Your Winter Herbal Pharmacy

Ah, winter-time . . .

Here in Cornelius, Winter can be downright “un-wintery.”  We go from a nice, toasty warm indoor heat out into 30-40◦ weather.  Sometimes the winds blow, sometimes it’s rainy.  Sometimes, just when we get used to using indoor heat, the Cornelius area Winter decides to let the sun shine and the temperatures to turn into Spring.

How is a body to keep up?  So many of us end up with colds, flu, sinus infections and the like.  This is one area where Chinese Medicine excels.  Herbal medicine and acupuncture can help the body adapt to the frequent weather changes, maintain healthy immunity, and even speed up the recovery process once you are sick.

Here are a few Herbal formulas, and a general description of what they do.  But remember to consult with your Licensed Acupuncturist to decide which are best for you!

Gan Mao Ling – This can be taken, preventatively for the common cold and the flu.

Jade Windscreen – If you’re susceptible to catching cold, this is a “go to” formula.  It is beneficial for immunity, but can also be used for an acute or sudden onset.

Jade Screen & Xanthium – This formula adds certain herbs to help combat sinus symptoms such as allergic rhinitis and sinusitis.  It’s a great allergy formula for people with hypertension that can’t tolerate some of the “over the counter” pharmaceutical decongestants.

Viola clear fire – This formula contains herbs found to be especially effective against respiratory infections.  Many of these herbs inhibit viruses, bacteria, and even fungi.

Winter Wonderland & Chinese Medicine

Winter is a time when things stay inside, hibernate, regroup, and get ready for the start of a new year and a new period of growth.  Chinese medicine describes the Winter in much the same way.  However, there are some fascinating things we can learn from this perspective.

We all know someone who catches the cold or flu during this season.  We’re used to hearing about viruses and bacteria.  Chinese medicine describes “catching” illness in a little different way.  During the winter, wear that scarf and turn up that collar.  There is a set of acupuncture points called “wind pool” or “wind gate” at the back of the neck and base of the skull that is particularly susceptible to what we call a “wind invasion.” In other words, the wind carries the cold and/or damp from the weather.  And if our defenses are down, we might “catch” the cold at these points.

The Winter is associated with the “Water” systems of Chinese medicine.  These include the functional aspects of both the Kidneys and the Bladder.  Makes sense, right?  Would you want water that needs to keep moving getting cold or frozen?  Of course not!  So, when it’s too cold outside, we need to avoid foods like ice-cream, cold or iced drinks and cold foods.  What’s better on a cold day than tea, a warm bowl of soup, or foods that warm our middle?  Eating seasonally is less mysterious than you would think.  We don’t eat watermelon and cooling fruits in the winter.  Those are Summer foods, eaten when we need to cool down.  Likewise, there are plenty of hearty, warming foods for the winter.  Onions and string beans are warming.  Spices, such as garlic and ginger are also warming.  Most animal proteins are warming.  While tofu is neutral, you can actually alter the temperature of certain foods by the cooking method you choose.  For example, Deep frying creates dampness, while flash-frying or cooking in a wok actually creates warmth without the dampness we’d be better off without.  What’s so bad about dampness?  Nothing in and of itself.  However, if your internal body environment is too damp, and if the outside environment is too damp, you’ll probably start getting some symptoms.  For example, sore knees and sore backs are common during the winter, especially if we’re not mindful of keeping a balance with our internal environment.   Remember, we said that the Chinese Medical view of Winter included the “Water” organs of the Kidney and the Bladder.  Well, it just so happens that the Kidney system governs the knees and the lower back.

So, get yourself in to your Acupuncturist for more information on how to stay well, in balance with the season, and with a strong immunity to ward off any bugs out there!  And Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones!

The Best Chinese Medicine: Cupping or Acupuncture

In the Western World, healthcare costs have begun to skyrocket and lists of prescription side effects have only grown larger. In response to our often disappointing medical services many have begun to turn to alternative medicine, thus the practice of traditional Chinese medicine has skyrocketed over past years. Things like Cupping and Acupuncture has grown in popularity due to the natural and holistic approach that these techniques provide when addressing multifaceted health concerns.

While these techniques are very different from our “traditional” western treatments, they just the same have had huge impacts on millions of lives for over 3000 years. The only problem is that with the rise in popularity of Chinese medicine, it has become hard to distinguish what technique would be the best for you. Two of the most popular alternative practices today are Cupping and Acupuncture, but in order to choose the best one it’s important to understand Chinese Medicine and the differences between the two techniques.

Chinese Medicine

According to traditional Chinese Medicine, the body is made up of a series of Meridians, or passageways, that transport Qi throughout the body. The concept of Qi is similar to a “circulating life force.” This concept has shown up under different names all over the world from Native American to Greek Ideology, and having an imbalance or lack of Qi is considered to be the root of all illness.

Much of Chinese medicine, therefore, works to correct the balance of one’s Qi in an effort to restore the person to their body’s natural state of homeostasis and health. Ancient Chinese techniques have been shown to aid numerous illnesses such as excessive stress and pain and has even been shown to help increase fertility. With Chinese Medicines myriad of benefits, the only thing left to consider is which technique will work best for you.

Cupping

While both Cupping and Acupuncture serve to relieve illness by promoting body balance and blood flow, the methods differ in significant ways. Cupping is most commonly used by people dealing with pain and is usually performed using suctioned glass jars on the skin. This raises the skin for the purpose of increasing blood flow, but the process often causes circular bruising from expanding blood vessels as the cups rise.

One variation called “wet cupping” calls for a sterile scalpel to be used on the skin so that some blood is drawn into the suction cups. The treatment usually leaves behind red marks and isn’t suggested for those who bleed easily, are pregnant, or those needing treatments on bony areas.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a noninvasive medical technique that is used to diagnose and treat a whole range of issues, making it one of the most holistic treatments available. Acupuncture is done through placing extremely fine, sterile needles on specific meridian passageways that help correct the imbalanced energy flow within the patient.

On specific points of the body where energy is stagnated, an acupuncturist will place those fine needles allowing blood flow to be increased. The extreme slimness of the needles results in most patients not even feeling them, but rather they experience feelings of relaxation and calm. Unlike cupping, the treatment does not result in bruising or bleeding.

Overall, both of these treatments will contribute to your health and well being through returning your body to complete balance. In general, Acupuncture is usually the preferred choice due to the complete lack of side effects and more broad range of benefits. Acupuncture can have huge immediate and long term impacts on your health and happiness.

It is an investment that will help you feel your best and most balanced. While the effects of Acupuncture are unmistakable, finding the right acupuncturist is important. At Best Acupuncture, we have a team of licensed professionals that have undergone extensive and comprehensive training at nationally certified schools. Visit our site to learn more about What We Treat and start your journey of health today!