We get asked a great many questions about the foot soaks. We have a post about the concept and usefulness of our foot soaks here. Now let's take a little look at the herbs used in the soaks.
Du Yi Wei (Lamiophlomis rotata)
Du Yi Wei is used historically in traditional Tibetan medicine for treating inflammation and internal bleeding from injuries. It decreases pain and inflammation and increases antioxidants. It has a positive effect on cytokines (cellular communicators), promotes the production of red blood cells, and has a positive effect on arterial stenosis. Here's a bit on its quality.
Qiang Huo (Rhizoma et Radix Notopterygii)
Qiang Huo grown at high altitudes like what is used in our foot soaks was at one point reserved for the elite of Beijing. It has anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, and is widely used for its analgesic effects. Research shows it improves blood flow to the coronary arteries and is useful in the treatment of arrhythmia. Here's more.
Zang Hong Hua (Crocus sativa stigma)
This is Tibetan saffron. It is considered stronger (and much more expensive) than traditional saffron. It has anti-inflammatory and pain relieving effects. It has been used to improve emotional wellbeing, treat cough, increase blood flow, and lower blood pressure. It has notable antioxidant properties and some reports indicate it may serve as an aphrodisiac.
Zang Chang Pu (Rhizoma Acori Calami)
Zang Chang Pu is known for its usefulness in treating a variety of neuropathies (chemo-induced, nerve transection, and chronic constriction type). This may be part of the reason these foot soaks are so often used with sciatica. It has mild tranquilizing effects, improves intestinal blood flow, and has antimicrobial properties.
Ku Shen (Radix Sophorae Flavescentis)
Ku Shen has a long history of use in Chinese medicine. Often used for skin conditions and has broad spectrum antimicrobial and antifungal effects. Ku Shen constituents also exhibit inhibitory effects on bacterial biofilms, an extremely important mechanism for chronic disease conditions.
Ai Ye (Folium Artemisiae Argyi)
Ai Ye, famously known as mugwort, has been burned traditionally over areas of the body such as the lower back to improve such systems as the Hypothalamic-Pituitary Adrenal axis. Ai Ye contains volatile oils which are antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal. These oils also inhibit blood clotting and increase secretion of bile.
Gan Jiang (Rhizoma Zingiberis)
Gan Jiang (ginger) is widely used in traditional medicines, both within herbal formulas and within dietary therapy. The health effects of this herb are widely researched (positive GI effects, cardiovascular, antimicrobial, etc.). Apart from some of the most obvious effects on digestion Gan Jiang also exhibits protective effects on the liver, pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory effects, and also aids in preventing blood clots.
Tibetan Black Salt
Tibetan black salt, also known as Ka Ru Cha has a unique place in these soaks. It first operates as a means of preserving the herbs and preventing them from spoiling. But it also sports an impressive mineral content, including a gaseous compound known as hydrogen sulfide (which gives the foot soaks their characteristic smell). Hydrogen sulfide, while a poisonous gas in large amounts, is actually produced by our kidneys and stimulates the Klotho gene which signals longevity.
Zhong Cao Yao (Chinese Herbal Medicine), 1991; 22(1):28
Zhong Yao Tong Bao (Journal of Chinese Herbology), 1982;(1):31
Zhong Yao Xue (Chinese Herbology), 1998; 722:725
Gui Yang Yi Xue Yuan Xue Bao (Journal of Guiyang Medical University), 1988; (3):52