Summer Health and Chinese Medicine
Summer can be a troubling time for many health problems. In this issue, we will focus on Rosacea, Multiple Sclerosis, Depression, Migraines, Ulcerative Colitis, and Allergies. Some very simple adjustments can greatly reduce symptoms.
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
Green Tea: The antioxidants known as polyphenols promote the skin’s ability to combat internal and external inflammation. Drink a cup 2-3 times a day. Feel free to add lemon juice and local honey to taste as well.
Herbs: There are many famous herbs that are known for the treatment of skin disorders. Rosacea is known as a “heat” condition of the blood and skin that is treatable by herbs such as Huang Qin, Hong Hua, Zhen Zu (pearl powder), and Zhi Mu. It is best to do both internal and external application of herbs for the quickest results. It is important to consult with a Licensed Oriental Medicine practitioner to safely and effectively take an herbal prescription.
Diet: In Chinese medicine, you would be advised to reduce or avoid any “heat” or “rising” foods— caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, spicy foods (including garlic and onions). Refined sugar and dairy products are contraindicated as well.
Acupuncture: Because Rosacea is an inflammatory condition, acupuncture treatments can effectively reduce acute symptoms.
Acupuncture systemically reduces the inflammation response in the body (measurable with thermal imaging) and also stimulates the brain to release serotonin and endorphins- combating stress. Because acupuncture both reduces our sympathetic nervous system dominance (stress response) and decreases physiological inflammation, it has a double mechanism of reducing rosacea symptoms.
Infamous for summer’s impact on this disease, multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system. Acupuncture is becoming more and more popular with MS patients to address complaints including pain, spasticity, numbness/tingling, bladder problems, digestive issues, and depression. Dietary recommendations include seasonal
summer foods such as avocado and cucumber. Avoid any wheat/gluten products, dairy, and refined sugar. However, true Chinese medicine evaluations would be necessary as MS patients’ symptoms and complaints can be vastly different from one another.
Depression During the Summer Months:
In Chinese Medicine, the humidity of the summer can depress our vital “qi.” The drive to accomplish tasks stagnates and patients can feel fatigue and weighed down. We may feel more bloated and stuck than other months.
- Combat depression by eliminating junk foods: starchy, sugary foods create oscillations in blood sugar levels, disrupting our mood. In Chinese medicine, starch and sugar turn to “damp,” which weighs our body and spirit down and depletes our qi.
- Include asparagus, rye, leafy greens, beans, organic non-GMO soy, and other protein-rich foods. These are all called for in Chinese medicine to nourish qi and drain damp. Incidentally, they are all excellent sources of the amino acid Tryptophane, an important precursor to the production of serotonin.
- Acupuncture stimulates the brain to release serotonin and endorphins combating the symptoms of depression. Treatments also increase the amount of melatonin produced at night- enabling more restful sleep.
- Exercise to stimulate the body, mind, and elevate the qi. Try walking, Tai Ji, Yoga, or light jogging. The brain will release endorphins in response and elevate the mood.
Summer is the hottest season and headache sufferers may find it to be a challenging time of the year. Headaches are typically considered a disorder of the “yang qi” and summer is yang time full of heat and growth.
- Take time out for meditation, yoga, Tai ji, or napping to counterbalance stress and activity.
- Emphasize cooling foods that grow in summer: cucumber, celery, asparagus, cabbage, leafy greens, cherries, peaches, dates, and figs are all good choices. Limit intake of “rising” foods such as spicy, caffeine, and greasy.
- Apply drops of Peppermint oil to the temples and forehead.
- Try drinking tea- chamomile, green, kuzu (arrowroot), or daikon sourced tea are all used for the treatment headaches.
- Acupuncture and herbs are commonly used for the management of migraine headache cycles. These treatments have a regulatory effect on the brain and the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis, making them particularly effective for migraine sufferers. White Flower oil applied topically can ease migraine symptoms.
Chinese medicine offers good treatment options for mild to moderate ulcerative colitis. Because immunosuppressive agents and corticosteroids can have side effects, patients looking for a gentler method may benefit. Anti-inflammatory herbs such as Huang Qin, Bai Shao, and Jin Yin Hua may be employed to eliminate symptoms of burning and diarrhea. Acupuncture will reduce inflammation of the bowels as well and address emotional complaints and stress that exacerbate symptoms.
- Combine one teaspoon of slippery elm powder with one teaspoon of honey and two cups of boiling water. Stir well. Flavor with cinnamon and drink one or two cups twice a day.
- Take two grams daily of Tumeric in supplement form for its anti-inflammatory effects.
- Avoid dairy (casein), spicy foods, products with carageenen, and synthetic sugars. These are all known to aggravate GI issues.
In the summer, an intolerance of grasses, pollutants, and ragweed can make this the worst time of year for certain allergy sufferers. Here are some tips to combat itching, mucus buildup, and irritability.
Herbs: Herbs such as Jing Jie (type of catnip) and Fang Feng go into a famous formula called Bi Yan Pian. However, you can also try western herbs such as freeze-dried Butterbur and Stinging Nettles as well. Consult with a liccensed herbalist before undertaking an herbal Rx.
Acupunture: Certain acupuncture points that apply to the lung, throat, nose, and immune system soothe allergy complaints and regulate the hyper-response to the environment. Many allergy sufferers experience long-lasting relief after just one session.
Dairy: Dairy builds mucus leaving you much more vulnerable to an allergy attack. The Chinese limited dairy intake in their diet much more stringently than the western world. Dairy was known to consume the qi and create dampness—leading to a feeling of fullness and heaviness.
Include seasonal foods such as almonds, spinach, avocados, oysters, seeds, peanuts, green and red peppers, strawberries, potatoes, cabbage, apples, cranberries, grapes, and pears. These are sources of magnesium, Vitamin C, and bioflavinoids which all can act as an anti-histamine.