My Top 10 Chinese Herbal Remedies and Flying Squirrel Feces...Yes, Flying Squirrel Feces

While living in Chengdu, China - home of pandas, spicy Sichuan food and crazy English translations of signs - I went on a hike to one of the top Taoist Mountains in China, Mount Qingcheng (pronounced “Chingchang” - that’s totally its name Google it) with a famous Chinese herbalist, Dr. Shen. It was here, while hiking, cutting tree bark, gathering leaves and picking flowers and herbs in the forest, that my love for Chinese herbalism was born.

When I first started school for acupuncture I didn’t understand how important herbs were to the practice of Chinese Medicine, but I soon realized that an acupuncturist who only uses needles is like a professional golfer without a short game. You need both to be a complete practitioner of Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture and herbs are like peanut butter and jelly, bread and butter, Daisy and the Dukes of Hazzard, Sonny and Cher, Lionel Richie and me (you get the idea).

You may be thinking, “Gabriel, what’s so great about herbs?” The short answer is…everything! As opposed to Western medicine and herbalism, Chinese medicine uses formulas that blend 5 to 12 herbs tailored to each patient’s specific needs. These herbal blends result in quicker results with fewer negative side effects and are available in pill, powder or liquid/tea forms. Herbs are a necessary complement to acupuncture and other Chinese medicinal practices like cupping, gua sha and moxabustion. Herbs are the physical therapy to your torn ACL surgery – you can’t fully heal without both. Also, while there are well-known formulas that I prescribe, the best part about Chinese herbalism is that I can write a personal formula just for you and your specific health issues. Example: Debbie has diarrhea. She is bloated and has really bad gas. I can develop a customized formula that would include 3 to 4 herbs to stop the diarrhea, 3 herbs for bloating and 2 to 3 herbs to stop Debbie’s smelly farts (you’re welcome Debbie’s co-worker Jim). Although there are hundreds of Chinese herbs and herbal formulas, these are some of my favorites and what they treat: 1. Skin Issues: Cicadae Shells (Chan Tui) Cicadae shells may look and sound gross, but when cooked up or made into a powder Chan Tui doesn’t taste bad at all and is amazing for skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema. 2. Chest, Abdominal & PMS Pain: Wu Ling Zhi FLYING SQUIRREL FECES Flying. Squirrel. Feces. Ok let’s just absorb that for a second… While not legal in the US (so don’t expect me to write a formula for you with this one), there are some fun facts about flying squirrel feces that warranted it a place on this list:

  • It can be harvested year round (so it has that going for it)
  • It’s dried in the sun that removes the impurities (whatever that means for poop).
  • If flying squirrel feces weren’t illegal in the US, I would prescribe it for missed or painful periods, postpartum abdominal pain and chest pain.

3. Emotional Issues: Gou Qi Zi or Gou Ji Berries Gou Ji berries are great for emotional issues, such as depression and anxiety. They also boost energy, are good for your stomach, improve cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure and naturally treat diabetes. 4. Libido, Insomnia and more: Ren Shen Ginseng No Viagra needed! Ren Shen Ginseng strengthens the system, increases libido, aids in digestion, strengthens the lungs, calms the mind and helps with insomnia. 5. PMS & Menopause: Dang Gui Known as the female ginseng, Dang Gui is great for menopausal symptoms, regulating menstrual cycles, hot flashes and PMS. 6. Anti-Aging, Immune System & Strength Building: Ling Zhi or Reishi Mushroom Ling Zhi is the Tom Brady of Chinese herbs. It harmonizes the mind, body and spirit, strengthens the immune system, calms the heart, protects the liver, has anti-aging properties and improves strength and stamina. 7. Flu & Common Cold: Yin Qiao San One of the most popular formulas with my patients in the winter months, Yin Qiao San treats the flu and the common cold and is great for sore throats. 8. Gynecological Issues: Xiao Yao San Skip the pint of double fudge ice cream and try Xiao Yao San instead. This formula is used for regulating menstrual cycles, soothing your emotions and decreasing irritability, moodiness, breast distension and painful menstrual cramps. 9. Exhaustion, Fatigue & Weakness: Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang Tired all the time? Bu Zhong Yi Qi Tang is the formula for you. It’s great for treating exhaustion, fatigue, weakness, frailness and cold. It also strengthens digestion. 10. Digestion Issues: Shen Ling Bai Zhu San If you come to me clutching your stomach you’ll likely get this formula from me. Shen Ling Bai Zhu San aids in digestion and helps stop diarrhea.

If you’d like to set up an appointment with Gabriel, please call (212) 473-3750 or email gabrielsher@yahoo.com.