Reader Question About Hepatitis C and Chinese Medicinal Herbs:
Hello! Thanks so much for all your help. I am
suffering with Hep C and I think it's wonderful that I do have
some alternatives to the dreaded interferon/peg treatments. I
am a little hesitant about taking herbs, I am very sensitive and
have had reactions to say, dandelion, other things I am able to
tolerate. My herbalist, the one you recommended in Santa Monica,
said he would work with me on this, by prescribing one herb at
a time to see how well I tolerate them. I was wondering, do you
have any kind of screening process for your recommendations of
herbalist and acupuncturists? I haven't seen Al Stone yet, but
I do get a good "vibe" from him on the phone. Thanks
so much, and please see if you could list any current studies
on herbs and acupuncture in dealing with Hep C. Thanks so much
for all your help!!!!!
Good question. There's no screening process for quality per se,
butt if the acupuncturist is able to write and communicate, and
willing and able to do that with the public, we at least know
they will be able to communicate with you. Also, if they are able
to write an academically accurate article, they either know their
stuff, or know where to look it up. Obviously, we can't screen
for everything, but that's more than nothing.
Sounds like a good idea prescribing one herb at a time to watch
for sensitivities- but bear in mind that any herb by itself is
unbalanced, so you'll have to differentiate between allergy/sensitivity
reactions and the side effects that come from non-formula herbs.
All the best,
Gee Bri! I'm soooo impressed with the fact that
you are such a caring individual - to have written me back so
promptly - and the fact that you addressed my questions - I'm
floored! Thanks so much for your insights. Sorry you don't have
a practice in the Los Angeles area. you really seem to know "your
stuff." I have many friends who are struggling with this
disease, I met them in the various Hep C support groups, and collectively
we feel kind of ignored by medical science. and there are 4 times
as many people with this disease than HIV as you probably know.
I am a researcher so I've been reading all I can about the disease
- and the various conventional and alternative treatments. It
can get confusing and overwhelming to say the least. Should I
try Ayurvedic, Chinese, Homeopathic? Of course I want to do what's
best for me, but how do I go about it?
I would probably go to Dr. Zhang out of New York
but I don't live in New York and I really think it's important
to have a one on one relationship with a practitioner. Maybe I'm
wrong on that, because he does give consultations and proscribes
over the phone. He has such a huge background in Hep C, literally
thousands of patients. And he has a question and answer on his
website and you can get some background on his patients and their
experiences with him. But as I said before, I would like it if
I could judge my sensitivity to the herbs one at a time. I was
a little confused as to your answer to that. That I might get
an imbalance doing it that way, even with small little doses of
one herb at a time? Just to see my sensitivity? Anyway, I have
a friend who was suffering indeed, she was helped by an herbalist
(although i didn't get the impression that he was particularly
schooled in Chinese medicine) who proscribed to her herbs from
a company called Nature's Sunshine. He had an interesting program
whereby he gave you this All Cell Detox for one week, then VS-C
(viral immune formula) for another week, then a week off (to make
sure your liver wasn't being unduly stressed) then an formula
to clean the gall bladder. She was greatly helped by this.
But I was warned off herbal formulations in a
great book called the Hepatitis C Handbook. This author said it
was better to go to a practitioner and take a specialized formulation
tailored for the patient. This author greatly recommended a guy
out of London at the Yuan Clinic. The director there is named
John Tindell. I looked up their site and was impressed with their
info on Hep C and the stages according to Chinese medicine. The
symptoms they talked about were uncanny in their accuracy as to
stage 1 stage 2 stage 3 and so. But that's out of London and I
thought they were a little insensitive to me in that they just
told me that they would give me a recommendation out here and
then they never got back to me. I know people are so busy but
I feel a bit lost and scared obviously. Anyway, this man I'm going
to go to in Santa Monica out here, he seems very amenable to working
with me but he admittedly does not have a big background in Hep
c. I'm just wondering if in the long run that will matter so much.
Thanks so much for all your help, you can't know how much it means
to someone like me. Any and all info you have would be wonderful.
Have a great rest of the week, for that matter, rest of your life!
It is possible to do herbal consults long-distance. I have Dr.
Zhang's book, and his treatment protocols use the pre-formulated
herbs that you understand to be sub-optimal.
Personalized Herbal Formulas vs. Premade Herbal Formulas
It is true that personalized formulas are, in principle, better...
but it takes a much better herbalist to do that well than to prescribe
the right pre-formulated herb formula. That's because good herb
formulas rely on specific dosages and combinations of herbs. When
you personalize, if you don't know what you're doing, you can
make it even less effective than it was before!
Hepatitis C Chinese Medicinal Herb Formulas
Can any good Chinese herbalist make their own formulas for you
for Hep C? Probably... depending upon what resources they have
available. They will be combining traditional formulas for your
personal pattern discrimination with herbs shown to have an effect
specifically against Hep C... so they'd need access to the latter
info. A good herbalist with Dr.
Zhang's book could treat you very competently. Plus, you can
order his formulas directly... and he says how to use them on
his website and in his book, Healing
Hepatitis C with Modern Chinese Medicine
Given that, it's better to see an herbalist locally so they can
see your tongue and feel your pulse. Those two important parts
of diagnosis can't be done over the phone. You can get around
that if you have enough info, but they help to confirm the diagnosis.
And of course to be building formulas one herb at a time to avoid
sensitivities, you'll need special attention. So it is indeed
better to work with an herbalist in person.
Herb Formulas Are Better Than Single Herbs
To clarify about imbalances with one herb
the reason it's
easier to get results with fewer side effects with herbs is because
they are more complex than drugs. Drugs are single active chemicals.
They are very unbalanced, so they get dramatic results, and also
side effects. Herbs are less that way, but still unbalanced alone;
people are so complicated that they need more than one herb for
healing. Herbal formulas use multiple strategies at the same time.
It's like a team approach; a team can accomplish more at once
than one person alone. Using a single active chemical is kind
of like sending the lone ranger in
but his bullets ricochet
around and hit some good guys. Or using an atomic bomb to blow
up a bridge. I wish I had a better analogy. Herbal formulas are
more sophisticated, versatile, and balanced.