Category Archives: Herbal Medicine

Clinic Updates and Self Help

Well, we’ve made it through the first week of “Social Distancing” and sadly my first week of the clinic being closed. I really miss you all! Unfortunately, this is going to be around for a bit longer, so I’m closing again this coming week and expect to be closed at least until April.

I am available for phone calls and can provide herbal formulas to you by mail. Herbal formulas can be used for virus prevention, digestive problems, anxiety, or even if you do get sick and are isolated at home (most doctors and hospitals are sending people home unless they are having significant breathing issues). I’ve updated my website so you can schedule an herbal consultation if you are interested.

This last week has been surreal, but my thinking is that this is a great time to do some self healing. There are so many things we can be doing right now to help our bodies get stronger so that we can fight whatever comes our way. Here are my suggestions:

MOVE!

While we are stuck at home, there’s a tendency to binge watch TV and Movies, or be on Facebook or Twitter, which usually means we are sitting around like couch potatoes. You don’t need to go out and run a marathon, but some gentle stretching can go a long way towards easing pain, loosening tight muscles and generally keeping your body and mind in a good place. It’s also a good idea to sweat a little to allow your body to push out pathogens and body toxins. You don’t need to work hard to break a sweat – a brisk walk will do it especially now that the weather is warmer (just beware of the pollen right now – see below).

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Clinic Updates Regarding COVID-19

Well, we couldn’t avoid it for long and now COVID-19 is here, right in our county. We have our first presumed case at Fayette Piedmont. Let’s not panic, but we can expect it to get worse before it gets better. There are many things we can do to protect ourselves, and we all need to be vigilant about it. Here’s what I’m doing at the clinic, and I’m asking for your cooperation so that we can all stay safe and well.

  1. Firstly, if you have a fever, dry cough, fatigue and respiratory symptoms, contact your medical doctor, urgent care clinic or Emergency Room right away to seek testing and treatment. I am not equipped to test or provide comprehensive treatment for COVID-19.
  2. If you feel ill, even if it’s just a tickle in your throat, or a low grade fever, PLEASE DO NOT come into the clinic until we speak. I welcome your phone call, text or email to ask whether or not you should come in, and am happy to ship herbal formulas to your home should you need them.
  3. Please use the hand sanitizer on the table when you enter the clinic I encourage you to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer when you leave the clinic as well.
  4. I’ll be taking extra precautions to wipe down door knobs, bathroom fixtures, surfaces and treatment tables frequently. And just so you know, table linens are changed and I wash, wash, and rewash my hands between patients.
  5. I’ll be using moxa on most everyone. If you aren’t familiar, it’s an herb that is burned that has properties that clear viruses and bacteria. It is also used to boost the immune system. Not only does it help you, but it also clears the air. Even though the clinic may smell a little smokey, the smoke has been shown to be beneficial. I use a smoke cleaning air filter, but the smell does tend to linger.
  6. During this pandemic, we are asked to limit activities and contact with others. Fortunately, with a small clinic, I rarely have more than one person in the waiting room at any one time, so there is minimal contact with others. However, if you are uncomfortable coming in at any time, please give me as much notice as you can and I’ll reschedule your appointment for another time.

The Role of Chinese Medicine in this Pandemic

Back in February, the Chinese government declared that Traditional Chinese (herbal) Medicine should be used in conjunction with western interventions in the treatment of COVID-19. Through my contacts here and in China, I’ve been getting reports about those efforts and am relieved to report that the patients who are getting incorporated TCM treatments are recovering, even from the most dire circumstances.

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Virus Alert! How to Protect Yourself This Flu Season

With all of the scare about the coronavirus, you may be asking yourself what you can do to keep from catching it or any other flu-like virus this year. Chinese medicine is being used along side western medicine in China to combat it, and I’ve been keeping up to date on the formulas being used.  Rest assured, I have both preventative formulas and formulas to treat these viruses in stock.  Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself.

Let’s talk about prevention first as that’s the easiest way to keep from getting sick.

  1. Wash your hands frequently. This is by far the best way to prevent the spread of sickness. You need to wash your handswash with warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds. That’s the amount of time it takes to sing the Happy Birthday song twice, or Twinkle, twinkle little star.
  2. Clean your environment regularly – We know that most respiratory viruses are spread by droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs. The virus can live on surfaces for a period of hours to days. Door knobs, sink and toilet handles, kids toys, etc. are all breeding grounds that need to be disinfected, especially if someone in your home is or has been sick. I also burn moxa or sage to help fumigate a sick room (also great for an immune system boost).
  3. Keep your hands away from your face. For some of us this is hard. A simple itch of the nose and the hand goes up instinctively. But this is exactly how germs get into your body. Eyes, nose, mouth and ears are all places where viruses can enter.
  4. When traveling via plane or public transportation, wipe down surfaces with anti-bacterial wipes. Arm rests, seat back tray tables and the video screen – anything you might touch are all candidates for disinfecting. You may even want to take a mask in case your seat mate is coughing or sneezing. You may want to wipe down your hotel room when you arrive as well.
  5. Stay away. It goes without saying that you’ll be better off if you stay away from sick people. But sometimes that’s difficult when you have a sick child or relative who requires your care. Double up on all of the precautions above, keep that person in a designated sick room, and keep everyone else away. If there’s lots of sneezing and coughing, consider wearing a mask. And by all means if you are the one who is sick, stay away from others. They will appreciate that you aren’t sharing the bug with them.
  6. Stay warm. The weather can be really fickle this time of year.  One day it’s cold and rainy, and then the next day is 70 degrees.  Make sure to dress appropriately especially on cold, windy days.  In Chinese Medicine we say that all pathogens come on the wind, so protect your head and neck and keep warm by wearing a scarf or hoodie.

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Are You Really Ready for the Holidays?

Many people look forward to the holiday season and the start of a new year. It often provides an opportunity to spend quality time with family, take a few days off from work, or go on a winter vacation. But if the thought of holiday season gives you visions of stress and chaos, you are not alone.  While the holiday season can be a fun and joyous time, it can also be very stressful. The combined effort of shopping, attending social events, and entertaining guests can quickly become too much to handle.

The body’s reaction to stress is meant to protect us. Our natural reactions to danger or challenge can be positive, but when we feel intense pressure or feel out of control these reactions become negative stress. The “fight or flight” response from the sympathetic nervous system occurs as we react to physical and mental changes in our equilibrium. In Chinese medicine, excessive emotional stimulation or suppression causes imbalance, thereby injuring the body and producing disease. And if you read last month’s newsletter, you know that stress is one of the things that will lower your immune system.

Here are several ways to minimize stress and anxiety so you can thoroughly enjoy this festive time of year and stay well at the same time.

Nix the Sugar

Some call this the “sugar season” which officially begins the day after Halloween and goes through New Years with many occasions to indulge in desserts, festive beverages and the like. If you want to reduce stress, sugar is one of the first things to cut out of your diet. When you’re stressed, your body releases more cortisol, a hormone responsible for helping us manage both stress and blood sugar levels. That’s because when you eat sugary foods, blood sugar levels spike, and the body must release more cortisol to balance blood sugar. The problem is that increased cortisol can also cause sleep issues, decreased immune response, headaches, and unhealthy food cravings. Additionally, rapidly fluctuating blood sugar levels cause feelings that are similar to stress, including anxiousness and fear.  By eliminating foods with added sugars—like pastries, flavored yogurt, and soda—and eating more whole foods, you’ll keep your blood sugar stable, boost your immune system and will have fewer mood swings, reduced stress, and a happier body Continue reading

How to Stay Well this Fall

Even though it’s still hot as Hades outside, we are fast approaching the change of the seasons – summer into fall –  one of most susceptible times of the year for catching colds and flu.  The weather should be cooling soon (fingers crossed!), school has started, and activities pick up so most likely there’s more stress.  And since it’s still so hot, you may be tempted to continue to dress lightly and eat cooling foods.   Kids are bringing colds or flu home from school so it spreads through the family and co-workers sharing it at the office.   It’s no wonder many of us are sick during this time of year.

Autumn is the season associated with the Lung and its partner, the Large Intestine. If you tend to catch colds or have allergies in the Fall, it’s important to take care of these organs! Together the lung and large intestines are related to immunity through the strength of the protective external layer of our skin. Generally, outside pathogens most easily enter through the respiratory and digestive systems, and the lung and colon are responsible for maintaining the function of these systems so that they are not penetrated by outside pathogens. According to Chinese medicine, the body’s defensive energy is directly dependent on the strength of the lung and colon.

So how do you stay well through this vulnerable time? How do you prevent catching a cold or flu and keep your family will, too? The good news – there are many alternatives to support health through this change of seasons. But you need to get on it!  NOW is the time to prepare.

Change your Diet

First of all, change your diet no to reflect the season to come. Cooler weather means ingesting warmer food and drinks.   Here’s what to eat:

  • Switch from salads to soups.
  • Eat cooked rather than raw fruit – consider crisps, cobblers or pies.
  • Use lots of spices such as ginger, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, and fennel.
  • Ingest root veggies and winter squash.
  • Increase protein intake.

Here’s what to avoid:

  • Cold, refrigerated or iced drinks
  • Dairy
  • Raw foods
  • Smoothies
  • Cold juices
  • Ice cream and other iced/cold foods

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Spotlight on Microgard Plus

One of my favorite herbal formulas for digestion is Microgard Plus. These tiny micropills have many great benefits for the digestive system and tend the “micro garden” in our gut. Some of these benefits include:

  • Stimulates digestive enzymesmicrogard plus
  • Regulates blood sugar and metabolism
  • Helps break down proteins, fats and sugars
  • Calms stomach upset, diarrhea, and indigestion (including hangovers)
  • Promotes good bacteria and make conditions unfavorable for bad bacteria.
  • Protects the gut microbiota

This herbal product is sourced from the finest quality Tibetan herbs. If you have a clean diet that is low on carbs and high on veggies, then you probably don’t need them, but if you eat like most Americans, then you may want to add them to your health care routine. They are particularly handy to have around for when you eat something you probably shouldn’t have, or when traveling to foreign countries where you are eating things your body isn’t accustomed to. If you’d like to learn more, please ask next time you are in the clinic or give me a call.

June is Men’s Health Month

Take advantage of my free offer below…

June is Men’s Health Month and with Father’s Day coming up, now is a great time to stress the importance of men’s health. Let’s face it, men smoke more, drink more alcohol, make riskier choices and put off seeking healthcare. Some aren’t even aware of what their health risks are. When men are aware of health concerns important to them, they can do a better job of taking care of themselves.

Here’s why I think it’s important to discuss this topic.

  • Men are 24% less likely than a woman to have visited a health care practitioner incouple on bikes the last year.
  • Men who are overweight, obese, or physically inactive are at greater risk for high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes and other health problems.
  • 40% of men are smokers compared to 9% of women. Smoking can not only cause cancer, but can cause erectile dysfunction and damage to the DNA in sperm which may lead to infertility.
  • Men make up over 75% of suicide victims in the United States. Depression may be different for men. Emotional and physical tension are signs of stress and may put you at risk for anxiety, depression and other health problems.
  • Over 50% of men in their 60s and as many as 90% in their 70s or older have symptoms of an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).
  • Men are more frequently diagnosed with serious digestive-related conditions because they are less likely to seek help for heartburn, acid reflux, and other digestive symptoms until they have become a real problem.

Making Healthier Choices

Making healthy choices includes consulting health professionals and becoming educated on the preventative measures that are important for your health. This includes diet, exercise and positive mental health. Here are a few things you can do to improve your health. Continue reading

Little Tick, Big Problem – Learn About Lyme

You’ve probably heard all about the wild deer around our area, and if you have a garden like I do, you’ve seen the evidence that they are all around. Did you know that our area is also a hotbed for ticks – particularly those that carry Lyme Disease? There are many different kinds of ticks throughout the world and the one that carries Lyme disease is the Ixodes tick, also called the blacklegged tick or deer tick (hence my referral to the deer in our area).

Ticks are related to spiders and mites. They are arachnids, not insects. Ticks are parasites that feed on the blood of humans and animals in order to survive. They are called vectors (carriers) because they can feed on a Lyme disease-infected animal (such as a mouse), then carry and transmit the Lyme bacterium (Borrelia burgdorferi) to the next animal or person they bite. It’s estimated that about 50% of deer ticks carry Lyme.

If it wasn’t bad enough that these these ticks carry Lyme, they can also carry bacterial co-infections in addition to Lyme, such as Babesiosis, Ehrlichiosis, and Anaplasmosis. These co-infections can complicate one’s Lyme disease diagnosis and treatment. Lyme and it’s co-infections can be really nasty if not caught early. Prevention, early diagnosis and treatment are key to reducing the chances of becoming infected and having to live with what can many times be debilitating symptoms.

Lyme is the fastest growing vector-borne, infectious disease in the US.  Annual reported cases have increased 25-fold since 1982. Lyme infects 300,000 around people a year in the US. That’s 25,000 new cases a month, 5,700 a week, 822 a day, or 34 per hour!! And the CDC estimates that these numbers are actually much higher due to misdiagnosis, under reporting and poor testing. Continue reading

The Silent Disease – Emotional Trauma

Chinese medicine is the oldest documented medical system to recognize the connection between body and mind and they are considered equally important. This is why Chinese medicine, including acupuncture and herbal medicine, is a great treatment choice for those suffering from trauma where the physical condition is directly connected to the psychological one.

There are many forms of trauma. Perhaps the best known is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is a condition that results after a person undergoes a harrowing physical or emotional event such as a war experience, car crash, natural disaster, or extreme emotional loss. Trauma and shock can also derive from an incident (or multiple incidents) in a person’s life that occurred many years ago such as child abuse or birth trauma (like umbilical cord wrapped around the neck). These traumatic experiences can create difficult emotional states, such as anxiety, depression, worry, sadness, fear, anger, paranoia and confusion.

What we now know is that trauma can diminish the functioning of the immune system, digestion, sleep, learning and memory. Emotional states ripple throughout the body and it reacts by manifesting physical symptoms. Physical reactions to emotional states can include:

  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Neck, shoulder and back pain and tension
  • Digestive problems
  • Insomnia
  • Low libido and sexual problems
  • Brain fog
  • Other physical health issues

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5 Tips to Improve Fertility

If you’ve been trying to conceive and it’s just not happening, give these tips a try to improve your chances.  Of course I’m ready to help you too with Acupuncture,  Herbal Medicine and Nutrition Therapy.

  1. Clean up your diet – Focus on organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, whole grains and lean proteins.  Minimize processed foods, caffeine, alcohol and sweets. If you have PCOS, minimize sugar and refined carbohydrates. 
  2. Warm your belly – some cases of infertility can be from “cold” in the uterus, so try warming your abdomen gently during the time after your period until ovulation. Use a hot water bottle or heating pad on low-medium for 20 minutes in the evenings.
  3. Go easy with exercise – If you are used to intense workouts, you may want to cut back. Research shows that intense exercise more than four hours a week can decrease fertility, so reduce the intensity by 25-30% and try replacing one or two sessions with a gentle yoga or Pilates class.
  4. Avoid drinking or eating cold foods. Cold can slow circulation around the abdomen and uterus.
  5. Increase the quality of your blood with Chinese red dates, beef soup or beef, boiled eggs, beets and goji berries.