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At the Kokin Healing Center, we're all about education. We love to empower our patients to learn how to take good care of their bodies; and we're always learning ourselves. In that spirit, the Healing Blog is a place for us to teach and to learn. We hope you enjoy these posts and share them with friends, family and colleagues.

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Herbal Medicine and Decongestants

A study published by the National Institute of Health looked at the use of Chinese herbal formulas in conjunction with conventional medicine for the treatment of chronic rhinitis and sinusitis (runny nose and sinus congestion). The study surveyed 4,294 patients who utilized Traditional Chinese Medicine and of these, nearly 97 percent received herbal remedies. The most commonly prescribed herbal formula for this condition was Xin Yi Qing Fei Tang. While the study did not look at the outcome of the use of the herbal remedy, it is conclusive more people are turning to alternative medicine in order to treat everyday problems like congestion.

Congestion of the chest and sinuses is something everybody has experienced at some point during their life. It can be caused by allergies, the common cold or even changes in the weather. Regardless of the cause, it makes life difficult when we are unable to breathe properly. Many people reach for over-the-counter decongestants as a first line defense. But there are side effects to be aware of when using anything synthetically made in a lab. 

Natural remedies, like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), are safer and can generally be used long-term without the side effects. An estimated 30 million people suffer with sinus problems, and congestion is one of the top symptoms associated with sinus issues. Most people who suffer with sinus issues have them for the majority of their lives. This is because once the problem has been cleared up using conventional medications or treatments, the sinus cavities themselves have not been completely drained and the body still sees the remaining mucus as a foreign invader it must attack. 

This is where Traditional Chinese Medicine surpasses conventional medicine. TCM addresses the symptoms and the root of the problem. So not only will the congestion be targeted, but so will be the cause of the congestion. Too much sugar causing excess phlegm? Chronic allergy flare ups? Weak lungs due to asthma or COPD preventing you from expelling the pathogens? All of these things can lead to chronic congestion and TCM can help.

TCM uses many tools to treat congestion. The two most commonly used are acupuncture and herbal formulas. One of the most commonly used herbal formulas is Cang Er San. This formula contains xanthium fruit, magnolia flower, angelica root and mint. If yellow mucus is present, then cooling herbs like honeysuckle flowers and Scutellaria root are added to address the excess heat. But the base formula unblocks the nasal passages, reduces inflammation and expels toxins, all of which lead to congestion.  Acupuncture, similarly, reduces swelling of the sinus cavities which alleviates pain, as well as reduces the duration of the infection.

Ask me to find out how Traditional Chinese Medicine can help you with any respiratory and congestion issues you might have!

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