09 May Part 2; A breakdown of the formula
You may have already seen Part 1. In Chinese medicine sense the Chinese Herbal foot soaks promote circulation and soften the fascia of the feet. They are believed to also have tremendous effects in treating pain and circulatory issues.
To accomplish this, the creation team has used only the best herbs and of the best quality possible. Dr. Andrew Miles DOM and Dr. Xuelan Qiu PhD (pharmacology) who spent the time testing and acquiring the herbs for this formula describe them as “the highest quality found on Earth.” Interested in more information about quality, see their podcast #1 and #33
So let’s talk for a minute about the herbs contained within the foot soaks and their individual charcteristics and proposed actions from a traditional Chinese Medical standpoint;
Du Yi Wei (Lamiophlomis rotata)
Du yi wei is an herb used in traditional Tibetan medicine. Historically, it has been used in the treatment of wounds and internal bleeding from injuries and inflammation. It decreases pain and inflammation and increases antioxidants. This is likely due to its positive effects on cytokines (cellular communicators). Du Yi Wei also promotes red blood cell production and has a positive effect on arterial stenosis, which may be one reason people notice positive effects on their blood pressure. Vascular health = better longevity! And here’s a bit on its quality.
Qiang Huo (Rhizoma et Radix Notopterygii)
Qiang Huo is an especially precious herb as it was originally designated for the elite of Beijing. Actually, in the last thousand years, if you used it without being a member of the royal family, it was off with your head (yikes)! It has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal effects (both of which influence pain signaling). Its analgesic effect is perhaps the thing it’s most widely used for, but studies also indicate that it increases blood circulation to the coronary arteries and is useful in the treatment of arrhythmia. For the latter effects, it pairs well with the next herb in our formula. (1,2,3)
Hong Jing Tian (Rhodiola Crenulata)
Hong Jing Tian (rhodiola) has made quite a name for itself as being an excellent remedy for altitude sickness. This may be due to its ability to increase oxygen in the body. It works well to help with fatigue, especially by way of improving metabolic functioning. It also exhibits marked antioxidant effects (inhibits xanthine oxidase). Other functions include improved immune function and some anticancer effects (particularly breast cancer).
Zang Hong Hua (Crocus sativa stigma)
Zang Hong Hua is Tibetan saffron with similar properties to Hong Hua (saffron); however, it is considered much stronger (and much more expensive). Like saffron, it has great effects to relieve pain and decrease inflammation. Zang Hong Hua has effects to improve depression and anxiety, help with cough, increase blood flow, lower blood pressure and has notable antioxidant properties. Additionally, it may help those with seizures and may serve as an aphrodisiac.
Zang Chang Pu (Rhizoma Acori Calami)
Zang Chang Pu is an herb with mild tranquilizing effects. It serves as an antimicrobial and has been shown to have positive effects on the digestive system.4 Some compounds found in Zang Chang Pu specifically had effects to improve blood flow into the stomach and intestines. This is perhaps one reason why we see positive effects on digestive health from using foot soaks. This can be a game changer for those with bad digestive problems who cannot otherwise digest herbs or pharmaceutical medicines well. Further, Zang Chang Pu has been extensively researched for because of its efficacy in treating multiple types of peripheral neuropathy (chemo-induced, nerve transection, and chronic constriction).
Ku Shen (Radix Sophorae Flavescentis)
Ku Shen is another interesting herb with a long history of use in Chinese medicine. Often known for its positive effects in treating skin conditions, modern research confirms that it has broad-spectrum antimicrobial effects (antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiparasitic). Ku Shen actually has an inhibitory effect on bacterial biofilms. These biofilms are mucus covering that bacteria put on to protect themselves from our body’s immune system attack. Once the normal inflammatory action of our body has decreased, the bacteria are once again able to proliferate and wreak havoc on our system. Biofilms are a factor implicated in many chronic diseases ranging from obesity to Parkinson’s or dementia. Biofilms are often found in any type of chronic disease or chronic inflammatory condition.
Ai Ye (Folium Artemisiae Argyi)
Ai Ye is an herb famously known as ‘mugwort’. This herb is often dried and then burned over various areas of the body (both for the heat and for the volatile oils released). This is frequently used over the lower abdomen for those experiencing menstrual problems or over the lumbar spine, which has been found to have beneficial effects on the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis. Ai Ye contains strong volatile oils which are antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal. Additionally, they have the ability to inhibit blood clotting and increase the secretion of bile (which may help burn fat). (5)
Gan Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis)
Gan Jiang, or ginger, is extremely commonly used in Chinese herbal medicine as it has an ability to protect the mucosa of the stomach lining. This is extremely important since some herbs, while medicinally beneficial, can be harsh on the digestive system. Gan Jiang is often used to mitigate these types of effects in order to minimize and often completely eliminate the possibility of side effects. Gan Jiang has protective effects on the liver, pain relieving and anti-inflammatory effects, is antibacterial and also prevents blood clots.
Kala namak is a Himalayan black salt, which sports an impressive mineral density. In particular, it contains a gaseous compound known as hydrogen sulfide (H2S). Hydrogen sulfide, while in excess is a poisonous gas, is also a known gastro-transmitter (gaseous signaling molecule) made by the kidneys. The ability for the kidneys to produce this gas declines with age. Interestingly, this gas is known to interact with a gene known as the Klotho gene, which is associated with longevity. This directly parallels the concept of Kidney Qi (or Kidney gas) known to Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The minerals found in this salt are known to improve relaxation, promote circulation (which helps with pain, and may help with swelling (via the lymphatic system). Sea salt soaking has also been used in the treatment of skin conditions such as psoriasis.
The above information I credit to the following website as his words are much better than mine could ever be.
1. Zhong Cao Yao (Chinese Herbal Medicine), 1991; 22(1):28
2. Zhong Yao Tong Bao (Journal of Chinese Herbology), 1982;(1):31
3. Ibid., 12(12):45
4. Zhong Yao Xue (Chinese Herbology), 1998; 722:725
5. Gui Yang Yi Xue Yuan Xue Bao (Journal of Guiyang Medical University), 1988; (3):52
About the author
Lauren Lanzoni is the Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist and owner of Balanced Life Health Care. To find out more about Lauren click here and to make an appointment to see Lauren at her clinic in Ferntree Gully click here