Expert Opinions

Expert Opinions Archive
Healing foods play an important role in traditional Chinese medicine. Do they help fibromyalgia?

A.G., via

Doctor of oriental medicine Efrem Korngold, O.M.D., and author, with Harriet Beinfield, of Between Heaven and Earth, a classic book on Chinese medicine, replies:

"Traditional Chinese healers encourage people who have fibromyalgia to eat primarily warm and cooked foods. They should also abstain from alcohol, caffeinated beverages, hot spicy foods, and cold and raw foods (especially ice-cold drinks and refrigerated foods), which are thought to exacerbate conditions of stagnation and contribute to physiological stress rather than mitigating it.

"Many of the Chinese herbal formulas that have been prescribed over the centuries to treat rheumatic problems are often helpful for fibromyalgia. A few that can be obtained from Chinese herbal pharmacies include: Du Huo Ji Sheng Wan (angelica pubescens and loranthus pill), especially good for stiffness and soreness in the lumbar area and the legs; Xiao Huo Luo Dan, for swelling, numbness, and pain in the limbs, especially in people who are sensitive to cold; Da Huo Luo Dan, good for sore and stiff muscles, or difficulty walking or sitting; and Du Zhong Feng Shi Wan, for aching and inflammation of joints and muscles and pain that migrates from place to place. All, except for Xiao Huo Luo Dan, also strengthen the body by replenishing healthy chi (vital energy) and blood. The pharmacist can guide you on how much to take."

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