Plants As Medicine: Top At Home Herb Remedies

Chinese GinsengPlants as Medicine: Safe at-home Herbal Remedies

About a month ago I had the pleasure of attending the “Wild Medicine” Exhibition at the New York Botanical Gardens (on view through Sept 8th). Plants from around the world which are also used as medicine (in both ancient and modern times) are featured, including an Italian Renaissance Herb Garden and many other plants. Many of the plants in the exhibition are traditionally used as Chinese Medicine Herbal remedies. Read more

The NY Chi Summer Survival Guide: How to Thrive!


By now you all know that Chinese Medicine recommends avoiding raw foods due to their tendency to over-cool our digestive system. However summertime is one exception. To counter the hot weather outside, I advise eating about 40% raw foods this time of year (as opposed to 5-10% in the winter). The best way to do this is by eating dishes such as Salad Nicoise, which combines cooked ingredients (potato, green beans, tuna and hard-boiled eggs) along with raw (tomatoes and lettuce). I also recommend avoiding eating too close to bedtime. After eating, your metabolism temporarily increases, raising your body temperature just a bit. Cool temperatures are best for restful sleep. Read more

Part 3 of 3: CoQ10 for Improving Egg Quality

Coenzyme Q10, also called CoQ10, is an antioxidant which could improve egg quality in women with high FSH or of advanced maternal age. It’s believed to help through its effect on the mitochondria, which is a part of the cell involved in energy production and proper cell division (in this case, that cell is the egg). As cells age, researchers believe the mitochondria isn’t able to produce enough energy for proper cellular division, resulting in abnormal eggs or chromosomal abnormalities. The hypothesis is that by supplementing with CoQ10 the egg has more energy and is able to once again properly function and divide. Read more

Part 2 of 3: DHEA for Improving Egg Quality

In the past several years I’ve seen quite an increase in the number of my patients whose doctors recommend they try DHEA for improving egg quality. Leading centers such as CCRM in Denver and CHR here in New York routinely recommend their patients with egg quality concerns take it for several months leading up to an IVF cycle. Here I hope to tell you a little about what DHEA is and how it might help.
DHEA is a substance naturally present in the body that is a precursor to several hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. Recent research has found that women who took DHEA for 3-4 months prior to an IVF cycle using gonadotropins (injectable ovary stimulators) had dramatically increased fertilization and pregnancy rates. Women also reported side effects of feeling stronger, a higher libido, better memory and feeling mentally sharper. This is consistent with studies that have found higher DHEA levels in those with higher concentration and memory function. Read more

Part 1 of 3: Optimizing Egg Quality and Ovarian Reserve

If you are unable to conceive either due to age, low ovarian reserve or premature ovarian failure, egg quality and the embryo’s ability to implant are the major problems. In many cases scientists have found that eggs seem to fertilize and develop into embryos normally, but fail to implant. Higher rates of aneuploidy (chromosomal abnormalities of the embryo) are one contributing factor, but apart from this scientists have not been able to draw many sound conclusions on why failure to implant happens. When a woman is over age 35, has low ovarian reserve or premature ovarian failure, and IVF has not been successful, egg donation is usually seen as the last available option. However recent research has found that several supplements can help with implantation and pregnancy rates. This will be the first in a three-part series where I examine supplements and techniques used for improving egg quality and pregnancy rates. The supplements I will examine in subsequent posts are DHEA and CoQ-10. I will let you know how these work, who should take them, and who should avoid them. As I am a firm believer that an integrative approach is best, first I will explain how egg quality is viewed from the standpoint of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and how I as an acupuncturist would address it. Read more