The Chinese have always been looking for ways to improve health. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has slowly evolved from the 2nd century BC and continues to gain popularity today. Although some of the medical techniques are strange and sometimes disgusting, many attest to their effectiveness.
TCM is certainly becoming more popular in the Western world. In 2016, fans were shocked when Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps won a gold medal at the Rio Games while sporting bizarre circular bruises. The dots were a result of cupping, an ancient technique that promotes blood circulation and eases muscle pains. Needless to say, cupping is now becoming a popular method for Westerners. Here are eight unusual Chinese medications that actually work.
There is little doubt that ginseng is the most widely-used plant in TCM. The oddly-shaped root is believed to work wonders on everything from fatigue to mild diabetes. Nevertheless, scientists are still skeptical about its effects.
So does ginseng actually work? Researchers have found that the root has antioxidant properties that can improve brain functions. In addition to that, ginseng can reportedly reduce cancer risk and treat erectile dysfunction.
Here’s another TCM you’ve already heard of. Acupuncture can reportedly do wonders on a great number of diseases. Some scientists have even concurred that the needle-based treatment works in alleviating chronic pain.
Acupuncture isn’t just great at dealing with fibromyalgia and other conditions. The Chinese reportedly use needles as an alternative form of anesthesia during surgery.
3. Softshell Turtles
We already know that softshell turtles are often made into soups because they taste delicious. However, these turtles also have medicinal properties and are quite in demand for TCM.
The turtle’s shell can reportedly promote immune globulin production in the body, thus boosting the immune system. The shell is also used to treat diarrhea and moisturize the skin.
There’s an interesting reason why seahorses are believed to aid in sexual performance and libido. After all, the males of these strange little fishes have the ability to give birth to hundreds of babies at once. However, there are other reasons why they are so popular in TCM.
The seahorse is also used to bolster kidney strength. It can also treat asthma, fatigue, incontinence, and mental diseases.
5. Deer Sinew
Did you know that Bambi’s tissue and ligaments can actually strengthen bones and tendons? Deer sinew is reportedly high in collagen peptide and proteins which reduce bone loss and osteoporosis progression.
That’s not the only reason why deer sinew is used in TCM. It could also reduce muscle spasms and relieve arthritis temporarily.
6. Caterpillar Fungus
Most people would steer clear of the parasitic fungi Cordyceps because of what it does to most insects. However, the Chinese love these fungi, which is referred to as “worm grass”, and often use it in TCM.
How does Cordyceps work? The fungus is often used by athletes to enhance their performance. Caterpillar fungus can also treat kidney and liver problems as well as reduce tumors.
Did you know that sea stars have anti-inflammatory properties? Starfish is regularly used to treat heart disease, allergies, and asthma.
The benefits don’t end there. Sea stars can cure irritable bowel syndrome as well as reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Believe it or not, dried lizards might cure your cough. Geckos are utilized in TCM to treat a cough and minor colds. This is because the lizards are believed to improve the condition of your lungs.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. Dried geckos are also advised if you need something to nourish your kidneys. They can also get rid of impotence and premature ejaculation but the last two are still up for debate.
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