08:34 08:34

Summer–The Season Of The Fire Element

By | 2018-07-05T12:46:47+00:00 June 22nd, 2018|Categories: April's Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Holistic Living, Summer, The Seasons|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Summer–The Season Of The Fire Element

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CN

Summer, the season of the Fire Element, has arrived!  The days are long and the bright sunshine invites us outdoors to work in our gardens or play in the sun.  It’s a season of activity and joy.  All seasons represent the possibility for change in our lives.  We can fight their energetic nature or we can use the season’s blessings for our own growth and benefit…and summer has so much to offer.

Why the seasons matter

In Asian medicine’s 5 Element Theory each season (Spring, Summer, Late Summer, Autumn and Winter) possess their own energetic dynamics and movement of Qi (energy). They ebb and flow from one to another.  Understanding the energetic nature of each  season helps us to adapt so we move gracefully from phase to another.  For example– knowing that Spring’s climate is wind, helps those that are susceptible to wind conditions such as epilepsy, headaches, anger, and allergies to take appropriate precautions to not be as easily affected by the condition.  Winter, encourages us to rest and be introspective, to consider our deepest selves–whereas, Summer invites us to expand  and be active.  We need not hunker down or fear each season, rather having  awareness can help us become flexible and adaptive, we can embrace and benefit from the virtue and blessings each season rather than fight them.

Summer Correspondences

Season Summer
Element Fire
Color Red
Sound Laughter–including laughter at inappropriate times
Climate Heat
State of growth Maximum growth
Odor Scorched or burnt
Flavor Bitter
Yin organ & time Heart: 11am-1pm & Pericardium: 7-9 pm
Yang organ & time Small Intestines: 1-3pm & Triple Warmer: 9-11 pm
Body tissue Blood vessels and the Blood
Sense organ Tongue
Emotion Joy or lack of Joy
Virtue Ability to create quality relationships and interactions with others, propriety
Vice Inappropriate relationships and boundaries, victimization

Let’s look a […]

12:41 12:41

Cabin Fever Herbs

By | 2018-05-21T12:40:17+00:00 May 14th, 2018|Categories: Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, Herb Spotlights, Herbs & Spices|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Cabin Fever Herbs

Cabin Fever. Climbing the Walls. Temporary Insanity. Common terms that imply agitation, anxiety, restlessness, and a general sense of unsettledness. These symptoms are often experienced in the spring by people who tend to run towards yin deficiency from a Chinese Medicine perspective. Much to my surprise Spring Fever means the opposite of these symptoms and is instead associated with lassitude, apathy, and half heartedness, something I will cover in another article.

The following three formulas all have a sedating affect on the central nervous system but through different mechanisms.

A quick note: with any supplement always consult with a qualified practitioner before taking as undesirable side effects may occur when taken by someone who does not need it.

Lavender – Integrative Therapeutics Lavela WS 1265

Cabin Fever Herbs
Lavender has been cultivated and used for thousands of years as a calming and cleansing herb. Experiential evidence has shown that the fragrance of the flowers soothes the mind and extracts of the flowers and plants can be used to effective clean and purify surfaces and living spaces. A simple search of the web will reveal the myriad of uses that lavender has been put to throughout time, anything from placing satchels of flowers in clothing drawers to deter moths and other insects to placing it in pillows to help calm a person to sleep.

Modern science in seeking to understand why lavender has endured in usage through the ages have studied its actions in the brain and its effect on our body. Study results have shown that in the brain, lavender has effects similar to Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRI’s) and Gabapentin, both of which help to regulate the nervous system and provide a sense […]

13:06 13:06

Cherries! Nature’s Blood Cleanser

By | 2018-05-21T13:11:13+00:00 April 22nd, 2018|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , , |Comments Off on Cherries! Nature’s Blood Cleanser

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

It’s time for cherries!  If you’ve ever picked cherries, likely you have an appreciation for how much labor goes into caring for and harvesting the delicate, tart orbs that are available fresh for only a few weeks. Depending on the variety, a single cherry tree can produce about 30 lbs of fruit each year.   A single acre of land can be planted with several hundred trees. That’s a lot of little fruit, and although there are mechanical harvesters, most cherries are still picked by hand making them one of the most labor intensive fruits with the one of the shortest harvest season. But they are well worth it.

A little cherry history

Cherries are a drupe, meaning they have a pit in their center. Like other drupes, including apricots, nectarines, and peaches, they are a member of the rose family and are native to the western hemisphere of Europe and Asia. Written records of cherry farming date back to 72 BC Anatolia (modern day Turkey) and they found their way to America with the pilgrims.   Today, only about 15 of some 500 plus varieties are grown for the American consumer.  However, heirloom varieties are on the rise thanks to the natural food movements throughout the world and our nation.

Western nutritional highlights of cherries

Cherries range from a deep black/red to a golden yellow, and they are categorized as sweet or sour, even in western nutritional terms.  Raw cherries provide dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A and minerals. Don’t look to cherries if you are seeking proteins, fats and or complex carbohydrates. That’s not their job–cherries clear and cleanse.

The healing energetics […]

11:45 11:45

Simple Steps for Dealing with Allergies

By | 2018-04-09T10:09:25+00:00 April 8th, 2018|Categories: Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles, The Seasons|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Simple Steps for Dealing with Allergies

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

Red, itchy eyes, sore throat, sinus congestion, running nose, puffy face, congested ears, swollen lips, headaches. Although it may be true that certain seasons have a propensity to bombard us with excess pollen, or air particulates from farming, and pollution there isn’t really one season for allergies. Some people only suffer during a spring and/or autumn season while others may suffer all year long. Some people are allergic to only one thing, while others suffer from a multitude or combination of allergens. Whatever the individual pattern, it is estimated that nearly 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. It’s estimated that over-the-counter sales of allergies medicines should reach $14.7 billion dollars in 2015–that’s a lot of sneezing and muzzy headedness.

I used to believe that seasonal allergies were coming earlier every year.  Though this may be partly true, what I now see in my practice is that Boise’s air quality is declining enough that clients are suffering more and often longer with allergies–crud.

Allergies in the eyes of western medicine

Allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, is an example of compromised immunity. Basically, the immune system has a hyper response to a strong pathogen (pollen, an abundance of cat dander, etc) and this causes a rapid physiological changes resulting in itchy eyes and throat, sinus congestion, sneezing, asthma and even diarrhea.  Exposure to an allergen would cause a massive release of IgE antibodies which attach to white blood cells known as mast cells. These cells are mostly located in the lungs and upper respiratory tract, the lining of the stomach and the skin. When these cells are stimulated, they release a number of chemicals including histamine which produce the allergic symptoms.
An […]

08:27 08:27

Tips For Handling The Stomach Flu

By | 2018-05-31T13:42:07+00:00 March 25th, 2018|Categories: Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Tips For Handling The Stomach Flu

Tyra Burgess, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM)

“I am so tired, I have no energy.”

” I am feeling heavy and sick to my stomach. I am queasy and have a slight headache.”

If you have said this to yourself or to someone else, it is likely that you are suffering from the flu. Not the fill your head with snot flu, but the stomach flu. Viral Gastroenteritis, is described by the Mayo clinic as, “Gastroenteritis,  attacks your intestines, causing signs and symptoms, such as:

  •  Watery, usually nonbloody diarrhea — bloody diarrhea usually means you have a different, more severe infection
  • Abdominal cramps and pain
  • Nausea, vomiting or both
  • Occasional muscle aches or headache
Other signs and symptoms are a low grade fever, vomiting, sweating, the hot and cold chills, and general fatigue and achiness. Once one contracts the flu, symptoms will appear with in 1 to three days, and can last anywhere from 24hrs to 7 days. 
 
Treatment for the flu
  • Always come and see your practitioner. While we try to prevent any illness, they do occur, and when they do, we are best utilized as soon as possible, to balance the body’s qi flow, creating balance, and herbal therapies to aid the body through the illness. In our practice we have used several supplements to help bring the body back to balance.
  • Use Pill curing, green clay or charcoal to ease the stomach
  • Take a ginger bath to help push out the pathogen, and kill the invading pathogen as ginger is an excellent microbial. Simply […]
07:16 07:16

Turmeric–Golden Healing Herb

By | 2018-04-09T10:10:31+00:00 March 22nd, 2018|Categories: Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, Herbs & Spices, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , |Comments Off on Turmeric–Golden Healing Herb

Tyra Burgess, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM)

 

Turmeric is a prevalent and powerful herb, with a long history of medicinal and culinary uses dating back at least 4000 years.  Rhizoma curcumae longae, is a member of the Zingiberaceae/Ginger family, that is packed with curcumin which gives the root its deep golden yellow color and lead to the name “Indian saffron”.  In Auyruvedic medicine turmeric is called haldi,  and in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jiang Huang.  There are over 130 species of turmeric and India produces nearly 80% of all turmeric, and many of us know it as a one of the spices, along with coriander and cumin, that make up the loved seasoning curry, but this herb has wonderful medicinal properties that make it well worth having in your cupboard.

Turmeric’s healing properties

Turmeric has a peppery, acrid, warm, and bitter flavor.  Turmeric is helpful to almost every system in the body, and has been researched and used by every modality on the planet. In Eastern medicine, the herb is indicated in the stagnation of blood and Qi. TCM uses it for conditions such as amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, tumors, and traumatic injury where there is pain and swelling from stagnation.  Ayurvedically, turmeric is used to treat a wide variety of conditions ranging from arthritis to ulcers, gas, hepatitis, diabetes, menstrual issues and to prevent and treat intestinal parasites.

 

With the help of Western Science, it has been determined that there are over 100 isolated components in this miracle plant that are helpful in medicine and powerful in Pharmacology. In Western Herbology, this plant is used as an anti-Inflammatory, antiarthritic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-septic, antioxidant, topical antibacterial and antifungal, antifertility, hypotensive, anti-atherosclerotic, it has tumor preventing activity, choleretic, stimulates digestive enzymes, a carminative, a hepatoprotective, a nephroprotective, radioprotective, […]

09:00 09:00

Spring’s Energetics–The Season Of The Wood Element

By | 2018-05-31T13:42:07+00:00 March 6th, 2018|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, Holistic Living, Spring, The Seasons|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Spring’s Energetics–The Season Of The Wood Element

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

Welcome to Spring!

When does Spring really begin? For most Western cultures, we correlate the start of Spring with the Spring equinox, around March 20-21st.  But all of us know that Spring has been well underway by the time the equinox pops up. If you look at the seasonal correspondences in Chinese medicine’s Yin/Yang theory, the Winter solstice marks the depth of Winter, yet as soon as we reach maximum Yin (the shortest day of the year), Yang and light start to return–literally, Spring is on its way.  A quick look at the lunar calendar can also help us understand why Spring seems to come early or late from one year to the next.  The Chinese New Year heralds the start of the Spring festivals and planting seasons.  This holiday falls on the second new moon after the Winter solstice, sometime between the end of January and the middle of February.

Our bodies feel seasonal changes, and when we are in harmony with these shifts we can delight in the blessings of the season.  However, the transition from Winter to Spring is perhaps, the most tumultuous transition. It’s a duel between the quiet and restive inward energy of Winter into the strong, upward ascending of Yang energy–and its energy can be big.  The season of the Wood element, Spring is a time of tremendous energy, and excitement in the world and in our bodies.   It’s a time of change and growth.  Our bodies want to move more, we have more energy within us and we want to get up and go!  In disharmony, we resist the changes and encounter difficulties.  During the Spring this can […]

16:42 16:42

The Year of The Earth Dog

By | 2018-01-29T16:45:33+00:00 January 29th, 2018|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Specials|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on The Year of The Earth Dog

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA Certified Instructor & Practitioner

 

We love our dogos and puppers and it’s their year.  Friday, February 16th is the second new moon following the winter solstice.  For Asian cultures this is the New Year and the start of the spring festivals and planting season.  This year the Fire Rooster will surrender to the loyal and loving Earth Dog–our most favorite of pets.

Each year of the Asian (Chinese) calendar corresponds to one of the 12 animals (rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and the pig).  Besides the animal, we also cycle through each of the 5 elements (fire, earth, metal,water and wood) to create a full 60 year cycle.  By the time you cycle back to the animal year and element that you were born in you will be 60–so, don’t hold your breath.  Each animal carries its own unique personality and disposition, couple that with the elemental energies and can get an idea of the nature of the how the year may play out.

The nature of the Dog:

Our most beloved friends, dogs are loyal and happy to please their friends and family. They do not care what your wealth or health is like–they believe everyone deserves love. They are considered one of the most auspicious animals in the zodiac and are welcomed into homes to bring prosperity, safety and support.   Those born in the dog years are loyal, responsible and caring and bring energy and vitality to other’s lives. However, they may be overly sensitive, stubborn and emotional–those puppy eyes.

Each element influences the dog’s overall nature. This year, the Earth element adds extra dimensions of tenacity or persistence, precise attention and good wealth.

The Year of The Earth Dog

13:10 13:10

12 Tips For Handling Heartburn And Indigestion

By | 2017-09-22T08:56:06+00:00 September 20th, 2017|Categories: April's Blogs, Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Common Conditions, Holistic Living, Nutrition Articles|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on 12 Tips For Handling Heartburn And Indigestion

April Crowell, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM), AOBTA CI & CP, CHN

Digestive disturbances affect nearly everyone at some point in their life and it’s estimated that 40% of Americans will suffer from heartburn at least once each month–ouch.  In fact, the proton pump inhibitor drugs (think Nexium and Prevacid) are the third largest class of drugs sold in America each year.    The following recommendations are beneficial for any level of digestive vibrancy, whether you have excellent digestion and want to make the most of a healthy system or you are treating chronic or debilitating digestive issues.  Honestly, I know of no condition that will not improve or benefit from the simple habits listed below.

Chew your food —Let’s start at the beginning.  Besides the teeth mechanically breaking down the food, salivary amylase is added in the mouth to break down starches.  This enzyme is not found in the stomach–it has to be added into the food in the mouth.  Although the stomach churns to help break food down, it doesn’t have teeth and large chunks of food overly burden the stomach causing gas, bloating, and acid re-flux.   The physical act of chew also triggers mass peristalsis in the colon–meaning you will move your bowels more regularly.  Ideally, you should chew your food about 30 times, so put your fork down between each bite and savor your food.

Have a seat–“Li proceeds Qi.” Literally, where your intention goes your Qi (energy & manifestation)  will follow.  If your intention is to eat a meal, assist your body by sitting down, relaxing and enjoying your food.  If your attention is rushed or focused elsewhere Qi won’t readily flow into your digestive organs to help properly transform the food. Voila–you now have […]

11:47 11:47

Shi Fan (Rice Congee or Jook)

By | 2018-05-15T16:50:54+00:00 September 19th, 2017|Categories: Blogs, Chinese Medicine, Comfort Food, Common Conditions, Crock pot, Gluten Free, Recipes, Soups and Stew, Vegan, Vegetarian, Whole Grains|Tags: , , , , , , , , |Comments Off on Shi Fan (Rice Congee or Jook)

Congee, Shi-Fan (literally, rice water) or Jook. Whatever name you give it, rice porridge has been the foundation of nutritional healing since…well, we started playing with fire and cooking.  It is my first recommendation for anyone who is weak or ill, whether young or old.
Congee is a eaten by millions as a breakfast food.  The simple gruel is served with a variety of side dishes, shredded vegetables and fish, shredded meats and pickles.

Besides being a great morning start, congee is a fantastic healing food.

It’s just rice and water or broth.  Perhaps another ingredient is added to added to create a specific result. Sounds boring right? However, sometimes simplicity is the best approach to healing.  I always consider the client’s digestive vitality first in any treatment.  If they have problems absorbing nutrients for whatever reason, be it illness, chemo or radiation treatment or constitutional weakness,  they will not transform the food they eat into healing nutrient qi.   In these cases, simple foods cooked for a long period place less of a burden on the digestive system.

Who can benefit from congee?

Anyone.  I’ve seen it work wonders with toddlers on acid reflux medicines to seniors battling dementia, those going through chemo and radiation to those just fighting the common cold.   There is no magic, it is just simplicity.

Healing benefits of congee

Rice is neutral to warming, there are over 8 thousand varieties of rice and very few people are allergic to rice. If you are someone avoiding gluten…use a gluten free rice.  Rice tonifies the Qi and Blood and harmonizes the Middle Burner (your digestive system), the Stomach and the Spleen.  Water balances our PH, detoxes and nourishes Yin.  The rest of the recipe is up to […]