June 20, 2020
Flower Essences: Gentle Messages for the Heart Ruler
Today is the Summer Solstice, the longest and brightest day of the year. Summer is the
season of Sun and Light, and the Heart. In Chinese Medicine, the Heart is the Ruler that sits on our inner
throne and ensures harmony in our world. Just as in ancient China, when it was rare to actually glimpse
the revered Emperor, our own Heart Ruler is a behind the scenes presence that rules not through force,
but gently, effortlessly, through the quality we refer to as Wu-Wei. Thus, we approach the Heart Ruler
gently and reverently. For this reason, the Heart channel and Heart Back Shu points were classically
forbidden to needle. The approach is too direct. Approaching …
May 7, 2020
Burdock root is a beautiful spring food that is both nutritive and detoxifying. In TCM, we use Burdock seeds, Niu Bang Zi, to vent early stage cold and flu from the body and treat sore throats. The root, able to penetrate more deeply into the body, cleans the blood and vents out deeper held toxins and impurities.
In springtime, the bodies’ energy is moving up and out from the deep yin storage time of winter. Just like plants, our energy is now moving upwards and outwards to create new growth. When this happens, we can see pathogenic energy that was hidden in winter come to the surface along with it. This could look like a replay of old illnesses, old emotions, or old fears and thoughts….
August 6, 2019
Now that we’re in the height of summer, many of us are looking for ways to stay cool and beat the heat. One classic summer food that can help us do just that is watermelon. Everyone knows how sweet and refreshing a juicy slice of watermelon on a hot day can be, it’s a summertime ritual for many of us.
In Chinese Medicine, watermelon is used medicinally to help cool and clear summer heat. It nourishes fluids and helps promote urination, making it an excellent medicine for clearing heat from the body. It also has a sweet calming nature for the spirit.
Here’s a cooling summer recipe for a Watermelon Salad:
1 small watermelon, sliced into cubes and seeds removed
½-1 cup jicama, sliced
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
July 9, 2019
We all think hydration is simple, right? Just drink plenty of water. But staying well hydrated also means our bodies need to actually ABSORB all the water we’re drinking. Imagine a dry, cracked piece of earth in the desert. When it rains, that earth is so parched and hard that it cannot absorb any water. It all runs off the surface.
Our bodies are the same. If we don’t “prepare our soil” properly, all the water we drink just runs right through, and our tissues are still parched and dry. In TCM, we use yin tonics- herbs that are moistening and demulcent, in order to help moisten the body on a deep level and help it to “hold” the water. On a cellular level, yin tonics …
June 13, 2019
With Spring in full bloom, one of our most prized medicinal plants is now in the height of its season- Pu Gong Ying, or Dandelion. Cursed by North American lawn growers, but celebrated by herbalists all over the planet, Dandelion greens are a highly nutritious and tasty food.
They are rich in minerals and Vitamin A. Many of us in North America often shy away from bitter, nutritive foods such as Dandelion. Our palate is so out of balance with sweet and salty, we have lost our taste for other flavors such as sour and bitter. However, the bitter greens of Spring are an important way to attune ourselves to the season and get the Liver and Gall Bladder moving after the stillness of winter. Check …
June 12, 2019
With Summer, the season of Fire upon us, we only need to step out our doors to see the reminder everywhere: Summer is the season of Flowering. We see this in the beauty of our gardens and the bright wildflowers that are still so alive in our local hills. The Nei Jing tells us that the movement of Summer is growth and flowering. Of all the parts of a plant, flowers pertain most to the Fire element. They are light and yang in nature, they lift and brighten our spirits and bring us joy. Flowers in TCM are mostly used to affect the upper parts of the body, where the shen (spirit) resides. Their fragrance is opening and moving.
Many of our local flowers can …
August 7, 2018
Purple Perilla (Shiso) Leaf (Zi Su Ye or Zi Su Zi), in the AIMC Student Garden
As acupuncturists and herbalists in training, the students of AIMC learn hundreds of herbs, sometimes up to 20 new herbs per week. This is a huge task for anyone! And though we often have the opportunity to touch and smell the dried herbs in our classes, it is so much more fresh and immediate to witness their growth. It is wonderful that while located in a dense urban environment, AIMC has a small Chinese herb garden right outside our door.
Some may wonder, what is the purpose of growing Chinese herbs outside of Asia?
This medicine after all, was developed over 1,000’s of years in China and surrounding countries. …
February 13, 2017
This a recipe made by Sarah Donnelly for our AIMC Berkeley Intro to Herbs class, where students create and share a medicinal recipe. These delicious chocolates treat wind-cold disorders and are also act as a tonic and detox. Enjoy!
Medicinal Ingredients and function in the body:
Ginger – Warming to the Lungs, Spleen and Stomach; releases exterior; indicated for coughing, wheezing, nausea.
Chocolate – Bitter – Anti inflammatory; dries dampness and phlegm
Lemon & Honey – Muscle/pain reliever
Honey – Tonifies
Gelatin – Eases joint pain
Candied Ginger Topper:
Slice ginger thinly, cover with 2C of water. Boil 10 minutes or until ginger has softened. Drain, and return 1/4C water to the cooked ginger, stirring …