The Chinese Traditional Medicine formula Xiao Yao San, a mixture of medicinal plant roots have been used to treat symptoms of deficient blood. The three herbs include Bupleurum radix (Chai hu), Angelica sinensis (Dang gui) and Paeonia sp. (Bai shao) and may include others. I discuss the components and mode of action of Chai hu below and have previous articles on Dang gui and Bai shao.
Anorexia is a problem among young teens who are extremely image conscious and have a desire to look very thin. In their zeal they eat too little and over exercise. This is a ‘disease’ of the wealthier girls because poor girls value food and are hungry. The rich girls have plenty of food but they are bombarded with images of thin celebrities and aim to reach that ideal, unrealistic goal. Some girls die before they can be hospitalized. In most girls their periods stop because of many internal reasons. Modern medicine is unable to quickly ‘cure’ this symptom of anorexia. Doctors try to make the girls aware that they are losing bone mass due to lower calcium stores in their body, which will develop into early osteoporosis. The girls refuse to understand and continue to starve themselves. Many need to be hospitalized.
Traditional medicinal treatment of anorexia involves a team of doctors – the family pediatrician, a nutritionist, and a pshychiatrist. They can meet for seven years and not get a cure, which is getting the periods back and a normal BMI or Body Mass Index. There are several published articles on curing anorexia. Traditional Chinese Medicine in combination with a protein, carbohydrate and fat rich diet should be strongly encouraged because anorexia is an ancient disease and achieving normal blood flow has been achieved. Modern medicine may prescribe birth control pills which may induce periods but when stopped the periods stop too. Also, sometimes the teens are too young and it simply feels wrong to prescribe birth control pills. I would urge parents to learn about this natural option, which is far safer for the child.
Chai hu, is a popularly used medicinal plant dried root in Chinese traditional medicine in a multicomponent mixture of herbs. Yamakage and colleagues (Am. J. Chi. Med., 2006) showed that the extracts of Bupleurum radix activated spontaneous lymphatic vasomotion and lymph flow. Heldon and Zhao (CEPP, 2000), showed that lymphatic vessel vasomotion, a rhythmic contraction is controlled by the Calcium store and it can be near synchronous over large vessel lengths and involve many cells.
Several published Chinese scientific articles discuss the components of Chai hu. A chromatographic analysis shows that Saikosaponins are the main components of which SSa and SSd are in largest concentrations (Xu, Huang, & Zhang, School of Pharmacy, Shanghai; 2008). Chen and colleagues (2007) have shown that Saikopanin c could prevent the development of nephritis in mice and hence could modulate renal or kidney disease. Click here for photo source.