congestion and inflammation of the solar plexus or by the bloating of the chest which induces a feeling of stuffiness. The first step is for the doctor to determine if the patient is suffering from indigestion stemming from the chest or from the solar plexus. Usually the next phase of indigestion is the restlessness of the stomach which is caused by gas build up. This however, is not just a sensation but is due to your stomach actually expanding from the gas. Consequently, you experience stomach aches when you are suffering from indigestion. These stomach aches, however, can have many differences: a poking, aching, twitching, or squeezing pain. Some complain of frequent burping – to the extent that it causes embarrassment in their daily lives.


So how do we sort out and treat these various symptoms? There is generally one symptom to focus on – the presence or absence of inflammation. Generally most people experiencing severe indigestion symptoms come to our clinic after a gastroscopy and/or an abdominal ultrasound. Some patients will say “Doctor, I saw my test results and have been told that I am okay.” In this case, the person is experiencing functional digestive disorder. In this digestive disorder, there is no inflammation because the indigestion is not caused by physical ailments but by emotions. The main focus for this next section is functional digestive disorder.


Our bodies get nervous when we are stressed. If a brown bear were to appear, we would run with the stakes of life and death. When your body is in a fight or flight response, you cannot afford to send blood to your gastrointestinal tract because most of the blood needs to be sent to your heart and muscles to keep you moving and alive. This also makes the secretions of mucus and gastric acid weaker, making digestion difficult, which is why indigestion can occur even when an endoscopy indicates that the patient does not have inflammation.


Ellen was a patient who always complained of indigestion and of a swollen upper abdomen. She would explain that sometimes she would feel nauseous and often experienced motion sickness. Ellen was a worrisome person and had a lot of thoughts. However, due to her personality, she had difficulty expressing herself and sharing her thoughts. She was sensitive to her relationships with people to the extent where she would have difficulty falling asleep. She also often got cold and complained that she felt depressed. Regardless, she took it up on herself to get an endoscopy but was told that there were not any problems.


Ellen is a typical case of dysfunctional digestive problems with no indication of inflammation. In Ellen’s case, the first symptom to treat were her emotional problems. In Eastern medicine, there is a very famous drug called ‘Poria’. It is a germ nucleus that grows like a lump on pine roots. It is most commonly used to aid proper urination, but it can also be used for patients who are easily surprised and are prone to have their heart pounding. We use it to treat neurological digestive disorders, panic disorder, and depression. For Ellen, it was not about treating the inflammation of the stomach, but stabilizing her emotions first.


Ellen was also prescribed acupuncture treatment to supplement her antiseptic medication containing Poria and ginger. Since then, not only has her digestion improved but her insomnia and depression have also been relieved. As her psychological state stabilized, order was brought to her digestive system. Thus, even if a stomach disorder is caused by stress, the treatment medication and methods differ greatly depending on the presence of inflammation and the body’s response to stress. This is one of the many reasons why Eastern medicine is highlighted in modern society for having customizable medicine.

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Menstrual Cramps

Greenleaf Clinic Menstrual Cramp Herbal Medicine Remedies



Mary had terrible menstrual cramps. Even with painkillers, the first and second days of her menstruation would always negatively impact her regular daily activities. Her menstrual blood was dark and contained a lot of blood clots. Mary had an office job and a large portion of her stress came from her work. She found it difficult to have any sense of freedom at her job most likely due to her perfectionist personality, which she acknowledged. Whenever she would feel frustrated or worried, she would lose her appetite and have digestion problems. Her eyes also became easily tired and dry, making her afternoons much harder to get through.


When patients come to us with stress-related issues, there are certain questions we always ask.


The first is regarding symptoms in the chest area. We ask whether they feel any type of chest tightness or tension. Breathing is also an important factor to consider. We check for symptoms related to any deep breathing problems or shortness of breath.


Second, we ask if patients often experience mouth dryness. There is a difference between drinking a lot of water and having a dry mouth. There are many patients who suffer from a dry mouth even if they are drinking water. We also check how moist their lips are. For those that have a dry mouth, we always recommend that they apply lip balm to maintain moisture on their lips as well.


Third, we ask patients if they often get dizzy. Whether they experience motion sickness from long car rides or from sitting on SkyTrain seats that face the opposite direction from which the SkyTrain is moving are relevant questions to ask. It is also helpful to consider whether the patient suffers from tired or dry eyes.


The reason we ask these three sets of questions is to determine whether to prescribe them Radix Bupleuri. Although there are many other types of medicine to relieve stress, our experience shows that Radix Bupleuri is the most commonly used. Radix Bupleuri has the capability to restore blood circulation in the liver and facilitate secretion in the gallbladder. If patients possess all three or even two of the symptoms listed above, we consider this medication as a form of treatment.


In Mary’s case, it is quite difficult to treat her menstrual cramps by just relieving her stress levels. Because menstrual cramps result from problems in blood circulation in the uterus, other medicine is needed to solve this issue. There are many different types of medicine that helps in promoting blood circulation in the uterus, but we prefer to use Semen Persicae and Cortex Moutan. These two are easy to mix with other medicine and go well with Radix Bupleuri.


So in conclusion, we gave Mary Radix Bupleuri to relieve her stress levels, and Semen Persicae and Cortex Moutan to improve her blood circulation in the uterus. Simply relieving stress does not relieve menstrual cramps. Similarly, just improving the blood circulation in the uterus does not completely solve the issue with menstrual cramps as well. It is important to be mindful of both aspects and treat them together in order to have the best outcome.

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Early Cold Symptoms: Know Them to Block Them

Greenleaf Clinic early cold symptoms that can block out the virus



1. What can I do to prevent myself from getting a cold?


First off, it is safe to assume that the cold virus is present wherever and whenever. Due to a virus’ complex nature and its constantly mutating genetic structure, complete defense against a virus is difficult even with a vaccination. As we all know we are most prone to sickness when our immune system weakens. So the question we want to ask is, in what moments are our bodies most susceptible to infection. The answer is that we are most vulnerable when subject to a sudden change in temperature. Some scenarios in which this is common are: after you’ve worked out and the wind cools your sweat, leaving the house after a shower without drying your hair properly, when you sleep with thin clothes and kick your sheets off and you feel cold suddenly, and when the days get hotter so you decided to wear thin clothes but you still shiver in the evenings when it gets cold.


You might be wondering ‘Doctor, are you stating the obvious that we should wear warm clothes?’, to which I’d answer ‘Yes, of course’. However, as this answer is not very insightful, I will share a secret tip I like to practice. Ideally, you want to make your entire body warm, but there are some circumstances where doing so is impractical or impossible. In such cases, you should focus on keeping your neck and upper back warm. Scarves are a good choice to do so and vests are particularly beneficial for the elderly. One of the more common viruses, rhinovirus, thrives and is most active between 33-35°F. Although the body regulates its temperature around 36.5-37°F, because the mouth and nose are openings that are exposed to the environment, these areas are prone to dropping temperature relatively quickly. As such, wearing a scarf will help keep the temperature higher around your neck and prevent infection. Vancouver is an area that experiences temperature fluctuations daily and even worse, has temperature differences between being in the shade and the sun. Thus, adding a scarf to your outfit is something I cannot emphasize enough if you are looking to prevent yourself from catching a cold.



2. I feel like I am catching a cold! What should I do?


A common symptom after a virus first enters your body is a general feeling of unwellness creeping up. Whether it be a sore throat or back discomfort, you know how this symptom manifests in you. Whatever it is, observing and knowing your symptoms is crucial as the early stage of infection is the only opportunity you have to block out the virus. If you let this window of opportunity pass by you will have no choice but to experience the full range of sickness. In any case, if you feel your body stiffen you need to find a means to sweat. This is because your body displays symptoms as it rushes blood through the body to fight the oncoming infection. The rushing of blood elevates pressure and body temperature, further contributing to the severity of your symptom. In these moments, sweating will help as it resolves the emergency situation created by the body by releasing the pressure built up by your body. Some may turn to spicy foods to build up a sweat, but I recommend taking a hot bath and changing out into new clothes afterwards. However, as the early stages of an infection are short, if you miss this timing, your nose will start to run and you will begin to cough as your symptoms become more severe. Therefore, when you feel your body becoming stiff, make sure you find a way to start sweating as soon as possible.



3. Does my child need medicine for fever?


In order to answer this question, it is crucial to understand why fever exists in the first place. To fight off the viral infection, your body produces white blood cells. The fever is the byproduct of the fighting which also acts as a signal for your body to produce more white blood cells. This cycle continues until the healing process completes. Thus, your child getting a fever is not something to worry about. In fact, it is a sign that their body is working and fighting. It may be tempting to soothe your child with medication to lower their temperature, but I urge you to fight against it. In the case high fever persists for longer than three days and different symptoms begin to manifest, you should make an appointment with your family doctor. A common misconception people have is that high fever can cause brain damage. However, if body temperature does not exceed 41°F, your child will not experience any form of brain damage, whether physical or mental. Remember, the very fact your child is experiencing fever indicates that their immune response is strong and working. This is a great opportunity for the body to rid itself of unnecessary waste; please try to think of it as a blessing.

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Diarrhea: Is It the Same for Everyone?

Treatment for Diarrhea



We had a patient named Mike (alias) who suffered from severe diarrhea. Every time he ate a meal or endured a stressful incident, he would experience diarrhea. Given these circumstances, he strangely still had an appetite for food and ate regularly. It was difficult for us to identify any signs of stomach aches or an upset stomach for Mike. His situation seemed to be limited to the large intestine. Other symptoms Mike experienced were disrupted sleep and hot body temperatures, possibly resulting from his sensitive personality.


Another patient with a shy personality, Janey (alias), suffered from diarrhea just like Mike. However, in contrast to Mike’s condition, Janey experienced a loss of appetite every time she had to focus on something. Janey generally did not like eating a lot and her mouth would often become dry, leading her to frequently drink water. Although she was very sensitive to stress and would frequently sigh as a result, she did not have much trouble sleeping. She stated much of her stress and hardships came from her perfectionist personality at work. She would frequently get hot from her high body temperatures, but also despised the cold weather.


Mike and Janey are patients who display an evident relationship between stress and diarrhea, which is identified as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Both possess sensitive personalities and are easily affected by stress, which result in symptoms of diarrhea. However, if you look closely, there lies a difference between the two patients. Mike has a good appetite and does not have many stomach problems, while Janey does not have much of an appetite and does not like to eat. Mike has sleeping problems, while Janey has no major discomfort when sleeping. What is the difference between Mike’s and Janey’s diarrhea?


First, it is important to understand the basics of diarrhea. Diarrhea occurs primarily because there is too much water in the intestines. For example, there is the possibility of experiencing diarrhea after drinking milk. In this case, enzymes are lacking to fully digest the milk. When the milk is not absorbed in the small intestine, our intestines attract moisture which triggers diarrhea. As a result, we do not want to keep indigestible substances in our bodies for long periods of time. On the other hand, you could also view the situation as a problem with stimulation and not absorption. Think about food poisoning – bacterial toxins are a major cause of excessive intestinal moisture production.


Next, we can observe any inflammation of the intestinal mucosa. When an inflammation in the intestinal mucosa occurs, moisture absorption is reduced and secretion is more frequently triggered. The intestinal tract’s movement also becomes more rapid, causing diarrhea. This is the case of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, etc. Finally, the change in bowel movement may cause diarrhea due to insufficient moisture absorption which is critical to note. Think about the times you ate cold food and experienced diarrhea after. Our bodies shiver to raise the body temperature when we are cold. In severe cases, our teeth even chatter. What do you think happens when the gastrointestinal tract becomes cold? Similarly, the gastrointestinal tract ‘shakes’ to raise the temperature, which causes excessive bowel movement. Eventually, as the intestine becomes cold, the moisture is not properly absorbed and causes diarrhea.


Now back to Mike and Janey’s situations. Although Mike’s case is not as severe as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, we can predict an inflammation of the intestinal mucosa or very sensitive mucous membranes. The reason this is predictable is because vibrations of the sympathetic nerve were apparent. In the cases where the sympathetic nerve is affected by a nervous state, disrupted sleep and fast pulses, skin problems and mucous membrane problems tend to appear easily. Mike displayed redness in his face, fast speech and a sensitive personality. There was also a tendency for his face to easily become red when his skin was slightly irritated or scratched.


Janey was sensitive and easily became stressed but she frequently sighed, her mouth would get dry and she complained of heat in her chest, while her lower abdomen felt slightly cold. If the whole body is not sensitive and the heat is drawn to one side, the body is likely to become cold on the other side. The heart will be hot, but the stomach will be cold. For Janey, diarrhea occurred because the cold triggered severe bowel movement.


Janey was sensitive and easily became stressed but Despite all the similarities between stress-induced diarrhea, the approach and treatment differs depending on the body's response. We gave Mike Rhizoma the strong anti-inflammatory drugs Coptidis, Radix Scutellariae, and more, to relieve the sensitivity and inflammation of the intestinal mucosa. Janey was treated with Radix Bupleuri to relieve the heat in her chest and with Rhizoma Zingiberis to warm her bowels and treat her diarrhea.

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