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April 2009 [Volume 8, Issue 4]

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In this issue of To Your Health:

Herbal Formulation May Aid in Stroke Recovery

Stroke is one of the leading causes of disability in the world. One article predicts that cerebrovascular disease will still be the second leading cause of death by the year 2030. Unfortunately, many stroke victims only make a partial recovery and remain chronically disabled. A new study from the March issue of Stroke, however, shows promise for a new drug, NeuroAID, based on the Chinese herbal formulation danqi piantang jiaonang (DJ).

Christopher Chen, MD, and colleagues from the University of Singapore, analyzed data on 605 stroke patients from two large randomized, double-blinded studies who received either NeuroAID or buchang naoxintong jiaonang (BNJ) for one month. Treatment began an average of two months after the stroke.

The researchers concluded, "The pooled analysis of 2 unpublished trials of DJ, a TCM currently approved in China to improve neurological recovery after stroke, shows the superiority of DJ over another TCM also approved for stroke." Furthermore, there were only two reported cases of severe adverse events.

NeuroAID, produced by Moleac, was discussed in the top story for June 2008 of Acupuncture Today, which discussed the current trend among Chinese herbal companies to emulate the Western pharmaceutical model ("When East Becomes West").

For more information on the many benefits of Oriental medicine, visit

Herb of the Month – White Mustard Seed (bai jie ze)

The white mustard plant is found throughout most of the world. Although it is cultivated for its seeds, it often grows wild as well. Both the seeds and an oil derived from the seeds are used in herbal preparations.

In the traditional Chinese medical perspective, white mustard seed has a warm quality and interacts with the Lung and Stomach meridians. Its main functions are to clear dampness and phlegm patterns, expel cold, warm the stomach, spleen and lungs, regulate the flow of qi and disperse swelling.

The amount of white mustard seed to be taken depends on the conditions being treated and the way it is being used. The general dosage of white mustard seed is 3-10 grams, taken as a decoction or powder. The seeds can also be ground with warm water and applied to the skin as a poultice, or combined with boiling water as a tea or a foot bath. Concentrated white mustard seed oil should only be used externally.

Prolonged use of large amounts of mustard seed, either internally or externally, can cause serious skin irritation and inflammation. Undiluted mustard oil must never be used, and it should never be used on sensitive areas. In addition, it should not be used in children under the age of six or in cases where a patient is nauseous or suffering from a lingering cough. As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions with white mustard seed. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking white mustard seed, white mustard seed oil, or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

Ask an Acupuncturist

Question: My spinal cord received trauma during a cervical disc surgery 10 years ago. The pain had been under partial control with drugs until a week ago. It is total body burning when pressure is applied. Will seeing an acupuncture specialist help?

Answer: It could, but you have to give it a chance. Most neuropathic pain can be improved by acupuncture treatment. In general, you would want to have 12 to 20 treatments, which is more than average due to the trauma. This is an initial series and depending on outcome, you will know how to proceed. You need to talk to an acupuncturist to find out what can be done in your individual circumstance to find out if acupuncture is appropriate for you.

Do you have a question about acupuncture and Oriental medicine? Visit the "Ask an Acupuncturist" forum at

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All Rights Reserved, Acupuncture Today, 2009.

The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. MPA Media is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.

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