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    19 Reviews
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      20.12.2013 15:04

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      Absolute rip off, I would avoid at all costs.I went with a chest infection, the chinese guy had a stained white coat and could not talk english, an interpretor assistant helped, after a "free consultation" I was recommended soup, herbal tea, and some yeast type tablets, I was also told there was a special offer for a months supply, well I am glad I only spent £72 on this rubbish for the week and not a month. Did not make any difference. NEVER AGAIN

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      04.06.2012 18:17
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      Branch of Chinese Medicine/treatments

      Herbal Inn Ming Imperial is a chain of Chinese medicine shops which began in 1989 and now exist up and down the United Kingdom. These herbal shops offer a medicine, consultation and service. When you walk in you almost walk into the counter, behind which are containers full of various herbs and Chinese remedies.

      Each shop offers the following treatments; Acupuncture, Deep Tissue Tuina Massage, Herbal Facial, Reflexology, Herbal Remedies and Allergy Tests. These treatments are carried out in store. Behind the counter you can see several curtained off areas where these treatments take place.

      Recently Groupon were running a 62% off on deep tissue massages or acupuncture sessions and for £19 rather than the usual £50 I paid for a massage hoping to redeem it on my day off. I had booked the 1 hour Tuina Deep Tissue Massage. A form of Chinese massage which uses brushing, kneeding, massaging, rolling and pressing of the body and its muscles.

      Last week I checked www.herbal-inn.com for the number of my local branch (Basingstoke) and called to book. The receptionist was Chinese but spoke fairly good English. She took my surname and Groupon code. I also thought they took my phone number. I was booked in for 2pm today.

      On arrival I was met by an empty shop all but a Chinese man sat on a wooden chair in the waiting area. He wore a white jacket and looked like he worked there so I explained I had a 2pm appointment for a massage.

      He said "colleague" which I took to mean I needed to speak to his colleague. 5 minutes later a Chinese girl walked into the store from the shopping mall and started talking to the gentleman. She then asked me whether I had any problems. I explained I suffer with back pain but nothing to stop me having a massage. She said that if this was the case I shouldn't have the 1 hour massage I should instead have a 30minute acupuncture session and 30minute massage. I refused, stating that I had book and paid for a 1 hour massage.

      The girl then told me that if this is what I wanted I would have to wait 30minutes, "perhaps go shopping and come back". By this point I was less than impressed and pointed out that her diary had me (and only me) booked in for 2pm. I was advised that they only had one "doctor" working today and he was busy. Refusing to go shopping I said I would wait, as I waited, I watched the "doctor" eating his lunch in his office. As it turned out, the wooden chair was so uncomfortable that I physically couldn't sit in it for 30minutes and instead took myself off to Waterstones.

      At 2.30pm I returned and this is where the service really excelled itself. The Chinese girl and another man were both sat on the chairs. I was then asked to take a seat for a few minutes. 5 Minutes later she showed me to a curtained cubicle and said to take my shoes off and lie on my back. Odd.

      Fully clothed, but not very warm I did as I was asked. 5 minutes later the "doctor" silently walked into the room and started rubbing my eyebrows, followed by an area under my temples. Then my hands, arms and shins. After 20 minutes he said "turn" and indicated with his hands I should turn onto my stomach. He then rubbed my neck, back and the tops of my legs down to the Achilles.

      The overall massage was weak; at no point did the "doctor" identify any of the sore pressure points that I can point out within seconds on my back/neck nor did he ask. When he was I felt a heavy thud on my back and he said "finish" before walking out of the cubicle. In total the doctor said 2 words to me in an hour.

      At no point did I have any idea what was going to happen next which meant I was twitchy and couldn't relax. The whole massage was fully clothed and I was wearing jeans and a cotton t-shirt so there was minimal effect and I couldn't really feel any benefit of the "massage". I was also cold which would have been evident in the goose-pimples which appeared on my arms after half an hour.

      Whilst on my back I was supported by two very comfortable pillows, but when on my stomach these had been removed and the "doctor" had ripped a hole into the paper to allow me to put my face in the table. This was fine, except that at no point did he check whether I was comfortable and throughout when he was putting pressure on me, my face was being jarred into this gap which left me with a headache and delightful lines across my face in the middle of town.

      Throughout this experience I had the pleasure of listening to relaxing sounds of Kestrel FM, the local radio station, between bouts of white noise and a fairly loud volume with the speaker above my head.

      Once the "doctor" has declared "finish" I was left on my own. And nobody came to get me or offer me water or in-fact do anything. I left the shop very unimpressed.

      I can honestly say that I have never had a treatment of this nature where what is being done hasn't been explained to me, nor have I ever not been asked if I am comfortable, been fully clothed or asked to sign a health declaration prior to treatment. I have always received advice to keep dehydrated and not do anything too strenuous after a treatment but again this was absent.

      The massage itself was poor and inconsistent. I had one side which received more attention that the other and the "doctor" worked from 1 side of the table only meaning than he had to lean over me or pull my arm across my body in order to work on it.

      I have no experience of the selling which I have read up about on other reviews and my exchange took place over Groupon. However, I can honestly say that I will never return to this company for a treatment and I would have been horrified if I had paid the full price of £50 for today's massage. The website is misleading as it shows pictures of those enjoying a back massage with soft white towels covering their lower back whilst having bare shoulders. Instead I just feel uncomfortable where my clothes have been rubbed into my skin and have not felt any impact of the massage at all.

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        16.12.2010 09:36
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        Herbal remedies, herbal inn

        I've read a lot of negative views before and I'm thinking that these experiences are really different to mine. I think it REALLY depends which store you go to, I've been seeing someone at Oxford street for the past 3 years and have had an amazing treatment so far.

        I highly disagree with the approach some reviewers have taken because although they have all the right to be angry (I would be fuming), the company has done a lot for me and my family so far. You'll always get bad customer service and terrible experiences with any company, hah, I can't get over how much of a scam the guys at apple gave me when I went to repair my iPhone!) but as a provider of herbal medicine and Chinese treatments, herbal inn has helped me find less artificial treatments to tackle my chronic back pain and insomnia. I felt completely a new person about 1 year and 4 months of the treatment and now I'm working on getting my nerve damage along my spinal column fixed.

        I've heard that some peoples gps refered them for acupuncture and it really helps supplement other treatments for some ailments that often people suffer, but allow them to avoid the harsh chemicals provided in other substances used to treat them.

        Be wary of predatory sales tactics, but try and shop around for the doctor for YOU. There are some amazing people in the company and if you rely on some generalisations you might be missing out on some great stuff. I recommend the Oxford street branch in London, the doctor not only is excellent but she is very caring. Her hands are crazy strong for what I consider a timid and adorable Chinese woman!

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        20.10.2010 17:40
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        Ooops

        I am a great believer of acupuncture but am really disappointed by the fake so-called "Chinese Doctor". My girlfriend used to work in one of the above mentioned companies, she said the business was sales targeted and many so-called doctors are from less-developed area in China with limitation in proper education and practice. They paid a significant amount of money to the UK registered company and the company could sponsor them to gain a "working visa" in the UK. After working for five years the doctors then are able to apply the "Indefinite leave to remain" in the UK and become British citizen. No wonder the bosses could afford hundred thousands of pounds to hire lawyers and accountant to make their business legitimate and no one is willing to expose it!

        Check out their license of acupuncture! Before you do that, ask for the full name of the acupuncturist and compare it against the registry of the local business. You will be surprised by the result!

        Majority of the chain shops of the Chinese herbal medicine or acupuncture practises are about to bankrupt. The biggest, such as Dr&Herbs, Dr China and HerbMedic are already filed bankruptcy in the last three years, which left many people with huge pre-paid fee unrecovered. All the above mentioned three companies were operating around 100 shops each three years ago. Unfortunately, the business owners have already registered new name for their business and some of them are trading under a different trading name using the existing shopping centre premises and/or high street shops. It's disgusting!

        HMRC and Fair trading office could do nothing about it. The only thing I could say is "Beware what you pre-paid for!"

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          13.01.2010 13:36

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          Herbal Inn are a CON... they Stole £600 off my OAP mother and refuse to give her the cash back.She recieved NO treatment , the So called shop personel in Colchester essex uk hardly spoke english. they only spoke enough to con the cash from her and the satorey rights sign in the shop is null and void.The so called list of drugs (Carry bag full) would after checking with her doctor would have KILLED her as they were mostly all toxic.I am pushing for legal action and european courts too. They should be shut down and kicked out of the UK.They do not know what they are doing and also only intrested in money which you wont get back. she had NO treatment and NO drugs and NO REFUND. they do not reply to any mail or phone callsKEEP AWAY from them

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          11.01.2010 08:45
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          I cured Post Natal depression in 2 weeks.

          After my baby was born, I suffered depression. I was afraid to go to a GP and get drugs for its treatment - because on my own observation, I didn't see mothers or other depression sufferers get better by the use of they medicine. Quite the opposite, I met mother that became schizophrenic, other also had changed in behaviour and appearance for worse.
          I had experience of get well with Nepali medicine once when I was in India, for a depression I had after I had lost a friend, I was not eating at all, I was very ill mentally and they medicine treated me in one week.
          So, in UK also, when i got post natal depression, and I was some month already just suffering so much, I decide to visit a Chinese doctor.
          Wow, she spent about 40min just talking to me and analysing me. At the end, I remember all was a bit expensive for me, but after taking her medicine for 2 weeks, my depression were gone and i felt alive and vivid again and I am so ever grateful for her help, as my depression was so bad, like to commit suicide. By the way, the doctor was the one in Soho road in Birmingham.

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          10.08.2009 21:32
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          do not recommend, personnel focused on selling their products, not on a patient's well being

          MY VISITIS IN HERBAL INN WERE TRAUMATIC EXPEREIENCE !! It was February 2009. I was desperately seeking advice and help for my backache and decided to go to the Herbal Inn in Lewisham. On my first visit there , I was pursued to buy a package of six treatments of acupuncture . The girl working there , who was dealing with me , insisted me to buy 12 treatments in advance. She was very pushy and sales orientated. I felt extremely uncomfortable and wanted only to pay for my first treatment which had already taken place. She did not want to give up and kept me there pushing to buy medicines for more than half an hour. I should have said I had moneywith me for one treatment only but I was so in pain that in the end I agreed to buy 6 treatments. The first treatment seemed to be OK . There was a Chinese female doctor. She did not speak English though and needed translator - the counter girl. I had have acupuncture and then cups done (I've got huge bruises and fever after cups though). We arranged next visit for Wednesday 5 PM (she said that she would have to leave earlier on that day and couldn't make it at 6PM as I initially requested). Upon arriving at Herbal Inn for my second treeatment, the female doctor wasn't there. It was another first 'red' signal that something's wrong. The male 'doctor' invited me into one of the cubicles. The man spoke only in Chinese and used the receptionist as a translator and was called by her as a 'doctor'. I prepared myself as for the first treatment I had during my first visit i.e. took off my shirt and bra, and lay down on the bed on my front. When the doctor came, he gestured to me to turn around and took off my trousers.
          I felt very uncomfortable with this request as I had pain in my shoulder and did not understand why I needed to take my trousers off and turn around to my back!!! I said 'no' to this request, and tried to explain to the 'doctor' that I had a pain in my back, not in my front and the female doctor treated me with the needles on my shoulder and back last time. The male 'doctor' called the receptionist to translate. The receptionist explained that I was asked to turn on to my back, but with my bra back on, but take my trousers off.
          I kept on asking why I should lay on my back with my trousers off if I had a pain in my back. The receptionist said I could stay in my shirt, but should uncover my stomach; she said that I could stay in my trousers but should uncover the lower part of my leg, as acupuncture needles would be put in my stomach and legs
          I asked why I needed needles in my belly and legs, if I had a pain in my shoulder; I complained to the receptionist that no one had explained to me prior to the treatment this would be necessary.
          I mentioned to the girl that on the Saturday before, when I had a single session at the Herbal Inn, the female 'doctor' had put needles in my back and alongside my spine. The receptionist then stated that the female 'doctor' treated me in wrong way , she was 'not good', and the male 'doctor' was better, and he had decided on this course of treatment. She also said that he was the owner of this center.
          I stated that that I did not want the treatment any more, and that I could not trust Herbal Inn anymore, if they state one 'doctor' is good and the other bad. They also did not explain to me the change of the course of the treatment before I went to the cubicle.
          After leaving the cubicle, I stated that I resigned from continuing the treatment due to reasons mentioned above and wanted a refund for the treatment sessions which had not occurred.
          The girl stated that the manager wasn't present so they could not make the refund at that time. She tried to persuade me and change my decision, she discussed my request of refund with doctor in Chinese and in the end they started heavily arguing and shouting which made the situation even more uncomfortable and stressful. The receptionist became behaving very unpleasant and aggressive (she threw the notebook on the table with anger after argue with the 'doctor'). This only proved how unprofessional they were and ensured me in the decision to stop having treatment in this place.
          I requested money back but was refused . I sent an offical claim to Herbal Inn hoever I have not received any reply from them . Does any one have similar experience with Herbal Inn ?? Need your advice how I can get my money back ??

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            15.02.2009 14:22
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            Don't bother, you can get this on the NHS

            My brother in law had this experience with Herbal Inn in Blackpool, they have a terrible refund policy, pressure selling and convieniently forgetful staff.
            Read on....

            13/02/09
            I went to a glass front small Herbal Shop in Blackpool Hounds Hill Shopping centre called Herbal Inn, I thought I'd pop in to buy some Himalayan Salt that my half-brother a physiotherapist also studying acupuncture in the United States suggested I try for my Atopic Eczema.

            I asked for some and the woman at the counter told me she was new and didn't understand what I was asking for so to sit down and wait for the doctor.
            The doctor came over and asked me about where my eczema was (the counter woman had to translate both ways for the doctor) then took me to a desk further back and asked me what I used to treat it, I said steroid creams. She simply stated that they were no good she would use accupunture, herbal tea and cream to treat it without explaining how it worked, why it worked, how much it would cost or if it was a course or single treatment. They asked if I had 30 minutes, She then ushered me to some curtained area, pointed at my clothing and said 'take off', I was quite scared and said I was scared. This being due to the fact that nobody had explained anything to me still and would not for the whole session whilst performing the procedures.

            The doctor spoke some broken English asking me what I did and I said I was a nursing student and that I work at Blackpool Hospital. She asked me where my family and I were from, she said that she was from Shanghai and travelled from shop to shop UK and Ireland. She asked me how long I had this condition and I said since early childhood. She asked me why I had not tried acupuncture before, I said because my mother disapproves of it and mentioned again my brother was studying it.

            She cleaned the areas with an alcohol swab which stung my sore eczema areas and she started sticking needles all over me on my arms, legs, round my head, neck and stomach and told me to stay there for 20 minutes. She came back and rubbed the areas after she took the needles out and massaged my head and neck then back. Then the doctor started heating a bowl and started placing it on my stomach causing a suction. She then said finish and left the curtained area

            We then went back to the desk and she wrote down in Chinese. She said that it was a course of treatment I needed, not a one time thing that I would get £5 off each £35 treatment totalling 5 sessions as I was a student and that the oral liquid and cream was £10 each and I would get the 5th one free.

            The counter woman then ushered me to the till and started tapping on the calculator, and said £230 for sessions and medicines. She then asked me to pay in full and I was taken back that I would have to pay for the whole treatment on the first visit since they had given me no time to even consider the treatment having rapidly moved me through the process & not explained anything to me. I stated that I did not realise that I had to pay for everything right now and assumed it was pay for the session each time and obtain medicine each time. She said no this is not how it works and that I could pay half now or half later. I said I didn't carry that amount of cash and she said I could pay by card. She said just pay for the session and medicine now, I felt very pressured into agreeing and she input and I paid £110.00 on my debit card. While it was processing she asked me to fill a registration form in for information, which I assumed to be a newsletter from the words registration form. I started filling it in and reading the sentences but she waved her hand over the form covering it and said no need to read just sign, the card finished processing and she put the machine receipts in front of me with her other hand and urged me to sign it quickly as the store was busy.

            I asked for a copy of the Chinese prescription that the doctor wrote to explain what the course was, a breakdown of the costs and she said the doctor was too busy and would maybe do it next time I came in. She opened the appointment book and said I will book you in for next Wednesday or Thursday, I said I work shifts so I don't know when I will be free and would call back.

            I felt very nervous afterwards when I was travelling home because I wondered how I had walked in wanting to buy some Himalayan Salt for about £10 to buying a course of treatment and medicine for £110-£230. I thought over the whole sale and thought it was very rushed and I felt bullied with their sales techniques, they hadn't explained anything to me and I didn't understand why I agreed to buy the medicine thinking I could not really afford it when I had time to think and could definitely not afford the course. I went on their website upon returning home to see if I could get a refund for the medicine and it stated that they "Products sold but sealed and with saleable condition are entitled 90% of refund within 10 working days. 10% will be used as administration and post cost. No refund afterwards but exchange can be offered". So I thought if I returned them to the store tomorrow there should be no need for postage or administration costs.


            14/02/09
            Went into the shop with the goods in the same condition I received them and asked for refund explaining that I realised I could not afford the full course of treatments or the medicine and so wanted a refund for them.

            The counter woman said that:
            * Said that I could have acupuncture instead of the medicine
            * It was very complex as they were a small company not like a big company with lots of shops and big office
            * That it was not like returning t-shirt there were forms to fill and would take six months when sent off to the owner
            * That the doctor was very busy and that we should come back next Tuesday or Wednesday.

            I said that I could not do that as I was working at the hospital, the doctor repeated what the counter lady said whilst rummaging around behind the counter looking through files of sheets getting very irate in her body language, pulling faces and talking harshly in mandarin to the counter woman. I then said to the counter woman how about coming back later when they were less busy at around 2.45pm.

            I came back later at around 3.30pm they told me to sit and said because I signed the form that she would not refund me as I had waived my rights. I explained that I did not know I was signing a contract of any kind as it simply said registration form. I believed it to be a newsletter of some kind and as stated before she stopped me from reading the declaration, even filling the form in full and did not know that I was agreeing to any conditions or understand the writing the doctor wrote on the back of the form. She simply said company policy no refunds.

            I then said this was done fraudulently and I was not happy with their sales techniques, that I had been on their website showing their numerous locations all over the UK and stating that consumers are able to return goods in sealed and re-saleable condition within 10 days. Both of them kept saying no to me then went to the other side of the store talking for a very long period, so I went over and said that if they are not process my refund then I would have to seek legal advice over this regarding my consumer rights and other legal acts. She said again that it was company policy and would not offer me a refund.

            The doctor took me back to sit down and then began asking 'why causing trouble' and waving her arms at me, when she was only trying to help me, I said I did not want any trouble that I had no personal offence against her or the counter woman being a student nurse myself I simply wanted a refund. She then began putting her head in her hands repeatedly and saying that I was causing her trouble, saying they would 'both get fired'. I observed this as acting because it was a huge over-reaction and had done nothing to provoke this having acted in a civilised and calm manner, simply asking for a refund I believed I was entitled to and had no personal malice against them. She then reminded me that she even offered me £5 off the £35 acupuncture sessions because I was a student. I said I was grateful for the session, I was happy to pay for that session and had done so but desired a refund for the medicine. I did not want to continue the sessions as they were sold in a miss-informed manner and as a student cannot afford £230.

            The counter woman then came back and said the only thing she could do was offer me £20 each from herself and the doctor. I said I did not want their personal money that it should simply be a card transaction refund from the company the way I paid the company. They talked between themselves in Mandarin becoming increasingly more irate and appearing distressed in front of me again saying they 'would get fired' the doctor slumping over the desk and putting her hands in her head.

            The counter woman then ushered me to the phone and the person over the phone said that it was company policy not to return goods, I explained again the website statement, she asked me what website I said the name of the company. co.uk and she said no because they are .com and I said whichever it was as the website I had visited was their company.
            She then stated it's company policy not to offer refunds that its different when you buy online. I said that this was an unfair policy and whether I could talk to her or a manager, she then stated that was the Refund Manager and there was no-one else to help me. I said that if they were not willing to refund me then I would seek advice on what action to take and again she said no. I said I would be writing a letter of complaint also and left the store.

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              15.11.2008 13:22

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              Deal with at you health and financial risk

              Herbal Inn is a barand name for dangerous con artists. My wife was promised an 85% cure for chonic back pain from 15 treatments for which I paid £400 in advance. She was offered a load of unnecessary and potentially harmful medications.

              After treatment she was in pain we were unable to get a refund for the course that had not been delivered. They actually got heavy with us when we asked, within seconds the shop filled with some menacing looking individuals. Trading Standards tried but were unable to get anywhere.

              The research I have seen either finds that acupuncture is ineffective in treating arthritic conditions, or in other trials is said to have helped with back pain more than placebo (her pain is partly arthritic). The positive trials are published in complementary treatment journals so could be somewhat subjective.

              I would advise caution regarding the use of the word 'cure' and to pay for one treatement at a time as it is their policy not to refund if you change your mind on pre-paid treatments.

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              30.04.2003 18:13
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              I do not know a thing about Chinese medicine, I cannot find a category for Pepto Bismol and I have only 4 minutes left for my internet viewing …. Going down …. Usually I pride myself on being a very healthy person, I can go for years without having vomited (if that kind of thing turns your stomach you may have to leave early!), however this year and last it all turned around and caught up with me! The first time I used Pepto Bismol was last year, I had been feeling rough all day but stuck it out at school, knowing that if I returned home I wouldn’t be able to attend the Christmas lighting in town. I think Dr Ramsden of Coronation Street hosted it this year, previously it was Beppe Dimarco of Eastenders. Perhaps I had left it too late to suddenly take a dose of this –according to my age it is 20ml- because my stomach flipped over and emptied into the sink, thank god for that. So that’s blown my night in town! Off trundles all my mates for their girlie night and I have to sit at home alone! Boohoo poor Roxie. So that didn’t quite work! Since then I’ve been safe, I’m not one to be sick when drinking so its not often I am subjected to it. Until last Friday. Now I have apparently been in disgrace recently and I have lost the trust of my parents, (I am blaming this on the man of my mother, who no longer has a name). So they are reluctant to leave me alone, as it happens Sarah was with me too and she would be the most responsible girl in the world..that I know of anyway! Swallowing their tongues my parents leave to go and watch Johnny English, instantly Sarah and I take to stuffing our faces, I hadn’t been eating that week and so I was extremely hungry. Pizza, Toast, Yoghurt, Flapjack, Pancakes, Cola. As soon as I felt the unfortunately familiar queasiness I took some Pepto and once again it didn’t work! Mother and ‘Him’ return home and he is now trying to fo
              rce me to do the washing up, it is around 11 o’clock at night and my stomach is tieing knots, I cannot move from my position on the stairs to the kitchen. There is not shed-loads of washing-up, it can wait until morning, but oh no it can’t! So of course Roxie splashes onto the stairs! Well… onto about 4 stairs worth! I have no idea where so much came from, I’m sure I didn’t eat THAT much! The smell is unbearable but still I drag myself down the stairs and do the washing up before collapsing into my bed. Responsible Sarah is now paranoid that she too will be ill and calls her mum at 12.30am (I’m sure she was not pleased) and returns home. Once again, Roxie is in disgrace. It is now hmm about 5 days later and despite large quantities of febreze and the highest level of air freshener the stench refuses to die! Another question, Does Febreze work? Pepto Bismol is a shocking pink thick liquid it can be bought in very large amounts. A dosing cup is provided and I have to take 20ml, you lot all have to suffer with 30ml. Pepto is up there with the foul medicines, it smells extremely strongly of Germolene, the -also pink- cream used to treat cuts and sores. The taste is kind of chalky and refuses to leave the depths of your mouth even when gallons of water has been drunk, I advise you not to drink it with flat cola!! There is no age limit to who can use it and the smallest dose is one 5ml teaspoon, lucky to the bugger who has to take it in such small quantities. The worst thing is that because of its consistency you cant chuck it back and be done with it, it slides down your throat and you have to endure the horrid taste until all 20-30ml has been washed down. *Shudder* Also known as Bismuth Subsalicylate (HA! As if I can pronounce that one) it boasts to relieve Indigestion and Nausea , symptoms I don’t suffer from, control diarrhoea, well don’t ask me?? Haven’t fallen victim to that since I
              was about 7! And all importantly ‘Relieves Upset Stomach’ Well does it?? Does it really? I’m not so sure, I have used Pepto many a time and it has worked about 1/8 times. It is supposed to line your stomach with a protective coating, but if you have stomach pains or feel ill in that area I suggest using Gaviscon, also a disgusting medicine but extremely effective in a minute space of time. What on earth happened to the days of Strawberry and Banana medicines? When I was hit with Impetigo I actually enjoyed taking that banana medicine!! Until it went all bitty and urgh…anyway! If I had any Gaviscon I’d do a review on that, but I don’t have any! Our 240ml (rapidly disappearing) Pepto Bismol costs between £2-3 depending on which supermarket or pharmacy you purchase it from.

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                11.04.2002 05:47
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                **Update at end** I have recently been consulting my doctor as my polycystic ovaries seem to be working overtime, and my weight gain has accelerated so fast I am very worried. I am lucky, I have a very understanding GP who is keen for me to be referred every specialist necessary in order to try and make me better. This is all well and good but as we all know there are waiting lists, and for non urgent conditions such as mine, they are lengthy. On Sunday, I was out shopping with my mum, and we passed a shop called Herbal Inn, which is located in The Metrocentre. There is a large sign in the window offering free consultations, and pushed along by my mum, I took up the offer. I have never heard of this shop before, however they have branches in Edinburgh, Halifax, Basildon, Lewisham, Lakeside, Finchley, Olympia, Chelmsford, Highgate, Edgware, Wood Green, Hackney, Brentwood, Colchester, Wembley, and Chesterfield, so they are well established. They will treat a huge range of medical conditions, and even if yours is not listed then it is best to ask them, however the most common conditions they are successful in treating are dermatological, hormonal, neurological and mental/emotional. They also provide allergy tests, which are proving to be very popular. I had to complete a registration form, outlining basic medical history, and which specific condition I wanted advice on. I was then told that I would be advised which method of treatment would be most suitable, and these could range from a herbal tea, to acupuncture or accupressure. I was given the background of traditional chinese medicine, which I will share with you now. It has been used for over 5000 years, and has become so mainstream that now approximately 25% of the world's population use it to treat and prevent many medical conditions. Over 300 different herbs are used, and when combined with Acupuncture, they have proven to be very effective. I wa
                s then taken to see the doctor, who did not speak English, and conversed with me through the nurse who accompanied me, which was quite offputting at first, but then I soon became used to it, and felt very much at ease. The doctor asked when my last period was, and looked slightly amazed when I said 9 months ago. He asked how many children I had, and how on earth I managed to have any at all when the PCOS was so severe. He never took his eyes off me throughout my time with him, which I have since learned is one of the methods he uses. He also took my pulse, looked at my tongue and into my eyes. After around 20 minutes, he recommended bitter herbs, which would help to regulate my menstrual cycle, and in turn reduce the ovarian cysts. Where the weight gain was concerned I was told to try herbal tea. I decided against the bitter herbs, mainly because of the price, however I have decided to give the herbal tea a go in conjuction with my diet. It cost £20 for a months supply of 60 tea bags. It tastes just like normal tea, and is nicer when it has cooled a little. I only weigh myself once a week, so I will update this opinion to let you all know how effective this has been. The clinic's head office is: 191 Regents Park Road London N3 3PA Tel:020 8349 0640 http://www.herbal-inn.com e mail: enquiry@herbal-inn.com ***Update*** After taking the herbal tea and tablets for 7 days, I got a period. Coincidence? Maybe, but after having nothing for 9 months, I am not too sure if it is all down to coincidence

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                  15.10.2001 11:03
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                  Chinese culinary arts are not only angled towards delighting the sense of taste - to the Chinese eating well is a very important part of life - but also in providing preventive measures against possible ailments and illnesses. Ginger(zingiber officinale),renowned as a anti-bacterial and anti-nausea herb,is one of the most popular herbs among the Chinese but there are others as well. Traditionally the Chinese have classified all foods by their innate properties: heaty, those which stimulates the system; cooling , those which soothes the system; and neutral , those herbs which neither stimulates nor soothes. This article focuses on the best known or most common herbs and ingredients used in Chinese cuisine and discusses some of their less well-known therapeutic values. Dried Longans, Lotus Seeds and Red Dates The Chinese believe both dried longans and lotus seeds are exceptionally good for the heart , spleen and kidneys whilst red dates are considered to be very effective in fighting against anemia and fatigue and boosting energy levels. Not surprisingly red dates are a widely used ingredient in the diet of Chinese women during confinement. Dried longans and red dates are both classified as heaty but lotus seeds are regarded as being neutral. Dried Mushrooms Mushrooms, are rich in minerals, and are widely used in Chinese herbal cooking to add a definitive flavour and give a delightful aroma to dishes.They are also known to absorb fats and oils. Scientific research has shown that mushrooms have the ability to lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol. Dried mushrooms are regarded by the Chinese as neutral. Ginger and Garlic Ginger is commonly used with fish and all kind of Chinese seafood dishes to dissipate fishy odours. The Chinese recommend ginger tea to soothe headaches and a ginger bath to relieve tension, minor aches and pain. Ginger is also well known for its anti-ba
                  cterial properties and is widely recommended to combat nausea.Fresh garlic does contain compounds that fortify the immune system against common colds, coughs and other kind of respiratory ailments. In most forms of Chinese cooking, garlic is quintessentially a flavour enhancer. Ginger and garlic are both classified as heaty. Lotus Root Covered with a coat of mud from the lily pond, lotus roots are definitely out of the childrens' choice list when you bring them shopping at the local market. But did you know that the coat of mud helps to keep the root fresh? Raw lotus roots are said to "clear" heat while cooked ones can help purify blood and stimulate appetite. Lotus root is classified as cooling. White Fungus White fungus is regarded as one of the most invaluable delicacies in Chinese cuisines. While enjoying its crunchiness, Chinese women love it for the beauty and smoothness it promotes to their skin and complexion. White fungus also reputedly benefits the lung, stomach and kidneys. It is classified as cooling. Watercress Its Chinese name, 'The vegetables from the Western Ocean', reveals its introduction more than a century ago by Portuguese sailors via Macau. Due to its high vitamin content, watercress is highly regarded for its recuperative value. Besides spinach, watercress contains the next highest iron content, which makes it blood-enriching and excellent for the treatment of anemia. Watercress is classified by the Chinese as being cooling. Water Chestnut Water chestnut is good form of roughage to cleanse the intestinal tract of the 'yang' elements. Its heat-relieving properties make it good for those children who tend to over-indulge in their favourite 'heaty' fried snacks. Its is regarded as cooling. Sesame Seeds Tiny though it may be, sesame seeds actually contains an abundance of protein, minerals, calcium and polyunsat
                  urated oils. They help nourish the lungs, improve blood circulation and increase body energy. White sesame seeds are more often used as a food garnish while black sesame seeds are more frequently used as medicine for the liver and kidneys, and to darken prematurely grey hair. Sesame seeds are considered by the Chinese to be heaty. Winter Melon Known for its cooling effects, winter melon is frequently added to soups, sweet desserts and teas to soothe the throat and to help reduce body heat, especially in hot and humid climates. The Chinese say always remember mothers' advice : "Eat more winter melon and your pimples will disappear with the heat in your body". The Chinese classify winter melon as cooling. Angelica and Astragalus Angelica ( dang gui ) is the recommended herb for women, while ginseng is the herb for men. Ginseng is widely available in China and Korea as well. Now you know why so many American male visitors buy ginseng products when they visit the Far East. Angelica contains vitamin B12 which aids blood formation. Astragalus ( bei qi ) helps promote blood circulation and lowers blood pressure. A favourite remedy too, for general weakness and nervous exhaustion. Both are traditionally classified as being heaty. There you have it : a round-up of some of the more common herbs and ingredients in the Chinese culinary arts and their therapeutic benefits.

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                    23.09.2001 17:18
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                    Those of you who have read my op on accupuncture will know that I had accupuncture for quite a length of time and that it was very succesful! At some point during the treatment, the chinese Doctor suggested that I also try Chinese herbs. The Chinees believe in a very holistic approach. One advantage to the Chinese herbs, is that it is better for the needle phobic amongst you. Chinese herbal medicine is the term for formulae which can be made from stems, flowers, seeds, bark, roots, and leaves of many plants as well as some mineral and animal products. I was very concerned about animal use having seen programmes on bear bile farms in China. Thankfully, it is illegal to use such animal products in this country. They do sometimes use worms and grubs ground up- eurgh!! Apparently they are great fro moving the blood! I told the Doctor she wasn't moving my blood with anything like that!!! As I was a vegetarian at the time, she agreed to use no animal products in my prescriptions. She wasn't very keen on me being a vegetarian and told me it was adversely affecting my health. She said that at the very least I ought to eat chicken or some other form of meat for one week in six. This is apparently because it is the only way we can get hold of vitamin K in its best form. Vitamin K is essential for the clotting mechanism in the blood, and all new born babies are given an injection of it just after birth. I fought against this very hard (not having my babies injected! Eating the meat!). Eventually after a dose of pneumonia last Christmas, my GP also said I had to eat meat for a quicker recovery. So I have been eating meat ever since, but that is another story and I won't bore you now. WHAT IS DIFFERENT ABOUT CHINESE AND WESTERN HERBS? There are two main differences: 1- A Chinese herbalist diagnoses the patient using the theory of Chinese Medicine, whereas a W estern trained herbalist will use a Western diagnosis. This has not always
                    been the case. Western Herbal Medicine, like its Chinese counter-part, has a long history. Sadly, many of these traditions have been lost including many of the diagnostic techniques. Fortunately, the knowledge of how the herbs work has survived. 2- the herbs are prescribed differently.In Chinese Medicine, a prescription is usually made up from a combination of herbs, whereas a Western Herbalist will prescribe herbs seperately. You may be prescribed several herbs but they are not combined together into a prescription. In a Chinese prescrption there can be 1-20 ingredients. After an initial period of apprehension, I decided to give the herbs a go. HOW DO YOU TAKE THEM? The herbs come in three forms. 1- as raw herbs that you boil 2- concerntrated powder which you mix with a small amount of boiling water 3- capsules (for the cowards!!) Unfortunately, you have to take about 15 capsules at a time, which makes them a more expensive option! I did not fancy taking 45 capsules a day!! WHAT DO THEY TASTE LIKE? They taste... foul and smell even worse! I am not good with dodgy medicine at best I even gag on Boots cough mixture! I awaited my first prescription in the post with the greatest trepidation. I had been told to mix the powder with a big mug of boiling water. Now I won't lie to you, I took one large swig after which I promptly ran to the bathroom feeling rather unwell!! Im not taking this again, I thought! It even looks disgusting! A sort of muddy brown colour. Apparently each prescription tastes slightly differently: some more sweet, some more sour. I phoned the practitioner and told her I couldn't possibly take them, they were making me feel sick. She roared with laughter and said she had not realised I was such a wuss. She said to try making it up in a tiny bit of water so it was only a couple of sips. THe disadvantage to this is that it makes it a rather thick and gloopy, muddy te
                    xture. She was still on the end of the phone while I did this. Encouragingly she said "Just knock it back!". I looked at it, and the stench was almost enough to strip paint! You have to understand that it was so bad, that my teenage daughters had shut themselves in the hall with pegs on their noses and were watching through a glass door!! Now I knew you werent allowed to eat for a certain amount of hours before or after taking the medicine so I knew I couldn't even take the taste away with a nice chocolate biscuit! "Come on" said the lady "you can do it!". I thought she can't possibly have any taste buds! Eventually she said "you can have a drink to wash it down, as long as it is only water or very weak squash". I got out my Guinness pint glass, and filled it to the brim with squash! I took the most enormous breath.... I had shot (herb) glass in one hand and the pint of squash in the other, as close to my mouth as I could get it! I threw the herbs to the back of my mouth as fast as I could, and immediately, without stopping for breath, downed the pint of squash. Now beer is one thing, but squash?! I discovered that apart from the initial shock of a very slight taste on the back of the tongue, I hardly tasted anything and it was quite bearable. This became quite a routine in our household, three times a day for a number of months. We never did get used to that smell though, and everyone in the house disappeared when the herbs came out! DO THEY WORK? YES YES YES! I would recommend them to anybody, but you need to find your own technique for getting them down. My health improved hugely. These days I mostly use Chinese medicine in one way or another. COST - ARE THEY EXPENSIVE? The prescription itself is not too bad. It depends on the herbs used and I have paid between £8 and £15 for a 10-14 day supply. The consulatation is about £35 and you go fornightly. I had acupuncture on t
                    he alternate weeks, because my health was very bad. This is not necessary. Give it a go, you have nothing to lose! It can be used for virtually any ailment! Even things like weight loss and impotence! lol!

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                      20.08.2001 02:27
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                      I am very interested in Chinese Herbal medicine. After all these herbs have been used for thousands of years to cure all kinds of ailments. So, I was very pleased to find a special clinic in the Gateshead Metro Centre. The 'Herbal Inn' looked quite interesting. There were all kinds of leaves and odd shaped objects in jars behind the counter. The staff wore white coats and seemed pleasant and helpful. A Chinese herbal doctor was giving free consultations and I decided to have a word with him. I told him that I get tired very quickly, have little energy and suffer from insomnia. He scribbled on a piece of paper and asked various questions about my health, age, etc. His verdict, 'It's the menopause.' Well I knew that didn't I? His prognosis, 'With the right medication you will not notice the changes'. Um! I beg to differ, but I think I might have some idea that things have changed a teansy bit. He wrote out a prescription and handed it to me. 'Will this treatment make me feel better?' I asked. 'Well of course, Chinese women have used this foe thousands of years and they have no problems.' I have been into traditional Chinese herbalists shops in Hong Kong so I expected to end up with a paper bag full of a mixture of leaves, barks, etc. I went outside and handed my prescription to a girl behind the counter. To my amazement she didn't mix it up from those little jars sitting in neat rows behind her. She took a box and a screw topped jar from under the counter. The box was clearly labelled 'Royal Jelly and Ginseng' and the jar had Chinese characters on it but I think it was St. John's Wort. I asked the price and was quoted £35 for the box of capsules and £14 for the St. John's Wort. The two preparations would cost about £18 in Boots. I declined, explaining that I could go to any shop tha
                      t sells herbal and alternative remedies and buy these at a fraction of the price. What a swindle! I watched a woman pay £85 with her credit card for what looked like a large box of Glucosamine capsules and some cod liver oil. On the front of the Herbal Inn promotional leaflet it says that consultaion on a number of ailments is welcome and there is no charge for this. Acupuncture is available at £20-£30; Herbal Mixture £4.20 per pack or one week course for £28. Now I wouldn't have objected to paying for a trial pack of a genuine Chinese herbal remedy that was made up in the clinic especially for me. That's what I expected to get. The leaflet also carries the following small print: We always give you a consultation first but we do not charge a consultation fee when you take up herbal tea mixtures or other dietary supplements prescribed for your individual case on no-refund and no-return basis. So it sounds as though they could have insisted on payment for a 'free consultation' when I declined to pay for the prescription. This particular shop had a large notice outside offering FREE consultations so I don't think they could have enforced this clause on the leaflet. It also sounds as though you can't take the stuff back and get a refund even if you do discover that you've been ripped off. If I'd paid out £49 for my prescription and then discovered that is was only pre-packed stuff which available anywhere much cheaper I couldn't have got my money back. There are branches of the 'Herbal Inn' in many different towns and cities and I would interested to know if they are all operated in the same manner.

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                        18.08.2001 03:33
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                        INTRODUCTION The secret of never growing old was discovered in an ancient Chinese medical manuscript. After being hidden from public view for many years I am now pleased to release part of this knowledge to Dooyoo members. You must, of course, promise me that you will use this secret wisely and will not divulge the information to anyone else. This is strictly between you and me. This information is certainly not for general public consumption as, by it's sexual nature, may offend some people. If, therefore, you do not wish to read further I will understand, simply move on to an opinion on crochet, cuddly animals or cribbage. If you are open minded enough to still be with me then, as well as learning the secret of eternal youth, you will also discover: • How to enlarge your breasts (if female) • How to increase sexual energy • How to strengthen 'private' muscles to prevent flabbiness in later years • How, in time, increase your psychic powers • How to enlarge the head of your penis (if male) There are also other benefits possible to both sexes who put into practice the methods that follow. Please do not read on if you think the subjects mentioned may upset you in any way - there will be no further warnings. THE SECRETS - ADULTS ONLY Welcome to the Inner Sanctum to hear of a secret Chinese excercise that may well alter your life. Briefly - the ancient Chinese discovered that the body can only function properly if there is a continuous balanced flow of energy. When balanced properly this energy gives perfect health. If there is a deficiency then disease or illness may follow. The manuscript tells of a system of linking energy centres throughout the body, that correspond to seven major glands, and that these regulate the energy flow. These energy centres can be thought of as small cups, linked to the next one by a tube. As the bott
                        om cup fills, it will overflow and so energy will travel to the next cup and so on. The seven centres support each other. If the lower ones are not full then the highest, which is also a spiritual centre, will not be filled either. We are going to concentrate on the first centre. This corresponds to the sexual glands - the prostate and testes in the male and the ovaries, uterus and breasts in the female. We are about to stimulate these glands. This action will push energy up through the centres giving many health benefits. The ancient Chinese text states that if we have strong sexual glands we will never grow old. The exercise that follows will (a) keep your sexual glands strong and (b) will stimulate your lowest energy centre and so help to fill it with energy i.e. sexual energy. The exercise is called The Deer. This is based on observations of how deer continuously stimulate their sexual glands by the movement of their tails from side to side. There are two versions of The Deer, one for male and one for female. If possible do them when naked. The Deer - Female Version. Sit cross legged, with your back straight. Use a cushion and wall as support if necessary. The heel of one foot must press tightly against the vagina and clitoris. If you are unable to do this use something such as a hard rubber ball to press against the area. This may give you a pleasant feeling due to the stimulation and release of sexual energy. Rub your hands together vigorously to make them warm. Once warm place your hands on your breasts so that you can feel the warmth permeating your skin. Now rub your breasts in an outward circular motion. Do this at least 36 times working up, with practice, to 306. This action is also said to help prevent lumps and cancer of the breasts. The breasts can also be massaged in an inward circular motion (i.e. right hand clockwise, left hand anti-clockwise). This, accordi
                        ng to the Chinese, will have the effect of enlarging the breasts. While rubbing it is important to concentrate on feeling the warmth generated in the breasts and genital region. This shows that sexual energy is being created and will build within the body. This is the first part of the exercise. Now tighten the muscles of the vagina and anus. Hold for as long as you can, relax and then repeat several times. This can sometimes produce a sensation in the genital area that rises up the spinal column to the head. This indicates that sexual energy is moving up through the glandular system. Once the mentioned muscles get stronger, and can be held, this part of the exercise should be done at the same time as part one. This simple exercise energises the pubic area and helps maintain beauty and youthfulness. It will increase energy in the body and can build your psychic ability. The Chinese claim this will also cure and prevent vaginal & menstrual problems, colitis, haemorrhoids and similar disorders. Note the exercise should not be done during menstruation or if pregnant. The Deer - Male Version Again sit cross legged. Rub hands vigorously until warm. Once warm gently cup the testicles with the right hand. Place the palm of the left hand on the pubis area (about one inch below the naval). Rub your left hand firmly in a circular motion 81 times so that warmth can be felt in the area. Then, after warming hands once more, reverse the positions of the hands - again rubbing 81 times, but this time with the right hand. 81 times creates the highest level of 'Yang' energy. When doing the exercise it is important to concentrate on the warmth being generated, almost as a form of meditation. After completing part one tighten the anal muscles. Hold, then relax and repeat several times As with the female version after practice this may produce a pleasant feeling that will rise up the spinal column to the
                        top of the head. Once you have gained control over the anal muscles then tighten and hold them while carrying out part one of the exercise. The male version of The Deer is said to cure and prevent prostate problems and help treat impotence and premature ejaculation. It will also stop you from growing old. Contracting the anal muscles will enlarge the head of the penis which will increase the enjoyment of your sexual activity. Ejaculation should not follow this exercise as the purpose is to store the sexual energy created. Should an erection occur while practising The Deer press down firmly with the thumb, of the hand holding the testicles, on the base of the penis next to the pubis. This will inhibit the flow of blood into the penis and allow the energy to build within the sexual glands. AND FINALLY The Deer is a serious, though simple to learn, exercise that can bring genuine health benefits. It is often carried out as part of a regime that also includes exercises called The Turtle and The Crane as well as what the Chinese call Internal Exercises. Unfortunately there isn't the space here to expand on this more. The Deer ideally should be practised twice a day - first thing in the morning and just before going to bed. For most of us this isn't possible but once a day will bring interesting results - providing done regularly. The exercise increases sexual energy which may well lead to a greater sex drive - which is perfectly natural. Taoism advises, however, to always maintain a reserve of energy. This will lead to strong sexual organs which in turn is part of the secret of continuous, never ending youthfulness. Try The Deer and then, when you feel and see the benefits, go on to discover the other Chinese exercises I have touched upon. I have personally found them to be of great value and combine them with my Yoga most evenings. A friend of mine increased her breast cup size and recovered her sex
                        drive and energy following her son being born - by practising The Deer. Her partner is delighted. May you never grow old - you have now discovered the first part of the secret! ;-> Kay © Sexy Kay 2001

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