Herbs contain multiple active ingredients, which can have opposite effects on the body.

A single herb, containing reverse-acting ingredients, forms the elemental basis for dual modulation. Complex formulas used by experienced practisioners consisting of several herbs create a much more complicated mechanism, because different active ingredients can work together to produce a more desired health effect.

Aa particular herbal combination can cancel out the negative effects associated with a single herbal ingredient thereby minimizing side effects and retaining only the desired effect. These complex herbal prescriptions are combined in such a way to make them more flexible in the conditions that they treat. Western medicine sometimes struggles to match the range and scope of Chinese herbal medicine, and the understanding of the complex interplay between each element prescribed by qualified experienced practitioners.

Some examples of this concept include:

Huang qi (astragalus)

Huang qi or astragalus's traditional functions are to invigorate qi (vital energy), benefit yang and increase body resistance. The main active ingredients identified in this herb are astragaloside and huang chi polysaccharide. Modern research shows that its dual modulation capabilities allow it to regulate the immune system by increasing the immune response when it is suppressed, and depressing the immune response when it is too high or over functioning.

Therefore, the action of invigorating qi and benefiting yang can be interpreted in modern medicine as promoting and regulating the body's immune functions; thereby, maintaining the balance of the internal environment.

The root of pseudo-ginseng, according to TCM application, is a drug used to stop bleeding and promote blood flow. The ancient classic the Bencao Gangmu (Compendium of Materia Medica) claims that it can "stop bleeding, dissolve blood stasis, and relieve pain."

Pharmacological research has shown that it has a double action on the blood clotting system; active ingredients of pseudo-ginseng like saponin activate blood circulation and dissolve stasis, while san-qi-su stops bleeding.

Other psuedo-ginseng active compounds, dencichine and ginseng propanol, also possess opposite blood clotting effects. Dencichine increases the production of certain clotting factors in the liver, and activates them, helping to stop bleeding. Ginseng proponal, on the other hand, increases the cAMP content in platelets, declines the production of TXA2, and prevents thrombosis (a fixed blood clot in the body).

Although the body can modulate its own coagulation-anticoagulation system, pseudo-ginseng improves this action by its ability to both stimulate and prevent blood clotting with its active ingredients.

These and other Traditional Chinese practices all form part of TCM, each adding a little to the history and methodology of Acupuncture and Herbs.

Eca Brady is a fully licensed physician of Chinese Medicine BSc(Ac) MBAcC PGDip(CHM), practicing Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs from Harley Street, London. Make an appointment for an acupuncture or Herbs treatment and we can discuss how we can help you, to read more about Eca click here.

This article includes excerpts from the original article by Shennong

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