TCM and Obesity
By Dr. Hong-Yen Hsu
Obesity is the name given to an excessive accumulation of fat in the body, resulting in body weight and proportions that go beyond normal skeletal and insulin requirements. It maybe due to metabolic abnormalities, overactivity of insulin secretion, hyperfunction of the adrenal cortex, hypofunction of the gonads, or hypothyroidism; however, the most common cause of obesity, by far, is simply excessive consumption of food and drink.
Obesity is likely to be a contributing factor in heart disease, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, and cerebrovascular accident (also known as CVA, apoplexy, or stroke). Most obese persons have very large, distended bellies and a pronounced tendency toward constipation and "flushing-up." Obese women tend to suffer from menstrual disorders.
While modem Western medicine's appetite suppressants and diet-and-exercise programs seek to limit food intake and "bum off” superfluous fat, Traditional Chinese Medicine perceives those symptoms to be manifestations of Stagnancy of Phlegm or Water in the body, and endeavors to dispel such Stagnancy with herbal formulas designed to regulate the mechanisms for this action.
Some herbs improve fat transportation out of the body and fat transformation, thus ameliorating the manifestations of obesity and reducing the risks from the complications of Obesity.
Generally, a person is considered obese when the body weight is more than 15 - 20% than the established normal range. The following formula may be recommended to calculate the ideal weight for those taller than five feet in height, in accordance with the book, Health Risks:
MEN: Starting with a weight of 106 pounds, add six pounds for each inch of your height over five feet. This is your ideal weight if you have a medium build. Add ten percent of this weight to the figure if you have a muscular, heavy-boned build. Subtract ten percent if you have a slender build. An example is:
For a man 5'10" tall, his weight range should be 150 - 182 pounds.
Medium build: l06 lbs. + (6 Ibs. x 10) = 166 lbs.
Slim build: 166 lbs. -16.6 Ibs. = 150 lbs.
Heavy build: 166 lbs. + 16.6 Ibs. = 182 lbs.
WOMEN: Starting with a weight of 100 pounds, add five pounds for every inch of your height over five feet. This is your ideal weight if you have a medium build. Add ten percent of this weight to the figure if you have a heavy-boned build. Subtract ten percent if you if you have a slender build. An example is:
For a woman 5'4" tall, her weight range should be 108 -132 pounds.
Medium build: 100 lbs. + (5 lbs. x 4) = 120 lbs.
Slim build: 120 lbs. – 12 lbs. = 108 lbs.
Heavy build: 120 lbs. + 12 lbs. = 132 Ibs.
From these formulas, you can see how significant your body's build is in determining your proper weight.
A Selection of Obesity Formulas (for Men and Women)
1. 0710 Siler and Platycodon Formula
2. 0312 Major Bupleurum Combination
3. 0307 Minor Bupleurum Combination
A Selection of Obesity Formulas (for Women with Menstrual Disorders)
1. 1015 Cinnamon & Hoelen Formula
2. 1009 Persica & Rhubarb Combination
3. 0314 Rhubarb & Moutan Deficiency Combination
4. 0711 Stephania & Astragalus Combination
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