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Great to be back; Night sweats and mood swings

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Thanks, DW, and to all who have generously taken of their time these past few days, to express interest in and appreciation for this new blog. I am still figuring this whole thing out--well, Poz blogging as well as TCM/Asian Medicine, I suppose--so I also appreciate your patience. Feedback like Dave's, and others' I have received earlier in the week, add just the tiniest bit of a spring to my step (and may I add, a "lightness to my Shen?") as I head out the door. My only regret this morning is that I have not yet responded to (even if in my mind I have), here in writing, the other wise and earnest observations and queries from earlier in the week. I promise to remedy that over the next couple weekends.

To Geo who reports night sweats and mood swings, I would say (and remember I am still just a student and not licensed to practice) night sweats are typically associated with what, in TCM or Asian medicine, calls Yin Deficiency--which more or less means less cooling fluid as we get older. There are some terrific acupuncture points (on the inside of the lower leg, a hand's breadth or so above the ankle bone, another one just below the inside ankle bone, even one just before the pinky finger tendon on the inner arm wrist crease) for this--and some wonderful herbal formulas (which might include, depending on whether Heart Yin or Kidney Yin deficiency is more dominant, Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan for the former and Zuo Gui Wan or Liu Wei Di Huang Wan* for the latter), both of which can be tailored or individualized, by a qualified herbalist, to the particular pattern of your symptoms and constitution.

Ditto for moodiness, irritability, melancholy and many other emotional ailments. In Chinese medicine, these kinds of symptoms are mostly directly linked to what has been translated into English as the Chinese "Liver." (The Liver in Chinese medicine seems to wear at least two and maybe three or four hats: it is recognized as serving more or less the same function as in Western medicine, storing and filtering blood, but has also been given responsibility, improbable as it may sound, for just about all of the emotions (although the Heart does also enter in)-- not to mention healthy function of the eyes, tendons--even for menstruation!)

Xiao Yao San or Jia Wei Xiao Yao San (also sometimes called Dan Zhi Xiao Yao San), the "Free and Easy Wanderer's Powder, are probably the most common classic formulas for moodiness, melancholy, and/or fluctuating mental state associated with what is recognized in Chinese medicine as "stagnation" of "Liver qi" (and PMS). These symptoms are also often helped by a change in diet and long walks (or hikes!) communing with nature or a sweaty workout at gym, pool or yoga studio!

In order to receive a proper assessment and treatment, of course, you would be wise to seek out the care of an experienced and knowledgable Chinese/Asian medicine practitioner. Tongue and pulse (there are twelve to eighteen pulses on each wrist! depending on the experience of the practitioner) can give classic clues to what is going on in the body and help formulate a proper diagnosis.

*My cracker jack herbs teacher frequently admonishes us that tonic herbs taken when they are not indicated can produce undesired results: irritability, insomnia, thirst, even mouth ulcers. I have definitely noticed this with Liu Wei Di Huang and its many variations (Ming Mu Di Huang Wan and Qi Ju Di Huang Pian, both herbal formulas designed to help with presbyopia or "far sightedness" associated with aging foremost among them). I would add to her admonitions of irritability and insomnia, when tonifying herbs are prescribed inappropriately, loose stools. I don't have yet any experience with Zhi Mu Di Huang Pian, a very popular formula for chronic or recurring urinary tract infections (UTI). I hope to learn more about this formula soon.

†The English language bible of TCM herbal formulas (John & Tina Chen), cautions that exactly this sort of "Yin deficient" "Empty heat" is a contraindication in, for example, the use of Gui Pi Tang (mentioned elsewhere in this blog)-- although this is the only source text where I have found this particular admonition. All the more reason, I suppose, to work under the guidance of an experienced herbalist.

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This page contains a single entry by Mike Barr published on February 18, 2011 12:01 PM.

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