Friday, August 11, 2017

Five Powerful Fatigue Fighters! Increase Energy and Vitality with these Adaptogenic Herbs

Your alarm goes off and it’s a struggle to get up.  You have a full day of things you need or want to do but feel too tired to do them. After your morning coffee, you have a little more energy, but that wears off by noon. In the afternoon, you start to feel drowsy and turn to another cup of coffee or 5-hour energy – giving you a short boost. Then you hit the wall. 

For centuries, people have turned to the highly-valued Chinese tonic herbs, known as adaptogens, to replenish their energy reserves naturally, support the immune system and adrenals and bring the body back into balance. These are five of the most prized energy-boosting herbs that will restore your vital energy.


Ginseng is not a stimulant but rather an adaptogen that supports the body’s natural response to stress, anxiety and physical and mental exertion. It helps replenish depleted adrenals and enhances energy, memory, focus and overall vitality. A recent double-blind study tested the effectiveness of panax ginseng in patients suffering from fatigue. The study concluded that patients taking ginseng experienced increased energy as well as greater improvement in cognitive function and lower levels of free radicals in the blood.


Cordyceps is one of the most valuable mushrooms for supporting the immune system, increasing energy and endurance. Research has shown that Cordyceps increases energy by raising ATP levels (the primary energy carrier in all living organisms), by lowering levels of lactic acid (which make us feel tired) and by increasing insulin sensitivity which gives cells more access to fuel for energy and also lowers one’s risk for diabetes in the long run. It is also a powerful tonic for the lungs.

Rhodiola is an adaptogen that strengthens the body’s response to physical, mental, and emotional stressors. In a study with physicians on night call it was shown that the rhodiola group had a significant reduction in stress-induced fatigue as well as improved physical and mental performance. Rhodiola also improves exercise performance and endurance by activating the synthesis or re-synthesis of ATP and stimulating energy repair processes after exercise. In addition to increasing energy, Rhodiola enhances healthy sleep, lifts depression, reduces anxiety and helps keep blood sugar in a healthy range.

Eleuthero Ginseng
Eleuthero, also known as Siberian ginseng, can boost energy, sharpen mental concentration and help improve strength and stamina. It is a prized herb for athletes to naturally enhance their performance. Studies of Eleuthero’s effects on human performance show that the plant increases tolerance to a broad range of stress factors, including heat, noise and increased exercise. The extract of the eleuthero root increases energy, work output, endurance, athletic performance and mental alertness. It also shows remarkable protective benefits under conditions of oxygen deprivation, so it is beneficial for people who will be going to high altitudes.


As an adaptogen, gynostemma (or jiaogulan) increases energy, endurance, stamina while reducing mental and emotional stress. It also helps stabilize blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity. Considered the “herb of immortality,” gynostemma is also known to extend longevity, support the immune system, lower cholesterol, lower high blood pressure and improve heart function.

 So turn your fatigue into energy with these powerful herbs. You can try any of these herbs individually by boiling them and making a tea.  Or, you can take the formula, Supreme Immune Tonic by Six Persimmons Apothecary that has all of the above herbs prepared in a potent 10:1 concentration.  It is available at Six Persimmons Apothecary.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Alopecia Areata: Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs Regenerate Hair with a 90.32% Success Rate

by Kathy Thorpe, MA, CHom

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal remedies are proving to be the most successful treatments for Alopecia or hair loss.

What causes Alopecia?
Although Alopecia is not well understood, some of the causes include:

·      an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the hair follicles
·      a stress reaction (worry or anxiety which impairs spleen function and reduces the flow or quality of blood to the hair follicles)
·      hypothyroidism
·      the result of chemotherapy or radiation used in cancer treatments
·      anemia
·      genetic male-pattern balding
·      topically applied chemicals to the scalp that damage the hair follicles
·      heavy metals or even exposure of the hair follicles to shower water with heavy metals

Western Medical Treatment
Western medical treatments usually include corticosteroid injections or topical steroid creams which may decrease the hair loss if it is caused from inflammation. Hair loss often improves during treatment but often recurs once treatment is stopped because the underlying cause has not been addressed.

Chinese Medical Approach
Chinese medical doctors see that alopecia is caused by a deficiency of blood, blood heat or blood stasis which causes the hair follicles to be undernourished. Deficiency of liver qi and kidney qi may also cause alopecia because the liver stores the blood which nourishes the hair and the kidneys produce bone marrow which is responsible for the growth of hair. Treatment focuses on acupuncture and herbs that will move and nourish the blood while nourishing the liver and kidneys.

Researchers have recently published a study concluding that acupuncture combined with the herbal formula Huoxue Shengfa is safe and effective for alleviating alopecia areata. Their research was published in the Clinical Journal of Chinese Medicine in 2015.

In this study, participants received 7-star acupuncture treatments twice per week on the hair loss areas and they orally consumed the Huoxue Shengfa decoction three times per day for three months.

The test results showed that the total recovery rate for the treatment group was 90.32% with a recurrence rate of 9.68%.

The theory behind choosing the formula Huoxue Shengfa is that the doctors concluded that it is best to resolve blood stasis in order to treat alopecia areata.  Resolving blood stasis helps to promote qi and blood circulation, thereby supplying vital nutrients to the hair.  In this herbal formula, Dang Gui has been shown to regulate blood platelet aggregation and benefit the circulation in the blood vessels while Dan Shen helps to promote blood circulation and repair tissues. The other herbs in the formula also build or move the blood. 

The 7-star acupuncture treatments promote blood circulation, especially to the scalp, reduce inflammation and improve follicle health. As soon as blood flow increases, nutrient levels at different areas of the scalp are replenished to encourage hair growth.

David Scrimgeour, Licensed Acupuncturist in Boulder Colorado, has used this protocol with his patients with success. “It works,” says Scrimgeour, “but you must be patient because it takes three months for the hair follicles and new hair cells to regenerate.  I start seeing new hair growth around 7 weeks with good growth in three months.”  Scrimgeour states that not only does the alopecia resolve, but hair all over the head becomes fuller and thicker.  

Diet and Nutrition to Support Hair Growth
In addition to the herbal formula and acupuncture, David Scrimgeour also recommends including an abundance of dark green leafy vegetables, quality lean protein, seaweed, and brightly colored foods that are valued for building the blood such as goji berries, dried apricots, purple grapes, blackberries and raspberries. He also recommends bone broths to support the liver and the building of marrow. 

Protect the Scalp
As far as protecting the scalp, Scrimgeour reminds patients to choose only a mild organic shampoo and use a water filter for the shower.  People often think about the water they drink, but they forget that the water used on their hair and scalp daily may have heavy metals (especially if it is well water) or chlorine and fluoride (for city water).

Two Supplements for Hair Growth
Scrimgeour also recommends two supplements to support hair growth:  Biotin (5 mg/day) which improves keratin or the protein that makes up hair and nails and N’Acetyl Cysteine (1,000 mg/day) which is an anti-oxidant that promotes hair growth. 

Scalp Massage and Headstands!
Two other things you can do to promote scalp health and hair growth:  every night before bed, massage your scalp for five minutes, and when you wake in the morning, do a headstand or yoga inversion poses to bring blood circulation to the head. 

With Acupuncture and Chinese herbs as well as some of these recommendations, you'll soon be noticing new hair growth as well as a healthier scalp. 

David Scrimgeour specializes in treating chronic illness and practices Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine at his clinic in Boulder, Colorado. For more information, he can be reached at 303 413-9596 or through his website:

The herbal formula Huoxue Shengfa is available in a formula called Hair Restore by Six Persimmons Apothecary

Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine: Effective Support for People with Cancer

By Kathy Thorpe, MA, CHom, Boulder, CO Getting a cancer diagnosis can be one of the most devastating moments in a person's life....