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How to Strengthen the Kidneys With Chinese Herbs

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Because the kidneys are responsible for the elimination of toxins through urine, they are associated with the element water, which is where the Chinese believe the body's essence resides. A beautiful reference to the kidneys made by traditional Chinese healers is that they are the "ocean of the body."

When the kidneys are not in balance, the entire body is affected with various symptoms occurring such as inflammation, infection, and obstruction. Through centuries of use, Chinese herbs prove to be one of the most potent and effective ways to strengthen the kidneys through their cleansing and balancing properties.

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Applying the Concept of Yin and Yang

Very simply and briefly, the principle of yin and yang has to do with the feminine and masculine principles, which translate into dark and light, warm and cool, and other opposites. When the kidneys are out of balance, Chinese herbalists believe that this is because the balance of yin and yang is out of sync due to an improper ratio of temperature. Various symptoms indicate when the kidneys are out of balance due to a Yin deficiency, such as:

• Blurred vision
• Ringing in the ears
• Dizziness
• Pain in the lower back
• Pain in the knees
• Forgetfulness
• Insomnia
• Night sweats
• Low sperm count
• Decreased menstrual flow

When the kidneys are out of balance due to a Yang deficiency, symptoms can occur such as:

• Aversion to cold
• Weak lower back
• Weak knees
• Weak and slow pulse
• Frequent urination
• Impotence

There are various Chinese herbs that address these problems, helping to bring the kidneys back to healthful balance and strength. Let's examine a few.

Yin Deficiency

Ho Shou Wu With its alternative name, Flowery Knotweed, Ho Shou Wu has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to restore strength to weak kidneys due to insufficient Yin. The herb is generally found in Southern and Central China where it has been cultivated for centuries, dating back to 713 AD. It is mentioned in Chinese medical tomes for the balancing and tonifying properties that help to balance the kidneys and the liver. Ho Shou Wu contains powerful bioflavenoids and functions similarly to Ginseng root in terms of increasing potency and stamina. In addition to cleansing the kidneys of toxins, it is known for its contribution to longevity. Additionally, it helps to restore hair loss and premature graying, which are also symptomatic of weak kidneys. It is for this that the name Ho Shou Wu came about, as Shou Wu means "healthy head of black hair!"

Shu Di Hyang

Known in the west as Chinese Foxglove or Rhemanna, Shu Di Hyang is another essential herb for fighting Yin deficiency in the kidneys. One of the most popular kidney tonics, it is found in many anti-aging formulas as it helps to cool the blood by removing unwanted heat, thus restoring the kidneys' vital essence. Using the root in either fresh or dry form or taken as tiny globules made of the baked and dried root, Shu Di Hyang is used by traditional Chinese healers to bring back the Yin/Yang balance in order to restore optimum overall health.

Yang Deficiency

Rou Gui

In western culture, this herb is known as Cinnamon bark or Cassia. Because it easily warms the system, it helps kidneys discharge an excess of cooling energy, which can often prevent blood flow to the area. Rou Gui helps the kidneys eliminate toxins by activating what the Chinese call Qi, or energy. This in turn allows nutrients to flow to the kidneys, helping to strengthen them for optimum performance.

Ba Ji Tian A potent herb for balancing yang deficiency, Bai Ji Tian contains copious amounts of antioxidants, including vitamin C. Because of this, Chinese herbalists use the entire plant for its ability to overcome a myriad of problems including fatigue and pain in the joints. In the West many of us have heard of Noni, which is another name for this prolific and hardy shrub that grows in the Pacific Islands. Also known as Morinda Citrifolia, Ba Ji Tian is used to warm the kidneys, thus increasing urination, which in turn expels toxins.

Note on Chinese Herbal Medicine: There are many expert traditional Chinese herbalists practicing throughout the world. Ask your health-care expert for a recommendation and be sure to consult with him or her before embarking on a Chinese herb remedy to avoid any contraindications.

Michele Kadison
The Body In Form

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