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October 2012 [Volume 11, Issue 10]

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In this issue of To Your Health:

Research: Acupuncture Is Both Cost and Medically Effective

general acupunctureTwo recent research reports find that acupuncture is an effective treatment for several types of chronic pain and has the added advantage of being less costly than standard medical care.

According to a story in the Sept. 10, 2012 edition of Medscape Medical News, a "meta-analysis" performed by lead author Andrew J. Vickers, DPhil, attending research methodologist, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York found that "found that about 50% of patients who got acupuncture had improvement in pain compared with 30% who didn't get acupuncture and 42.5% who had sham acupuncture."

The report, Acupuncture for Chronic Pain Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis, originally appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Read the full article.

Herb of the Month – Magnolia Bark (hou po)

Magnolia BarkWhat is magnolia bark? What is it used for?

Magnolia bark comes from the magnolia tree, a deciduous arbor that grows in the Sichuan, Hubei and Zhejiang provinces of China. The tree is often used as a type of ornamental for gardens, and is an important source of timber, with green leaves and fragrant flowers that vary in color from white to purple.

The bark is harvested first by being peeled from the tree, then dried, boiled (until the internal surface of the bark turns a dark red or brownish gray), steamed until soft, and rolled into cylindrical pieces. At that point, the bark is again dried and prepared with ginger juice for later use.

In traditional Chinese medicine, magnolia bark has bitter, pungent and warm properties, and is associated with the Liver, Lung, Spleen and Stomach meridians. Traditionally, it has been used to treat asthma, coughs and abdominal problems. It is often used with other herbs, such as atractylodes, tangerine peel, and apricot kernels.

How much magnolia bark should I take?

The typical dosage of magnolia bark is between 3 and 10 grams, boiled in water for oral use as a decoction.

What forms of magnolia bark are available?

Dried, rolled magnolia bark can be found at many herbal shops and specialty stores. However, magnolia bark does not last long in storage, so stocks of the bark need to be replenished rather often. Magnolia bark is also incorporated into larger herbal formulas. Extracts of magnolia bark are available in capsule and tincture form.

What can happen if I take too much magnolia bark? Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should I take?

Magnolia bark has been given a class 2B rating by the American Herbal Products Association, which means that it should not be used by women who are pregnant. In addition, magnolia bark contains a compound called magnocurarine, which has a sedative effect; large amounts can reduce blood pressure. As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions associated with magnolia bark. As always, make sure to consult with a licensed health care provider before taking magnolia bark or any other herbal remedy or dietary supplement.

Ask an Acupuncturist

Question About Acupuncture For Nerve Pain: I have been a very active person--exercise regularly, eat healthy. Despite all of that, I get several severe nerve pains from my neck starting 5 years ago and the left knee, the pain last about one week each time. MRI report shows as hernia disc, I'm waiting for my knee x-ray report. I still could walk but I feel something on my knee and I believe there might be something. I heard the only solution from hernia disc is surgery. Can acupuncture help?

Answer: Most patients with symptoms from disc herniation can have their symptoms reduced with acupuncture treatment. Please see an acupuncturist in your area for an examination and evaluation.

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All Rights Reserved, Acupuncture Today, 2012.

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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