Who is lacking Vitamin D? Thousands of elderly people are shut up in houses or nursing homes where they get very little sunshine. And unless they are drinking quantities of D-enriched milk or taking fish-liver oils, they are prime candidates for broken hips and other casualties. It's not just calcium they may 1ack, but the vitamin D, which makes the calcium available to the bones.Who else? The children of today! They are inside the majority of the time in front of electronically tuned devices. Instead of giving our children drops and vitamin pills, we would be better off if we allowed them to eat plenty of eggs, drink calcium fortified milk, and play outdoors as much as we did, in unpolluted sunshine. Physicians have been astonished to find rickets among hospitalized children today, often from affluent homes, and even when there is not actual deformity, the deficiency shows up in other ways such as bad skin, bad eyes, bad teeth and weak bones. The rest of us don't come off so well either. Look at how many people work, play, and go to school in windowless, air- conditioned buildings, locked away from natural light. We now sit in sealed-up houses, and when we do get outdoors buildings often block the sun from us, or the air so choked with smog its rays can't penetrate. To compound the problem, at least half the population wears glasses, and practically everybody slaps on a pair of dark ones the minute the sun is spied. Some people even wear them indoors. Americans are tortured by arthritis, and uncounted millions more break hips and other bones every year. We are a nation woefully crippled by too little vitamin D. Adding vitamin D to whole milk is one commendable case of fortifying food, but remember, the form is the synthetic or vitamin DJ, which is less potent, yet at the same time more toxic, than the natural form found in fish-liver oil. Another problem? Vitamin D2 in whole milk is easily destroyed by light; and there is no vitamin D at all in skimmed milk, used by so many people who are worried about both weight and cholesterol. The vitamin D in fish-liver oils is preferable to any other, because it is the very same Vitamin D substance manufactured by the sun. It is also less toxic.
Studies link Vitamin D deficiency to nonskeletal disorders. To date, deficiency is difficult to assess. UVB therapy might benefit certain individuals.Vitamin D deficiency is a worldwide epidemic. In the United States, close to 36% of young adults without apparent health conditions and 57% of adult, hospitalized patients are vitamin D deficient, according to Mayo Clinic Proceedings and Nutrition Journal. In the United Kingdom, an estimated 60% of middle-aged adults suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Recent studies suggest that vitamin D supplementation could benefit medical conditions other than diseases of the bone. Researchers face the problem that measurements of vitamin D levels do not reliably correlate with the risk of deficiency-related medical conditions. In addition, treatment involving the use of an artificial source of ultraviolet B light could potentially benefit certain vitamin D deficient individuals.
Chinese herbalists wishing to ensure the purity of the plant parts they use in their formulas can rely on the backyard garden for some easy to grow plants with a wide variety of uses in traditional health care.
The buds of the magnolia (Magnolia liliflora), are harvested in the spring before the flowers fully open. The Chinese herbal tea made from them is used to help open the sinuses, especially in cases where the patient feels cold.
These are harvested at the height of the blooming season and the chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium) flowers, are made into a tea for headaches, sinus congestion and red, itchy eyes. In this case, there is a perception of heat rather than cold.
The gardenia or cape jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides) fruit is used in Traditional Chinese Medical formulas, allowing full enjoyment of the flower. The fruit is harvested in the late fall and used in cases of damp heat that manifest as sores in the mouth, urinary tract infections or some types of jaundice. It is also used topically to reduce swelling due to trauma or to stop nosebleeds.
The buddleia (Buddleia officinalis) or butterfly bush is also used at the budding stage by Chinese herbalists. Light sensitive and red, swollen eyes benefit from its use.
In this case, the phellodendron (Phellodendron amurense) bark is not harvested until the plant is ten years or older. Huang bai, as it is known, is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for diarrhea or dysentery and well as topically on sores and lesions where there is heat present.
Another heat clearing herb, honeysuckle (Lonicerae Japonicae) is a common ingredient in Traditional Chinese herbal formulas for the early stages of a cold or flu as well as for urinary tract infections. The bud, just before it blooms, is used.
Combined with honeysuckle for those TCM cold and flu formulas, the fruit of the forsythia (Forsythia suspensae) is harvested in the autumn after the flowers are long past.
The roots of the purple aster (Astar tataricus) are harvested in either spring or fall and used by Chinese herbalists to treat coughs of a cold nature where it acts as an expectorant.
TCM practitioners use red peony (Paeoniae rubrae) root for a variety of gynecological problems as well as for abscesses and boils. It is considered a Blood invigorating herb in Chinese Medicine
The white peony (Paeonia lactiflora) root is more of a Blood tonifying herb to Traditional Chinese herbalists but the two types of peony are often used together as they address women’s issues from slightly different angles.
There are many more common flowers used in Traditional Chinese medicine. Each has its specific use and each has its unique beauty allowing the herbalist-gardener to create a pleasing flowerbed with a secondary purpose.