Antirheumatic Herbs

Herbs which expel “evil” wind-and-damp-excess from the body and thereby relieve painful symptoms of rheumatism and arthritis in joints, sinews, muscles, bones and meridians belong in the “antirheumatic” group. Their primary pharmaco-dynamic effects are to drive out “wind-damp” excess accumulated in the body and to facilitate the flow of energy in the meridians. There are many forms of this ailment, and the mix of drugs used in anti-rheumatic prescriptions must follow detailed differential diagnosis.

If the ailment is external, they are mixed with diaphoretic drugs. If “wind-damp” injury has moved into the meridians and joints, causing energy and blood stagnation, they are used with blood regulators and energy regulators. If the ailment combines with heat excess and its attendant symptoms, these herbs are mixed with antipyretic, refrigerant drugs. If the patient suffers from energy and/or blood deficiency, these herbs should be used along with herbs which tonify and nourish energy and blood.

ANGELICA PUBESCENS

      ANGELICA PUBESCENS

Natural distribution: Sichuan, Hubei

Parts used: Roots

Nature: Pungent and bitter; slightly warm

Affinity: Kidneys, gall bladder

Effects: Antirheumatic; analgesic

Indications: Rheumatism and arthritis; pain and stiffness in lower back and knees

Dosage: 4-10 g

 

CLERODENDRUM TRICHOTOMUM

CLERODENDRUM TRICHOTOMUM

Natural distribution: Jiangsu, Shandong, Anhui

Parts used: Tender leaves

Nature: Bitter; cold

Affinity: Liver

Effects: Anti-rheumatic

Indications: Rheumatism and arthritis; pruritus due to damp excess; high blood pressure; hyper- tension

Dosage: 10-15 g

Remarks: The drug effectively lowers blood pressure if the tender leaves are picked before the flowers bloom; they should be brewed briefly over low heat; the roots are also used to lower blood pressure.

GENTIAN

GENTIANA MACROPHYLLA

Natural distribution: Yunnan, Sichuan

Parts used: Roots Nature: Bitter and pungent; neutral

Affinity: Stomach, liver, gall bladder

Effects: Antirheumatic; antipyretic; analgesic

Indications: Rheumatism and arthritis: painful and stiff extremities, tight muscles; jaundice due to “damp-heat” excess; yin-deficiency

Dosage: 4-10 g

 

CHINESE QUINCE

CHAENOMELES LAGENARIA

Natural distribution: Northern China, India, Taiwan

Parts used: Fruit

Nature: Sour; warm

Affinity: Liver, spleen

Effects: Antirheumatic; antispasmodic; astringent; analgesic; stomachic

Indications: Rheumatism and arthritis; swelling in feet and legs; weak lower back and knees; stomach cramps due to diarrhea and vomiting; painful legs; spasms.

Dosage: 3-10 g

Remarks: Especially effective anti- spasmodic for cramps in the calves.

 

ELEUTHEROS

ELEUTHEROCOCCUS GRACIUSTYLUS

Natural distribution: China, Japan

Parts used: Skin of the roots and stems

Nature: Pungent and bitter; warm

Affinity: Liver, kidneys

Effects: Anti-rheumatic; analgesic- diuretic; tonifies ligaments and tendons

Indications: Rheumatism and arthritis; cramps; liver and kidney deficiencies; weak lower back and legs

Dosage: 5-10 g

Remarks: A strong liquor made with this herb has effective anti-rheumatic action and also tonifies general and sexual vitality.

 

CLEMATIS VINE

    CLEMATIS CHINENSIS

Natural distribution: China, Taiwan, Vietnam

Parts used: Roots

Nature: Pungent; warm

Affinity: Bladder

Effects: Antirheumatic; analgesic; diuretic; antipyretic

Indications: Rhumatism and arthritis

Dosage: 5-10 g

Remarks: 15 g of the drug in decoction with 250 g of rice vinegar dis- solves fish bones lodged in the throat; it is incompatible with tea.

 

A TYPE OF GOURD

          LUFFA CYLINDRICA

Natural distribution: China, Indochina, Philippines, Japan

Parts used: The fibres of the fully matured fruits

Nature: Sweet; neutral

Affinity: Lungs, stomach, liver

Effects: Antirheumatic; clears the meridians; analgesic; hemostatic

Indications: Rheumatic pains in joints and sinews; aches in chest and rib-cage; painful breast tumors.

Dosage: 5-10 g

Remarks: The flesh of the fruit is used as a cooling food item in China.

 

VIPER SNAKE

      AGKISTRODON ACUTUS

Natural distribution: Eastern China, Southeast Asia

Parts used: The entire body without the head

Nature: Sweet and salty; warm

Affinity: Liver

Effects: Antirheumatic; sedative; anthelmintic

Indications: Rheumatism and arthritis; facial paralysis; paralytic strokes; leprosy; ringworm.

Dosage: 4-10 g

Remarks: Poisonous; the drug is highly effective against tetanus infections and attendant spasmic convulsions.

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