Newsletter # 6. Spring 2009

Menopause: Find help for this major life transition with Chinese medicine and a host of powerful plants.

iStock_000004263692XSmallMenopause marks the time in a woman’s life when ovarian function and production of sex hormones decline, that leads to the cessation of menstruation. . This is not one simple event. As with puberty, your body subtly evolves and prepares itself for this major change. The majority of women end their menstruation between the ages of 48 to 52, but uncomfortable symptoms of perimenopause or pre-menopause can begin as early as forty and last until fifty-five years of age. Perimenopause, or the period of years leading up to the menopause (which varies from 3 to 15), is often the most difficult part of a woman’s life. Levels of progesterone drop drastically in relation to levels of estrogen, and a woman may notice that her menstrual cycle starts to be different from what it used to be—slight irregularity, heavy menstrual bleeding, increased breast swelling, abdominal bloating, depression and mood swings, sweets cravings and low energy. It’s often not until these hormonal levels do drop that most women begin to understand just how much of a role hormones play in their bodily systems and their lives.  It’s a bit of a shock to find that not only do they affect the reproductive system, but also bone density, frame of mind and mood, mental clarity, blood-sugar levels, and heart health.

As she gets closer to the actual menopause, the cessation of her menstruation, the symptoms may become more extreme such as hot flashes, night sweats, vaginal dryness, decreased libido, headaches, insomnia and moodiness.  Once periods have ceased, a woman enters the menopausal stage. After a year without menstruating, the postmenopausal stage begins. Levels of estrogen and progesterone fall even further, with progesterone continuing to be the lower of the two. These hormones are responsible for maintaining the health of woman’s bones and the elasticity of blood vessels and skin. Osteoporosis and heart disease are two conditions most emphasized by the medical community, but quality of life issues such as weight gain, dry and wrinkled skin and mucus membranes, thinning and loss of hair, lower vitality, decrease in sex drive and mood swings can become very difficult for many women.

While women in the past apparently experienced far fewer menopausal problems, modern day factors like stress, poor diet, and pollution can certainly exacerbate these adverse effects. If you’ve suffered from chronic stress, had years of exposure to xenoestrogens in the environment, haven’t paid attention to your diet, have allowed constipation to persist, or had low-grade liver, thyroid, or adrenal issues, you may experience strong menopause symptoms. The reason? Your body is a holistic system, so what happens to one part affects another. Your liver, for example, is a powerhouse that, among other thing, takes care of excess estrogen in the body. If it’s functioning properly, the excess is eliminated from the body, but if your digestive system isn’t up to par and you suffer from chronic constipation, your body can re-absorb this excess, adding to estrogen dominance.

Your adrenal glands prove extremely important, especially in post menopause. They secrete weak androgens, which break down into hormones, taking up some slack for the rest of the dormant reproductive system. But if you’ve experienced long periods of unrelieved stress, your adrenals may be exhausted and no longer able to perform this function. Weak thyroid function can contribute to this problem as well.

Pills versus fruitCurrent Western medicine offers Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). While it was once common to attempt to replace hormonal deficiencies, it is no longer the gold standard for menopausal treatment. It may be useful for some women whose uterus and ovaries have been removed.

However, many other women may have a variety of the potential side effects of hormone replacement therapy. The evidence of increased risks of breast cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke, and venous thromboembolism from a randomized trial called The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) was reported in the July 2002 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association




Women’s Health Initiative Findings Summary
Breast Cancer 24% Increase
Endometrial Cancer 19% Decrease
Ovarian Cancer 58% Increase
Colorectal Cancer Decrease
Coronary heart disease 24% Increase
Stroke 31% Increase
Blood Clots Increase
All fractures 24% Reduction
Hip fractures 33% Reduction
Cognitive functions No change – does not protect
Quality of life No clear benefit

It is important if you are contemplating using HRT to consult a gynecologist for advice on its risks and benefits.

After this publication, even with severe symptoms of menopause, many women have chosen to tolerate the symptoms rather than have hormonal replacement therapy.

For many women, the need for relief from symptoms during and after menopause remains paramount and an increasing number of them are turning to and finding answers in Chinese Medicine. From very early on in its five thousand year history, Chinese Medicine has had a specialty focused on women’s health. Therefore, solutions have been devised for centuries that effectively deal with the symptoms of menopause and the aging process. Natural healing methods, including acupuncture, dietary and herbal therapy, meditation, and energy exercises help relieve the symptoms of menopause and help women ease into the next, exiting stage of life.

By addressing menopausal symptoms early on, woman can balance her body’s endocrine system and prevent major health issues associated with menopause. If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you may have the onset of perimenopausal symptoms and should consult wellness practitioner.

  • Are you experiencing increasingly shorter menstrual cycles?
  • Are you feeling warmer at times especially during your sleep?
  • Are you finding your sleep becoming more restless and light?
  • Are you finding yourself more moody overall without any specific cause?
  • Are you having increasingly difficult time in losing weight?
  • Are you having increasingly tender and enlarged breasts premenstrually?

Soy productsWhen the symptoms are discovered and treated earlier, they are much easier to manage.

Diet therapy. A diet rich in minerals will prevent osteoporosis. Dark, leafy green vegetables, beans and legumes are helpful. Soy products, such as tofu and soybeans, contain isoflavones, which have an estrogenlike effect on the body which help in reducing hot flashes and night sweats and protecting against heart disease. In Asian cultures, where people eat a lot of soy-based foods, there are lower rates of heart disease, osteoporosis and menopausal complaints. Tofu, made from soy, has additional calcium which is excellent for bone health. Drink 2 -3 cups of soy milk a day to ease symptoms and maintain heart and bone health.

  • Spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, kale, mustard greens, beet greens, lettuce, parsley, soy, black beans, lima beans, navy beans, mung beans, lentils, split peas and adzuki beans.

A diet rich in essential fatty acids and omega 3 and 6 oils is important in preventing heart disease. Daily consumption of flaxseed, a source of natural estrogen, can ease symptoms, and also will help maintain elasticity of the blood vessels, increase tissue lubrication and protect against reproductive cancers. Flaxseed meal and flour are best.

  • Salmon, sea bass, halibut, tuna; nuts and seeds such as walnuts, sesame, pine nuts, sunflower seed.

Adequate protein is also important to provide ingredients for hormonal production in one’s body. Chinese medicine believes that Lamb is especially excellent for nourishing the hormone glands (endocrine system).

  • Fish, organic chicken, turkey, ostrich, lamb and beans.

It’s important not to neglect grains and fiber. Many women are afraid that if they consume grains and starchy foods, they would gain weight. It’s a matter of quantity and timing. Chinese medicine teaches that small portions of cooked whole grains and starch such as potato should be eaten best at dinner for its beneficial fibers and minerals that are helpful to lower cholesterol and prevent bowel cancer. Further, these carbohydrates burn quick and clean, leaving no excess accumulations behind and helping one’s sleep.

  • Oats, millet, buckwheat, brown rice, barley, rye, amaranth, quinoa, whole wheat, corn.

Moderation is the key to a good balanced diet. The intake of alcohol, sweets, and caffeine should be limited and moderate.

A good sleep is paramount to high functioning in the day as well as reduced perimenopausal symptoms. Try to wind down your clock after sundown by engaging in relaxing and soothing activities. Going to sleep before 10 and getting up at 6 is an ideal pattern for most people.

Lastly, monitoring your stress level, you will find that during the perimenopausal time your stress tolerance is lower and you may tend to be stressed out with things you normally would be fine with. Again, by having a better lifestyle and becoming more aware of your body, you can naturally adjust yourself to the stress level better. Writing journals and putting your emotions and thoughts on paper is also a very good way to put away stress.

Traditional Chinese Medicine provides a safe approach to perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms. Many women come to Acupuncture for Life clinic seeking an alternative assistance with their specific needs and conditions. At Acupuncture for Life clinic, we are honored to be able to help you and educate you on menopausal issues and work with you on having a smooth menopausal transition. Our goal is not merely to help you deal with your symptoms, but also to encourage wellness and to slow down the aging process. Our advices frequently include life style modification, dietary guidance, and Chinese Medicine therapies. All advices are tailored to you. Most of the time, no two patients will receive the exact acupuncture and herbal therapies. The key to a smooth menopausal transition is to become more aware of your body, especially with subtle changes and take care of them before the symptoms turn severe.

When we see you for the first time in dealing with your perimenopausal symptoms, it is frequently not simply addressing symptoms of menopause. Many of the perimenopausal women have menstrual irregularities, uterine fibroids or other issues that can respond poorly to any direct hormonal interventions. Our approach to your condition comes from the conception of total wellness where we take into considerations four main aspects of your body and spirit – genetic tendencies, current health status, life style issues, and finally the important symptoms.

Botanical Plant.Herbal Therapy . Chinese medicine has within its arsenal close to 10,000 substances from natural resources. The advantages of Chinese herbal therapy are the lack of side effects and that it’s time-tested, and naturally effective in supporting body’s normal functions. It is a sophisticated body of knowledge that requires years of learning and mastery.

Below women can find the Chinese herbs (not all but some) that have been shown to be useful for the natural relief of symptoms of menopause in studies from China and the West.

  • Wild Yam and Dang Gui – traditionally used to naturally stimulate the production of progesterone and estrogen in a woman’s body (Not a replacement but rather getting one’s body to do what it is supposed to do).
  • Epimedii herb, Immortal grass, Rehmannia root and soy—together provide nourishment of hormone glands and support adrenal function while increasing one’s libido and sexual vitality.
  • Conch and Zizyphus seed provide a natural source of calcium, reduce night sweats, relieve headaches and balance the mood to help one’s sleep.
  • Anemarrhena and Gardenia fruit balance the body’s thermostat, relieve hot flashes, ease anxiety and lessen cravings.
  • Alisma and white Peony root eliminate excess fluids while lubricating mucus membranes and skin as well as strengthening elasticity of the blood vessels

Herbs can prove incredibly helpful for all menopausal complex problems. While a few plants contain actual phytohormones or plant hormones, most herbs used for menopause do not. Instead, they aid by promoting the action of hormones in the body. Cells in our bodies have receptors for estrogen and progesterone, and an herb like black cohosh, for instance, will bind to and aid estrogen if the cell needs the hormone. However, if there’s an excess of estrogen in the body, the herb has the ability to occupy the receptor and block the hormone from entering the cell. Some herbs have even more complex actions. Chaste tree, for example, has been found to reduce the level of prolactin, a hormone that affects the mammary glands and which can interfere with progesterone formation if too high.

Your Chinese medicine doctor will prescribe a combination of herbs that will help balance your hormones, nourish and build up your liver and your adrenals, and also address specific issues such as anxiety, bone loss, mental confusion, and so on. Of course, once your hormones begin to come back into balance, many of the problems will start resolving themselves, but it’s always beneficial to give your system some extra help. At this moment, your practitioner may decide to alter your herbal formula.

There are a few principles to keep in mind. First, perimenopause is different form menopause itself. Because of the huge drop in progesterone during the former, mood swings and menstrual bleeding can often be acute and severe. Your herbal prescription will include a high proportion of those that promote progesterone and which do not stimulate menstruation.

For best results, your doctor will diagnose which state you’re in, the symptoms that currently bother you, and then determine the appropriate herbs that match your profile.

The question sometimes comes up as to how long a woman should take a menopausal formula. If you stop having hot flashes and other troublesome symptoms, it seems logical to discontinue use, but if these formulas help you preserve your hormones, it actually makes more sense to continue taking them. Your formulas may continue to benefit bone and heart health and overall longevity.

Below you can find herbal guide containing Chinese and Western herbs to relieve some of menopausal symptoms. This guide is only information. Avoid treat yourself because herbs are very powerful and can make your symptoms worse if prescribed improperly.

 A Guide to Helpful Herbs.

Flower power
Flower remedies can be wonderful allies during menopause, especially for anxiety. They can also alleviate depression, insomnia, and mental confusion. Add several drops to the tinctures per teas that you take for menopause, or take them straight with a glass of water. Choose among the following to threat the particular feeing that are troubling you:
Aspen                    Anxiety, vague feeling of fear
Gorse                      Despair
Mustard               Deep depression
Red chestnut     Over concern or fear for others
Rock rose              Extreme fear
Scleranthus        Uncertainty, indecision
Walnut                 Life stage transition
Wild oat                Uncertain of life path

Energy Exercise. Normally one should incorporate a variety of cross training exercises such as passive strengthening, aerobic exercises and meditative exercises. These would include walking, hiking, gentle weight lifting, yoga, Tai Chi, jogging, and many other activities. The key is to alternate them and not to just do one form of exercise. Many women in Asia have used Tai Chi and other Chi (energy) Exercise to help them manage stress and restore vitality and normal functions before, during and after menopause with good success.  One can also learn simple Chi (energy) Exercises from videotapes available at your local bookstores. Studies have shown that Tai Chi can promote balance, cardiovascular health and emotional well being.

In the seasons of one’s life, if the ending of the menstrual cycle means the winter of a woman’s ability to bear children, then what comes after menopause is the second spring – the season of rebirth when she is empowered to live the way she has drempt.

Menopause is a time of self-reflection and inner growth. This can be both an exciting and challenging time in a woman’s life.

Menopause signifies the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The termination of menstruation means the ending of a woman’s biological obligation to procreate. At around age 50, this time also usually coincides with the completion of a woman’s child rearing duty. With her familial obligations mostly fulfilled, she is now freer to pursue her life and personal dreams. Further, by this time, she has acquired tremendous life experience and wisdom that will allow her to fully blossom into who she is in the second half of her life. What an important and powerful time this change brings on! No wonder the Chinese call menopause “A Second Spring“!

iStock_000008612832XSmallWe strongly believe that a menopausal woman should be empowered with the knowledge to make choices and decisions about her body and her life. At Acupuncture for Life clinic, we help individually to each woman’s needs during her change of life. We also ask our patients to help themselves with the following during peri-menopause and menopause: life style, diet and herbal therapy.

To find out your healthy way through this major life transition you need to make an appointment with a doctor Irina V. Zasimova.

Bone Boosters Many herbs contain calcium, silica, boron, and other trace minerals beneficial to bone health. An herbal tea or vinegar, rather than a tincture, is best for extracting these minerals.To make tea: Combine equal parts alfalfa, oatstraw, horsetail, parsley, nettles, and raspberry leaves. Use at least 1 Tbls of this mixture per cup of hot water and allow to steep for 10-15 minutes or more. You can make a quart at a time, keeping the remainder in the refrigerator for a few days. Drink as many times a day as you like.To make an herbal vinegar: Combine any of the following herbs: dandelion leaves and roots, alfalfa, plantain leaves, oatstraw, yellow dock leaves and roots, parsley, horsetail, raspberry leaves, nettles, red clover, and lamb’s quarters. Fill a quart jar with a mix of two or more of these mineral-rich herbs, either dried or fresh. Pour apple cider vinegar over the herbs until the jar is full. Cover with a non-metal lid and let the mixture sit for six weeks. Add a tablespoon or two to a glass of water and take before a meal. This is a natural, easily absorbable, and inexpensive way to obtain the balance of calcium and other minerals you need.

Newsletter # 5. Winter 2008 -2009

What do you know about Your pulse?

A primary component of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), pulse diagnosis is a diagnostic method that has been practiced for more than 2,500 years.

Most people already know that the pulse reflects heart rate, which is normally between 60-80 beats per minute. Whether it is too slow, too fast or irregular, it can indicate a possible heart problem. However, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the pulse reveals more than just heart rate. Chinese pulse diagnosis is an extremely complex subject and an important diagnostic tool. This is why practitioners of TCM take pulse readings much longer than you normally experience at a western medical office. Pulse diagnosis is thought to provide clues to the health and allow the practitioner to then determine the best course of treatment. An experienced pulse-diagnosis practitioner can feel up to 28 different pulse characteristic according to speed, rhythm, strength, overall shape and quality, depth, length and width. Once these are taken, proper treatment can began.

Pulse diagnosis used to diagnose acute and chronic illness, organ and endocrine disorders, depression, pain, anxiety and fatigue.

The following will introduce some brief explanation of Chinese Medical pulse diagnosis.

Pulse diagnosis is important for two reasons – it can give very detailed information on the state of the internal organs and it reflects the whole complex of Qi, Blood, Yin, Yang and every part of the body. It gives the doctor an indication of the overall constitution of a person. Just as the tongue can reflect these phenomena, so does the pulse. Pulse diagnosis is a very subtle skill. Practitioner takes the pulse on the radial artery, dividing it into three sections on the wrist and detecting it at three different levels. The three wrist sections of the pulse on the radial artery are the front, middle and rear, respectively. The three levels are superficial (pressing lightly), middle (pressing a little deeper) and deep (pressing even deeper). The three levels at each of the three sections on the wrist are referred to as the “Nine Regions.”





Each pulse position can reflect different phenomena in different situations. For example, in a state of health, the left middle pulse (Liver) will be relatively soft and smooth, neither superficial nor deep. Therefore, we can say the liver and gall bladder energies are balanced or that the Yin and Yang within the Liver/Gall Bladder sphere are balanced. If a patient is experiencing migraine headaches and her pulse feels wiry (harder or tighter than normal) and more superficial and pounding, then we may diagnose this as Excessive Liver Fire (Yang) Rising (up the Gall Bladder channel to the head). The pulse reflects the rising energy.

Here are some characteristics of pulse with Yin/Yang imbalance.

Pulses with Yin quality:

  • A weak pulse can be sign of an internal deficiency with a loss of immunity and vitality.
  • The pulse is thought to be slow if there are fewer than four normal beats per breath cycle. It indicates an illness that is caused by cold weather or an infection.
  • A deep pulse is one that can be sensed only with firm pressure. It indicated an internal illness that is becoming a chronic condition.

Pulses with Yang quality:

  • A strong, steady pulse indicates a condition of excess, as when the body’s defenses are triggered.
  • The pulse is considered rapid if there are more than five normal beats per breath cycle. It can signal an illness with symptoms of fever, such as flu.
  • A superficial pulse is the result of external forces, such as wind, and corresponds to the transmission of contagious diseases.

Again, the pulse is assessed at three different depths: a superficial, middle and deep level. These three levels of the pulse give an immediate idea of the level of Qi in the pulse and, therefore, the kind of pathological condition that might be present. In particular, the superficial level reflects the state of Qi (and the yang organ); the middle level reflects the state of Blood; the deep level reflects the state of Yin (and yin organs). Thus, by examining the strength and quality of the pulse at these three levels doctor get a better idea of the pathology of Qi, Blood and Yin, and of the relative state of Yin and Yang.

Prostate Health and Traditional Chinese Medicine

The American Cancer Society classifies prostate cancer as the most common form of cancer among U.S. men.

A walnut-size gland surrounding the male urethra, the prostate produces the milky secretion that mixes with sperm during ejaculation in order to prevent infection in the urethra while protecting and invigorating sperm. Located in front of the rectum and below the bladder, the prostate can become enlarged, especially in men over 40 due to the aging process as hormones change and weaken. If enlargement is non-malignant, it is referred to medically as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. The swelling of the prostate puts pressure against the bladder and urethra, thereby affecting the smooth flow of urine. Typical symptoms of prostate enlargement include difficulty urinating, a weak urine stream, dribbling after urination and constant urge to urinate that continues all night.

If you are a man over the age of 40 and prostate cancer runs in your family, it is extremely advisable to monitor your Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) levels. A PSA blood test measures the level of a protein released by prostate cells. Recent experts state that if a PSA level is 2.5 or higher, it reveals the possibility of prostate growth (hyperplasia), but it does not always mean that cancer is present. Since PSA levels may fluctuate with infection and lab errors, usually more than one test over a period of time is done to confirm your PSA level. Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) and ultrasound are other ways to evaluate the prostate. However, only biopsies can truly determine whether the growth in the prostate is benign or malignant.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approach to Prostate Care 

TCM associates hyperplasia of the prostate with damp heat and kidney deficiency.

After the age of 40, one’s vital energy in the kidney system decreases, resulting in the disturbance of sex hormones. This process also decreases one’s sexual energy, which affects the function of the prostate and the circulation in this region. Throughout the ages, in order to compensate for the decline of prostate function, men in China have used regular acupuncture treatments to improve the circulation and energy in the prostate.

To enhance the effect of acupuncture, they have also used Chinese herbs such as Polygoni (He Shou Wu), in traditional, custom herbal formulas to replenish the kidney essence. In fact, at our clinic, we have successful cases of normalizing elevated PSA levels in patients with prostate conditions. Kidney essence nurtures the prostate. As the prostate is revitalized, it is now capable of self-regulating toward normal functioning and maintaining a balance of growth and non-growth. This is the balancing property of Chinese medicine.

Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations 

TCM nutrition encourages men to eat more nuts, seeds, mushroom, watermelon and its seeds, and berries to help nourish their prostate. Managing stress, regular exercise and massaging the prostate are also vital to help maintain prostate health. Besides Chinese and western herbs such as saw palmetto and stinging nettle, there are many delicious foods that you can eat to help maintain a healthy prostate. Regular consumption of foods that contain lycopene (a prostate protective antioxidant) is highly recommended. The following are foods that contain lycopene: watermelon, pink grapefruit, guava, papaya, apricot and cooked tomatoes (tomato paste, tomato soup, tomato juice and marinara sauce). Nutrition experts have expressed concern that pesticides and herbicides in animal products may trigger cancer growth. This may be another good reason for you to eat more fruits and vegetables that are organic and avoid saturated, high-fat animal products and snacks that contain hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils.

Snack on pumpkin seeds to nourish the prostate. The seeds contain sitosterol, a substance that may help reduce prostate enlargement, as well as beneficial fatty acids and a substantial amount of zinc, which all help to promote a healthy prostate gland.

Keep moving. Extended sitting and cold feet reduce circulation in the pelvis. If you spend a lot o time sitting down, stand up periodically and move around. If working at a desk is unavoidable, change your position frequently. Take walks and get other exercise regularly to improve circulation. Don’t resist the urge to urinate – instead, visit the bathroom as soon as possible and be sure to take time to empty your bladder completely.

Sitz baths can improve circulation in the pelvis and help to alleviate congestion in the genitourinary organs, including the prostate. Fill your bathtub with warm water and bathe for approximately 10 min. The water should be up to your navel; your upper body can remain dry.

These diet and lifestyle recommendations may help prevent this pervasive cancer and help invigorate your body.

To know more about how Chinese medicine may help with this and other health problems you need to visit our clinic.

Newsletter #4. Fall 2008

Baths for Colds

Few activities are as soothing and relaxing as taking a warm bath; soaking seems to ease not only sore muscles but emotional tension, as well. If you have a cold, bathing can offer the extra advantage of encouraging your body to sweat the toxins out. Adding essential oils can truly turn the experience into a healing bath. Baths give the oils a double route into the body – through scent diffused the steam and through the skin. Warmed by the bathwater, he skin is more permeable to the oils, which can then enter the bloodstream in a faster manner, releasing their therapeutic effects. A thyme-oil bath, for instance, works to strengthen the weakened resistance of your body; using eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils will loosen chest and nasal mucus to relieve congestion. Baths containing essential oils will moisturize condition and soften your skin.

Rules for Bath

  • Bathe for no longer then 20 min.; staying in the tub longer dries skin out.
  • Never take a bath on a full stomach; it irritates the digestive system.
  • Use a bath pillow or rolled hand towel to support your head it will allow you to relax more easily.
  • Essential oils are highly concentrated; always dilute them before using.
  • Add oils to the bathwater just before you get in, so they don’t evaporate.

Therapeutic effect:

Combining a bath with essential oils can both soothe the spirit and heal the body. The medicinal effects of your bath will vary according to the essential oil chosen; the essential oil of tea tree is antiseptic; rosemary is an expectorant; and thyme essential oil strengthens the immune system. To maximize the effects of the bath, dry-brush your skin with a natural-fiber brush before bathing to open up pores and remove dead skin. Use about 4 drops of essential oil in the tub filled halfway; or 8 in a full bath.

Tea-tree oil for weakened immune system

Cold viruses attack us when our immunity weakened. The essential oil of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is a great antiseptic for fighting viral and fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot and ringworm. The oil also thins mucus that is causing nasal stuffiness and coughs, making it easier to eliminate. Tea-tree oil helps to soothe inflammations, bites and burns, as well.

Rosemary oil for coughing.

Essential oil of rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) with its fresh, crisp aroma, disinfects respiratory and nasal passages and clears bronchial tubes, relieving the urge to cough. It also spurs expectoration, increases circulation and eases aches attributed to fever.

Thyme oil for infections

The essential oil of thyme (Thymus vulgaris) can help fortify the immune system, stimulate metabolism and warm and energize the whole body .The oil is a strong antibacterial agent helpful when used for respiratory infections, including not only colds but also flu and bronchitis. Thyme oil soothes the muscle aches that accompany these infections.

Take care!

Each essential oil has its own specific properties and appeal; see which is best for your state of mind and symptoms. Follow recipes closely, and never add more oil than is called for. Always dilute an essential oil with a carrier oil, plus a little alcohol and honey, so it can dissolve better into the bathwater; you can add cream as an extra emulsifier, if you wish. After bathing, cover yourself well and rest for about 1 hour.

Extra tip

6285559Massage your skin with gentle and circular motions while you are in the bath to bring blood to the surface. In addition, a massage tones muscles and energize the body.


A blend of essential oils can often intensify the healing properties of individual oils in the bath. Make sure to use specific essential oils according to the Latin names given in this newsletter to guarantee optimal healing effects and purity of the oil.


  • For boosting immunity, mix 5 drops eucalyptus essential oil (Eucalyptus globules), 5 drops thyme essential oil, 2 drops tea-tree oil, 1 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. honey, 1 Tbsp. vodka or gin.
  • For congestion and fever, mix 6 drops rosemary essential oil, 6 drops thyme essential oil, 1 Tbsp. sunflower oil, 1 Tbsp. honey, 1 tbsp. vodka or gin.6184617
  • For sinus infections, mix 4 drops tea-tree essential oil, 1 Tbsp. sweet-almond oil, 4 drops spike-like lavender essential oil (Lavandula spica), 4 drops peppermint oil (Mentha piperita), 1 Tbsp. honey, 1 Tbsp. vodka or gin. This healing bath should be taken at the onset of a sinus infection, when you first experience symptoms.
  • Sea-salt bath for flu. Mix 1 cup fine sea salt with 4 drops thyme essential oil, 4 drops eucalyptus essential oil and 4 drops rosemary essential oil. Take this bath just before you go to bed; you should feel much better in the morning. Sea salt helps the body fight off viruses. In addition, it encourages sweating, which is another way the body eliminates toxins.

Baths used to relieve not only colds and coughs, but also insomnia, nervous tension, circulation problems, menstrual pain and headaches. If you have any of these problems you may contact our office to make an appointment to discuss them with doctor.

Self-healing techniques: Meditation

5585669Meditation has its origins in many different religious traditions. Perhaps the best known meditative technique is yoga, which originated as part of the Hindu religion. No matter what the origin, however, all forms of meditation share a common goal: to achieve a state devoid of thought. Called “centering,” this is the highest expression of spiritual contemplation, and it can be achieved through a variety of means. For instance, reciting words or mantras, controlling breathing patterns or engaging in physically active meditations, such as the trance dance, can all help people let go of everyday concerns. Modern science has shown that relaxation of the mind has a healing effect on the body, helping people to reduce stress and, in turn, to prevent disease. People who meditate regularly feel more intensely that body, mind and soul are one.

Practive Makes Perfect

Meditation exercises should be practiced regularly, preferably daily. The more frequently you practice, the more easily you will approach complete inner peace. Your meditative sessions need not be long to be successful, but you must be willing to let go of your everyday concerns and focus on relaxation.

The Treatment

Mediate at the same time of day and in the same place – preferably in a comfortable area where you will not be disturbed. Stick to one routing for several weeks before you try another. For specific instruction on a particular form of meditation, sigh up for a class or workshop.

Guided Meditation Guided imagery with meditation or relaxation tapes can be beneficial while practicing yoga. Soft music and vivid stories take the listener away from everyday concerns and make it simpler to reach a relaxed state. Other aids include concentrating on a specific object or reciting a mantra – pleasant sounding words that may or may not have significance.

The effect of meditation

In a meditative state, metabolic processes, including respiration and blood flow, slow down. Scientists have documented this effect by measuring brain activity. In the waking brain, activity measures 13-30 Hertz (beta waves); during meditation, which mimics sleep, it is only 8-12 Hertz (alpha waves).

The view of mainstream medicine

The positive effect of meditation on the autonomic nervous system is not disputed. Neurological tests reveal that regular oscillation patterns occur in brain waves during meditation, reflecting deep relaxation.

A Little Lore

In traditional meditation, the mantra “om,” form the Sanskrit language, is believed to contain sounds that encompass Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva – the Hindu gods of creation, preservation and destruction. Mediators all over the world use the mantra.

 Meditation is proven to ease stress, high blood pressure, emotional imbalance and depression; boost energy; improves concentration; and helps strengthen the immune system.

Mediation Exercise5213985

One special type of mediation entails watching a burning candle. Sit in a darkened room and fix your attention on the flame.

  1. Sit in a comfortable position that allows you to relax. Stare deeply and concentrate on the flame of the candle in front of you.
  2. Relax and breathe softly and slowly through you nose. Take a few moments to think about nothing. Concentrate on how you abdomen slowly rises and falls with every breath and how the air flows though you entire body. A hand on your stomach may help awareness.
  3. Allow your thoughts to wander serenely. Welcome every new thought like a good friend, but don’t dwell on it. The calming light emitted by the candle will allow you to forget everyday problems. You will feel less tension in your body and mental composure will result from this exercise.

Lotus PositionThe typical pose for mediation exercises is the lotus position, which is used in yoga. Sit on the floor and cross you right food over your left thigh and you left food over you right thigh. Your knees should touch the floor. Rest you hands on you thighs with you palms facing upward. This position requires a lot of flexibility, so novices may prefer “Indian” style, with their knees bent and feet crossed at the ankles. Whatever poison you prefer, make sure it allows you to fully relax.

Newsletter #3. Summer 2008

Ailments & Treatments: Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a chronic condition characterized by pain, stiffness, and tenderness of the muscles, tendons, and joints. Accompanying this pain is often a general depletion in overall health and wellbeing.

What Makes Fibromyalgia Distinct?

It is one of the most common diseases affecting the muscles; however the painful tissues are not a result of tissue inflammation. Therefore, despite potentially disabling body pain, people who suffer from fibromyalgia do not develop body damage or deformity, and there is no associated damage to internal body organs. This makes fibromyalgia distinct from many other rheumatic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, where the pain is primarily due to inflammation. These conditions may also lead to joint deformity and body damage.

Who does it affect?

People who are affected by fibromyalgia are primarily women, and the average age group is 35 and 55. Fibromyalgia can also affect men, children, and the elderly, but these cases are rarer. It is more common in the USA, where 2 percent of the population is affected, than in Sweden and the United Kingdom, where 1 percent of the population is affected.

What are the characteristics of the pain?

There is a large spectrum of fibromyalgia. Some people only experience mild pain and will continue their normal activities and lifestyle. Others will be in constant, excruciating pain. Disability is common. Fibromyalgia pain affects the skeletal muscles, ligaments, and tendons in the body. Pain can also be felt in FMthe bursa, the sacs that surround the joints providing nutrients and lubrication required for movement.

The pain can be widespread and experienced anywhere in the body; however there are eighteen particular tender points that are experienced by people who suffer from fibromyalgia. In order be diagnosed with the syndrome, one must have pain in at least eleven of these areas. These points are generally painful on both sides of the body.

  • On the breastbone
  • The front of the lower neck
  • About 2 cm below the elbow
  • Just above knee on the inside
  • At the base of the skull beside the spinal column
  • Where the neck and the shoulder meet
  • Just above the inner part of the shoulder blade
  • The top of the buttock
  • Hip bone

These points seem to be where tendons and muscles join together. Neck, shoulder, lower back, waist ribs, buttocks and knees are the most common areas for fibromyalgia sufferers to have pain, but the pain can certainly migrate to other parts. Fibromyalgia pain is described as a deep and persistent ache. Many people also describe stabbing, throbbing, and shooting pains in their muscles. These pains can also leave a tingling or burning feeling just under the skin. Some claim that the pains are worse in the morning when the body is stiff; others say their pain gets progressively worse throughout the day.

What are symptoms of Fibromyalgia?

The primary symptom of fibromyalgia is pain. In addition, an FM sufferer’s pain threshold is unusually low so that “normal” amounts of pain are excruciating for a person with fibromyalgia. Noise, changes in the weather, and emotional stress can all aggravate the condition. 90 percent of people with fibromyalgia experience fatigue. Abnormal sleep patterns are commonly observed in people with FM, and they don’t appear to reach the deep, most rejuvenating part of sleep. In fact, reaching that restorative level of sleep called non-rapid-eye-movement (non-REM) may be more important than the length of sleep. Consequently, FM patients often awaken in the morning without feeling rested. Some patients arise with muscle aches or muscle fatigue that feels as if they had been “working out” all night. Poor concentration, forgetfulness, mood changes, irritability, depression, and anxiety are also hallmark symptoms of fibromyalgia. Other symptoms of fibromyalgia include migraine and tension headaches, numbness or tingling of different parts of the body, irritable bowel syndrome, and irritable bladder causing painful and frequent urination.

Is there a Cure for FM?

Unfortunately, there is no absolute cure for fibromyalgia.

Western treatment:

Common treatments are geared toward improving the quality of sleep and reducing pain. Because deep sleep is so crucial to bodily functions such as tissue repair, antibody production, and regulation of neurotransmitters, hormones, and immune system regulators, the sleep problems that FMS patients suffer from is thought to be a major contributing factor.

Medicines that boost the body’s level of serotonin and norepinephrine (neurotransmitters that modulate sleep, pain, and immune system function) are commonly prescribed. While some patients respond well to these drugs, improvement varies from person to person. In addition, the medications may have side effects such as drowsiness, constipation, dry mouth, rash, headache, nervousness, tremors, dizziness, and increased appetite.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen may also be beneficial, though they should not be taken for long periods of time due to potential nephro-toxicity. Narcotic pain relievers, tranquilizers, and cortisone derivatives have been shown to be ineffective and should be avoided because of their potential side effects.

What can Chinese medicine do?

For thousands of years, Chinese medical texts have described successful treatments for illnesses similar to fibromyalgia. There are many people whose health has dramatically improved through certain treatments or combinations of treatments.

Chinese medicine views fibromyalgia as a condition resulting from general weakness of the liver, kidney, spleen and heart, caused by emotional stress, over strain, lack of adequate sleep and nutrition, and disturbed body rhythm – in other words, the body is out of “sync.”

One cause of fibromyalgia pain is described as, “Excess dampness.” Dampness is defined as a substance that moistens different systems in the body. Excess internal dampness causes pain and fatigue. Rainy weather can increase internal dampness which flares up your fibromyalgia symptoms. Excess dampness can also show up as a yeast, bacterial, or viral infection. As microorganisms and their waste products accumulate in your muscles and joints, you feel more pain and fatigue.

A Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner completes a full assessment of a patient in order to accurately determine what imbalances are present. There are a number of different patterns that we see frequently with FMS and treatment should be tailored to each patient’s pattern. Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine can help control pain, increase energy and improve sleep and other symptoms. Fibromyalgia symptoms are greatly influenced by stress, amount of activity, and environment.

What can you do?

  • Eat lightly for dinner, preferably vegetables, grains, and little protein.
  • Avoid tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, pasta, wheat bread, dairy products, red meat, alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and processed or refined foods.
  • Increase intake of barley, rye, seaweed, raw goat milk, raw honey, mushrooms
  • Take a hot bath before bedtime.
  • Practice some form of meditation before bed to relax the body and prepare for sleep.
  • Go to sleep at the same time every night, before 11 pm.

You feel much lighter and energized, as you clear out unhealthy dampness through acupuncture treatment, herbs, detoxification, and dietary changes. As your muscles and joints get cleaned of unhealthy gunk, your pain decreases too. You sleep better and feel hope for the first time in years. The real test is seeing how you react to the next rainstorm. Is your treatment helping you to pass the rainy day test?

1017603After a few weeks of treatment, some clients have much less pain and fatigue during wet weather. Some report that they can run errands without debilitating discomfort. As you eliminate excess dampness, you have much less pain and discomfort and can start resuming normal activities. From wanting to end it all to getting your life back.

You can get your hope back by implementing the right combination of dietary changes, detoxification, and treatment with a Chinese medicine practitioner.

For more information and make an appointment you may contact our office.

6070878Natural remedies: Cucumber

The cucumber, which is native to Asia, has been cultivated for many thousand years. In fact, seeds almost 12,000 years old were discovered in southwest Asia. Cucumbers were eaten in Egypt, which is documented in Bible, and valued as an easily digestive vegetable in ancient Greece and Rome. A member of the gourd, or the Cucurbitaceae, family, cucumbers are related to melons and similarly have a very high water content. The watery, freshly interior remains cool even during the warmest of temperatures – perhaps the origin of the expression “cool as a cucumber”. Because they hold large amount of water, cucumbers have diuretic and cleansing properties that are often used to treat edema and gout, assist weight reduction, cool fevers and help eliminate intestinal worms. In addition, the vegetable’s astringent and moisturizing qualities make it an effective skin care product for decreasing wrinkles, soothing sore feet and – best known of all – relieving puffy, tired eyes.

Therapeutic effect:

cucumbers are very alkaline, diuretic and cooling. They are astringent, anti-inflammatory and moisturizing, and when applied externally, they tighten skin, promote blood flow, soothe tissue and reduce swelling.


cucumbers contain high amount of water and roughage, moderate amount of potassium and magnesium and small amount of fat, protein, carbs, sodium, iron and calcium. The trace elements copper, selenium, iodine, zinc and manganese are also present. Furthermore, cucumbers contain vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, C, and K; biotin and niacin; and folic, malic, citric and pantothenic acids.

5614180For tired inflamed eyes:

Perhaps the most famous medicinal use for the cucumber I putting a cold slice on the eyes after a long day. Its anti-inflammatory and astringent properties help soothe tired, inflamed eyes. Also, a poultice of mashed cucumber placed in cheesecloth can relieve bloodshot and itchy eyes due to hayfever and other allergies.

As a diuretic:

Cucumbers have a diuretic action that helps to neutralize and excrete the uric acid buildup in joints plagued by gout. Its diuretic effect may also prevent kidney and bladder stones.

For constipation:

The enzymes contained in cucumbers support protein metabolism, which helps cleanse and detoxify the intestines. Furthermore, the high water and roughage content can help to counteract constipation. These two functions are very important for weight loss.

For insect bites:

Put mashed or sliced cucumber on bites to help reduce swelling and stinging.

For sunburn:

Wash, peel and grate 3 cucumbers. Mix them with 3 oz. of plain yogurt and 1 tsp. of vinegar; chill. Spread the paste on the sunburn, leaving it on until cooling action stops.

For skin conditioning:

This was Cleopatra skin-conditioning recipe (but she didn’t use a blender). Wash 2 unpeeled, non-waxed cucumbers, and place them in a blender. Add up to 1 pint of the whipping cream to make a smooth, thick paste. Blend in 1Tsp. of olive oil, 1 Tsp. of honey and 1 tsp. of cornstarch. Slice 1 lemon in half, and rub both halves over your face. Apply the cucumber paste, and lie down. Wash the paste off after 1 hour.

For internal cleansing:

Wash, peel, seed and puree the pulp of 1 lb. cucumbers in a blender. Blend in 1 cup buttermilk or yogurt, and flavor with the dill or lemon juice. Drink 1 cup daily.

Newsletter #2. Spring 2008

flowers_1Spring Cleansing

Prepare your body for the warm months ahead and attain better health with the help of this season’s best fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

After a dreary winter, spring has finally arrived! Nature is waking up and coming to life. The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming and the sun is shining warmer with each day. Traditionally, the spring is a time to clear clutter from our homes, scrub the house from top to bottom and open up the windows for some fresh air. As we clean our homes in the spring, so should we clean our bodies. Throughout history, humans have naturally moved away from the heavier winter diet of starch and preserved meat and shifted toward detoxifying foods in the spring to prepare their bodies for the active summer season.

According to Chinese culture, humans are microcosms of the environment, and are equally affected by the change in season. The cyclical character of energy flow creates a predominance of energy in each body system during a particular season. According to Chinese medical theory, the liver and gallbladder systems are partners, and their energy is most active in the spring. Other holistic practitioners also recognize this time of year as pertinent to liver health. Nutritionists typically target spring as ideal for a liver flush, or liver cleanse. Eating vegetables that grow in the spring are recommended by dieticians to aid in moving winter’s sludge out of the liver. No matter what angle taken, the liver is most accessible for transformation during this season. What better a time than now to detoxify?

Kichari Soup.
Carolyn Kelly eats kichari soup alone or with other foods for a simple cleanse. This dish can be refrigerated for a few days or kept in the freezer.

2 cups of mung beans, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed well.
2 tsps coriander
1 Tbsp each of cumin, turmeric, ginger, fennel and fenugreek
2 Tbsp of olive oil
1/4 cup of chopped kelp and/or dulce
1 cup of cooked white or brown riceIn a large pot over medium heat, sauté the spices with oil for approximately 3 min. to release their flavor. Add mung beans, cover with water, and let simmer over low heat for about 30 min. more (or until soft).
Removed from heat and add rice, if desired.

It is logical then, that for individuals living with liver disease, Chinese medical practitioners put extra emphasis on initiating change after the vernal equinox.

As it turns out, it may be more important to encourage detoxification now than in the past, say experts like C. Hobbs herbalist and author ofNatural Therapy for Your Liver. Now we are exposed to a heavier load of toxins from the environment, as well as from poor food choices. These toxins bog down our liver and other eliminatory organs, and as a result, some get stored in our fat cells rather than released. Signs of a sluggish liver can include headaches, chronic pain, foggy brain, skin problems, digestive upset, and irritability. Many people feel clear-headed and “lighter” once they are cleansed.

Whether our forefathers and mothers knew it, traditional spring foods stimulate the major eliminatory organs. Bitter greens and roots coax the liver to produce more bile, improve fat digestion, and remove toxins more efficiently. Greens also act as a diuretic to help flush the kidneys. While our increased activity level in spring naturally helps improve lymph circulation and expel toxins, a simple diet allows the body to devote less energy toward digestion and more toward detoxification. So turn to seasonal herbs and food for a gentle cleanse.flowers_2
In this newsletter you will find cleansing kits and complicated detox diets that claim to offer the same benefits for the body.

Detoxification programs come in many shapes, sizes, and strenghts. The diet modification and seasonal eating described here provide a gentle cleanse that is appropriate for most people. If you are underweight, sick, on medication, or have diabetes, heart disease, kidney or liver disease work with a qualified practitioner who can tailor a cleanse to your needs. Cleansing is not recommended forpregnant and nursing women.

To start, put aside three to five days this spring to honor your bode and the season. You will need to avoid the Big Five— sugar, alcohol, caffeine, wheat, and dairy—suggests E.Haas, M.D., author of Staying Healthy with the Seasons. These foods are more apt to produce metabolic toxins. Instead, focus on fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fermented foods, and healthy fats form salmon and olive and flax oils.

You can further benefit your body by embracing longer or more regular detoxification diets. Consider one day of cleansing foods, raw produce, or liquids per week or month; devote several consecutive weekends to a simpler diet and lifestyle; or eat a modified diet with cleansing foods for two to four weeks. Listen to your body to determine what is best for you.

Morning Miso.
This recipe is nice in the morning or at lunch. It has less sodium than most forms of miso and is slightly sweet.

1 cup near-boiling water
1 Tbsp white or yellow miso paste
1/2″ fresh ginger root, finely grated
2 thin lemon slices
Blend miso paste with hot water until it has mostly dissolved. Add grated ginger and lemon slices.

So here are some simple things we can do to cleanse our bodies for the spring:

  • Every morning before breakfast, drink the juice of 1/2 lemon squeezed into 8 oz. of warm water.
  • End each hot shower with 30 seconds of cold.
  • Drink at least 1 L of distilled or spring water daily. Herbal non-caffeinated tea counts.
  • Eat your veggies! Especially beets, broccoli, spinach, dandelion greens, romaine lettuce, broccoli, cabbage…
  • Eat organic.
  • Reduce animal products (meat, dairy, eggs.)
  • Ensure regular bowel movements (at least one daily) to remove toxins.
  • Get outside and move! At least 20 minutes of exercise to increase heart rate 3 times weekly. Walking at a brisk pace is a simple activity

Try to integrate the following herbs, greens, and foods as part of your cleansing regimen.

Dandelion Leaf and Root.

dandelionDiuretic and rich in minerals, including potassium, the slightly bitter greens can be eaten raw in salads, lightly steamed, or made into a tea or broth. “It is very classic in the spring to just eat dandelions—both the greens and the roots—and with good reason. The leaves are wonderful for the kidneys. Dandelion root in tea, tincture, or capsule form helps the liver to stimulate bile, the liver’s waste product, and has slight laxative and sodium–leaching diuretic effects”, explains herbalist Carolyn Kelly.

Burdock Root.

burdockThe weedy burdock root is a frequent companion to dandelion. Burdock root is earthy and slightly sweet, which complements dandelion’s bitter flavor. The two herbs have similar medicinal properties, and herbaists often blend both in teas and tinctures for a dual liver action. They use burdock to improve limph circulation and act as a blood cleanser, as well.

Garlic and onions (Allium spp).

Few human ailments do not respond to the help of a daily dose of anAllium. Garlic is the most researched. It appears to protect against the oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, improve HDL (good) cholesterol, improve peripheral circulation, and assist in fibrin breakdown. It also acts as an antimicrobal, and antiviral, and antifungal, and may inhibit tumor formation and protect several organs from damage by toxins.onions

Cooked Alliums provide some protection, but raw is better. Eat garlic, onion, and their reatives (leeks, shallots, scallions, chives, ramps, and wild garlic) in abundance. Let chopped garlic sit for 15 minutes before eating to allow its medicinal sulfur compounds to activate.

Spring greens.

These leafy herbs and vegetables are a rich source of chlorophyll, minerals, vitamins, plant antioxidants, and fiber. They also have slight diuretic effect, which gives your kidneys a boost. Bitter and springly flavored greens like dandelion, escarole, endive, young chicory leaves, and mustard greens may also increase digestive enzyme and bile production. Look for these as well as beet greens, kale, collards,greens
Swiss chard, baby spinach, and variety of lettuce. Snip in culinary herbs like parsley, cilantro, oregano, chives, thyme, sage, anise hyssop, and mint for extra flavor and antioxidants. Eat them in fresh salads or lightly steam them and serve with vinegar or lemon juice.

Miso and Fermented Foods.

Broth and soup made from miso, a fermented paste of soybeans, grains, and salt, is a staple of Asian and macrobiotic diets. As part of a cleanse, miso provides a warm, easy, sustaining source of protein, beneficial bacteria, minerals, some B vitamins, and electrolytes. Studies sugget that regular miso consumption cuts breast cancer risk and protects the body from radiation damage. Fermentation was originally used to store fresh ingredients, but studies show it may actually improve the bioavailability of nutrients in these types of food.

Lemon Liver Flush.
Both C. Kelly and C. Hobbs recommended drinking lemon liver flush first thing in the morning during cleanse. Afterwards, wait about an hour and then follow with a cup or two of polari tea (below). You can make a few days’ worth and keep it in the fridge. It will become gelatinous, but just add some hot water to liquify it before drinking.

1 lemon, rind and seeds removed
2 Tbls olive oil
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 ounce grapefruit juice (optional)
1/2″ chunk of fresh gingerBlend all of the ingredients in a food processor and enjoy this refreshing beverage.

Uncooked and unpasteurized fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchee, and other fermented vegetables like ginger, carrots, beets, and daikon contain beneficial bacteria, which improve intestinal flora. Having healthy and balanced intestinal flora aids digestion, helps with both diarrhea and constipation, and makes body less hospitable to troublesome bacteria and yeast. Use caution with foods you may be sensitive to. The fermented versions of soy, grains, and gluten (miso), kefir, and yogurt (dairy) are often better tolerated, but you may still have a reaction.

Raw Foods.

Raw produce trumps cooked when it comes to cleansing, say Hobbs. That is because heat destroys the enzymes in fresh friuts and vegetables that encourage the body’s detoxification process. Those new to cleansing may want to start by eating only raw fruits and vegetables, along with liver-boosting tea and water, for one day a month for several months. For a deeper cleanse, Hobbs recommends one day of raw foods, then one day of
fruit and vegetable juices, followed by another day of raw foods. Drink ample tea and water during cleanse to ensure you remain properly hydrated. According to Chinese medicine, raw foods and juices are cooling in nature. Reserve this type of detoxification for warm weather.shakes

In addition to viewing humans as a mirror of nature, Chinese medical theory emphasizes the interplay of physical, emotional and spiritual aspects governed by each body system. Encompassing much more than the western medical model’s understanding of organ structure and function, each body system also governs emotion, cognition and spirit.

Root Tea.
This pleasant tea combines several liver-boosting roots. Refrigerate the tea for up to three days and reheat as needed.

2 Tbsp dried burdock root
1 Tbsp dried dandelion root
1 Tbsp dried chicory root
1 Tbsp dried sassafras root (optional)
1 Tbsp fresh, grated ginger root
3 cups of waterIn a small saucepan, gently simmer all roots in the water for 15 to 20 min. Strain and serve. (You can also coarsely grind the dried roots in a coffee grinder, add the ginger, and brew in a coffee maker).

The cognitive responsibility of the liver is planning and the gallbladder oversees decision-making. When the energy in these two organ systems mounts, as it naturally does each spring, there can be two possible outcomes:

  • The desired outcome is an active outpouring of creativity, productivity and release of negative patterns.
  • The undesired outcome is energetic stagnation, or resistance to allowing this energy to flow.

irritabilityRestricted liver energy manifests as anger, frustration, depression and irritability. Liver disease occurs or worsens when this restriction is not expressed or freed. When energy remains stuck, it coagulates, which hampers optimal body functioning. In nature, this is just like a heavy storm’s debris clogging a creek’s thoroughfare, preventing water flow downstream of the obstruction. If the obstruction is not cleared, more debris will accumulate, further preventing the creek’s inclination to flow. The inability to express spring’s active energy can lead to all sorts of illnesses including migraines, cystic breasts, digestive problems and even a progression of liver disease.


Because the energy in the liver and gallbladder systems increase in the spring, people often experience an increase in stress, anger and anxiety during this season. When an outlet for this energy is found, these emotions can be transformed into creativity, opportunity and change. Springtime is ideal to convert these difficult emotions through focusing on their movement and release. Nature provides us with this perfect time of year to spring clean our emotional accumulation. Feeling these intense emotions is the healthy first step, and indicates readiness, or near-readiness for the second spring cleaning step: release.
mom_childEmotional release can be achieved in many different ways, and each person needs to find the method that works best for them. Some methods that may be useful include:


  • Engaging in physical activity
  • Receiving bodywork
  • Verbalizing emotions to a friend or professional
  • Journaling or writing about one’s feelings
  • Crying and/or laughing
  • Meditation and/or visualization
  • Using creativity as an emotional outlet

Polari Tea.
Christopher Hobbs recommends this tea as a follow up to the lemon liver flush. You can also drink it throughout your cleanse. It can be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days.

1Tbsp fennel
1Tbsp whole flax seeds
1 Tbsp burdock root
1 tsp fenugreek
1 tsp licorice
1 Tbsp peppermint
1 quart of waterGently simmer all of the herbs, except peppermint, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, add peppermint, and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain and serve.

Regardless of the method used, finding the path to emotional release keeps the body, mind and spirit healthy. The natural instinct to spring clean our homes and environment answers our yearning to clear away the cobwebs (stagnation) left over from winter. When spring cleaning is applied to emotional health, our ability to plan and make decisions blossoms and we experience renewed optimism, creativity, hope and transformation.

From the Chinese perspective, the free flow of liver and gallbladder energy is the number one disease preventative, and the best way to guarantee health and happiness. Take advantage of spring’s manifestation in your body, and for liver’s sake, decide to do some emotional spring cleaning.