I think this would be an interesting sharing to readers who may be foreign to the Chinese culture. Yes it is a bold claim. However I would like to share this because this supplement really works and even my neighbour’s Filipino domestic helper swears by it – Bai Feng Wan (白凤丸), literally it means white (白) phoenix (凤) pills (丸). Pretty nice sounding and it’s one hella badass supplement for back pain during periods or any other symptoms. When menstruation comes by every month, almost every woman would suffer some period symptoms, whether it is headache, back pain or fatigue. In the worst case that I have seen, periods can be so painful that one would turn pale, head spinning and has to be supported by one person on either side to walk.
What is Bai Feng Wan?
Among Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioners and users, Bai Feng Wan is a well known supplement known for its effectiveness in reducing (and in some cases, even eliminating) post-/pre-menstrual symptoms such as menstrual cramps and back pain. It also helps to ensure regularity of the menstrual periods, which is especially important if a woman is intending to start a family. You can only take it about a week before and after menstrual periods, but not during it. It is also pretty costly averaging at SGD5.00 per bottle (or per wax ball), 6 bottles would set you back at approx. SGD30.00 (Promotional Price; Usual Price: SGD38.00).
Wax balls are traditional ones with a small container enclosed within it (I do not want to infringe on image copyright so you have to search for them. Just google Bai Feng Wan and you should see some sample images). Think Kinder Surprise, except there is no toy; only a bottle with countless, tiny blackish pills for easier absorption by the body.
Some modern versions like mine no longer use the wax balls and I prefer this type of packaging. Because opening it is hassle-free, as compared to the wax balls which you will need to crack it open with a sharp / pointy object or fingernails. Container in the wax ball is also hard to open. Sometimes it will burst open if you are not careful and the pills will spill all over the place, which means cleaning after that.
As I frequently suffer from cold hands and feet as well as some menstrual symptoms, I decided to be more conscientious in consuming Bai Feng Wan. However not all Bai Feng Wan formulations are the same. Because if you have a body constituent that is easily affected by foods causing internal heat* (in local colloquial term “heatiness”) like mine, then you have to take particular care in its ingredients. Usually the medicinal retail outlet staff with sufficient knowledge in the TCM field would be able to advise.
*Foods causing internal heat would be foods like chili, mango and durian. Symptoms of having too much internal heat: You may feel like you are catching onto something (e.g. throat doesn’t feel good), constipation, heavy head, bad breath, lethargy.
Why Hockhua Pearl Vegetarian Bai Feng Wan
I took a few brands before and even if the folks at the medicinal retail outlet had advised, some were still too “heaty” for me (causing too much internal heat for my body) or I couldn’t find the brand again. It was also why my compliance was pretty poor. I recently started on Hockhua Pearl Vegetarian Bai Feng Wan (made of 26 chinese herbs), which was recommended by the staff at Nex@Serangoon branch. It is neither too “heaty” or “cooling”, which means a balance supplement regardless of your body constituent.
In a typical chinese medicinal outlet, your olfactory senses are hit with smells of medicinal herbs and old (sometimes dusty) wood shelves when you step in. Although we still have them in our neighbourhood town areas, Hockhua is one of the few that have rebranded and established themselves in some shopping malls. As a local Singaporean brand, they run more than 50 retail outlets specialising in chinese tonics, herbal teas and wines in Singapore and Malaysia combined. Pearl Vegetarian Bai Feng Wan is one of their proprietary products that is made in Singapore.
Note: This is an independent unbiased article. I do not receive any remunerations from Hockhua or the websites listed.
I have to find out for myself what they put in. It is all good so far and truly I haven’t experience the “heatiness”.
Extracted some information from www.sacredlotus.com and www.tcmwiki.com
Please visit them for more details.
In Order of Amount Used (Most to Least)
|Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae (白术 Bai Zhu)||Fatigue, sallow complexion, loose stools…|
|Radix Et Rhizoma Ginseng (人参 Ren Shen)||Cold limbs, coughs, loss of appetite, insomnia, palpitations…|
|Radix Astragali (黄芪 Huang Qi)||Pale face, fatigue, severe blood loss, palpitations, insomnia…|
|Radix Paeoniae Alba (白芍 Bai Shao)||Dizziness, muscle spasms, irregular menstruation, headaches…|
|Radix Angelicae Sinensis (当归 Dang Gui)||Pale face, blurry vision, irregular menstruation, amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) or dysmenorrhea (painful cramps that occur before and after menstruation)…|
|Radix Rehmanniae Praeparata (熟地黃 Shu Di Huang)||Irregular menstruation due to blood deficiency, weak and aching lower back and knees…|
|Rhizoma Chuanxiong (川芎 Chuan Xiong)||Gynecological disorders like irregular menstruation, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, and also pain in the chest, muscles, joints…|
|Radix Asparagi (天冬 Tian Dong)||Coughs, lower back pain…|
|Radix Rehmanniae (地黄 Di Huang)||Chest, stomach pain and dry mouth…|
|Radix Stellariae (银柴胡 Yin Chai Hu)||Clears heat, treats low grade fevers|
|Semen Euryales (芡实 Qian Shi)||Aching lower back and knee…|
|Rhizoma Dioscoreae (山药 Shan Yao)||Lack of appetite and energy, loose stools, coughs|
|Radix Et Rhizoma Salviae Miltiorrhizae (丹參 Dan Shen)||Irregular menstruation, amenorrhea, insomnia…|
|Rhizoma Cyperi (香附 Xiang Fu)||Emotional disturbance, poor appetite, chest congestion, breast distension, gynecological disorders like dysmenorrhea and irregular menstruation|
|Radix Et Rhizoma Notoginseng (三七 San Qi)||Swelling and pain…|
|Caulis Spatholobi (鸡血藤 Ji Xue Teng)||Irregular menstruation, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, numbness of hands and feet…|
|Fructus Leonuri (茺蔚子 Chong Wei Zi)||Swelling and pain of eyes, headache…|
|Radix Achyranthis Bidentatae (牛膝 Niu Xi)||Lower back and knee pain, headache, swollen and painful gum, postpartum abdominal pain, dysmenorrhea…|
|Bulbus Fritillariae Cirrhosae (川贝母 Chuan Bei Mu)||Coughs, low appetite, breast swellings…|
|Cortex Lycii (地骨皮 Di Gu Pi)||Fevers, night sweats, irritability…|
|Radix Scutellariae (黄芩 Huang Qin)||Swelling, coughs, fevers, irritability, headache…|
|Poria (茯苓 Fu Ling)||Loose stools, lethargy, low appetite, dizziness…|
|Radix Gentianae Macrophyllae (秦艽 Qin Jiao)||All types of pain and cramping, constipation…|
|Folium Artemisiae Argyi (艾叶 Ai Ye)||Dysmenorrhea and abdominal pain, coughs, asthma…|
|Cortex Moutan (牡丹皮 Mu Dan Pi)||Heavy menstruation, bruises, headache, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, swellings…|
|Margarita (珍珠 Zhen Zhu, Pearl)||Insomnia, blurred vision, sores…|
|Mel (蜂蜜 Feng Mi, Honey)||Coughs, dispels toxins, increases appetite and energy, alleviate pain…|
About Silkie (Wuji)
Since I bought the Pearl version, Wuji (乌鸡 black-boned chicken, or more known as silkie) is missing here. Wuji is the main ingredient in most Bai Feng Wan and the supplement “Wuji Bai Feng Wan” was originally developed by the Tong Ren Tang Pharmacy in China. The company was founded in 1669 in the Qing Dynasty. Since then, there are many manufacturers that came up with the same, including Hockhua.
As a literal translation, 乌鸡 means black chicken and there is a good reason why. Although they can come in various feather colours, when defeathered and sold in the markets here, almost every part of the chicken – its meat, skin, tongue, legs and even the organs – is black.
Wuji is very much richer in iron than the usual chicken and can be used to replenish low iron level in women. It also can treat leukorrhea (thick, whitish or yellowish vaginal discharge), metrorrhagia (bleeding from the uterus between menstrual periods) and lower back pain.
It is not recommended for people who are down with a cold/flu accompanied by fever and headache, feel heatiness, has high blood pressure, gallstones (cholelithiasis) or elevated blood lipids. It is also not suitable for those have constipation and who are taking iron supplements.
Wuji can be used in other ways, besides in Bai Feng Wan. We usually cook it in soup or braised it. It contains melanin, protein, vitamin B group, 18 types of amino acids and 18 types of trace elements, including nicotinic acid, phosphorus, vitamin E, iron, potassium, sodium that are in higher quantity than the typical chicken. And yet the cholesterol and fats are quite low.
However if your body constituent can better withstand foods causing a great deal of internal heat for the body (like a Japanese ex-colleague who loves mango so much that she can eat it every day without falling ill), you could try the Wuji version if you wish. However please take note of the situations where it should not be consumed. Where in doubt, please consult your TCM physician.
Well there you have it – the only supplement you ever need for back pain during periods (or more correctly, before and after periods which will ensure you do not have back pain when your period comes). If you find this article useful, please share it so that more people can be helped.
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— Sharon Lee (@sharonleesg) April 1, 2015