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Chinese Materia Medica(2)

1. Herbs for Relieving Exterior Syndromes (Pungent and Warm)

1) ephedra

2) cinnamon twig

3) schizonepeta

4) ledebouriella root

5) perilla leaf

6) fresh ginger

7) notopterygium root

8) dahurian angelica root

9) chinese lovage root

10) spring onion

11) magnolia flower

2. Herbs for Relieving Exterior Syndromes (Pungent and Cool)

(to be continued)



SEVEN Tips to prevent constipation (1)


Chapter 1


Two Out of Three Women are Constipated


Many women suffer from constipation. Nevertheless, it rarely becomes the subject of a conversation. This means that they suffer from it in silence.

First, according to a survey conducted by the Better Home Society Foundation (Better Home Kyoukai) in March 2000, 40.6% of the 399 women surveyed, aged 20 to 69, answered they suffer from constipation. Women in their twenties and thirties occupied almost half of this group.

Out of the women suffering from constipation, 35% have suffered from it for over ten years, and 22.5% for over 20 years. Moreover, 61.1% had the experience of no bowel movements for over five days.

According to the latest investigative report on women's feelings (Onna-Gokoro Saishin Chousa Report), a series of surveys conducted by Rohto Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., more than half of all women recognize that they are constipated.However, only 18.5% of these women make efforts to cure it.Also, in the case of working women, more than 80% of them seem to refrain from going to the restroom when they want to, even when they feel the need to have a bowel movement.


Internet Survey No. 1 (conducted on 1330 women aged 10 to 59)

"Bowel movement every day."- 34.5%

"Irregular bowel movement"- 33.9%

"Sense of incomplete bowel movement"-10.8%

" Ball-shaped or soft stool"- 6.4%


The survey result shows that approximately two out of three women suffer from constipation. Only about 20% of the women aged 10 to 29 answered that they had a bowel movement every day, a figure much lower than the 40% for women aged 40 to 59.


Internet Survey No. 2 (conducted in October 2003 on 627 working women aged 20 to 29 who suffer from constipation)

"Making efforts to cure constipation"-18.5%

"Impossible to go to the restroom at a set time every day because of time or environmental constraints"-30.9%

"Having difficulty achieving a bowel movement in the restroom and giving up."-21.2%

"Very stubborn, hard-to-cure constipation."-13.4%


More than 60% of these women seem to be in a situation where they cannot even try to cure constipation.

In response to the question: "Have you ever suffered from constipation?", 74.8% of the 627 women surveyed answered they had suffered from constipation. Some of the answers are as follows:

--"Pimples appear all over my face when I don’t have a bowel movement for over a week."

--"Because of the tension and pain in my lower abdomen, it is sometimes hard even to just sit."

--"I cannot fit into my clothes because of the expansion in my lower abdomen."

--"Too much gas in my abdomen makes it hard for me to keep from breaking wind and distracts me from work."

--"My stool is hard and I bleed every time I experience a bowel movement"

--"My body feels heavy and I get headaches."

--"I suffer for over 30 minutes in the restroom, and get goose bumps, a cold sweat, and feel like throwing up.”

--"It isn't possible to go out on the day after I take laxatives, as I have to go to the bathroom all the time."

Furthermore, 87.9% answered they cannot go to the bathroom even if they have to, because of business meetings. There are cases where symptoms get even worse because a woman cannot go to the bathroom when she needs to.

Here is another survey result: Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. conducted a survey in June 2003 on 800 women aged 20 to 49 who recognized that they were suffering from constipation; this was a survey on the actual state of women’s constipation and their attitudes toward bowel movements (Jyosei no Benpi Jittai to Haiben Ishiki Chousa). According to the survey, only 23.5% had a bowel movement once a day. Furthermore, although 49.3% answered that it was ideal to have a bowel movement right after breakfast, only 27.1% answered they actually had it then, while 23.1% answered they had it irregularly.

Based on these surveys, we can see that there are many women who suffer from constipation. We should also note that constipation is more common for women than for men.

There is no need to be ashamed of constipation. Many survey results indicate that a high number of women suffer from it. According to the National Life Basic Survey (Kokumin Seikatsu Kiso Chousa) conducted in 1992 by the Minister's Secretariat Statistics and Information Department, Ministry of Health and Welfare (currently the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare), the number of women who have constipation outnumber that of men by several times.

Also, in the same survey conducted in 2001, the number of constipated women who recognized that they had constipation increased by 1.4 times compared to the same survey conducted in 1992.


Here are Seven Tips to Prevent Constipation

1. Drink a cup of water just after getting up .

2. Be sure to eat breakfast everyday .

3. Eat high-fiber foods .

4. Limit problem foods .

5. Stick to a schedule .

6. Exercise regularly .

7. Pay attention to bowel habits .



The Chinese characters for constipation means “convenient” and “secret.” In digestion, the food taken into the body is decomposed and the necessary nutrition absorbed into the body. The leftover is then discharged out of the body as urine or stool.

Human beings breathe air, drink water, and eat food. By doing so, they grow and maintain their health. But one must not forget that they discharge unnecessary things from the body too. You can imagine what would happen if this emission did not take place regularly.

In a body with a fixed capacity, only a corresponding amount can fit; therefore, a smooth bowel movement is “convenient”, as the Chinese character indicates, for the body.

Everyone wishestheir bowel movements to be smooth. However, sometimes it is difficult to achieve this. Because one never really knows whether they will have a healthy bowel movement everyday, it is considered to be a “secret.”


- Next Chapter -

The next chapter explains in detail the seven tips to prevent constipation.