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Optimizing Your Herbal Regimen for Whole Health

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From acupuncture to herbal remedies, many aspects of traditional Chinese medicine are becoming more mainstream when it comes to overall well-being. There are many different herbs that are said to help promote wellness, and it's best to take a close look at which herbs are best for you. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.

Whether it’s brewed in tea or taken as a supplement, Chinese herbal medicine is becoming more mainstream.

Even patients who don’t fully understand it are willing to give it a try if it could work.

Many herbs can easily be found at your local drug store, but knowing which ones to take and what they can do can be tricky.

Dr. Xiu Min Li specializes in Chinese herbal medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital and says you should start with a purpose.

“In general, you have to have a purpose. Whether it’s to enhance your energy, to enhance your good immune system to not get sick very often or to increase your digestion system,” Li says.

Once you target your need, you then head to the aisle of your local store where herbs are easy to find. Understanding them, though, can be complicated.

We asked Li to highlight a few common ones, and one of her favorites is medicinal mushrooms.

“Mushrooms, also called Ling Zhi, has several indications for the health: good immune function, for good sleep, energy, more focus,” Li says.

Astragalus root is another one that is often used as an immune defender. It's good to take to prevent colds or other illnesses.

Same with ginseng, which often used for immune defense and energy. Make sure to look for American ginseng.

“There are different types: American Ginseng, Chinese Ginseng and Korean Ginseng. American Ginseng is more mild and for all purpose,“ Li says.

She says the other forms of ginseng are used for specific treatments and may be too strong for the average healthy person.

If stomach upset and allergies are your issue, she says ginger root may help.

If your stomach upset is caused by stress, an herb called xiao yao is said to settle nerves.

If hair loss or graying is a problem, some people turn to Fo-ti root.

Now, if you are thinking of trying any of these Chinese herbs you should check with your physician first.

Also, many herbs are packaged together, so be sure to read all the ingredients.

If you are looking to enhance overall wellness, Chinese medicine may be an alternative therapy for you.

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