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Category: Wellness Articles

December 5, 2023

Chinese Patent Medicine and Over-the-Counter Herbalism

Building Your Herbal Confidence Over Layers of Generational Practice

The phrase “Chinese patent medicine” extends to describe herbal recipes generally composed into pill or tablet form for wider accessibility and streamlined dosing when compared to more traditional raw herb decoctions. Their preparation into prepackaged prescriptions descends from formulations in ancient texts, such as the Shang Han Lun and the Jin Gui Yao Lue, time tested by generations for over 2,000 years. This historical context establishes not only the ingredient herbs, but the preparation required for single herbs before they are mended together, and the harmonizing proportions necessary to bring out the intended effects of the entire composition.

Tea pills are made starting with ground herbs mixed into a paste with a binder – water, honey, or a liquid herbal extract – then rolled or …

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October 30, 2023

Ghost Points Origins

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Point Prescriptions to Illuminate our Spooky Season

In the Northern Hemisphere, October marks the settling in of our Autumn season, and as our environment shifts – the days getting darker and nights longer – we’re also issued a shift to our daily rhythms. Across lineages and cultures people have ways of recognizing the movement into Fall times, and whether that’s through celebration of the harvest yields, a gratitude towards light’s presence despite darkness, or leaning into the “thinned veils” between the world of the living and the world of the ancestors, there is an importance around holding this turning point.

In this space, I’ll hold the responsibility by honoring and uplifting the “Ghost Points” of Chinese Medicine. Spooky in name, but largely exorcized in practice, the Ghost Points are a group …

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July 10, 2023

Plastic-Free July at AIMC Berkeley

Head to our beaches this summer and you face a stark reminder of today’s plastics crisis as you squish through the sand, increasingly composed of microplastic. As the fossil fuel industry faces growing public pressure, it is turning toward using petroleum to produce ever-more plastic instead of fuel.

Plastic and Your Health

From a Chinese medicine perspective, the jing (deep energy reserve) of the planet is being tapped and either burned, creating either excess heat/yang and warming the atmosphere, or made into plastic and chemical compounds, which can be seen as pathological yin or phlegm. Chinese medical wisdom teaches that “phlegm is the mother of a hundred diseases.”

A growing body of research links chemicals produced in …

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July 8, 2023

Staying cool with TCM-inspired foods and movement this summer

According to EAM, there are many ways you can care for your body during summer by balancing and supporting the fire element.

Summer sunshine, warmth, and longer days are finally here! In East Asian Medicine (EAM), summer is associated with the fire element, which makes sense given the warmer temperatures, longer time that the sun is out, and our overall warmer feelings in our body. Summer is also the most Yang time of the year, meaning it is the time that is most bright, active, warm (compared to winter, which is the most Yin time of year, meaning it is dark, slower, cooler). With all of this in mind, it is especially important to be taking care of our bodies in a way that keeps the fire in balance, not too much, or not too little. According to EAM, there are many ways you can care for …

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July 14, 2022

Student Spotlight: Summer Self-Care with Sarah Siegel

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Summer is in full swing, with warm and sunny weather, outdoor events, and lots of opportunities to be outside connecting with friends, family, and community. In the Bay Area, we are so lucky to have such beautiful weather, especially during summer, that you can’t help but smile! When we think about summer, our AIMC community and students think about Five Element Theory, and how summer is represented by fire.

We were lucky enough to connect with one of our current students, Sarah Siegel, whose work with her “With the Seasons” Instagram explores the art of seasonal living, narrative medicine, and inspiring people to connect with the Five Elements. Seasonal living for our health is rooted in indigenous values and East Asian medicine wisdom. Seasonal …

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June 27, 2022

The Kitchen Herbalist: Summer Solstice Sun Tea

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Tea made by the power of the sun to nourish, cool, and relax us in the summer heat.

What is Sun tea?

Sun tea is tea that has been made using the power of the sun. Instead of steeping herbs in hot water, you put the herbs & water in a vessel under the sun to infuse. Any combination of tea-appropriate plants can be used in sun tea, either fresh or dried. The most important thing is to place the herbs in a safe, clear container in direct sunlight for at least an hour. In choosing your container, we suggest using glass, as plastic containers can leech chemicals into the tea.

Making the perfect sun tea is more of an art than a science; no precise ratios of herbs to water are needed. To get more flavor, you can start the brew with a high …

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June 23, 2022

Acupuncture & Herbal Medicine for Scar Healing from Gender Affirming Surgery

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As we see an increase in the number of these surgeries occurring, we want to ensure that patients have access to the best possible care and resources for their recovery.

In honor of Pride Month, we at AIMC have been reflecting on ways that acupuncture and East Asian Medicine (EAM) can support our LGBTQ+ community, particularly with medical challenges that are specific to their identities and experiences.

Today we’re highlighting some ways that acupuncture, EAM, and herbal medicine can support gender-affirming surgeries and post-operative healing. There is increasing demand for gender-affirming surgeries each year, and surgeries have become more accessible thanks to professional associations, healthcare providers, and advocacy groups. These gender-affirming surgeries support transgender and gender expansive folks’ ability to feel that their bodies represent their true identities, and significantly reduces mental health challenges and psychological distress. According to a recent study published in JAMA Surgery, there was “42% reduction in the odds of …

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June 13, 2022

The Kitchen Herbalist: Food to Beat the Summer Heat

Chinese medicine offers some dietary advice that can help us keep cool and prevent heat illness, protect the Heart and support the spirit.

While we anticipate this to be the hottest summer on record due to the planet’s imbalanced climate, Chinese medicine offers some dietary advice that can help us keep cool and prevent heat illness, protect the Heart and support the Shen or spirit. It’s intuitive to many Americans to reach for iced drinks when the temperature climbs, but it turns out that this can make the body overheat as your system struggles to warm up the fluid to body temperature. Instead, choose room temperature water, perhaps with a squeeze of citrus juice or a few cucumber slices added, as well as cooling teas such as peppermint, chrysanthemum, nettle and hibiscus.

Enjoy a trip to the seasonally abundant farmers’ market to seek out cooling …

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April 11, 2022

Sports Acupuncture with Dr. Jenny Nieters, DACM, LAc.

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How does the Acupuncturist for the San Francisco 49ers maximize athletic performance for her patients?

In a recent continuing education course, AIMC Berkeley hosted Dr. Jenny Nieters, DACM, LAc., for a day of Grand Rounds. In addition to her private clinic in Alameda, CA, she is the team acupuncturist for the San Francisco 49ers Football Team and the Saint Mary’s College Men’s Rugby Team. She has built a career treating world-class athletes, including Olympians, NBA, MLB, MLR, NFL, and amateur athletes including runners, cross fitters, triathletes and swimmers, supporting injury recovery and athletic performance.

Acupuncture for Sports Performance

Many people know Acupuncture can be used effectively to treat chronic and acute pain, but did you know it can also enhance sports performance more broadly? During our day of observation of Dr. Nieter’s treatments, we watched Dr. Nieters …

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January 28, 2022

The Year of the Black Water Tiger

Lunar New Year is February 1st. Find out what this year has in store by learning about the Astrological tidings!

Did you know that one branch of East Asian Medicine is the ancient art of Astrology? It’s a complex tradition rich with mythology and metaphor. We’re lucky to rely on experts who can carry the torch of interpreting the astrological tidings for us, as it’s not something we’re able to cover in the rigorous medical canon of modern East Asian Medicine school.

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