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January 11, 2012

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DIY for itching, cold sores, cuts

PATIENTS worried about side effects of some prescribed medicine, especially Western, can make their own traditional Chinese medicine treatments and keep them on hand in a "safe" medicine cabinet.

Chen Yunbin, author of the best-selling "The Wisdom of Eating at Home," shares some effective DIY treatments, all made with natural herbs and foods, nothing synthesized in a laboratory. They include treatments for eczema, stomach ulcers, dry nasal cavity and wounds.

Professor Qian Hai of the Shanghai University of TCM comments on each home prescription.

DIY eczema relief

Babies often develop eczema due to wet diapers and drooling, and they can't keep themselves from itching, which makes it worse and may cause infection and healing problems.

Though coristeroidal creams are often prescribed to stop the itch fast, many parents are reluctant to apply those creams to babies' skin.

Herbs can be made into safe cream to stop itching and start the healing process, according to Chen.

A mixture of lotus root starch and honey is recommended; the lotus root can help detoxify the "pathogenic" energy causing the skin eruptions, while honey is an antibiotic and accelerates the healing. It is also safe if ingested by a baby.

Ingredients: Lotus root starch (?o·?), honey

Preparation: Mix lotus root starch and honey in a proportion of 1:5 and stir until even.

Application: Apply to affected area once a day for 2-3 days.

Benefits: Helps relieve itch, stops fluid secretion or "weeping" and accelerates healing.

Expert comment: Lotus root helps dispel pathogenic heat, while honey helps reduce inflammation. It can be used for diaper rash and other skin problems related to pathogenic heat.

DIY mouth ulcer relief

Many people get cold sores or mouth ulcers because of cold, dry weather and many yang ("hot" energy) foods like mutton and longan to warm our systems. Fatigue also can trigger mouth ulcers.

Though it's a minor problem, it can cause pain and discomfort while eating, especially salty or spicy foods that can aggravate the inflammation.

Pathogenic heat-dispelling TCM oral medicine can help cure the problem but cannot provide instant relief. Once again honey, this time with isatis (°?à??ù, woad root or indigo root) can help and reduce the discomfort. The mixture detoxifies and sterilizes and forms a protective layer over the lesion.

Ingredients: Patent TCM drug "Banlangen Chongji" (°?à??ù3??á, isatis root electuary), honey

Preparation: Mix the isatis root electuary (medical paste) and honey in a proportion of 1:1 and stir until even.

Application: Apply every half hour or so, using cotton bud. Continue 2-3 days or until sore disappears.

Benefits: Reduces direct contact with lesion and promotes healing.

Expert comment: Qing dai (indigo) in the leaves of isatis root is the active ingredient that dispels pathogenic heath, cools blood and detoxify. It's a main ingredient in TCM patent drug "Xi Lei San" (?yààé¢) prescribed for mouth ulcers and sore throats. Professor Qian says the patent drug is easier to use the more effective since it contains other ingredients such as bezoar, parl and borneol resin.

DIY for dry, itchy nose

Both chronic inflammation of the nose and dry nose patients suffer in dry winter with increased itchiness and sometimes nosebleeds.

Rinsing with water is not recommended, health writer Chen says, since it may disturb the self-cleansing function of the nasal cavity.

Ingredients: 1 turnip (°×?ü2·), honey


1. Chop turnip into small pieces.

2. Wrap in gauze and squeeze out turnip juice.

3. Add honey and stir until even.

Application: Apply in nasal cavity with cotton bud for itchiness and discomfort as needed.

Benefits: Quickly relieves itch and dryness, smells nice.

Expert comment: Turnip is a nourishing food. Cooked turnip soup is often recommended to nourish the lungs and turnip juice can nourish other organs.

DIY wound healing

Jin chuang yao (?e′′ò?), literally "medicine for wounds made by metal," is a legendary concoction frequently mentioned in martial arts fiction as a cure for severe knife, spear and arrow wounds.

Actually, jin chuang yao is a general name for wound medication and there are many prescriptions. Longan fruit is an active ingredient in many treatments.

A good wound-healing treatment should be accelerate healing and reduce scarring afterward. After cleaning a wound, ground longan powder can be applied directly before bandaging.

Antiseptic may also be needed before bandaging. If the wound is caused by something rusty, dirty or contaminated, see a doctor for a tetanus shot. Don't DIY.

Ingredients: 1 longan core


1. Mash core, discard peel, grind into powder.

2. Dry in the sunshine.

Application: Spread powder on wound and bandage.

Benefits: Helps accelerate healing and minimize or prevent scarring.

Expert comment: Longan core can be both used for external and internal application. It can help stop bleeding, relieve pain, relieve energy flow and dispel pathogenic damp. It's often prescribed for bleeding wounds and hernias.


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