Posted by David Brochstein, L.Ac., O.M.D.

Chinese Medicine Can Help With:

  • Surgery (recovery from)
  • Bruises
  • Wounds
  • Scars
  • Sports Related Injury
  • Post-partum healing

Today’s post is inspired by a friend, Carl L. of Austin, who recently inquired whether Chinese medicine had anything to offer for recovery from surgery.  Well, Carl, in fact there’s quite a bit that can help you.

Chinese herbal medicine has a long and effective history of treating injuries and physical traumas.  From bumps and bruises, to broken bones, to recovery from major surgery, Chinese herbal medicine can help… a lot!

The development of a large part of Chinese herbal medicine comes from the need to heal traumas caused by martial arts training and practice.  Chinese medicine has been treating physical injuries effectively for more than 2,000 years.

Shaolin martial arts schools actually developed some of their own herbal medicines specifically to boost performance and recover from injuries quickly.  Some of these formulas are quite strong and must be prescribed and used carefully.  Be sure to consult with a qualified herbalist familiar with Chinese medicines before applying treatment.  Remember that Chinese medicine is not a layperson’s medicine but requires effective diagnostic techniques for the purpose of maintaining safety.

There are many different types and strengths of Chinese medicines.  Bumps and bruises usually require mild medicines.  Mild medicines actually work better than the strong ones in the right situation.  For simple bumps and bruises one may get great results with a plaster or liniment.  These are either in the form of a patch or a liquid for external application. These are placed over the painful or bruised area on unbroken skin.  The herbal extracts are absorbed into the tissues allowing for increased circulation of the same body fluids that are stagnated by the injury.  By invigorating the circulation, pain is reduced and the regeneration of the tissues is quickly expedited.  A typical patient will get immediate pain relief as well as a noticeably quicker recovery.  There are hundreds of medicines from this category, so consult with an expert before risking self-treatment. 

Liniments Ex: Shaolin Dee Dat Jow, Zheng Gu Shui, and Bai Hua Yu are commonly used for these types of mild injuries.

When the injuries are worse than simple bruises or bumps then Chinese medicine’s herbs are even more helpful.  The medicines from this category are usually taken internally often in the form of pills, tablets, or capsules.  The herbs in these formulas have a solid reputation of clearing up the stagnation resulting from an injury or trauma as well as regenerating tissues.  The tissues affected may be from skin to bone, and anything in between.  Different herbs work on different levels, so a bone-healing formula will consist of different herbs than a skin or muscle-healing formula.  These formulas help with pain and expedite the healing process.  Most everyone I treat with this approach sees real results, often seeing an injury heal much more quickly than what they would normally expect.

This is a lesser-known use of these formulas in our Western hemisphere, but in Asia this type of treatment is used regularly and safely with very significant results.  After an invasive medical procedure such as a surgery, the tissues experience trauma like a major injury.  Recovery will be slow and often painful.  

My technique with cases like this relies on proper timing… provide the internal herbal treatment after the discontinuation of any MD-prescribed pharmaceuticals used for thinning the blood (this is a normal part of the post-surgery routine to avoid clotting/thrombosis).  Once the herbal treatment takes effect, patients notice a lessening of the pain, clearing of bruising and skin discoloration, a hastening of the healing to the site of the surgery, and an improved ability to feel good and become active again.

In fact, I have received numerous reports from patients that have told me their MD was very surprised how quickly, completely, and uneventfully they recovered from their surgery in these cases.  These reports have come back to me many times over the years of using these treatments for surgery recovery.  The formulas used here are often strong, and I prefer to use specific combinations of medicines for the right effect. 

Herbal Formulations
Some of the choices I use in combination are Jin Gu Die Shang, Zheng Gu Xu Jin Fang, and a suitable Hu Gu Jiu substitute (not available due to endangered species bans). 

 These formulas can also help avoid excessive scarring which can reduce the pain associated with surgeries, because the scar is often the most mentally painful and longest-lasting side effect of surgery. But remember, please do not ever attempt to provide this type of treatment without expert guidance!

If you are planning for a medical procedure, speak with me in advance and I can help you recover more quickly, more completely, and with less risk of complications… and your quality of life can improve, too.

 Take Good Care!

Dr. D


About bensten

Teacher, writer, blogger and spiritual practitioner. Managing editor of

7 responses »

  1. bensten says:

    Dear Azalea.
    I have forwarded your question to Dr. David. I hope you’ll get his input soon. In the meantime, best wishes for a fast recovery and long-term health.

  2. Azalea says:

    I just had an uterine fibroid embolization 2 days ago.I have some pain in my abdominal. Where can I buy the right chinese herbal in NYC to cure my pain?
    Thank you very much doctor.

  3. bensten says:

    Dear Regina,
    I contacted Dr. David immediately upon receiving your comment but he is currently out of pocket and unavailable. I hope your issues are being resolved successfully. When Dr. David is available to provide feedback he may be able to further advise. Thanks for your query and thank you for reading.

  4. Regina Trickett says:

    Hi Dr. David,my cousin n her husband came to australia for a holiday but her husband ended in the hospital with aortic tear. hours of operations n now he is slowly mending but big problem is that his vertebrae no. 6 n down (?) nerve is damage and he can’t walk. i’ve always believe in chinese medicine and acupuncture and was wondering if you could recommend who should they go to for consultation one that can come to the royal north shore hospital as he is now in a wheel chair. this happened on 31.12.10. told my cousin time is the essence. am right or wrong in rushing to find a cure of any sort. please advise

  5. bensten says:

    Hi Alicia–Here is a reply from Dr. David (


    It appears you are fully recovered from the surgery. You should discontinue Yunnan Baiyao immediately. That formula is not helpful at the point you are recovered. You could have discontinued using it about 7-10 days after the surgery. Congratulations on your excellent success, by the way!

    Regarding tennis elbow, the issue we see that causes the pain to be so stubborn is likely related to overuse (no adequate healing time) and/or compensation patterns that insulate the stagnation that leads to the pain. Compensations usually need to be addressed during acupuncture for the elbow pain, but it sounds like you may have not been receiving that part. I would be happy to discuss this further in the clinic if you would like.

  6. Alicia Soubry says:

    I have had a ACL reconstruction on 26/06/10, use Yunnan Baiyao the minute I wake up, took the red pill first, then 2 pills every 6 hours for 1 week, 1 pill 4 time a day for the last 3 days.

    I had a meeting with my consultant tonight, he was ‘extremely’ happy with the result of his operation, and was very surprised with the healing and swelling of my knee, flexion /extension was over the normal!

    But, I do have other problem seem nothing can be done! I have tennis elbow, for many years now, there was a Chinese doctor, who massage it, put herb medicine on my arm for 3 weeks, then it was back to normal, no pain. But he has since passed away, and I have tried many ‘Chinese Doctor’ non of them make any difference to the tennis elbow pain, and wasted so much money too!

    Can you help me, advice me what I need to do for my tennis elbow. Also, how long I need to keep taking Yunnan Baiyao, or should I stop now and / or continue with something else?


  7. Your Word Press theme is looking awesome!!

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