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Kampo – Cure from Inside with Herbal Prescription

Kampo is commonly taken as herbal treatment for chronic ailments and body weaknesses such as migraines, menstrual pains, irregular menstrual cycles, chronic constipation, indigestion and others, many of which don’t evoke immediate major medical treatment because of the chronic yet bearable nature. However, these issues are curable and should be treated in some way for better health maintenance. Ms. Yuko Nozaki of Ido Holistic Center in Manhattan, a Japanese herbologist and acupuncturist certified by NCCAOM, takes patients with such health issues. “Kampo is only taken as the alternative medical treatment in the United States and kampo ingredients are categorized as food ingredients, but in Japan, they are handled as medical substances,” she says.

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Ms. Nozaki finds the symptom in her patient’s feet.
She keeps her attitude “let’s work together to cure this.”

As the word kampo (things coming from China) indicates, the concept of kampo was invented in China and most ingredients are originated in China. The ancient Japanese diplomats from the 8th century learned the way Chinese people used herbs for health problems, developed the concept, and have practiced it ever since. In particular, Japanese focus on the mild nature of ingredients and prescribe kampo not too strong as well as not too subtle to adjust the balance between blood and “chi” or “qi,” the internal energy. “We keep the perfect balance of effect from each ingredient. Kampo actually cures gradually with a milder transition to the patient’s medical condition so that it wouldn’t cause other issues or side effects,” Ms. Nozaki explains.

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Pulse tells a lot about organ conditions and internal energy.

As opposed to Western medicine that eliminates pain and discomfort with antibiotics and others, kampo’s approach comes from inside the body: a daily dose of kampo cleanses toxins and creates internal balance, and fixes most ailments caused by uneven distribution of different substances in the body. The majority of ingredients are herbs, trees, shells and animal bones, and herbologists find the best combination of different ingredients for the best remedy based on the diagnosis.
Kampo therapy starts with a different approach of diagnosis: Ms. Nozaki checks the pulse, colors of different parts of eyes, color and shape of the tongue. These all indicate conditions of internal organs. In my case, she detects liver weakness that I wasn’t even aware of. But once she pointed that out, it explains many other symptoms I have been experiencing such as cold toes, morning lethargy, appetite loss and stomach issues that come up under extreme stress and fatigue. So the perfect kampo prescription for me would include something that stimulates my blood flow and increases my temperature to energize my liver function. With this mechanism, the magic of kampo sometimes even works for much serious diseases like cancers and hepatitis, depending on the person and case.

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Ms. Nozaki thoroughly checks the color of different parts of the eyeball.

“Western medicine takes the symptoms away rather immediately, while Eastern medicine purifies, detoxifies, clears the body system from inside by dosing it daily, so the patient wouldn’t start seeing an improvement for a few weeks,” Ms. Nozaki emphasizes. To enhance the benefit from kampo, continuance and belief are a necessity. Each herbal ingredient has physical functions, but the chi benefit requires a patient’s psychology; as an old Japanese saying reads, “illness comes from the mind.”

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Kampo ingredients come in over 1000 kinds, and
Ms. Nozaki prescribes from over 200 of them for her patients.

Kampo ingredients are now being applied to some Western drugs, at the same time the research and development of kampo continues in Japan, and it may not be long from now when kampo’s benefits spread much beyond the cultural border.

—— Reported by Nori Akashi

Ido Holistic Center
As well as kampo treatment, Ido Holistic Center provides services such as shiatsu, reflexology and other relaxation massage. They currently offer a 30-minute kampo check up and consultation session for $20 (reg. $80)
9 E. 45th St., 8th Fl. (bet. Madison & 5th Aves.)
New York, NY 10017
TEL: 212-599-5300
www.herbjapan.com