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ASK DR. MAO:

If you have a question for Dr. Mao, email him at www.askdrmao.com. Put SM Mirror in the subject line.

Questions: Can you please tell me ways to effectively treat acne, on the face and body?

Answer: Acne in Chinese medicine is a sign of pathogenic “heat” in the lungs and intestines. It is necessary to clear your lungs of this heat by detoxifying your intestines and balancing the exterior of your skin. First, avoid fried, fatty, oily, spicy foods, as well as stimulants such as coffee, sugar, smoking, and alcohol. Make sure your bowels are not constipated and flow regularly and easily. Avoid dairy products and chocolate. Begin incorporating more cooling foods into your diet, such as squash, cucumbers, winter melon, celery, beet tops, dandelions, aloe vera, mulberry leaf, papaya, and brown rice. Also, drink plenty of water, at least 70 ounces per day. Try these remedies:

1. Rub watermelon rind on the affected areas, and then apply aloe vera.

2. Drink a tea made from dandelion and beet tops.

3. Roast buckwheat, grind it into a powder, and then mix it with rice vinegar into a paste; apply to affected areas.

4. For oozing acne conditions, apply pearl barley powder mixed with aloe vera leaf overnight. Wash in the morning.

Additionally, make sure that your living and work environment is free of mold and fungus. These are notorious for entering the lungs and creating pathogenic heat. Contact a traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner in your area for a more specific treatment plan.

Question: How can I help my mood swings that I am associating with pre-menopause?

Answer: As your body nears menopause, your hormones begin to shift, causing imbalances, which manifest as emotional ebbs and mood shifts. One of the best ways to harmonize the emotions and help cope with the other symptoms of menopause is through Tai Chi or Qi Gong exercises. A research showed that menopausal women who practiced 20 minutes per day of Qi Gong exercise showed higher levels of estrogen compared to those who did not. Thus maintaining a better balance between Yin and Yang aspects of their bodies. A good source for learning Qi Gong is your local acupuncture schools; they usually offer local classes for the community and hold workout sessions. You can also check www.chihealth.org for additional information. The other key area is your diet. I recommend avoiding stress, stimulants, and tension. Consume more black beans, sesame seeds, soybeans, walnuts, lycii berries, mulberries, yams, and licorice.

If your mood swings are severe, you should consult with an acupuncturist, as they may be able to help with more specific herbal prescriptions and acupuncture.

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