Poison Ivy is abundant this year. It grows in fields, yards, woods, gardens. It’s pretty hard to avoid.
Chinese Medicine can be a real asset when it comes to poison ivy relief. We’d like to show you just how much it can help, so through Sept 15 treatment and herbs for poison ivy will be 25% off.
Acupuncture can have an immediate effect on itching. Emotionally it will calm any agitation accompanying your itchy outbreak. Either a quick visit to community clinic or a more extensive regular acupuncture session can give prompt relief.
In China herbs are often used for contact dermatitis and all manner of dermatology issues. They are boiled up to make a soothing wash or compress. Herbs also can be made into a medicinal decoction or tea.
Come try acupuncture or herbs when you find yourself with that unpleasant telltale rash. We try to get people with pressing problems (and this is one of them) in as soon as possible.
If you are allergic to this invasive plant, you can get herbs to brew up ahead of time and freeze them. The next time you run into a patch you’ll have your remedies handy to defrost and use. We’re just a phone call away if you’ve forgotten how to use them or aren’t sure if you need acupuncture.
People affected by poison ivy and related plants (poison oak, sumac, etc.) will almost certainly benefit from Chinese herbs and acupuncture. While poison ivy is usually inconvenient, in some cases it can be dangerous. Anyone who is highly allergic or has a severe case must consult their doctor.
Read this Hot Topic item for tips on dealing with poison ivy.
Lately I’ve noticed patients coming in reporting they are out-of-sorts and not sure why. Vague stomach problems, annoying headaches, feeling sluggish. I attribute some of this to the Chinese pathogen “summer heat”. It’s a heavy damp kind of heat prevalent in hot humid weather. While we can’t blame all of our summer complaints on summer heat, this climactic pathogen does play a significant role and Chinese Medicine knows how to deal with it.
In Chinese Medicine, illnesses can be caused by the invasion of external climates. These are considered exogenous or external pathogenic influences. Summer Heat is one of them. It can make you feel just a little nauseous or set off a lingering headache. Perhaps you’ve been particularly lethargic. On the extreme end is “sunstroke” from prolonged exposure to hot sun, with excessive sweating, fever and collapse.
The hot humid summer weather does drain us and makes us feel sluggish. We might feel stuffy or heavy and full with lack of appetite. Dehydration may be a problem. We become irritable. We may feel worn down by unrelenting humid weather or feel pressured to have that last bit of summer fun before our fall schedules begin.
Look at your tongue and notice the coating. If it looks thick and greasy there is Dampness present. Damp is another pathogenic climate. Dampness means you may be prone to feeling sluggish or nauseous in the heat of the season. If your tongue body is red and dry, this indicates Heat is present in your body. Be careful to drink plenty of fluids. Chinese herbs will help in these cases, and acupuncture is always a good way to regulate your body & emotions to prevent getting sick. A quick visit to community acupuncture clinic may be all you need.
Watermelon is a wonderful food for summer heat. It contains vitamins and minerals to help replenish fluids lost through sweating. It’s cooling and refreshing to taste. It’s fruit is beautiful and brightens up any table. Watermelon grows abundantly in summer, so it is easy to get and usually not too expensive. Plus, it’s a fun food – what picnic is complete without a watermelon seed spitting contest?
This old-time song praises the virtues of watermelon.…
Poison Ivy sufferers desperately search for remedies to relieve the intense and awful itching caused by contact with this plant.
Chinese Medicine is a valuable asset in their search for antidotes. Acupuncture relieves itching immediately. Chinese herbs are used to make washes and to take as medicines. The herbs in the wash cool, alleviate itching, and moisten the skin. The formulas may be taken as decoctions (teas) or granules stirred into warm water or mixed into food such as applesauce or yogurt. The topical herbs can also be ground up applied as a poultice. Treating poison ivy is an example of Chinese herbal medicine applied to a condition rather than a constitutional type. However, most Chinese herbalists (including myself) will add a few herbs to your formula for your personal constitutional make-up.
Now that you know Chinese Medicine can help, here are some practical things for the do-it-yourself part.
Clean the area as soon as possible after contact! This is an important step in controlling the rash from poison ivy, oak and related plants. Fels naptha is the classic bar soap for this. Like calamine lotion, it is a famous poison ivy treatment. Tecnu is modern soap that my patients have been giving me good reports about. Use these to wash the skin as soon as possible after exposure. Fels naptha and Tecnu remove toxic oils of poison ivy or oak from your skin.
Rhus tox is a common homeopathic remedy. It is easily purchased in 30c and 200c from health food stores and some pharmacies. Follow the dosage directions on the bottle or consult a homeopath or western herbalist. Many people use this before they come in contact with poison ivy as a way of strengthening their immune system against it. Rhus tox, which is a homeopathic dilution of the oil of the plant itself, is well worth trying once you have the poison ivy rash. Rhus tox is also said to be good for arthritis, joint pains & body aches and flu symptoms, among other things.
Calamine lotion is an old standby for poison ivy. Apply it on the affected area and let it dry. Calamine lotion fans find that it decreases itching and cools the rash. You need to apply it several times a day. As always, keep out of the reach of children. It should not be ingested. Avoid the eyes and mucous membranes. To remove the lotion, dab the site with witch hazel or wash with water and pat dry. Don’t rub the rashy area.
Calamine lotion is not herbal at all, but composed mainly of calamine which is a mixture of zinc oxide with a small amount of ferric oxide.
I came across this article for making your own “calamine lotion”. Other internet sources suggested combinations of water and baking soda, sometimes with oatmeal; sea salt baking soda, bentonite clay, chamomile or tea tree oil, and water.
What is Wind-Cold and why should you avoid it?
In Chinese Medicine, one of the ways we describe illnesses is in term of climates. Climates can be internally generated by a disease process (internal pathogenic influences), or an excessive climate in our environment can invade our bodies (external pathogenic influences). Wind, Cold, Damp, Heat, and Dryness are the most common pathogenic influences. This way of describing the disease prices does not negate the concept of germ theory, but exists alongside of it. It’s another way of describing what happens in the body.
For instance a person with arthritis resulting in red, swollen joints that feel hot and are worse in rainy weather might be said to have “Internal Damp Heat” in the joints. Someone who catches a cold, especially after exposure to inclement weather, has an “External Wind-Cold” invasion.
March weather in the Northeast can be quite windy and cold. These are the pathogenic influences from which we need to protect ourselves this time of year. Pathogenic Wind causes itching, symptoms that come and go, watery itchy eyes, sneezing, and rashes that move around. Pathogenic Cold can be responsible for muscle aches, chills, aversion to cold, and runny nose. Many of the symptoms of the common cold are External Wind-Cold symptoms.
There are “Wind points” through which External Wind likes to enter. Many of them are at the base of the skull and near the neck and shoulders. Hence the advice to wear a scarf and keep buttoned up when you go out in any kind of bad weather. The External Wind actually enters these acupoints and lodges in your body. It is said that External Wind does not travel alone, that it likes bringing another pathogen in with it. In this case, External Wind opens the Wind points and enters, making it easier for the External Cold to accompany it.
Wearing a scarf or turtleneck, or keeping your coat collar up will effectively block the entrance of this Wind. Should you find yourself exposed to these pathogenic influences, you can use medicinal ginger tea to help expel them. You can also apply heat to the nape of your neck and upper shoulders with a heating pad or a rice bag heated in the microwave. Rest and sleep will help, too.
If you need stronger medicinal help, usually just one session of acupuncture will help you turn the corner or even prevent the cold from developing. Community Clinic is a good venue for this. Cupping and moxibustion are also very effective ways to expel External Wind-Cold. There are a number of herbal formulas that manage different stages of Wind-Cold invasion (i.e. the common cold).
So, if you do find yourself sneezing with the snuffles, achy muscles and feeling chilled, there is no need to suffer. There are plenty things you can do for a speedy recovery. If you do need our help, we try to schedule you as soon as possible if you have a Wind-Cold invasion.
Last February I spent a week studying with Dr. Huang in London. One of the topics we discussed was Sjögren’s Syndrome. I’m eager to apply my new herbal knowledge of this condition. The first ten Sjögren’s patients who respond and are willing to commit to three months of therapy will receive an evaluation for only $50 and 30% off their herbal formula.
Sjögren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune condition causing dryness of mucous membranes, in particular of the eyes and mouth, is very difficult to treat. Chinese Medicine has a way of “reframing” the condition in terms of the patient’s internal environment. Herbs are given to counteract internal imbalances.
My herbal teacher, Dr. Huang, has experience in treating this condition. Although there is not a “Sjögren’s formula”, there are Chinese herbs that can be helpful and these are combined into a formula that fits the patient. Sjögren’s patients will get the same core herbs for that condition, but each individual formula may vary according to the exact symptoms that person has. This is the beauty of Chinese Herbal Medicine. It is infinitely adaptable to how Sjögren’s Syndrome affects you personally. The initial evaluation will be comprehensive and your formula may help you with problems unrelated to Sjögren’s Syndrome as well.
I would like to treat each person for a period of three months. The initial intake and monthly evaluations will be only $50 per visit. If you need a session in between your monthly evaluations, the charge will be $30 for additional visits. (I don’t expect this to be necessary.) There will be no charge for followup consultations made by phone. Specially made herbal formulas with bulk herbs or granules will be discounted at least 30% for the three month treatment period. It is hard to know how much a week’s supply will be until I write the formula, but our herb prices are very reasonable even without a discount.
In exchange, I would like a commitment for three months and your permission to write up and publish the case studies (all patient details would remain anonymous) should I decide to publish the results of this venture.
Call to schedule at 860-448-6766. Feel free to ask to speak with me if you have any questions.…
Cozy Up With Ginger
Fresh ginger root is a warm and pungunt herb, used widely both medicinally and as a food herb. It’s a great item to keep in the fridge during the winter months. Ginger root is easily available in the produce section of almost any grocery. As a tea, it’s warm nature can keep you warm from the inside out. Simmered with a little more strength and in a stronger dose, it can help prevent a winter chill from turning into a cold. And for those achy body parts that flare up in cold, damp weather, a ginger compress may be just the ticket. Have some handy the next time you shovel your driveway!
To make a tea, slice a few pieces of fresh ginger and pierce them a few times. You can also chop or grate it. Place the ginger into your mug, pour hot water over it and let it steep for about five minutes. Add lemon or honey to taste for a delightful winter cuppa.
To make a medicinal tea, chop up about an inch or more of ginger and place it in a pot with a quart of water. Bring it to a boil and then immediately lower the flame to simmer for 20 minutes or so. The time is not exact. Add honey or lemon to taste. Drink this and keep well covered and rest.
This ginger tea can be taken when you have been exposed to cold damp weather and feel sniffles and aches coming on. It can also be used any time you feel the symptoms of a beginning cold. The ginger is slightly diaphoretic, i.e. it induces a slight sweat. You will “sweat the cold out”. You must keep well covered and warm. The added warmth will help the ginger do its job of making you sweat. It will also protect you while your pores are open and sweating. It is very important not to go out or near a draft. The best thing to do is drink the tea, and when you are done, go off to bed to cuddle under the warm blankets and sleep. You should feel much better in the morning. When you wake up, make another pot and drink it throughout the day.
To make a ginger compress you will need ginger, cheese cloth or a light weight fabric such as a handkerchief, a rubber band or string, and small terrycloth towel or two linen towels.
In a saucepan bring a quart of water to a boil, then turn it down to simmer. Meanwhile, grate a golf ball size piece of ginger up. wrap it in the cheesecloth and secure it with the rubber band or string. Squeeze the ginger juice out into the water, and then drop the entire cheesecloth package in. Simmer for 20 minutes.
To apply: You can apply this to cold, achy joints, shoulders, low back or neck.
The easiest is to soak the terrycloth towel in the liquid and …
Have you ever wondered exactly what your acupuncturist is doing when he or she takes your pulse and looks at your tongue? Pulse and tongue are foundations of Chinese Medicine. Each is a microcosm of what is going on inside your body. You just have to know what to look for.
Kathleen will be at on Everything Zen, Friday 6:30-7:30 to give you some pulse-taking/tongue-looking tips. She’ll explain what kind of information she gets about your health from pulse and tongue, and then show you what o look for. We will have some simple patent formulas on hand, at a special discount, so you can go home with a remedy to match what you find.
Everything Zen (click October Seminar in the left side bar)
Friday Oct21 6:30-7:30
Call 860-448-6766 or 860-861-8978 …
Everyone loved the Eight Treasures Congee served at the Groton Business Association May meeting.
It was adapted from the recipe Eight Treasures Porridge from Daniel Eng’s book “Cooking With Chinese Herbs.
It’s so easy to make a healthful congee. Basically all you do is throw the ingredients into crockpotin the evening, set it on low, and go to bed. When you wake up in the morning, Voila! There is your tasty breakfast congee waiting for you.
Here is the recipe. I adapted it by using organic vegetable broth instead of water and organic Bhutanese red rice. I also used a crockpot. The herbs are available at any Chinese pharmacy or from Mystic River Acupuncture for 15¢/gram. Just tell us you want the eight treasures congee packet.
1/2 cup of purple or black rice (other kinds of rice are fine, too)
2 Tbsp walnuts
2 Tbsp Job’s tears
1 Tbsp hyacinth beans
12 pieces lotus seeds
6 pieces longan fruit, optionally chopped
6 pieces red dates, pits removed
4-6 cups of water
1 Tbsp goji berries
small amount of honey (optional)
Rinse all ingredients except the water, goji, and honey. and place in a slow cooker or a pot. Add 4-6 cups of water, deppending on your cooking equipment and method (slow cookers generally require less, while stovetop cooking may require more). If using a slow cooker, turn it on to “low” overnight or all day (8-10 hours). Alrternatively, simmer in a covered pot over a low flame for about two hours or until everything is soft. After the porridge is finished cooking, add goji and a small amount of honey.
Last Friday Mystic River Acupuncture went to Everything Zen for an evening of “Radiant Beauty From the Inside Out”. I talked about the Chinese concept of beauty being the direct result of how we feel and how healthy we are. Beauty formulas and healthy eating are a part of radiance as much as cosmetics and facial care are.
Holly and I served up an “immune” promoting broth adapted from a recipe in “Ancient Wisdom, Modern Kitchen: Recipes From the East for Health, Healing, and Long Life”. Organic chicken bones, herbs and vegetables were stewed for 24 hours to make this delicious stock that can be taken either as a broth or used as a base in any dish calling for chicken stock. Bone marrow is rich in nutrients and stewing for a long period releases the essence of bones and their marrow into the soup. A crockpot makes the whole process easy.
Next we sampled a classic Chinese formula that is traditionally taken as a draught with wine. A gram of herbal granules was stirred into bit of warm water in our Dixie cups. We drank this down, then chased it with wine as I passed around a plate containing the same formula in raw form for everyone to see. Taking herbs to keep qi (energy) and blood circulation flowing is essential to a good beauty program, especially in cases of dry skin, acne, and other skin problems.
We finished the evening with a demonstration of wrinkle reducing acupuncture while Holly talked about the importance of using organic paraben free products on the skin. She and showed participants the special herbs I powder up for her to use in facial masks for her facials. Holly and I have been collaborating for the last year on different herbal face masks for various skin problems.
We were running out of time and didn’t get to drinking the special relaxing tea I mixed. Luckily, I had made little bag of these tea herbs for each person to bring home to make for their tea breaks during week. This tea was a relaxing blend that also “vents” or dissipates stress energy and is particularly good for tension in the body caused by stress. It’s a calming refreshing tea that taken with lemon, mint and honey.
By the time we were done, the class had renamed Everything Zen to “Everything FUN” and Holly and I were pleases and honored. It’s important to put some fun in our busy lives.
Check News and Events to learn about the Radiant Beauty specials Holly and I are offering so you can keep having Radiant Beauty and Everything Fun.
Mystic River Acupuncture and Everything Zen are collaborating to offer you a Radiant Skin Beauty Package just in time for Mother’s Day.
Holly Potter, LMT of Everything Zen will give your favorite mom an anti-aging Vitamin C facial peel and Kathleen Poole will provide a wrinkle reducing acupuncture treatment for only $115. Mom can make a day of it. Visit Everything Zen, then have a bite to eat at one of the areas many restaurants before your wrinkle reducing session at Mystic River Acupuncture. For best results, these treatments can be scheduled up to one week apart.
A full package of six of each is also available for $660, and the sampler pack can be applied towards the full package of twelve sessions. With the full package you can take advantage of special discounts on herbal consultation with Kathleen and an assortment of upgrades from Holly.
What more perfect and unique gift is there for that Special Mother in your life?…