Lifestyle and Diet for a Cold or Flu: An Asian Medicine View, Part 1

Lifestyle and Diet for a Cold or Flu: An Asian Medicine View, Part 1

In preventing a cold or flu an important place to begin is to make sure to wear the appropriate clothing for your environment.  It is important to have clothing layers on hand if your live in an environment where the temperature fluctuates often.  There is a higher likelihood of catching a cold on a windy day, especially when there is a combination of wind, cold, and/or damp weather.  A simple solution is to wear scarves to protect you against wind.  It is also important to sleep enough, in particular when feeling vulnerable, or if prone to sickness.  Be sure to close all windows at night before sleeping to prevent dampness from entering your house and body.  It is essential to manage stress and not push yourself if already feeling vulnerable to catching a cold or a flu.

Treat any cold/ flu thoroughly, so that it does not repeat.  This means stay home and rest until your sickness is completely gone.  It is helpful to drink warm tea and/or take a warm bath.  It is important to consume appropriate foods and herbal remedies that will help to speed up your recovery time.  If preventative measures are taken at the onset of an illness, the sickness can be prevented from becoming full blown.  If prone to re-occurring colds/flu taking preventative measures can assist in stopping the cycle of reoccurrence.  Acupuncture and/or herbal medicine taken 1-2 months and/or 1 season ahead of time can prevent reoccurring colds/flu.  In addition, acupuncture and herbal medicine can be utilized in all phases of a cold or flu to speed up the healing process.  It is best to seek the help of a practitioner when a sickness is full blown, so as to receive the most appropriate treatment for a speedy recovery.

…To be continued in Part 2:

written by:

Yasmin Spencer, LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM

1460 G Street, Arcata, CA 95521

(707)822-7400

Bibliography

  • Haas, Elson M.,  “Staying Healthy with the Seasons,” Celestial Arts (Pub), 2003
  • Five Branches University education
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Lifestyle and Diet for a Cold or Flu: An Asian Medicine View, Part 2

Lifestyle and Diet for a Cold or Flu: An Asian Medicine View, Part 2

…Continuation of Part 1:

Consuming an appropriate diet is essential in quickly resolving an illness.  It is beneficial to sweat out a sickness, especially during its initial onset.  It is also beneficial to strengthen the bodies Qi (energy) as a sickness preventative.  It is important to avoid dairy, wheat and sugar, as well as cold/ raw/ and/or frozen foods.  If exposed to wind, rain, and/or cold: consume hot spicy soup to help sweat out the potential sickness (this can also can be done during the initial onset of a cold).  Another technique that can get rid of sickness right away is to drink a lot of warm to hot temperature water and then to go to sleep early during the initial onset.

Chicken soup is a European folk remedy for colds and flu.  The Chinese medicine perspective on why chicken soup is so effective is as follows: the hot soup helps to sweat out sickness, onions or garlic can be added to helps clear sickness from the lungs, and the chicken strengthens bodies qi, aka. builds the bodies strength to fight against the sickness.

Garlic oil stimulates the immune system and is considered an herbal antibiotic.  It also has antibacterial and antifungal properties.  Garlic can be used for prevention, as well as for an acute cold.  A garlic oil can be added to an already cooked meal.  In order to preserve its healing properties, it is important to not cook the garlic oil.  Consuming the garlic in the form of oil helps it to have medicinal strength without being too hot for the digestive system.  Rosemary, oregano, and/or thyme can be added to the garlic oil to strengthen its healing properties & to enhance its flavor.  To make a garlic oil: chop garlic fine, fill a jar with the garlic (and rosemary, thyme, or oregano if you wish) 1/2-3/4 full, cover the garlic with olive oil by 1-2 inches and leave room at the top of the jar.  Let the garlic sit in the sun (a window sill also work fine) for 5-7 days.  Shake the jar daily.  It is normal for it to bubble.  Then strain out the garlic and throw it away.  The oil (uncooked) can be added to your meals daily!  The healing properties of the garlic are then infused into the oil.

The following are some foods that are preventative, or for a weak person who has a cold, or flu:  Conjee, which is a rice soup, strengthens the body against sickness, post sickness, and supports a weak person who has a cold/ flu.  Root vegetables strengthen a weak person whether they are sick or not.  White foods (such as baked pears, onions, garlic, etc) strengthen the lungs.  Warm moist foods strengthens the digestive fire, aka. strengthens the immunity.  A cold bodied person can benefit from taking a bath in and/ or drinking ginger tea as a preventative measure.

**note:  Immune stimulants, such as garlic and ginger, should be taken in moderation or avoided by individuals with autoimmune disorders.

written by:

Yasmin Spencer, LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM

1460 G Street, Arcata, CA 95521

(707)822-7400

Bibliography

  • Haas, Elson M.,  “Staying Healthy with the Seasons,” Celestial Arts (Pub), 2003
  • Five Branches University education

St. John’s Wort- Herb/Drug Interaction, Part 1

St. John’s Wort- Herb/Drug Interaction, Part 1

Although St. John’s Wort is not a Chinese herbal medicine, it is an important Western herbal medicine to be educated about.  This herb is of particular importance due to its popularity and because it is easily purchased over the counter in health food and herb stores throughout the US.  St. John’s Wort is used for mild depression.  Since it has been shown to be effective herbal prescription, it is very popular.  St. John’s Wort is often self-medicated, without first seeking the advice of a health care practitioner.

            St. John’s Wort usually takes about 1 month before it has a therapeutic effect St. John's Wortfor the individual.  Although St. John’s Wort is for mild depression and has slow onset, the power of its biochemical constituents should not be underestimated when used in combination with Western medication!  As written in a journal by the American Academy of Family Physicians in 2008, “St. John’s Wort is the supplement that has the most documented interactions with drugs.” According to an NIH article, from Department of Experimental Pharmacology, in 2009: “Hyperforin, which is believed to contribute to the antidepressant action of St John’s wort, is also strongly suspected to be responsible for most of the described interactions.”

 

…To Be Continued in Part 2

 

Written by,

Yasmin Spencer, LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM

1460 G Street, Arcata, CA 95521

(707)822-7400

 

Bibliography

  • Paula Gardiner, MD, MPH, Russel Phillips, MD, Allen F. Shaughnessy, PharmD, January 1, 2008. American Academy of Family Physicians.  “Herbal and Dietary Supplement-Drug Interactions in Patients with Chronic Illness.”  Retrieved from:  http://www.aafp.org/afp/2008/0101/p73.html
  • Borrelli F, Izzo AA.  December 11, 2009.  National Institute of Health- Department of Experimental Pharmacology, University of Naples Federico II.  “Herb-drug interactions with St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): an update on clinical observations.”  Retrieved from:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19859815

St. John’s Wort- Herb/Drug Interactions, Part 2

St. John’s Wort- Herb/Drug Interactions, Part 2

 

…Continuation from Part 1

 

            I highly recommend St. John’s Wort for patients with mild depression whom wish to utilize Western herbal medicine alone.  However useful this herb is on it own, it is not to be used in combination with Western pharmaceutical medication without first consulting with the individual’s doctor.  In addition, if it is approved for use alongside with Western medicine, it should still be monitored carefully.  St. John’s Wort should never be used at the same time as an SSRI’s, specifically because the combination can potentially cause Seratonin Syndrome.  According to the American Family Physicians, in an article written April 1, 2005, “Serotonin syndrome is caused by a systemic excess of serotonin and is defined when at least three of the following signs and symptoms are present: mental status changes, diaphoresis, myoclonus, hyperreflexia, diarrhea, fever, tremor, in-coordination, seizures, tachycardia, and QT interval prolongation.”

Due to the large amount of research done about Seratonin Syndrome, this contraindication is well known.  However there has been additional research that indicates that St. John’s Wort also has herb/drug interactions with other medications as well.  According to an article published in the University of Maryland, St John’s Wort should not be taken with the following medications, without first discussing it with your doctor, “Antidepressants- tricyclic antidepressants, SSRIs, and MAOIs, Antihistamines, Dextromethorphan, Digoxin, Drugs that suppress the immune system, Drugs to fight HIV, Birth control pills, Reserpine, Sedatives, Theophylline, Triptans, Warfarin.”  In addition, the article goes on to state, “Because St. John’s Wort is broken down by certain liver enzymes, it may interact with other drugs that are broken down by the same enzymes. Those drugs may include: Antifungal drugs…, Some calcium channel blockers (taken to lower blood pressure), Statins (drugs taken to lower cholesterol).”

In conclusion, St. John’s Wort is an important herb to be aware of, so as to guard against potential drug-herb interactions.  St. John’s Wort should be used with caution, if used at all, with Western herbal medicines.  In addition, it would be best to also use it carefully, if at all, in combination with Chinese herbal medicines.  A person should be monitored carefully when taking both St. John’s Wort and Chinese Herbal Medicines simultaneously.

Written by,

Yasmin Spencer, LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM

1460 G Street, Arcata, CA 95521

(707)822-7400

 

 

Bibliography

  • Paula Gardiner, MD, MPH, Russel Phillips, MD, Allen F. Shaughnessy, PharmD, January 1, 2008. American Academy of Family Physicians.  “Herbal and Dietary Supplement-Drug Interactions in Patients with Chronic Illness.”  Retrieved from:  http://www.aafp.org/afp/2008/0101/p73.html
  • Borrelli F, Izzo AA.  December 11, 2009.  National Institute of Health- Department of Experimental Pharmacology, University of Naples Federico II.  “Herb-drug interactions with St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): an update on clinical observations.”  Retrieved from:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19859815

An Overview of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Part 1

An Overview of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Part 1

We have all taken medicine for a headache, insomnia, or a stomachache that only offered temporary relief.  The reason that the relief was temporary is because the root (or underlying cause) of the illness was not treated.  Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnoses and treats the root of an individual’s ailment through pattern diagnosis.  Today, I will inform you about the methods used by a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the pattern diagnostic utilized, and about how TCM prevents and treats illness.

In TCM, the individual is treated, not the disease.  An underlying principle of Chinese medicine is that the body knows how to heal itself.  The practitioner works to remove obstructions to health, support deficiencies, clear/drain excesses, etc.  A person’s body will resolve the ailment once the practitioner is able to balance the pattern they demonstrate.

The methods used in TCM are Acupuncture, Herbal remedies, Tui-na (an invigorating Chinese style of body work, also used as a treatment modality for young children), cupping, Gwa Sha (which is a scraping technique used on the skin to pulls out toxins from the body- the marking that is made on the skin is called the “sha”), and Moxibustion (which is a compressed plant that is burned close to the skin and has a deeply warming effect on the body).  All of these approaches utilize pattern diagnosis to treat the meridians (or energy pathways) and the organ systems of the body.  Treatments are very safe and effective.  A Chinese Medicine Classic, the Spiritual Pivot, states in chapter 17, “It is by virtue of the twelve channels that human life exists, that disease arises, that human beings can be treated and illness is cured.”

…To be continued in Part 2:

 

Written by:

Yasmin Spencer, LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM

1460 G Street, Arcata, CA 95521

(707)822-7400

 

Bibliography

 

  • “Acupuncture, a Comprehensive Text,”  The Shanghai College of Traditional Medicine, translated and editied by John O’Connor and Dan Bensky.
  • Giovanni Maciocia, “The Foundations of Chinese Medicine” pg. 127
  • Spiritual Pivot, Chapter 17, by Wu Nian Jian
  • Five Branches University education  (MTCM)

An Overview of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Part 2

An Overview of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Part 2

…Continuation of Part 1:

Traditional Chinese Medicine is able to treat the root (or source) of an illness because it utilizes pattern diagnosis. Pattern Diagnosis consists of tongue and pulse diagnosis, listening to the patient’s symptoms, and looking at the patient’s color and movement.  According to Giovanni Maciocia in The Foundations of Chinese Medicine, pg. 127 “…the nature of the pattern is often related to its specific cause of disease.”  The pattern that is looked for involves a combination of signs and symptoms that have a foundation in yin and yang theory.  These patterns indicate that the body is hot or cold, deficient or excess, whether the illness is internal or external, etc.  The pulse indicates the state of the organ systems, meridians, blood, qi (energy), yin (fluids of the body), and yang (body circulation and warmth).  Looking at the patients tongue is like looking at a mirror of the patients body system and can indicate to the practitioner if certain channels and/or organ systems are hot or cold, deficient or excess, and more.

Chinese medicine is able to prevent illness before it occurs and to effectively treat an already existing illness.  These treatments harmonize all parts of the person.  The diagnostic methods utilized allow a practitioner to recognize a pattern of illness before it manifests symptoms for the patient. Because each person’s body is unique, a single western medicine diagnosis can have several different TCM diagnoses.

Yin and Yang are emblems of the fundamental duality in the universe, a duality which is ultimately unified,”  as stated in Acupuncture, a Comprehensive Text from the Shanghai College of Traditional Medicine.

 

Written by,

Yasmin Spencer, LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM

1460 G Street, Arcata, CA 95521

(707)822-7400

 

Bibliography

 

  • “Acupuncture, a Comprehensive Text,”  The Shanghai College of Traditional Medicine, translated and editied by John O’Connor and Dan Bensky.
  • Giovanni Maciocia, “The Foundations of Chinese Medicine” pg. 127
  • Spiritual Pivot, Chapter 17, by Wu Nian Jian
  • Five Branches University education  (MTCM)

Support for Living a Healthy and Fulfilled Life with Asian Medicine, Part 1

Support for Living a Healthy and Fulfilled Life with

Asian Medicine, Part 1

“The oneness of all life is a truth that can be fully realized only when false notions of a separate self, whose destiny can be considered apart from the whole, are forever annihilated,” are the words of LiJunfeng, Sheng Zhen Wuji Yuan Gong in “A Return to Oneness.”   Please support your family and friends by informing them about the benefits acupuncture and herbal medicine.  We are all connected with people who have ongoing health issues that inhibit them from living a full life.  Today I will offer a perspective as to why the health of our body, mind, heart, and emotions is a key aspect of living a whole and fulfilled life.  I will then talk about why Asian medicine is an alternative and a support to Western medicine.

The health of an individual’s body, mind, heart, and emotions is an essential aspect of living a whole and fulfilled life.  Anyone who has ever experienced a chronic illness (physical, mental or emotional), or been in chronic pain can tell you how difficult it can be to enjoy their life, their relationships, and their family.

An individual is unable to fulfill their aspirations in life if they are decapitated by illness.  This can intensify the ailment for the individual, because as said by Hicks, Hicks, and Mole in the text “Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture” in 2004, “…the Chinese consider it detrimental to people’s health not to achieve their potential as human beings.”  The happiness of the individual is an aspect of the peace and unification of our families and communities.

…To be continued in Part 2.

 

Written by:

Yasmin Spencer, LAc, DAOM, Dipl. OM

1460 G Street, Arcata, CA 95521

(707)822-7400

 

 

Bibliography

 

  • NIH: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9809733, 1998
  • LiJunfeng, Sheng Zhen Wuji Yuan Gong, “A Return to Oneness.” Manila, Philipinese: International Sheng Zhen Society, 1996
  • Chen EM, “Tao te Ching”. New York: Paragon House. 1989
  • Hicks, Hicks, and Mole, “Five Element Constitutional Acupuncture,” Churchill Livingston, 2004
  • Lu, H, “A complete tranlation of the Yellow Emperor’s classic of internal medicine (Su Wen)”. Vancouver: Academy of Oriental Heritage. 1972