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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Diet Therapy for Diabetes: Part 4 of 5

NOTE: Following is the fourth of five excerpts on diabetes from one of Dr. Leung's earlier writings. This originally appeared in 1997 in Dr. Leung's newsletter, Leung's Chinese Herb News, Issue 11, page 3. -ed

In a recent issue of the Shizen Journal of TCM Research [Shizhen Guoyao Yanjiu,8(6): 553 (1997)], numerous simple treatments of diabetes using common Chinese foods or herbs are summarized by three doctors from the Caiyuan Municipal People's Hospital of Shandong Province. The following recipes are based on herbs/foods that should be available in Chinese or other ethnic stores in North America.

Lycium Fruit

This is the fruit of the above Lycium species (editor's note: see the third post in this series). For diabetes, simply eat 10 to 20 g a day. It can be eaten as one would raisins. It has a similar texture as raisin but a little bit less sweet. Lycium fruit is a well-known Chinese yin tonic widely used in traditional Chinese medicine and as a disease-preventive food. It is rich in amino acids and its polysaccharides have been shown to have broad biological activities (antioxidant, antimutagenic, immunomodulating, antistress, antitumor, etc.). I have written about it in previous issues of this newsletter (see Issues 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7). It has become one of my favorite Chinese herbs for very personal reasons. I am one of those people with excessive yang. These people are full of energy, usually hyperactive, and prone to constipation, especially if they do not watch their diet. After using a lycium fruit product daily for the past 16 months, everything else as usual, I have not had a single incidence of constipation, despite my hectic traveling schedule. The reason I hadn't started correcting my problem earlier is for two reasons. First, I was torn between my scientific training and my traditional Chinese medical belief. On the one hand, despite my open-mindedness regarding nonconventional health practices, my scientific mind kept admonishing me not to accept anything that has not been "proven" by science. Besides, occasional constipation is only an inconvenience, not a major problem, which can easily be corrected by a laxative. For this reason, I never pushed for the alternative solution. Second, in order to solve my problem, it is not just a matter of watching my diet. It used to occur once in a while, whether or not I ate lots of fruits and vegetables during that time. I knew it was not the foods that I was eating, nor stress, but rather, my basic yang constitution. If it were a more serious problem, I could have started cooking up Chinese yin tonics to correct it. To do so would involve preparing the concoctions daily for months, which I was too lazy to do, especially for such a minor and common condition. But then I had the opportunity to prepare such a product in a convenient modern dosage form for one of my clients. That was 16 months ago. I can tell you, I have been a happy camper since. And I have not lost my other yang qualities, either! Modern nutritionists think that if you eat a "nutritionally" balanced diet, you should never have a constipation problem. But it is not true, because we are not all equal "living machines". Every one of us is different. A yin person can eat the same foods as a yang person and have diarrhea, while the yang person has constipation. Why can't we accept that? A basic flaw in modern conventional medical practice, in my opinion, is that it assumes everyone is the same and does not take common sense and empirical wisdom seriously. Where are the doctors' grandmas?!

These and more herbal remedies are available from the volumes of Dr. Leung’s newsletter, of the same name as this blog (Leung’s Chinese Herb News). This newsletter was published and sent to subscribers (most were industry-insiders) from 1996 to 2004. The collected works now serve as an excellent reference work, created with Dr. Leung’s frank, honest opinions and down-to-earth communication style.For more information about Dr. Leung and his writings, visit http://www.earthpower.com/. To order the newsletter containing the remedies mentioned above, visit the bookstore, click “Buy Now” on the newsletter, and select Issue # 11 from the drop down list.

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