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Ong Wee Ling, Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Medicine physi­cian.

Tra­di­tional Chi­nese Medicine (TCM) prac­ti­tioner, On Ong Wee Ling, tells us which Chi­nese herbs can boost our con­sti­tu­tion and com­bat com­mon health is­sues.

IRON DE­FI­CIENCY This man­i­fests as fa­tigue, short­ness of breath, dizzi­ness, poor con­cen­tra­tion and a pale com­plex­ion. De­coc­tion of Eight Trea­sure ( ba zhen tang) – a well-known herbal rem­edy – can al­le­vi­ate it, says Wee Ling. “It com­bines four herbs to boost your qi or en­ergy – gin­seng, atracty­lodes rhi­zome ( bai zhu), po­ria root ( fu ling) and liquorice root ( gan cao) – and four herbs to in­vig­o­rate the blood and im­prove cir­cu­la­tion – an­gel­ica root ( dang gui), Szechuan lo­vage root ( chuan xiong), white peony root ( bai shao) and rehman­nia ( shu di).” HIGH BLOOD PRES­SURE If you suf­fer from headaches, dizzi­ness or neck and shoul­der ten­sion, it could be a sign of high blood pres­sure. Wee Ling rec­om­mends a herbal con­coc­tion com­pris­ing gas­tro­dia and un­caria ( tian ma gou teng yin). “It calms the liver and soothes the qi to pro­mote blood cir­cu­la­tion,” she says. HIGH CHOLES­TEROL “Take hawthorn fruit ( shan zha), red yeast rice ( hong qu mi) or panax gin­seng (tian qi) to lower blood lipid and choles­terol lev­els,” says Wee Ling. PRE­MEN­STRUAL SYN­DROME Es­sen­tial herbs – bu­pleu­rum ( chai hu) to reg­u­late the liver’s qi, an­gel­ica root, po­ria root and white peony root to nour­ish the blood – are found in a herbal rem­edy called xiao yao wan or dan zhi xiao yao wan. “Tak­ing it reg­u­lates your menstrual cy­cle and re­duces PMS symp­toms – ir­ri­tabil­ity, ab­dom­i­nal bloat­ing, cramps, ‘full­ness’ of the breasts and hot flushes; it also calms the nerves,” she says. IN­SOM­NIA Wee Ling ad­vises: “If you have trou­ble sleep­ing at night, mix pearl ( zhen zhu) pow­der in wa­ter and drink up. Or boil ar­borvi­tae seeds ( bai zi ren) or schisan­dra fruit ( wu wei zi) in wa­ter to make a tea. Th­ese have a seda­tive ef­fect.”

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