The theory of yin and yang is a kind of world outlook. It holds that all things have two opposite aspects, yin and yang, which are both opposite and at the same time interdependent. This is a universal law of the material world. These two aspects are in opposition to each other but because one end of the spectrum cannot exist without the other they are interdependent.
The Application of Yin and Yang to Chinese Medicine. Each organ has an element of yin and yang within it. The histological structures and nutrients are yin, and the functional activities are yang. Some organs are predominantly yang in their functions, such as the gan-liver, while others are predominantly yin, such as the shen-kidney. Even though one organ may be predominantly yin (or yang) in nature, the balance of yin and yang is maintained in the whole healthy body because the sum total of the yin and yang will be in a fluctuating balance.
If a condition of prolonged excess or deficiency of either yin or yang occurs then disease results. In an excess of yin the yang qi would be damaged, and a disease of cold of shi nature would develop. Excess of yang will consume yin and a disease of heat of shi nature would develop. In a deficiency of yin, diseases of heat of xu nature develop, while a deficiency of yang causes diseases of cold of xu nature.
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What Acupuncture Can Treat
It would be most accurate to say that acupuncture treats disorders of Qi, Blood, and Moisture, and disturbances of the Organ Networks-but this does not correspond to the Western vocabulary of named diseases and conditions. Acupuncture may be helpful for: Withdraw from addictions such as sugar, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, and cocaine; stress reduction; post surgical recovery; chronic fatigue; the signs of aging; and decreased immunity. Some of the many conditions for which acupuncture is considered appropriate are listed by the World Health Organization of the United Nations:
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Herbal Remedies and Supplements
Herbal medicine is itself a powerful method of healing. Western drugs often control symptoms, but do not alter the disease process ( antibiotics eliminate bacteria but do not improve a person's resistance to infection; diuretics fid excess fluid without improving kidney function). Chinese herbs treat the underlying condition as defined by traditional diagnosis, and rarely cause unwanted side-effects.
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How Western and Chinese Medicine Differ
Often Western medicine intervenes only after crisis arise, whereas Chinese medicine anticipates problems by sustaining our interior landscape. By correcting depletion and stagnation at earlier stages, greater problems later on are avoided.
Sometimes Western medicine has nothing to offer for nagging chronic complaints that Chinese medicine can help. The two are not a substitute for each other. They are often complementary. Whereas Western medicine may heroically rescue us, Chinese medicine can protect and preserve our health day to day.
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The history of the silkworm, which is also the story of silk, goes back to ancient times in China. Some of the stories have been handed down through the generations and are probably based party on fact and partly on legend and myth. The tale which persists is that about 2,640 B.C. a Chinese empress, Si-Ling-Chi, was watching the glistening amber cocoons that little worms were spinning in the mulberry trees in the palace gardens. She unwound one of the threads on a cocoon and found that it was one, very long strand of shiny material. Fascinated, she pulled strands from several cocoons through her ring to form a thicker thread. Eventually, with the help of her ladies of the court, she spun the threads into a beautiful piece of cloth to make a robe for the emperor, Huang-Ti. This magnificent material, silk, became known at the "cloth of kings".
For thousand of years on the royal family of China had silk. The Chinese kept the secret of how silk was made for 2500 years. The material was sold to the rulers of the West, but the source of the shiny thread that made the material was not revealed. The penalty in China for telling that the silk came from the cocoons of the little silkworms was death!
China is the homeland of tea. It is believed that China has tea-shrubs as early as five to six thousand years ago, and human cultivation of teaplants dates back two thousand years.
Green tea is the variety which keeps the original colour of the tea leaves without fermentation during processing. This category consists mainly of Longjing tea of Zhejiang Province, Maofeng of Huangshan Mountain in Anhui Province and Biluochun produced in Jiangsu.
Black tea, known as "red tea" (hong cha) in China, is the category which is fermented before baking; it is a later variety developed on the basis of the green tea. The best brands of black tea are Qihong of Anhui , Dianhong of Yunnan, Suhong of Jiangsu, Chuanhong of Sichuan andHuhong of Hunan.
This represents a variety half way between the green and the black teas, being made after partial fermentation. It is a specialty from the provinces on China's southeast coast: Fujian, Guangdong and Taiwan.
This is the kind of tea which is compressed and hardened into a certain shape. It is good for transport and storage and is mainly supplied to the ethnic minorities living in the border areas of the country. As compressed tea is black in colour in its commercial form, so it is also known in China as "black tea". Most of the compressed tea is in the form of bricks; it is, therefore, generally called "brick tea", though it is sometimes also in the form of cakes and bowls. It is mainly produced in Hubei, Hunan, Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.
This kind of tea is made by mixing fragrant flowers in the tea leaves in the course of processing. The flowers commonly used for this purpose are jasmine and magnolia among others. Jasmine tea is a well-known favourite with the northerners of China and with a growing number of foreigners.
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