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Lycium Support


CLINICAL APPLICATIONS

* Atrophic and degenerative eye disorders: macular degeneration, glaucoma, optic atrophy, cataracts, photophobia, retinitis, retinopathy and vitreous opacity

* Deterioration of eye functions: reduced visual acuity, diminished or impaired vision, blurred vision, night blindness

* Other eye conditions: dry eyes, red eyes, swelling and pain, spots in front of the eyes, excessive tearing, floaters, Lasik recovery

 

WESTERN THERAPEUTIC ACTIONS

* Prevents and treats degenerative eye disorders, such as age-related macular degeneration

* Prevents and treats diabetic retinopathy

* Prevents dry eyes by inhibiting local inflammation in lacrimal glands

* Lowers ocular pressure

 

CHINESE THERAPEUTIC ACTIONS

* Tonifies Liver and Kidney yin

* Brightens the vision

 

DOSAGE

Take 3 to 4 capsules three times daily. Dosage can be increased up to 6 to 8 capsules three times daily in severe cases. Serve with a pinch of salt and warm water.

 

INGREDIENTS


Che Qian Zi (Semen Plantaginis)

Chong Wei Zi (Fructus Leonuri)

Fu Ling (Poria)

Fu Pen Zi (Fructus Rubi)

Gou Qi Zi (Fructus Lycii)

Gu Jing Cao (Flos Eriocauli)

Gui Ban (Plastrum Testudinis)

Ju Hua (Flos Chrysanthemi)

Jue Ming Zi (Semen Cassiae)

Mi Meng Hua (Flos Buddlejae)

Mu Dan Pi (Cortex Moutan)

Qing Xiang Zi (Semen Celosiae)

Sha Yuan Zi (Semen Astragali Complanati)

Shan Yao (Rhizoma Dioscoreae)

Shan Zhu Yu (Fructus Corni)

Shu Di Huang (Radix Rehmanniae Praeparata)

Tu Si Zi (Semen Cuscutae)

Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis)

Ze Xie (Rhizoma Alismatis)


 

BACKGROUND

Good eye care and eye health are essential for preserving vision and protecting the overall health. The eyes are not only the “gateway to the soul,” they are also the crystal ball that reflects external disorders and reveals internal diseases. External disorders that affect the eyes include infection, injuries, swellings, and inflammation. Internal diseases that affect the eyes include diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, thyroid disorders, and cancer. Therefore, optimal treatment requires accurate diagnosis, as well as treatment of external disorders and internal diseases.

 

FORMULA EXPLANATION

The Liver and the Kidney are the most important organs for eye health. The Liver organ manifests into the eyes; when there is heat in the Liver, it may manifest as redness, swelling, dryness, and even pain of the eyes. According to the five elements theory, the Kidney is the mother of Liver, and when there is Kidney yin deficiency, the Liver yin will also become deficient, leading to blurry vision, loss of visual acuity, and dryness of the eyes.

        Lycium Support, based on Liu Wei Di Huang Wan (Six-Ingredient Pill with Rehmannia), contains Shu Di Huang (Radix Rehmanniae Praeparata), Shan Yao (Rhizoma Dioscoreae), Shan Zhu Yu (Fructus Corni), Fu Ling (Poria), Ze Xie (Rhizoma Alismatis) and Mu Dan Pi (Cortex Moutan) as a foundation to nourish Liver and Kidney yin. Vinegar-processed Gui Ban (Plastrum Testudinis) is added to further tonify the Liver and Kidney yin.

        Gou Qi Zi (Fructus Lycii), Wu Wei Zi (Fructus Schisandrae Chinensis), Sha Yuan Zi (Semen Astragali Complanati), Tu Si Zi (Semen Cuscutae), and Fu Pen Zi (Fructus Rubi) tonify the Kidney and consolidate the jing (essence). They also nourish the Liver, brighten the eyes, and improve vision to treat deficiency signs of dryness, blurriness, and dizziness.

        Ju Hua (Flos Chrysanthemi), Jue Ming Zi (Semen Cassiae), Che Qian Zi (Semen Plantaginis), Chong Wei Zi (Fructus Leonuri), Gu Jing Cao (Flos Eriocauli), and Qing Xiang Zi (Semen Celosiae) clear Liver heat and benefit the eyes to treat Liver fire rising causing redness, swelling, dryness, photophobia, cataracts, and night blindness. Mi Meng Hua (Flos Buddlejae) shows good results in treatment of eye disorders caused by either excess or deficiency syndromes.

        In summary, Lycium Support is an excellent formula that nourishes Liver and Kidney yin to treat chronic and degenerative types of eye disorders.

 

CAUTIONS & CONTRAINDICATIONS

* Lycium Support is designed to treat atrophic and degenerative eye disorders. This formula is not suitable for acute eye disorders due to infection, external injuries, hemorrhage, or other causes.

* This formula is designed for oral ingestion. Do not apply it topically into the eyes.

 

CLINICAL NOTES

* It is helpful to provide more blood circulation to the eyes either by applying a heat pad or a moist hot towel over the area. Alternatively, one can also put some chrysanthemum flowers in a cup of hot water and let the steam treat the eyes.

* The following drugs are known to adversely affect the eyes:

§ Antibiotics (penicillins, tetracycline, and sulfonamide) can cause red, itchy and dry eyes, blurred vision, increased light sensitivity, and possible allergic reaction with red conjunctiva, tearing, and itching.

§ Antidepressants (tricyclic antidepressants or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are known to cause dilated pupils, blurred vision, double vision, inability to focus, and dry eyes.

§ Antihistamines sometimes cause too much dryness in the eyes.

§ Appetite suppressants, such as amphetamine derivatives and similar stimulants, cause pupil dilation and impaired ability of the eyes to focus.

§ Hormone replacement therapy can cause superficial punctate keratitis, in which the eyes feel dry, gritty, irritated and tired.

§ Prednisone and other steroids increase the risk of cataracts and glaucoma.

SUPPLEMENTARY FORMULAS

* For visual disturbance from bacterial infections, add Herbal ABX.

* For visual disturbance from viral infections, add Herbal AVR.

* For visual disturbance from inflammation of the eyes, add Astringent Complex.

* For visual disturbance due to diabetes, add Equilibrium.

* For visual disturbance from glaucoma characterized by heat, add Gardenia Complex or Gentiana Complex.

* For visual disturbance due to environmental toxins or pollutants, add Herbal DTX and Liver DTX.

* For visual disturbance due to hypertension, add Gastrodia Complex or Gentiana Complex.

* For visual disturbance from eye injuries, add Flex (TMX).

* With more Kidney and Liver yin deficiencies, add Kidney Tonic (Yin).

* With Kidney yin-deficient heat, add Nourish or Balance (Heat).

* With excessive heat, add Gardenia Complex.

 

ACUPUNCTURE TREATMENT

Traditional Points:

* Fengchi (GB 20), Hegu (LI 4), Jingming (BL 1), Shaoze (SI 1), Guangming (GB 37), Taixi (KI 3), Taichong (LR 3), Tinghui (GB 2), Zanzhu (BL 2), Sanyinjiao (SP 6)

* Xinming #1, Xinming #2, Touwei (ST 8), Fengchi (GB 20), Hegu (LI 4).

* Note: Xinming #1 (新明1) is located in the back of the auricle, at the mid point of the skinfold behind the ear lobe, or at the point 0.5 cun above the introcession, between temporal apophysis and the posterior border of mandibular angle. Xinming #2 (新明2) is located on the forehead, 1 cun above tip of brow, and 0.5 cun lateral.

 

Classic Master Tung's Points:

* Blurry vision: Tongshen (T 88.09), Tianhuang (T 77.17), Dihuang (T 77.19), Renhuang (T 77.21), Shangbai (T 22.03), Libai (T 44.12), Sifuyi (T 1010.11), Sifuer (T 1010.10)

* Optic nerve atrophy: Sanchayi (T 22.15)*, two points on the sides of the first metacarpal joint of the thumb, Sizhukong (TH 23), Tianhuangfu [Shenguan] (T 77.18), Zhenjing (T 1010.08), Zanzhu (BL 2). Bleed dark veins nearby the temporal area. Bleed before needling for best result.

* Glaucoma: Guangming (GB 37), Tianhuang (T 77.17), Dihuang (T 77.19), Renhuang (T 77.21), Shangbai (T 22.03), Wanshunyi (T 22.08), Minghuang (T 88.12), Tianhuang (T 88.13), Qihuang (T 88.14), two points on the sides of the first metacarpal joint of the thumb. Bleed the dark veins nearby the temporal area. Bleed before needling for best result.

* Cataract: Shangbai (T 22.03), two points on the sides of the first metacarpal joint of the thumb, Sihuashang (T 77.08), Huoying (T 66.03), Shuixiang (T 66.14), Minghuang (T 88.12), Tianhuang (T 88.13), Qihuang (T 88.14), Tianhuang (T 77.17), Dihuang (T 77.19), Renhuang (T 77.21)

* Astigmatism: Shangbai (T 22.03), Zhongbai (T 22.06), Xiabai (T 22.07), Wanshunyi (T 22.08), Wanshuner (T 22.09), Tongguan (T 88.01), Tongshan (T 88.02), Minghuang (T 88.12), Huozhi (T 88.15), Renhuang (T 77.21), Huoying (T 66.03), Tianhuangfu [Shenguan] (T 77.18), two points on the sides of the first metacarpal joint of the thumb, Tianhuang (T 77.17), Dihuang (T 77.19)

* Eyes (red): Linggu (T 22.05), Shangbai (T 22.03), Libai (T 44.12), Dabai (T 22.04), Huoying (T 66.03), Minghuang (T 88.12), Tianhuang (T 88.13), Qihuang (T 88.14), Simashang (T 88.18), Simazhong (T 88.17), Simaxia (T 88.19). Bleed dark veins nearby the temporal area or tender points on the LR area of the back with cupping. Bleed before needling for best result.

* Eyes (dry): Minghuang (T 88.12), Qihuang (T 88.14), Tianhuang (T 88.13), Guangming (GB 37), Shangbai (T 22.03), two points on the sides of the first metacarpal joint of the thumb, Tianhuangfu [Shenguan] (T 77.18), Sanchayi (T 22.15)*, Mu (T 11.17)

* Eyes (pain): Shangbai (T 22.03), Shangjiuli (T 88.26), Zhongjiuli (T 88.25), Xiajiuli (T 88.27), Shangli (T 1010.09)

* Eyes (tear): Shangbai (T 22.03), Huaguyi (T 55.02), Mu (T 11.17), Tongshen (T 88.09), Yizhong (T 77.05), Erzhong (T 77.06), Sanzhong (T 77.07), Tianhuangfu [Shenguan] (T 77.18), two points on the sides of the first metacarpal joint of the thumb, Huoying (T 66.03), Tianhuang (T 77.17), Dihuang (T 77.19), Renhuang (T 77.21), Shangli (T 1010.09)

* Eyes (floaters): Shangbai (T 22.03), two points on the sides of the first metacarpal joint of the thumb, Minghuang (T 88.12), Tianhuang (T 88.13), Qihuang (T 88.14), Tianhuangfu [Shenguan] (T 77.18), Shuixiang (T 66.14), Shuixian (T 66.15), Shangli (T 1010.09), Sifuyi (T 1010.11), Sifuer (T 1010.10)

* Lazy eyes: Huoquan (T 88.16), Qihuang (T 88.14), Huozhi (T 88.15), Renhuang (T 77.21), Tongshen (T 88.09), Huoying (T 66.03)

* Nearsightedness: Minghuang (T 88.12), Huozhi (T 88.15), Huoquan (T 88.16), Tianhuang (T 88.13), Tianhuangfu [Shenguan] (T 77.18)

 

Master Tung’s Points by Dr. Chuan-Min Wang:

* Blurry vision, cataract, glaucoma, degenerative eye disorder: Tianhuangfu [shenguan] (T 77.18), Guangming (T 77.28), Shuixiang (T 66.14)

 

Balance Method by Dr. Richard Tan:

* Left side: Quchi (LI 11), Tianjing (TH 10), Yingu (KI 10), Ququan (LR 8)

* Right side: Quze (PC 3), Shaohai (HT 3), Dubi (ST 35), Xiyangguan (GB 33)

* Left and right sides can be alternated from treatment to treatment.

 

Ear Acupuncture:

* Liver, Kidney, Eye, Vision #1, Vision #2, Endocrine, Adrenal

 

Auricular Medicine by Dr. Li-Chun Huang:

* Improving vision: Kidney, Liver, Vision 2, Eye, Sympathetic, Optic Center (Occiput). Bleed Ear Apex.

* Ametropia: Kidney, Liver, Occiput, Eye, Forehead, Vision 2, Sympathetic. Bleed Ear Apex.

* Myopia: Kidney, Liver, Spleen, Vision 2, Eye, Optic Center (Occiput), Sympathetic. Bleed Ear Apex.

* Cataract: Kidney, Liver, Eye, Vision 2, Endocrine, Sympathetic. Bleed Ear Apex.

* Optic atrophy: Kidney, Liver, Occiput, Vision 2, Eye, Sympathetic, Endocrine, Coronary Vascular Subcortex. Bleed Ear Apex.

* Glaucoma: Eye, Decrease BP Point, Kidney, Liver, Occiput, Vision 1, Coronary Vascular Subcortex. Bleed Ear Apex.

 

NUTRITION

* Make sure to drink at least 8 glasses of water per day.

* Try to select foods high in beta-carotene, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, and butternut squash.

* Fish oil or the consumption of deep sea fish like salmon, sardines, and tuna is very good for the maintenance of eye health.

* Increase intake of nourishing roots such as Mexican yam, yam, radishes, potatoes, carrots, melons, cucumbers, beets, turnips, malanga, celeriac, taro, and rutabaga.

* Daily intake of the following supplements is beneficial for patients with macular degeneration, extensive drusen, pigment changes, or geographic atrophy: zinc oxide 80 mg, copper 2 mg, vitamin C 500 mg, vitamin E 400 IU, beta-carotene 15 mg (or vitamin A 28,000 IU).

* Avoid spicy foods, pungent foods, alcohol, and smoking.

 

The Tao of Nutrition by Dr. Maoshing Ni and Cathy McNease:

* Cataracts: increase the intake of chrysanthemum, cilantro, spinach, cloves, water chestnuts, yams, goji berries, black beans, and sesame seeds.

* Avoid any type of spices, salt, and garlic.

 

LIFESTYLE INSTRUCTIONS

* Avoid excessive use of the eyes. Take frequent breaks to rest the eyes when reading, watching television, or using the computer.

* Avoid excessive or prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light (sunlight, sunlamps, or welding arcs) or x-rays.

* Avoid wearing contact lenses for an excessive period of time.

* Avoid rubbing the eyes. Find the cause of eye irritation and treat accordingly.

* Make sure to intake enough fluids. Dehydration often contributes to dryness and discomfort of the eyes.

* Perform the following eye exercises:

§ In a quiet, relaxed environment, clear the mind and slowly look around in a circle with the eyes only, reversing the direction each time. This allows a person to exercise the muscles of the eyes in a healthy way.

§ Look far away: go outside into a natural clean environment and look as far away as possible. Relax the eyes, focus on one direction for 25 seconds at a time, and then focus on something that is close by. Repeat 20 times, three times a day. This allows the muscles and lens of the eyes to maintain their elasticity, and prevents premature changes in vision.

 

PHARMACOLOGICAL AND CLINICAL RESEARCH

Lycium Support is an herbal formula based on Qi Ju Di Huang Wan (Lycium Fruit, Chrysanthemum, and Rehmannia Pill). The traditional formula and the individual herbs have all shown excellent effect to treat various eye disorders.

        Qi Ju Di Huang Wan (Lycium Fruit, Chrysanthemum, and Rehmannia Pill) has been shown to treat eye disorders such as retinitis and vitreous opacity. According to one study, the use of this formula in 140 patients with retinitis was associated with complete recovery in 22 patients, significant improvement in 21 patients, moderate improvement in 70 patients, and no benefit in 27 patients. The treatment protocol was to administer the herbs in decoction daily, for three weeks per course of treatment. The duration of treatment ranged from 30 to 118 days, with an average of 57 days.[1] According to another study, use of modified Qi Ju Di Huang Wan (Lycium Fruit, Chrysanthemum, and Rehmannia Pill) was successful to treat vitreous opacity in 34 patients (21 males and 13 females, between 38 to 76 years of age). The herbal formula contained Gou Qi Zi (Fructus Lycii) 15g, Ju Hua (Flos Chrysanthemi) 15g, Shan Yao (Rhizoma Dioscoreae) 15g, Shan Zhu Yu (Fructus Corni) 15g, Shu Di Huang (Radix Rehmanniae Praeparata) 20g, Fu Ling (Poria) 10g, Ze Xie (Rhizoma Alismatis) 10g, Mu Dan Pi (Cortex Moutan) 10g, Tu Si Zi (Semen Cuscutae) 10g, Nu Zhen Zi (Fructus Ligustri Lucidi) 10g, and Jue Ming Zi (Semen Cassiae) 10g. The treatment protocol was to cook the herbs in water, and administer the decoction in two equally-divided doses, two times daily for 30 days. Of 34 patients, the study reported significant improvement in 18 patients, moderate improvement in 11 patients, and no benefit in 5 patients. The overall rate of effectiveness was 85.29%.[2]

        In addition to the traditional formula, the individual ingredients, such as Gou Qi Zi (Fructus Lycii) and Ju Hua (Flos Chrysanthemi), have also illustrated marked benefit for the eyes. According to one up-to-date human trial, oral supplementation of Gou Qi Zi (Fructus Lycii) may be effective in prevention of age-related macular degeneration, a common disorder that causes irreversible loss of central vision. This beneficial effect is attributed to zeaxanthin, a compound that is present in Gou Qi Zi (Fructus Lycii), bioavailable to humans, and essential to prevent degenerative eye disorder.[3] According to another study, Gou Qi Zi (Fructus Lycii) extract and taurine (its major component) have a cytoprotective effect against glucose exposure in a human retinal epithelial cell line and provides beneficial effect to delay diabetic retinopathy progression. The mechanism of this effect is attributed to the reversal of the caspase-dependent apoptotic cytotoxicity pathway.[4] Another report attributes the beneficial effect of Gou Qi Zi (Fructus Lycii) to treat diabetic retinopathy on its effect to dose-dependently enhance peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ) in human retinal pigment epithelial cells.[5] Lastly, the combination of Gou Qi Zi (Fructus Lycii) and Ju Hua (Flos Chrysanthemi) has illustrated protective effects to treat diabetic retinopathy in streptozotocin-induced diabetes.[6]

        Finally, Mi Meng Hua (Flos Buddlejae) and Qing Xiang Zi (Semen Celosiae) are two herbs that effectively treat “excess” conditions of the eyes, such as inflammation and increased ocular pressure. According to one study, topical application of Mi Meng Hua (Flos Buddlejae) as eye drops showed good results to treat dry eyes by inhibiting cell apoptosis in lacrimal glands.[7] According to another study, Mi Meng Hua (Flos Buddlejae) has a significant effect to prevent dry eyes by inhibiting local inflammation in lacrimal glands and reducing apoptosis of lacrimal gland cells.[8] Lastly, decoction of Qing Xiang Zi (Semen Celosiae) given daily for six days lowered ocular pressure.[9]

        In summary, Lycium Support is an excellent herbal formula to treat various disorders of the eyes, including but not limited to macular degeneration, retinopathy, retinitis, inflammation of the eyes, and increased ocular pressure.

 

COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS

Optimal health of the eyes requires a careful balance of structure and function. Structural damages of the eyes include external injuries, burns, infection, and inflammation. Functional disorders of the eyes include acute and chronic loss of visual acuity, which may occur through aging, stress, prolonged exposure to computer monitors, television or sunlight, and internal causes such as diabetes, hypertension, and circulatory disorders. The structural and functional disorders of the eyes often occur together, as one inevitably affects the other.

        Western medicine is generally more effective to treat structural damages and acute functional disorders of the eyes. Structural damages may include external injuries, hemorrhage, invasion of a foreign object, burns, and fractures. Acute functional disorders may include infection, inflammation, and retinal detachment. In these cases where the cause of acute structural and functional eye disorders is clearly defined, Western medicine provides effective and reliable treatment results.

        Traditional Chinese medicine is usually more effective for atrophic and degenerative disorders that affect the functions of the eyes, such as blurred vision, reduced visual acuity, dry eyes, optic atrophy, and macular degeneration. Under these circumstances, Chinese herbs slow the aging process, reverse the atrophy or deterioration, and correct the underlying constitution. These atrophic and degenerative eye disorders occur over a long period of time, and therefore, may also require a long period of time to heal and recover.

 



[1] An Hui Zhong Yi Xue Yuan Xue Bao (Journal of Anhui University School of Medicine) 1989;4:18.

[2] Zhong Yi Yao Xue Bao (Report of Chinese Medicine and Herbology) 1995;2:25.

[3] Cheng C.Y., Chung W.Y., Szeto Y.T. & Benzie I.F. Fasting plasma zeaxanthin response to Fructus barbarum L. (wolfberry; Kei Tze) in a food-based human supplementation trial. Br J Nutr. 2005, 93(1): 123-130.

[4] Song MK, Roufogalis BD, Huang TH. Reversal of the Caspase-Dependent Apoptotic Cytotoxicity Pathway by Taurine from Lycium barbarum (Goji Berry) in Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells: Potential Benefit in Diabetic Retinopathy. Herbal Medicine Group, Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:323784.

[5] Song MK, Salam NK, Roufogalis BD, Huang TH. Lycium barbarum (Goji Berry) extracts and its taurine component inhibit PPAR-γ-dependent gene transcription in human retinal pigment epithelial cells: Possible implications for diabetic retinopathy treatment. Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Biochem Pharmacol. 2011 Nov 1;82(9):1209-18.

[6] Hu CK, Lee YJ, Colitz CM, Chang CJ, Lin CT. The protective effects of Lycium barbarum and Chrysanthemum morifolum on diabetic retinopathies in rats. Vet Ophthalmol. 2012 Apr 5. doi: 10.1111/j.1463-5224.2012.01018.x.

[7] Peng QH, Yao XL, Wu QL, Tan HY, Zhang JR. Effects of eye drops of Buddleja officinalis Maxim. extract on lacrimal gland cell apoptosis in castrated rats with dry eye. Key Department of Chinese Traditional Ophthalmology, the First Affiliated Hospital, Hunan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Changsha 410007, Hunan Province, China. Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2010 Mar;8(3):244-9.

[8] Peng QH, Yao XL, Wu QL, Chen M. Effects of extract of Buddleja officinalis on prevention of dry eye in castrated rabbits. The First Hospital affiliated to Hunan University of TCM, Changsha 410007, China. Zhonghua Yan Ke Za Zhi. 2008 Nov;44(11):1011-9.

[9] Yun Nan Zhong Yi Za Zhi (Yunan Journal of Chinese Medicine), 1990; 11(1):30.