Health Concerns: Combining Modern Research & Ancient Wisdom

FAQ

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Children

How should children's digestive conditions be addressed?

Children who can adopt dietary changes often make rapid progress. The child and family must make the choice of whether to undertake dietary changes or to stay on medications. Health Concerns was once consulted by the family of a ten-year-old boy with Crohn's disease. The proposed biomedical solution was to have the child take prednisone and other immunosuppressive drugs long-term. Andrew Gaeddert indicated that unless the boy could commit to avoiding dairy and tomato products, he would need to remain on these medications. Ongoing counseling, either family therapy or spiritual counseling, as well as extracurricular activities and exercise were also recommended to help improve the child’s overall health.


Digestion

Which digestive conditions are more difficult to treat?

Generally congenital diseases (conditions that run families) prove harder to treat than acquired ones. Therefore, the sooner you visit a holistic practitioner after your symptoms appear, the better the prognosis.

My doctor says I'm not lactose intolerant, but every time I drink milk or eat ice cream I experience cramping or diarrhea. If I do stop eating dairy foods, how do I maintain adequate calcium intake?

Although you may not be intolerant to lactose, you may be intolerant to one or more of the other constituents in milk. Therefore it may be prudent to stop all dairy products. To assure adequate calcium intake, consider taking a calcium supplement, preferably in absorbable form such as citrate or aspartate. If you want to use magnesium to aid in the absorption of calcium, take half as much magnesium as calcium; if you suffer from stress, hypertension, or constipation, take equal amounts of calcium and magnesium. Start out at a reduced dosage and slowly increase. If you have problems with one brand or form of calcium, try another. Additional cofactors which may help bone density are zinc, copper, manganese, vitamin K, boron, and folic acid. Foods rich in calcium include soy products (if you can tolerate them), turnip greens, kale, black-eyed peas, sesame seeds, okra, bok choy, figs, dried apricots, almonds, broccoli, and amaranth.

What do you mean by dairy products?

Dairy products include milk, cream, cheese, butter, and ice cream. Yogurt is also a dairy product, however homemade yogurt or brands which have acidophilus and probiotics ("live cultures") are frequently the most easily tolerated.

What are the drawbacks of bread?

Many types of bread contain wheat, which is a common allergen, and yeast, to which many persons are sensitive. Bread is often associated with unhealthy foods. For example, butter, mayonnaise and margarine are usually spread on bread. The first two contain excessive fat, and margarine contains trans fatty acids which should not be consumed at all. Additionally, bread is ordinarily used to make sandwiches which contain foods like cheese and luncheon meat. These are high in fat, salt, preservatives, and additives. To avoid these unhealthy foods, substitute crackers or muffins that are wheat-free for bread, and use meat that you cooked from scratch instead of luncheon meat. This is much healthier, more delicious and easier to digest than cheese and luncheon meat.


Herbs and your Doctor

I have a patient who is very involved in her own health. She only wants to use products with documented proven results. (Doctor needs to see studies using your products with steroids)

For many patients, it helps to show them a case study in my book, Chinese Herbs in the Western Clinic. I encourage many of my own clients to go online and do their own research. It would be nice if we could document everything but my experience there is little hope for someone who isn't convinced of the thousands of years of herb usage. It is important to notice that many if not most western medical procedures are used based on anecdotal findings, not actually well designed studies.


Ingredients

Why are there so many herbs in your products?

Herbs are best taken in combination to boost effectiveness, and to reduce possible negative reactions.

Which herb is the active one and which one is the filler?

Health Concerns does not use fillers. Every formula is carefully designed according to the traditions of Chinese medicine and modern biochemistry.

What studies of your supplements and ingredients have been done to provide the consumer with evidence of their safety and effectiveness?

Health Concerns formulas have been developed with attention to herbal traditions and modern scientific research. It may not be possible in every case to list scientific citations. However, these sources may help you understand more about herbs and Chinese medicine. For herbs in general, a good overview is The Encyclopedia of Popular Herbs, by the Herb Research Foundation. Chinese Herbs in the Western Clinic was written by Health Concerns founder Andrew Gaeddert to provide information about using herbs for modern patients. For those wishing to know more about traditional Chinese herbs, we recommend Chinese Herbal Medicine, Materia Medica by Bensky and Gamble.

Herbs are rarely researched in the same fashion as drugs. This is due to a variety of reasons:

  • Herbs have been used empirically for generations; some would argue that this is more scientific than some of the new drug studies
  • Governments, universities, and drug companies are not willing to fund research
  • It should be understood that herbs are meant to be used along with changes in diet and lifestyle that are more health-promoting. Studies that compare herbs, diet and lifestyle can be criticized because it is hard to determine whether it was the herbs, diet, or lifestyle changes that contributed to the results

Does the vegetable-based tablet coating that Health Concerns uses contain either glycerin or silica?

The coating contains neither glycerin or silica.

Are there any corn ingredients in the Health Concerns products?

There are no corn ingredients


Interaction / Contraindications

Are there interactions with the drugs I am taking?

Health Concerns herbs and formulas have been selected for their safety; it is extremely rare to have bad results due to taking Health Concerns formulas with drugs. However, we do recommend taking herbs and pharmaceuticals at least two hours apart. Begin taking herbs at a reduced dosage, and slowly increase over the next two to three weeks. The more medications you are on, the more we suggest seeing a health professional to monitor herb usage.

Why does something that I tried in the past no longer work?

Our bodies are constantly changing, as is our health. Our health is dependent on stages of illness, stress load, climate, and diet. Therefore, these changes can affect the efficacy of whatever therapy we are using. In addition to the fluctuations of our body and environment, our bodies become accustomed to medications and supplements, including herbs that we take. This is why traditional herbalists frequently modify the herbal formula that a patient is taking. With the help of a practitioner, you can explore ways to change your life so that you can be symptom-free.

Aren't Chinese herbs better for Chinese and Western herbs better for Westerners?

Not necessarily. In the U.S. alone, millions have used traditional Chinese healing methods, including herbs and acupuncture, with satisfaction. Chinese herbology is more complex and difficult to learn; for practitioners to apply it successfully, they must learn an entire healing system. Therefore, it is not suitable for self-treatment. Western herbology, on the other hand, is not quite so involved, and can be used for self-treatment.


Miscellaneous

Which Health Concerns formulas use concentrates?

All of the formulas in the Health Concerns product lines (Chinese Energetic Formulas, and the Chinese Traditional Formulas) use concentrates.

What percentage of the tablets is fiber from herbs?

Herbal fiber comprises no more than 5% of the tablets.

Patient has had stomach stapled, will herbs absorb into stomach or intestine?

Mostly into intestine, some stomach. Also, you can still use herbs: 1) reduce dosage and 2) chew tabs or grind them and make as tea. 

My patients can get herbs at the drugstore or supermarket (at a low price). Why pay more for Health Concerns formulas?

While low in price, many of the discount herbs contain only one herb. A well designed formula will work better than a single herb every time. Furthermore many of the discount herbs use incorrect parts of the plant. Finally, the potency per tablet is very low. Health Concerns relies on either time proven combinations or modern formulas created by experienced herbalists. Our herb selection team is headed by Dr. Fung Fung who has over 60 years of experience. By specializing in herbs we can make sure the correct part of the plant and species is being used. By using a well-crafted formula your patients can increase effectiveness and minimize negative effects. Maximum potency helps achieve a therapeutic as opposed to supplemental effect.

What is the zinc content in Astra C? Any warning regarding the long term consumption of Astra C?

10 mg. of zinc per tablet. It's a small amount of zinc citrate, which is very absorbable. If you want you could get your zinc/copper levels tested; but, it's usually not a concern.

Any insight on comparing and contrasting Lily Bulb and Wise Judge?

These formulas are based on same traditional formula. Wise Judge might be a tiny bit more heat clearing. For more heat clearing and lung yin deficiency use Tremella & American Ginseng.

How should herbs be stored - in refrigerator or a cabinet?

In general store the herbs we carry in a kitchen or bathroom cabinet, i.e. preferably dark, dry, normal temperature. Do not store herbs in the refrigerator, they can attract moisture.

Practitioner wants to prescribe Xanthium Relieve Surface to a child - do we have in liquid? How do we administer tabs to a child?

We do not have Xanthium Relieve Surface in a liquid but you can crush tabs (or in a coffee grinder) and add to hot water or grape juice. Or just chop into 2 - 4 pieces with a knife.

There is no gluten contained in the product you mentioned. Our factory occasionally uses malt enzymes and other malt products as they are traditionally used in herbal medicine in other products.

Patient who has extremely severe hot flashes. She is on Nine Flavor Tea and Coptis Purge Fire, how long before results?

It would take up to 3 weeks at regular dosage (2 tablets each QID or equivalent TID). However, you can double your dosage for fast results, reduce if stomach upset or diarrhea.

The label on our Astra Diet Tea gives different directions on when to use than Clear Heat? Which is correct?

Both are correct, however, the label on than Clear Heat is more thorough. When in doubt, follow the Clear Heat.

RE: Deer Antler in Maternal Herbal. Does antler come from a deer that was killed or was naturally shed?

Naturally shed.

Patient would like to use Great Yin. However, concerned with tortoise shell. Is tortoise used endangered? Also, doesn't like to use product with animal products as ingredient. Suggestions?

No, we use only cultivated species. I would recommend Nine Flavor Tea and Three Immortals as a substitute.

How important is it to take herbs between meals?

Essentially, you don’t want the herbs to compete with meals. Herbs assimilate into the body better on an empty stomach. If you need to take herbs with a light snack, that’s okay. If you forget to take the allergy herbs, go ahead and take them with your meal. The concern is, if you take the herbs on a full stomach, they are competing with food for absorption. You might have to take more, and taking 2 tablets on a empty stomach may be the equivalent of 3 tablets on a full stomach. It is more efficient to take the herbs between meals, typically between breakfast and lunch, and lunch and dinner. If it doesn’t work for your patient’s lifestyle, it is usually okay to take with meals.


Processing

For any Health Concerns products is there a concentrate extract? If so, what is the ratio? Do you use powdered herbs?

Yes, there are concentrated extracts. The ratio varies from 3:1 to 50:1. We do not use powdered herbs. All herbs are water decocted. Some must be cooked for short periods to preserve the constituents; others are cooked for a longer period.


Safety

Why are Health Concerns products worth the extra money, compared with Chinese patent formulas?

First of all, if the Chinese patent formula does not have the name of a U.S. manufacturer or distributor on the label, the chances are good that it was not legally imported. Practitioners would assume liability risks if using a product that were not legal. Furthermore, as reported by the Food and Drug Branch of the California Department of Public Health, many illegally imported Chinese herbal products contain pharmaceutical drugs, artificial additives, and heavy metals such as lead or mercury. Health Concerns was the first company to formulate Chinese herbs in the U.S. for practitioners. Our products carry liability insurance and have been clinically tested for safety and purity.


Tips on Using Herbal Formulas

What is the best way to take herbs?

The best way to take herbs is on an empty stomach, between meals, when absorption is quicker and more direct. You can take herbs with meals, but they are absorbed less efficiently. As we tell clients in our clinic, it is best to take herbs on an empty stomach – but if you forget, it's better that you take them with meals than to not take them at all.

Is it OK to take your products with other herbs or supplements?

In general it's fine to take our products with supplements. It is best not to take too many herbs at one time. Unless directed by an herbalist, it is best to take one herbal product at a time.

Should I be concerned about the absorption of herbal tablets?

The Health Concerns formulas are tested for dissolution to ensure that they break down adequately in the stomach; many Chinese herbal products are not tested in this fashion. In cases of individuals with very weak digestive systems, it’s best to grind the tablets and add hot water to make tea.

  • Featured Book - Healing Digestive Disorders, 3rd Ed.
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