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Using Traditional Chinese Medicine

by: Yifang Zhang

New York NY: Better Link Press 2013, $17.98, Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-60220-140-8

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Winter Volume: 2013 Issue: 20(4) page(s): 14

Subtitled: To Manage Your Emotional Health, this volume is a reprint of a 2010 book published by Reader's Digest. It discusses how herbs, natural foods, and acupressure can regulate and harmonize mind and body and learning to manage one's emotions naturally.

The book promises simple practical steps to get in touch with the 'inner you' to improve emotional outlook. In seven chapters it discusses managing emotions according to temperament, the five elements, and yin-yang theory using heart, liver, kidney, and digestive systems, and seasonal differences.

Read and use TCM's natural remedies that do include foods and herbs, acupressure, and healthy habits. All of these can restore the mind and the body’s equilibria.

This book is based on ten actual cases explaining their management systems by coping with life's common imbalances. Every chapter includes an old TCM proverb. Reading the book makes it sound easy, actuating change is less so.

We like the case studies and their analyses, but did find the remedies and solutions less easy than indicated. Peach kernels, pistachios, and walnuts when crushed and taken with food do little to relieve anxiety. Nonetheless, they did make us feel better.

Nervousness, fear, tinnitus, and hair loss made as a decoction using Schisandra berry, sesame, walnuts, black beans, and foti root might have done the trick if we could locate it, but we did not. The Chicken Soup recipe with added wine, ginger, and scallions can increase energy and vitality and reduce anxiety and fear.

Clearly we might have done better under the guidance of a licensed TCM practitioner. We know that helping self is not the best way to practice medicine, nor is treating ones self. We did like recommendations that include eating healthy foods, exercising outdoors in sunlight, and listening to music. More specifics about these can improve mood, mind, and body.

The pictures are clear and valuable, the twelve-page chart of dozens of foods, here called 'plant names' are in Chinese characters and include temperature, taste, functions, dosage, and how to eat them. It makes comparing them and how to handle them very clear.

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