Ear seeds and herbal plasters

| July 19, 2011 | 0 Comments | 926 views

In contemporary China, ear seeds are a standard way in which most auriculotherapy is administered for virtually every treatable condition. The most commonly used seeds, semen vaccaria or cow’s herd seeds, are not chosen for external use due to any inherent medicinal property. Rather, these seeds are chosen because they are plentiful, inexpensive, and of appropriate size and density to deliver a strong stimulus when pressed (Figure 6.5).

Figure 6.5 Ear seeds

Figure 6.5 Ear seeds

Recently, sterilized semen vaccaria seeds attached to adhesives (called ear plasters) have become commercially available for ease of administration.

If you use loose (bulk) ear seeds, take care to sterilize the seeds before use; otherwise infection can ensue from dirty, unsterile seeds. Then place tape over the seed to secure it in the ear. Sometimes in China mustard, radish, or perilla seeds are used.

Ear seeds can be attached to all points in the ear. An effective technique to reinforce a point is to place one seed on the anterior surface of the ear and put another exactly opposite it on the posterior surface. In this way, when they are rubbed, a stronger stimulus is delivered through the heat produced by friction.

To apply the ear plaster, pick up the plaster with a pair forceps or tweezers and affix it to the ear that has been previously cleaned with alcohol and allowed to dry. The average retention time of the seeds is 3 to 5 days, as long as they do not become wet or humidity levels become too high. Instruct the patient to keep the ear seeds dry by covering the ear with a towel or shower cap when washing or showering. Seeds should be removed if the stimulus becomes too painful or if the ear feels irritated. Patients are instructed to press on the seeds 3 to 5 times a day for 3 to 5 seconds at a time. To remove the seeds, the patient just needs to peel back the tape and the seed should follow.

On occasion, seeds are dipped in particular medicinal substances, such as placenta or other herbs, and applied to the ear in the same manner. This method has the added therapeutic benefit of conferring the healing effects of the herbs as well as the benefits of ear treatment.7 Additional substances include mashed garlic and black pepper, fresh mashed ginger and pepper, and others.8

Clinical notes
Note 1 - "The authors corrected the abnormal fetal position in 413 cases of pregnant women by the auricular-plaster therapy with a success rate of 83.3%; remarkably higher than treatment by knee-chest positioning."

Note 2 - "To relieve the discomfort due to gastrointestinal dysfunction following abdominal operations, auricular-plaster therapy (in combination with ST 36 [Zusanli]) restored normal peristalsis within 72 hours in over 92% of the cases involved. This was compared with a 46% rate in a control group suggesting that this combined method may promote postoperative recovery of intestinal function."

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Category: Acupuncture Courses, Auricular Acupuncture

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