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Chinese Herbs for Your First Aid Kit

Last week I cut myself whilst cooking Sunday lunch and reached for a Chinese powder called Yunnan Baiyao which stops bleeding when sprinkled on a cut. This reminded me to share with you some natural non-toxic Chinese herbal medicines that make a great addition to your first aid kit. All of these products are available in Chinatown and some are stocked in health food stores. We also stock most of these at The Yinova Center so feel free to ask for some if you’re visiting us.

Yunnan Baiyao (Sometimes also spelled Yunnan Paiyao)

Yunnan Baiyao is an herbal combination that works instantly to stop bleeding. It comes in powder form to sprinkle on a cut or in capsule form to be taken internally. It is rightly very famous in China because it works so well and it’s formula is a closely guarded secret. We know that it is an entirely natural product, made of herbs and that the main ingredients are Panax Notogensing and Rhizoma Dioscoreae. Legend has it that the mixture is made up by thirteen separate teams, none of whom have any knowledge of the herbs the other teams are mixing. The individual mixed components are then combined by a further team, who have no knowledge of what is in them. The formula is so closely guarded that only one copy of it exists, locked for safety and security in the safe of the General commanding the Chinese armed forces!

The Chinese army carry it to treat gun shot wounds but I use it for kitchen accidents. If you open a tub of powder you’ll find a little red pill under the lid. This should only be taken in cases of extreme shock. The powder itself can be sprinkled on a cut, mixed with water and rubbed into a wound or mixed with alcohol (vodka works well) and rubbed on a bruise. The capsules are to be taken internally and should only be used under the supervision of your acupuncturist. We use them for a variety of conditions from stopping excessive menstrual bleeding to helping our patients recover quickly after surgery.

Whilst its safe to use the external powder if you’re pregnant, you should not take the internal capsules.

701 Medicated Plasters

Many of you will have experienced these plasters because we use them a lot to treat muscle soreness and soft tissue damage. I’ve also had great success treating bone spurs with them. They come in a roll and can be cut to fit as needed. The plasters contain highly aromatic herbs that penetrate the muscles. I think they smell lovely. To use, peel off the plastic backing sheet and place the plaster over the sore area. Within a few minutes, you will feel warmth in the area, which disappears a short time later. The pain-relieving effects last about 24 hours, after which you peel off the plaster and throw it away. Very occasionally people experience irritation from these plasters in which case you should stop using them. They should not be used over broken skin.

Ching Wan Hung (Burn Cream)

We always have this traditional Chinese burn cream on hand at The Yinova Center. It really is miraculous and can be used for treating all kind of burns. Our Yinova Moms even use it for diaper rash with spectacular results and for cancer patient’s, who are receiving radiation treatment, it is a Godsend. Apply the cream, then cover the burn with a dressing, which you should change daily. For simple first degree burns, no dressing is necessary. Be aware that this salve stains clothing.

Zheng Gu Shui (Bone Setting Liniment)

This liniment was developed to be used by martial artists and helps to relieve pain from broken bones and speed up healing. It can also be used for sprains and sports injuries. It should not be used if the skin is broken as it can cause irritation. Massage the liniment into the affected area until it is absorbed.

Culing Pills (Digestive Pills)

These little pills are wonderful for all kinds of stomach upsets. They contain aromatic herbs that relieve nausea, indigestion, diarrhea and acid stomach. They are particularly good at this time of year to treat upset stomach from over eating and hangovers. Some of my patients have also found them useful for treating motion sickness. The ingredients are all natural and include chrysanthemum flowers, barley, rice, mint, angelica root and atractylodis.

Haw Flakes

These are candies made from hawthorn berries that help with digestion and are particularly useful if you have over-eaten.

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