Ughhhh, our air! This summer has been an interesting one as far as our lungs are concerned. With our record high temperatures, the valley being saturated in smoke from fires as close as the East end, and as far away as Lowman, our lungs have been hit hard.
Yang collapse–sound pretty severe, right? In Chinese medicine it is–and it’s often a long, slow and difficult hill to climb for recovery. Why? Literally, you have burnt out the fire and transformative functions in the body. Most importantly, clients who have reached deep Yang deficiency are notoriously bad about resting– which is essential to rebuilding Yang.
How deficiencies arise
You played too hard. You became severely ill. You didn’t eat or rest appropriately. You were under too much stress. Sometimes we can narrow it down and find one thing that may have caused the collapse but most often it’s a number things that combined leading to eventual collapse. There are many avenues in which the body takes impact of stress, illness and daily living, and when we are vital and healthy we bounce back. Overtime, however, we may continue to dwindle and signs of deficiency will show up. It’s a progressive process that left unchecked will get worse and worse until something gives way.
The progression of deficiency in the body
Qi Deficiency–Qi deficiency is the starting place. Fortunately, Qi deficiency, though common, is very easy to recover from. You’re a bit tired, worn out from the day, nothing that a good night’s sleep and some appropriate rest can’t fix. There will be little change in the tongue, and the pulses will feel a little weak, but you will recover quickly. Find out more about building Qi here.
Yin or Yang?–Left unchecked, Qi deficiency will progress, leading down a path of either Yin or Yang deficiency. Which path you follow depends on life circumstances, constitution, pre-existing weaknesses and other factors. Truly, both Yin and Yang are going to […]
It’s a blustery day!
Each of the 5 Seasons in Chinese medicine has a climatic nature that it corresponds to. Summer relates to Heat, Autumn to Dryness, Winter to Cold, Late Summer (the transition of seasons) relates to Dampness, and Spring corresponds to Wind. These climates are simply part of the nature of the season, and people may be more vulnerable to these climatic conditions, and each can manifest as a series of patterns in the body. What I pay attention to, as Chinese medicine practitioner and Amma Therapist, is how these may manifest in the body. Ah…here comes the Wind. Whipping through the tops of the trees, windy patterns may arise in our bodies as colds, allergies, ticks, stiff necks and more. In Chinese medicine, Wind corresponds to Spring season and the Liver and Gall Bladder channel, and most Springs are windy. But Wind can invade in any season, and Wind often picks up again in the Autumn.
Wind can be an exterior or interior pattern
Exterior pathogens (Wind, Hot, Cold, Dry, Damp, Summer Heat ) invade our bodies either because the pathogen is excessively strong compared to normal Wei Qi (immunity), think of plagues and virulent viruses–OR–the body is too week to fend off the invasion. This is the pattern that appears in people who seem to get sick at the drop of a hat.
Interior patterns are generated by disharmonies within the body. Eating too many hot foods can damage the Yin (cooling) of the body and lead to heat. Although there may be a bit of overlap, the treatment focus of interior vs exterior will be different. Read more on exterior and interior […]
Basil, apple, sage and spearmint;
Oregano, catnip, pineapple and peppermint;
To many dishes their flavor they’ve lent;
Yet why is one not called merriment?
Grandma June grew a peppermint bush around the water spigot off her front deck. Content in its moist, rich soil and shaded in the afternoon, the plant grew to be a monster. There was no way to reach in and turn on the hose without stirring up the mint’s refreshing fragrance or the bees if the plant was in bloom. Each year she harvested the mint to make teas or jelly to serve with lamb or give as gifts.
In a burst of sentimentality, I planted a clump of mint next the water tap outside my back door. It’s an easy grab to add fresh mint to salads and soups or to make refreshing teas, hair rinses and other delights. And there’s an added bonus–ants hate peppermint. So if you have a few pests in the spring consider a planting of mint, especially spearmint, lavender and penny royal along your home.
A little mint history
The aromatic presence of the mint family have be pleasing our senses for centuries. Mints (mentha) are a part of the lamiaceae or labiatae family–which isn’t a small family. It includes many of our favorite culinary herbs like basil, rosemary, oregano, sage and penny royal. Honestly, there is a bit of debate in the horticulture world as to what clearly defines the mint family, but most recognize that there at least 25 species of mints and countless hybrids including the fun stuff like pineapple, ginger and chocolate mint.
We can track mint’s usage all the way back to Pliny the Elder in the […]
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.
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 […]
“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
- 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
- Keep the body warm, sleep and increase vitamin C. Click here for more recommendations.
- Take a ginger bath to help push out the pathogen, and kill the invading pathogen as ginger is an excellent microbial. Simply […]
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
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 […]
Stinging nettles sting.
My first encounter with nettles was not pleasant, and at the time, I didn’t know enough to look for lamb’s quarter or dock to soothe the nettle’s sharp bite. Instead, I chose to run screaming back to camp seeking my mother’s aid to treat the flaming red blisters on my legs.
Despite my first meeting with nettles, I have grown to love their amazing nutritional and healing properties. They are one of the few herbs that I can recommend to almost anyone–young, old, weak, strong, nursing mothers and athletes. To date, I haven’t come up with someone that can’t benefit from nettles.
A bit of nettle history
Nettles have a long history of medicinal use–dating back to the bronze age. Native Americans used them to stop bleeding after child birth, Victorian women used nettle tinctures to thicken their hair. Soups were used to build strength and stamina–the list is long as you will see below.
Nettles grow wild across Europe, America and parts of Canada. Many people harvest them fresh, but for ease (possibly I’m just lazy) I get my nettles dried and in bulk unless a local grower has some fresh available. I use them regularly for my family, self and my clients. All parts of the nettle plant have medicinal properties earning them a place of honor in my herbal cupboard.
Western uses and nutritional profile
Long inhale and go…. Asthma, chronic cough, any lung disorder, hives, shingles, eczema, diabetes, uterine bleeding, chronic nose bleeds, allergies, gout, heart failure, spasms urinary and kidney stones, urinary tract infections, strengthen hair, heal wounds, replenishing after surgery, fluid retention, rheumatism, arthritis, reduce edema and bloating, build teeth and bones, balance mood swings, […]
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, […]