Kampo - Japanese Herbal Therapy
Kampo is a Japanese system of herbalism. It is to treat disease and to return people to health.
Kampo Classification of Depression Types
Kampo distinguishes three types of depression:
1. Depression that results from too little nutritive energy reaching the heart. Symptoms for this depression are: insomnia, nervous unrest, and night sweats.
2. Depression that results from too much nutritive energy reaching the heart. 'Blazing heart fire' caused acute mental illness, a condition in which depression alternated with mania, nightmares, palpitations, redness in the face, restlessness, and ulcers of the mouth and tongue. This type of depression is the most dangerous. It has to be handled with extreme care.
3. 'Liver oppression' is a from of depression that originates from restrained anger. Symptoms include acid regurgitation or heartburn, anxiety, bloating, a feeling of fullness in the chest, and pain in the side.
Kampo practitioners prefer herbal formulas rather than single herbs for the treatment of depression. Herbal formulas offer a more comprehensive balancing of energies in various parts of the body.
Do not take more than one Kampo formula for depression at one time. We suggest that you use the one formula that best fits the symptom pattern. Consult a Kampo or TCM practitioner to determine which formulas are appropriate for you.
Single herbs are useful for long-term use in cases of mild to moderate depression. They should be used to augment or complement antidepressant therapy rather than substitute it. Kampo therapy complements antidepressant therapy by acting on the brain in ways different from those of the various drugs.
Individual Kampo Treatments
Barley Sprouts (Herb)
Relieves sadness and mild depression in adults who have both diabetes and attention deficit disorder. Juices or teas of young rice or wheat seedlings can be used instead of barley sprouts.
Used for the treatment of age-related memory loss and accompanying symptoms of depression.
Ginkgo (Modern Herbal Preparation)
Reverses depressions particularly when used with prescription drugs in elderly patients, by increasing the flow of oxygen to the brain.
Useful for depression that accompanies chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Stimulates the production of cortisol. In most CFS patients, this action can increase blood pressure, which in turn increases the brain's oxygen supply, lifting mood. Avoid deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL).
An antidepressant herb that increases, rather than diminishes, male sexual function. Increases the rate at which tryptophan is supplied to the brain, but does not affect the rate at which serotonin and other neurotransmitters are made or broken down. Also lowers high blood pressure.
Biota Seed Pill to Nourish the Heart
Relieves depression in a symptom pattern of low energy, chills, cold limbs, palpitations, insomnia, headache, dizziness, poor memory, agitation, or nightmares.
Bupleurum Plus Dragon Bone and Oyster Shell Decoction
Treats depression that occurs with a combination of symptoms which includes delirious speech, irritability, and palpitations that are frequently accompanied by urinary difficulty, a feeling of fullness in the chest, and difficulty in turning the body sideways and forward. Particularly useful for treating depression accompanied by migraine headaches in men.
Coptis Decoction to Relive Toxicity
Treats depression alternating with episodes of "hot" symptoms, including bleeding gums, fever, facial flushing caused by embarrassment or emotion- al tension, headaches, nervousness, or sinusitis.
Drive Out Stasis from the Mansion of Blood Decoction
Treats depression accompanied by extreme "psychosomatic symptoms," including chest pain, chronic headache with a piercing quality, choking sensation when drinking, dry heaves, insomnia, extreme mood swings, or fever. Particularly useful for depression accompanied by migraine headaches in women.
Frigid Extremities Decoction
For depression that is accompanied by a queasy stomach. May cause a loss of sensation in the mouth and tongue.
Ginseng Decoction to Nourish the Nutritive Qi
For depression complicated by anemia, forgetfulness, hair loss, jaundice, or tired limbs. Contains small amounts of ginseng, which softens the effects of stress and also stimulates the immune system.
Licorice, Wheat, and Jujube Decoction
Has calming actions similar to those of opium, acts by occupying brain receptor sites that receive sedative drugs such as opium without causing addiction. It is usually given to women and children experiencing frequent sobbing and loss of emotional control, and displaying a detached demeanor.
Restore the Spleen Decoction
This formula regulates digestion to treat depression that manifests itself as anxiety, difficulty in maintaining concentration, fatigue of mind and body, and/or poor memory.
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