Calm in a Storm
小柴胡汤 (Thorowax/bupleurm Root Soup)
Relaxing, Detoxifying, Balancing
These are the times that try men’s (and women’s) souls, and our nerves and our budget. Herbal relief comes in the form of a stringy looking twig called thorowax known for thousands of years in Chinese medicine as chai hu in Latin: bupleurum. It was first described in a medical text dating back to the first century BC and is widely grown and used all over China today.
When our body struggles against a cold or flu, we may feel alternating chills and fever. We may have a bitter taste in our mouth because digestion, especially the liver/gallbladder, is stressed. We may have upset stomach, vertigo, dizziness, aggravation or irritability, or tightness in the chest. Some people may feel these discomforts worse during Spring time or as a result of poor diet, emotional upset or lack of sleep. Bupleurum has traditionally been used to improve all of these discomforts that the body suffers while trying to regain harmony. Bupleurum lowers fever and enhances our protection against stress.
For people who are weak from chronic diarrhea or following childbirth, if they have hemorrhoids, anal or uterine prolapse, bupleurum strengthens our Qi, the vital energy in our middle. When we practice yoga, tai chi or qigong, or a martial, we breathe and focus on the strength that comes from our center, a few inches below the navel. Have you noticed how people who stand straight, speak or sing with a supported breath instead of from a tight throat, people who seem to have confidence, or who regularly practice a form of meditation, seem more centered? That is the digestive and emotional center of our vitality which is supported by bupleurum, chai hu.
Additional herbs in Calm in a Storm include a form of Chinese skullcap Scutellaria (huang qin) which reduces fever, irritability, thirst, cough and thick yellow sputum, red eyes, headache and facial redness. Ginger, pinellia, cardamom, semen coicis (Job’s tears) reduces water retention; Smilax (tu fu ling) is used for reducing joint pain and jaundice. Tangerine peel, ginger, ginseng and kombu help to support vitality. Honeysuckle flower is added as a broad-spectrum antibiotic to kill germs and chrysanthemum flower reduces fever, headache and eye strain. With a cool head and a strong center, we can face the day’s challenges with a clear-eyed determination.
Bupleurum root, scutellaria root, ginger, pinellia tuber, apricot kernel, cardamom, semen coicis, bamboo leaf, talc, smilax glabra rhizorne, licorice root, tangerine peels, ginseng root, kombu, honeysuckle flower, chrysanthemum flower
People who are unfamiliar with Chinese herbs may find their smell to be strong and taste at times bitter. We suggest that you become acquainted with them gradually. Empty the package of herbs into – quarts of water and simmer them for 30 minutes. A non-metal pot works best. If you have it use a ceramic coated or glass pot. The same herbs may be used again, the second cooking can be as long as 1 hour. Inhale the steam to help clear sinus congestion and head and throat discomforts. Allow the mixture to cool until it is comfortably warm. For fever, drink a small tea cup every two hours or as needed. If necessary you might add a little fresh lemon juice or raw honey to improve the flavor. Cold/flu teas and herbs are best used between meals so that they do not interfere with digestion.
If diarrhea occurs after using detoxifying herbs, reduce the dosage. If weakness occurs after several day’s use, baring allergy, you might use a tonic herb such as reishi mushroom. Please see Fatigue Fighter in this selection of Herbal Rescue teas.