My liver was screaming at me: every night I was awake between 1 and 3 am for hours. After a week long beach vacation with my family, I came home to more “fun” - my mom was visiting, it was my 10 year wedding anniversary, and my birthday. Too many celebrations, too much wine, not enough balance - and it really affected (most notably) my sleep. I needed a hard reset, which meant a few weeks with absolutely no alcohol.
I’ve been curious about CBD. Wherever I go, every corner has a store advertising that they sell the “purest form". When I complained about my sleep last spring, my acupuncturist briefly mentioned CBD before digging deeper into my sleep issues and ultimately recommending I start with the Chinese herbal formula Suan Za Ren. But I wondered: could CBD replace a glass of wine when it came time to unwind for the day?
As a mother of two with a relatively high-stress career, sometimes at the end of the night it takes all the discipline I have not to dive back into work. Not to mention, my husband seems to be able to enjoy a nightly cocktail without any adverse effects, and sometimes it’s nice to just unwind at the end of the day. A few Google searches later and I thought sure, maybe CBD could be a good substitute.
A few days later, my bottle arrived. The directions advised two droppers full as a single dose. I dropped the oil on my tongue (not what I would recommend - it’s better with a shot of water to reduce the oily texture) and soon after felt a moment of zen as I wrangled my two little kids to the playground. I often say having two little kids around is like constantly being overstimulated (how are there so many questions?!) but it felt like everything was moving a little slower and there was less stimulation. I thought: it’s not a glass of wine, but this may work.
Apparently, CBD (like Chinese herbs) works best if you take it regularly, so I made it a habit for the next week. Like many things, the newness wore off. I figured out a more palatable way to consume the oil, but it still wasn’t enjoyable. But I felt myself feeling more anxious and stressed as the week wore on. The oil didn’t have the same effect at that first night, and if anything, I felt more irritable.
My burning question when seeing CBD on every corner has always been: how do we get Chinese herbs to have their day in the extreme way CBD is experiencing?
Now that I’ve had the opportunity to incorporate both in my life, I can firmly say that Chinese herbs are far superior. Here are 5 reasons I’d recommend Chinese herbs over CBD any day:
1) There is no one-size-fits-all solution in Chinese medicine. Have a problem, any problem? There’s an herb for that. Instead of a one size fits all solution, Chinese herbs are meant to solve the imbalance. With literally hundreds of formulas, it can be confusing as to which formula you need, but DAO Labs is making the most versatile formulas more accessible and easy for a general consumer to understand.
2) Safety. The truth is that we just don’t know what long term effects will come from frequent CBD usage. Chinese herbs have been consumed for thousands of years in China, and continues to remain popular due to safety and effectiveness. CBD is a new phenomenon, and hasn’t been around long enough or studied in enough depth to truly grasp what any long term effects would be. Remember when vaping was a better alternative to smoking?
3) Chinese herbs work. Chinese herbal medicine has endured the test of time because they it is effective. Pills tend to take longer to build up in your system, but for the most part, granules “work” right away. When customers leave reviews on our formulas, it’s more often than not that they use language like “I felt better later that day” or “I slept better that night.”
4) Taste. I can only speak to the one type/flavor of CBD I tried (orange) but man, that stuff is hard to swallow and mix (unless, I assume, you add enough sugar). Traditionally, Chinese herbs are not tasty either. They can be really bitter and not pleasant to drink. DAO Labs has completely revolutionized the taste of the herbs by simply adding complementary natural flavors like apple/cucumber and a tiny bit of honey. A small amount of citric acid makes the powders easy to mix with water for an enjoyable and soothing drink option.
5) Side effects. Because the mind, body, and spirit are all interconnected, providing herbal support to the body tends to lead to other positive side effects. You might set out in search of better sleep, only to find that your digestion is improved or that you’re getting sick less. CBD has been associated with negative side effects like anxiousness, poor digestion, and dry mouth, so I think it just wasn’t a good fit for me.
I didn’t set out to compare Chinese herbs to CBD, but because CBD touts a lot of the same health benefits as our formulas (better sleep! better immunity! less stress!) it was hard not to. Due to the side effects I experienced (definitely not looking for more anxiety in my life!) I’ll just stick to herbal tea after a long day. Once I get out of the habit of a nightly glass of wine, it’s really not that difficult to forgo.
Have you tried CBD? What are your thoughts when compared to Chinese herbs? I’d love to hear in the comments or reach out to me on Instagram @twincitiesfood_wellness.