Chinese Herbal Secrets by Stefan Chmelik, publ. by Avery $17.95.
Now this book is a gem! Full color illustrations on every page to exemplify the text. You don’t have to do much reading and it is absolutely amazing how much Chinese medical theory is presented in this text.
I would heartily recommend it as a first book for anyone wanting to become acquainted with Chinese herbal medicine and then, of course I would suggest my own Way of Chinese Herbs (Pocket Books) and after that by Lesley Tierra and myself, Chinese Traditional Herbal Medicine Vol. 1 and 2, publ. by Lotus press. Sorry for the self plug, but why would I write these books if I didn’t think they would be useful? Seriously, you’ve just got to go out and buy Chinese Herbal Secrets.
Besides the herbs, there are photographs of beautiful naked people. Now that should be an incentive to buy the book.
For those of you who are skilled in TCM I know you will appreciate it, as Lesley and I did, for its beauty and the occasional clarification of several points that may be a little hazy or unclear in our understanding.
There are chapters on common Western diseases, physiological systems with causes and treatments in terms of herbs, diet and lifestyle.
Just looking at the allergies section on pages 78 and 79, there’s the usual description of conventional Western medicine’s inability to satisfactorily address this condition, the types of allergies and sensitivities attractively illustrated in a box.
At the bottom a number of cartoon-esque full color causes ranging from pollen, dust mites, household products, to pollution.
Then there is a clear chart on the Chinese concepts of allergies: These include Wind — a difficult term to define but as I see it it is involved with the histaminic overreactions some bodies make that cause some people to be more susceptible to substances than others.
In general I think herbal antihistamines have both diaphoretic and antispasmodic properties.
Dampness and phlegm are constitutional issues from too much mucus in the body causing its discharge to be triggered by various pollens and other airborne substances.
Deficiency of Qi and Blood represent immune deficiencies of various types and the TCM understanding goes far beyond the usual “take Siberian ginseng” often used by some people to define underlying deep nutritional and hormonal deficiencies.