Friday, June 3, 2011

Wŭ líng zhī: the unsung hero of Chinese herbs!

Wŭ líng zhī: the unsung hero of Chinese herbs!
by Dr. Nina La, D.C., L.Ac.
Adjunct Professor, Kaplan University School of Health Sciences
Allied medical staff, Tri-City Regional Medical Center

Two days ago, I got into a very interesting discussion about Chinese herbs with my students. The question I presented to the class was this, “What are Chinese herbs?” And that opened doors to the most interesting discussion in HW205: Vitamins, Nutrition and Herbal Supplements!

The answers the students gave me revolved around just plants or plant-like materials, which is only partly accurate. Then, I asked them if the picture below is considered an “herb.” To you, readers, I ask the same thing, are these brown-black balls of stone-like materials considered an “herb”?



Yes, many of you have caught on. This is a Chinese herb called wŭ líng zhī (五灵脂), and if you are not already an herbalist and/or an acupuncturist, the translation may throw you out of your seat! Wŭ líng zhī literally translates to “fat of the five spirits.” The Latin translation? Feces Trogopterori Seu Pteromi or Flying Squirrel Feces! Yes, you did not just read it incorrectly; I did just say “feces,” the product of these cute little squirrels below who got their name due to their ability to “glide” between trees. And no, they cannot fly like you would expect a bat to!






Wŭ líng zhī has the ability to invigorate the blood to relieve pain and works well in conditions such as menses pain, postpartum abdominal pain, epigastric pain or chest pain. It also works wonder in treatment of clotty uterine bleeding!

If you’ve been to an acupuncturist or herbalist lately with one of the conditions above, chances are, you would have been given this wonderful herbal formula called Shī xiào sǎn 失笑散, simply translated to (Sudden Smile Powder), where Wŭ líng zhī serves as one of the two main ingredients! According to one of my professors when I was in my acupuncture alternative medicine school, the name Shī xiào sǎn actually got its name from when patients would smile after ingesting the formula. They say the patients smile because they suddenly have no more pain, but I say the patients smile because they suddenly discover what they were ingesting! And then the gag reflex would kick in, right? Just kidding…

So there you have it, flying squirrel feces, one of the many unsung heroes of Chinese herbology. The question I often got after this discussion is this: how do you know that Wŭ líng zhī actually does what it is supposed to? I say that way back then, Chinese doctors found out about herbs such as this during their animal observations (ie. horses would search for this "herb" and eat it every time they have pain). However, this theory is debatable and I am more than happy to open this question to all of our readers out there.


How do YOU believe that the ancient Chinese have discovered Wŭ líng zhī or such similar herbs?





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"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door!" - Milton Berle

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Dr. Nina La is an allied medical staff specialized in acupuncture at Tri-City Regional Medical Center (Hospital). She is also a chiropractic physician, herbalist, and an adjunct professor at Kaplan University. You can contact her at NLa@kaplan.edu, or visit her website at http://drninala.com.

3 comments:

f0a1f34e-92fc-11e0-8f36-000bcdcb8a73 said...

Thank You for the interesting story Professor La.

Sonia Brown said...

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Sonia Brown said...

I really happy that i and my boyfriend are cured of (HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS) with the herbal medicine of Dr aigbehi , i have been suffering from this disease for the past 3 years without solution until i came across the email of this doctors who have cure so many people with his herbal medicine, i also choose to give him a chance to help me and my boyfriend, he told me what to do and i kindly did it, and he gave us his herbal medicine and direct me on how to use it, i also follows his instruction for use and he ask us to go for a check up after 3 weeks and which i did, to my greatest surprise our result came out as negative, we are really happy that there is someone like this DR who is ready to help anytime any day. to all the readers and viewers that is doubting this testimony stop doubting it and contact this Dr and see if he will not actually help you. i am not a stupid woman that i will come out to the public and start saying what someone have not done for me. he is really a great man contact him now. with this email: draigbehispellhome@gmail.com he is waiting for your calls.+2347036842735 email: draigbehispellhome@gmail.com

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