Autumn Health and Chinese Medicine
Autumn is associated with the Lung organ, which governs respiration, mucus membranes, skin, and our immune system. For this reason fall is recognized as a susceptible time for allergy complaints, dry skin, and the beginning of cold and flu season.
Before embarking on a Chinese medicine regimen, please consult with a licensed Acupuncturist or Oriental Medicine Practitioner. To make an appointment, call 513-321-8484 or email Derek or Diane with questions at:
Cold & Flu Season
Kids going back to school, people flocking indoors, low humidity, thinning and dry mucus membranes: all these are factors that increase your likelihood of catching and transmitting cold and flu viruses. Here are some Chinese medicine therapies that will help you preserve your health:
- Keep an herbal prescription around. Famousformulas such as Yin Qiao San and Gan Mao Ling are household staples in other parts of the world. Taken at the first sign of cold or flu, these herbal prescriptions can significantly reduce your down time or prevent getting sick altogether. It is important to order through a practitioner to guarantee the Good Manufacturing Practices and quality of herbal supplier.
- Get acupuncture at the first sign of a cold. Acupuncture has been demonstrated to raise the immune system response, which will optimize your natural ability to fight infection.
Tea: Ginger tea is a good choice for combating pathogens. Boil 3 slices of ginger in 2 cups of water. Drink and bundle up. It is good to generate a mild sweat.
Garlic: Scientifically validated to have antibacterial properties akin to penicillin, garlic is a staple. For conditions such as strep throat, finely dice or crush garlic and let it sit for 10 minutes. This is very important so the garlic can generate the compound Allicin for medicinal use.
Mushrooms: Asian varieties of mushrooms- e. g. Shitake, Oyster- are recognized by the West and East to provide nutritional support for a healthy immune system.
Arthritis and Joint Pain
Western medicine suggests that drops in barometric pressure—associated with bad weather and precipitation—may be the culprit behind increasing pain symptoms rather than the cold temperature itself. If you feel the weather getting through your joints, Chinese medicine can help.
- TDP lamps. TDP lamps are infrared heat sources that are FDA approved for the relief of musculoskeletal pain. TDP lamps were developed based on the radiant electromagnetic frequencies that the healthy human body makes and also incorporate a mineral plate that is heated to ionize trace minerals. The human body relies on vitamins and minerals to repair and rebuild. This hybrid heat source combined with acupuncture is an excellent therapy for heavy, aching joints.
- Apply liniments or medicated oils regularly. Liniments are prepared medicated liquids (typically in alcohol) for topical use. The most famous formula is Zheng Gu Shui, or in English, “Rectify bones liquid.” The main ingredient Notoginseng is recognized as an effective anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and increases circulation to the affected area.
- Exercise indoors to protect joints from the weather. Exercise boosts our circulation of energy (qi) and blood, benefitting our joints. Research shows time and time again that sedentary lifestyles increase arthritis pain over time. If you are in too much pain to get moving, use acupuncture to reduce pain symptoms and increase motivation.
It’s very important to include anti-inflammatory foods as staples of your diet to combat arthritis pain. Chinese medicine recognized this long ago by its emphasis on seasonal fruits and vegetables and fish, and limiting the consumption of animal protein, sugar, alcohol, and dairy.
Root vegetables are in abundance during the winter season. Most root vegetables are high in fiber and phytonutrients, and low in fat as well as in calories. Additionally, they are generally high in vitamin C, beta-carotene, and contain essential minerals such as potassium, phosphorous, magnesium and small amounts of iron. Make warming stews to preserve and maximize nutritional content.
Include Omega 3’s in your diet to combat pain: fish, avocado, flax, and chia seeds are excellent sources. Choose grass fed cattle and pork rather than corn fed to gain a higher level of Omega 3 in those protein sources as well.
Dry Skin: the Ignored Internal Issue
Skin care has become a multi-billion dollar industry in the West, yet most of these products contain drugs or harsh chemicals that often do little to improve the root cause of a skin condition, and in some circumstances may actually exacerbate the problem. Traditional Chinese Medicine on the other hand uses the same natural remedies and techniques that have worked for thousands of years. In fact “dermatology” is an actual specialty of practitioners of TCM. Rather than simply applying a treatment to the skin, the TCM approach is to address the internal problem, allowing the skin on the outside to then heal itself.
The internal remedy begins with the food you eat. Western scientists recognize Wolfberries, or Goji berries, contain powerful anti-oxidants including: Vitamin C, linoleic acid, thiamine, beta-carotene, and riboflavin. Wolfsberry is better known as Goji Berry and is available in many health food stores in liquid and dried forms. You may also want to consider a custom internal herbal prescription that will generate circulation and fluids to nourish the skin.
Nutritional TCM recommendations include some of the same products also considered beneficial in the West, such as avocado, sesame or coconut oil, honey, pumpkin, spinach, salmon, berries, walnuts and aloe juice. Notice that many of these foods contain beneficial fats and antioxidants—both of which are beneficial to the skin.
Facial Mask: Brew a pot of green tea. The antioxidants known as polyphenols promote the skin’s ability to soothe internal and external inflammation. Let cool and mix with 3-4 tablespoons of rice or oat flour. Mash up banana to improve moisturizing qualities. Leave on for 15-20 minutes and rinse. Follow with moisturizer. Also include 1-3 cups of green tea as a normal part of your diet.
Dandruff: Spread aloe vera gel (try to get at least 98% purity any product) on the scalp and leave for 20 minutes. Rinse off to beat the itchy, flaking symptoms.
Bath Soak: Take 20 grams of Dang Gui (Angelica Root) and boil in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Pour in warm bath with 1 cup of coconut oil for a soothing, hydrating soak. Pat skin dry and follow up with moisturizer.