TCM was used together with western medicine for treating SARS back in 2003. In 2020, it is being put to the test again by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which has spread to every city in China and is starting to spread to other countries as well. So far, as no vaccine has been developed, herbal practitioners, TCM experts and doctors in China and Hong Kong are testing a range of TCM herbs and even drugs that were used for treating SARS, Ebola and HIV.
In early January 2020, preliminarily testing generated evidence that TCM may work in mild cases, especially during the early stages of the disease. However, in acute cases, the effects of TCM are limited and slow.
Later, the Chinese TCM expert team started to refer to the ancient literature "伤寒论 Shanghan Lun (220~25 BC)", which is translated as "Treatise on Cold Pathogenic Diseases"., iIt is about treating of "typhia" in western medical terminology. A few of the prescriptions mentioned in the book were selected for treating mild, medium and acute cases of the disease and achieved positive preliminary results. Yet, more intense studies are required to confirm their effectiveness.
It is interesting to notice that even though TCM herbs cannot kill the virus directly, when appropriate herbs are used under TCM theory, they help to control the activity of the virus. The theory is that the herbs (prescription) help to restore the body’s condition to a stage where it is not suitable for the virus to survive and cause further damage.
TCM has been practised for more than 4,000 years; it has been regarded as not scientific but more philosophic. TCM was developed under the philosophy of Taoism (a school of philosophy); it is about the harmonic balance of the human body and its surrounding nature, the balance of the Yin and Yang. The natural environment and its changes are always affecting human life and health. TCM suggests maintaining a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise, nutritious food, and proper living habits so that we can live in harmony with nature.
Our bodies can get sick when attacked by exogenous factors (referred to as different types of external evils). Diagnosis of the symptoms as observed and links to the natural environmental can prompt TCM herbal practitioners to apply TCM theories and come up with a curative treatment plan and appropriate prescription. Precisely getting rid of the extra or excess, replenishing what isare required and restoring the balance is the way to treat or cure. The choice of herbs require testing for the best results.
In the western world, herbs are studied and investigated under the microscope, technologies developed for extraction and synthesis allow drugs to be made for a specific purpose (targeted). However, there are no conflicts between the east and the west. Science and technology help us understand how TCM works, and there is evidence TCM may complement western medicine. Although not all aspects of TCM are fully understood, many indications show that TCM may work in many different contexts. TCM’s emphasis more on prevention is designed to delay or prevent what might happen prematurely. Since 2014, Nutri-Woods started to apply the principle of TCM to produce functional herbal extracts for the health and beauty market.
Nutri-Woods inherits the holistic philosophy of TCM, taking the human body as an organic whole. The R&D team follows the six steps of:
- Choice of herbs
We interpret ancient prescriptions and continue with our exploratory development. Our mission is to supply functional herbal extracts produced under the guidelines of the TCM principles to the health and beauty industry. The Nutri-Woods R&D team takes inspiration from ancient TCM literature. With the assistance of modern science and technology, we have developed some theories for health and beauty. They are:
- Herbal germination
- Physique and Beauty
- Safety guarantee system for cosmetic formulations
- Holistic approach for skin moisturization
- The clear, promote, replenish procedure for whitening
The TCM theories can be tested and validated with the modern scientific instrument. We can successfully explain TCM theories such as “Clearing Away Heat and Detoxification”, “Reinforcing of the Skin Barrier”, “Replenish of Body Fluid to Generate Skin Moisture” and “Aromatic Approach to Relieve Apparent Symptoms”.
Nutri-Woods combines TCM and modern science to meet the demands of the cosmetic market. We have now developed herbal functional raw materials that are widely accepted and used in the industry.
TCM principles on the use of herbs (just to mention a few):
- Nature of herbs (identification, classification and authentication)
- Processing of herbs (pretreatment to modify the function of a herb)
- The seven conditions of match and& pair (how to combine the herbs)
- Principle of a prescription
- Single herb functional herbal extracts
- Combination of herbs – multifunctional herbal extracts
- Synergistic effect for moisturizing, whitening, anti-aging, anti-acne, stop itch
- Antagonistic effect for anti-irritating (for sensitive skin, against skin irritants)
With our first launch to the world, Nutri-Woods would like to introduce six functional herbal extracts to the cosmetics industry. They are:
AQP Free has the following attributes:
1) promote the expression of aquaporin AQP3 in keratinocytes, open up the "water channels"
2) inhibit hyaluronidase activity, prevent hyaluronic acid hydrolysis, protect the "water source"
3) improve the expression of Filaggrin and Claudin-1, to consolidate the "skin barrier function"
4) smooth fine lines and flaking skin caused by dryness, providing long-lasting nourishing and moisturizing effect for the skin
5) leave the skin feeling silky smooth and supple
IrriBate has the following characteristics:
1) can antagonize the stimulation effect of exogenous stimulation
2) can inhibit the stimulation of surfactants, preservatives, fragrances and flavours
3) can protect the cell membrane and DNA, playing a protective role for the skin
Irriguard has the following characteristics:
1) immediate relief of symptoms: relieve itching, remove redness, reduce swelling, inhibit the release of inflammatory factors/mediators
2) long-term consolidation of barrier, repair the skin barrier and reduce sensitive symptoms in five different dimensions (itch, redness, swelling, hotness and pain)
3) extremely mild to the skin, with no chemical additives
Aknas Clear has the following characteristics:
1) inhibition of 5α-reductase activity to control and balance the sebum secretion
2) inhibit the growth of acne-related pathogenic bacteria in the hair follicles sebum and eliminate inflammation
3) acne inhibition activity, improve skin acne conditions caused by the use of cosmetics through a three-way approach of (i) promoting penetration and absorption, (ii) unblocking pores, and (iii) inhibiting hair follicles keratosis, to enhance the efficacy of clearing acne.
Itch-End has the following characteristics:
1) rapidly ends itching
3) extremely mild and safe
4) with no preservatives, fragrances and flavours added
5) is encapsulated with phytosome technology
Puri-Six has the following characteristics:
1) can achieve clear, rosy red and radiant skin
2) has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidation effects and can effectively improve skin pigmentation
3) has the effect of promoting blood circulation and removing blood stasis, and can improve the state of skin stasis
4) has the effect of tonifying and nourishing, and can enhance the whiteness and brightness of the skin
Different TCM theories are applied to the above products and in turn, their applications. All symptomatic cases have taken references to ancient literature. The Nutri-Woods TCM expert team deliberately writes the combination of herbs (prescription) given for each product. Screening of herbs is carried out by the R&D team using different scientific approaches to evaluate and before optimizing the most appropriate proportion to be used in the final extract. All the TCM herbs used are the common herbs that are being used by the TCM herbal practitioners for the preparation of edible decoctions, which means that all herbs chosen are safe to humans. TCM herbs are natural and green. Some of them may have been living together with or around us for some times. Safety references may not be available in some of the search engines or websites.
However, the “Ben Cao Gang Mu本草纲目” which is translated as “ Compendium of Materia Medica” is a useful reference and has been published in many different languages and distributed in many countries. It has recorded a total of 1,892 herbs and was written by Li Shi Zhen (李时珍，1518 – 1593) of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644).
Another reference website is available from the School of TCM of the Baptist University of Hong Kong at: https://library.hkbu.edu.hk/electronic/libdbs/mmd/
Flyers for the respective products are accessible via the following links: