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(241) Hong Hua (Carthami Flos)

Started by HB KIM, Apr 16, 2008, 07:07 PM

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HONG HUA (Carthami Flos)

Whenever there is a blood problem, remember Hong Hua.  This herb is very useful in modern practice as a blood activator for circulatory disorders and even blood stasis, trauma, gynecological disorders, or even bone disorders.  Hong Hua is friendly with the Si Wu Tang family including Chuan Xiong, Dang Gui and Chi Shao.  Hong Hua is also a friend to Dan Shen, and plays well with Tao Ren and Su Mu.  Today Hong Hua is grown in China, but originally this herb came from Egypt.  Its warm, acrid properties are a reflection of the nature of the original environment in which Hong Hua evolved. 

The size of the dosage of Hong Hua affects its action. 
Large dose (3-4g): activates the blood
Smaller dose (1-1.5g):
harmonizes the blood
Pinch (0.5-1g):
can treat anemia
Pharmaceutically Hong Hua has been shown to contract the uterus, expand the blood vessels, and lower cholesterol.

1. Circulatory Disorders (Blood Stasis in the Vessel)
Some Western disorders corresponding to blood stasis in the vessel include: high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, or other disorders of the heart vessels.  For someone with the condition of blood stasis, even if they are already taking a cholesterol reducing drug such as Lipitor, Hong Hua can be used.  When taken over an extended period Hong Hua can lower cholesterol and triglycerides.  This combination is suitable for long-term use:
Shan Zha 8g
Chen Pi 6-8g
Su Mu 3-4g
Hong Hua 2-3g

If there is the type of pain in the heart that occurs in cases of CAD or angina, and the patient is determined to be a Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang or PC6 + SP4 type of condition, then this combination may be used:
Dan Shen 8g
Chi Shao 6g
Hong Hua 2g

2. Gynecological Disorders (Lochia, Dysmenorrhea)
Hong Hua is widely used for gynecological disorders, especially for the conditions of Lochia and blood stasis post-partum.  Right after labor, the mother can take this combination for at least one week or until the Lochia has resolved: Dang Gui Wei, Chi Shao, Chuan Xiong, Pu Huang, Wu Ling Zhi, Hong Hua

For dysmenorrhea resulting from cold in the abdomen causing blood stasis, the following combination can be used: Dang Gui, Chi Shao, Chuan Xiong, Rou Gui, Pao Jiang, Tao Ren, and Hong Hua.

Case: A 31 year old woman just delivered a baby three days ago.  She wants to take herbs to resolve the abdominal pain and Lochia.  The following formula is generally given for the first week after labor, but may be used for up to 21 days if the Lochia continues.  Discontinue use of this formula when the lochia is resolved.
Dang Gui 6g
Dang Gui Wei 6g
Chi Shao 6g
Chuan Xiong 6g
Pu Huang 3g
Wu Ling Zhi 3g
Hong Hua 3g

After the lochia has stopped and the internal stagnation has been removed, then
tonification is appropriate and this formula may be given:
Shu Di 12g
Dang Gui 8g
Huang Qi 8g
Lu Rong 4g
Bai Zhu (fried) 4g
Chen Pi 4g
Sheng Jiang 2g
Da Zao 2g

3. Trauma (Traffic Accidents, Sprain)
Trauma inevitably affects the blood, at least locally.  Hong Hua can be used in various combinations to address different symptoms that can follow trauma.
(1) If the main complaint after trauma is muscular aching, use: Ge Gen, Chi Shao, Mu Gua, Gui Zhi, and Hong Hua
(2) If after a trauma such as car accident the symptoms include dizziness, headache, and nausea, they are likely a result of blood stasis and this combination can help: Niu Xi, Dang Gui Wei, and Hong Hua.
(3) For severe bruising after trauma use: Chen Pi, Su Mu, Tao Ren, and Hong Hua
(4) If the main complaint after trauma is pain then use: Chi Shao, Gui Zhi, Yan Hu Suo, Hong Hua.

CASE: Sequela of Auto Accident
A 34 year old man was in a severe car accident three months ago.  He was hospitalized for two weeks following the accident.  Now his pain has reduced, but he has continually been suffering from nausea, vomiting, dizziness and headache since the accident.  This formula will help:
Chi Shao 8g
Ge Gen 8g
Gui Zhi 4g
Tao Ren 4g
Yan Hu Suo 3g
Su Mu 3g
Hong Hua 3g

4. Bone Disorders (Osteoporosis, Weakness of Bones)
If a patient has been diagnoses with osteoporosis or bone weakness, just a pinch of Hong Hua (0.5-1g) can help to stimulate new bone cell production and bone growth.  Lu Rong also directly increases bone cell production, so these two herbs together are an excellent combination.  Use this ratio:
Lu Rong 3-4g
Hong Hua 1g

Many osteoporosis patients also have weak digestion or other Stomach disorders.  Poor calcium absorption can be a contributing factor to the osteoporosis condition.  Bai Zhu can improve the function of the middle jiao, and Lu Jiao is more easily absorbed since it has been catalyzed already.  The following formula must be used for at least two months before Bone Mineral Density measurements will show an increase.
Lu Jiao 12g (or Lu Jiao Jiao 4g)
Bai Zhu 6g
Dang Gui 4g
Niu Xi 4g
Shan Zha 4g
Lu Rong 3-4g
Hong Hua 1g

CASE: A 68 year old woman has been diagnosed with osteoporosis by her MD.  She quit taking the medication three months ago because it gave her such severe indigestion that she couldn't stand it.  When she quit the medication her low back pain got worse.  She wants to get herbs to help.
Shu Di 12g
Lu Jiao 12g
Shan Zhu Yu 6g
Bai Zhu 6g
Dang Gui 4g
Shan Zha 4g
Lu Rong 3g
Sha Ren 2g
Hong Hua 1g

5. Anemia
Hong Hua has three actions on the blood, which vary based on the dosage.  Hong Hua is a very light herb with a large surface area, so even a "big" dose is only 3-4 grams.  A dose of 3-4 grams is ample to move blood stasis.  A dose of 1-1.5 grams has the effect of harmonizing the blood and improving the circulation, and a dosage of just 0.5-1 gram has the action of stimulating the production of red blood cells and bone cells.  Therefore, a tiny dose of Hong Hua can go a long way in treating anemia.

Case: A thin, 33 year old woman has the chief complaint of dizziness every time she stands up.  Her MD diagnosed her with postural hypotension and anemia.  Also her blood pressure is low.  On the lab report her hemoglobin level is only 8 g/dL, while the normal range for women is 12-16 g/dL.  She was prescribed a pharmaceutical drug for anemia, but she can't take it because her digestive system is too weak.  She wants to try some herbs.
Shu Di 12g
Huang Qi 8g
Dang Gui 6g
Bai Zhu 6g
Lu Rong 4g
Shan Zhu Yu 4g
Sha Ren 2g
Hong Hua 1.5g