Chewing on This Ancient Bark May Reduce Inflammation and Relieve Pain
Chinese healers have prescribed chewing on this bark for over two thousand years. And before you finish reading, the long list of benefits might have you chewing on bark, too!
The Huang Bai, found in certain regions of China, has been known for its medicinal properties dating back to 200 BCE where it appears in the ancient medical text the Shennong Ben Cao Jing. The bark and berries of the Huang Bai - or Phellodendron amurense tree - is used for pain relief, inflammation, kidney support, and even as a sleep aid.
Modern science has been studying the benefits of Phellodendron tree bark too and it shows a lot of promise, especially for people suffering from pain related to inflammation.
Chinese medicine suggests that (in a similar format to the ancient humours) the Huang Bai bark is ‘cold and bitter’ meaning it works “to clear heat and dry dampness” and “to reduce fire and release toxins.” Or in other words, helps to filter the blood and reduce inflammation.
While eastern medicine doesn’t always understand the true mechanism of action for ancient folk remedies, some of the old methods have proven more effective than modern pharmaceuticals for certain ailments.
Each year, as it has been for hundreds of years, the Huang Bai is harvested during the Qingming, or the fifth solar term. From April fourth to April twentieth sheets of bark are taken from the tree, dried by the sun, and cut into strips. The strips are processed for a medicinal oil or powder or chewed as is. Berries and leaves are also harvested for their similar properties and use in other medicines.
Today, the bark is processed into a standardized extract that ensures the active ingredients are present at a specific level. Phellodendron bark based medicines have been shown to slow apoptosis, impede ion transport in the lining of the intestine, protect against ulcers, and even lower blood glucose levels to slow the progress of diabetic neuropathy. It has also been used to filter environmental toxins from the blood.
Its filtering properties combined with its anti inflammatory properties make it an ideal recovery aid. By inhibiting several compounds, such as NF-kB or iNOS and TNF-alpha activity, that the body produces naturally, the Huang Bai bark slows or stops the body’s natural inflammatory responses, speeding recovery and reducing pain.
More and more studies are being done on these ancient eastern medicines. As far as the research on Huang Bai is concerned, it’s clear why this bark has been in use for over two thousand years as an essential healing compound.
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