Essential Oil Profile: Lavender

The lavender plants used in aromatherapy derive from Mediterranean countries with the ideal growing conditions for this bushy but airy plant that grows 2 to 3 ft. in height. Lavender prefers sunny, somewhat rocky terrain with a sandy loom in an area over 2,000 ft. in elevation. The leaves are lanceolate shaped with smooth edges and grow up to a few inches long. The leaves can vary in color from various shades of green to a silvery-gray color, and the purple flowers bloom from June through July.

Gan Mao Ling: The Magic Cold-Buster

I woke up yesterday with a scratchy and slightly sore throat. While my previous self would have panicked and thought “I can’t get sick! I have so much to do this week!” I didn’t. I just got up, drank some water, and took one of my favorite Chinese Herbal Medicine pill formulas, Gan Mao Ling. I am still taking these pills today, and will for a couple days, but I can already tell that whatever sickness was threatening to take hold has passed and my body’s own defenses have won again.

Essential Oil Profile of the Month- Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)

rankincense essential oil is obtained from the resin that exudes from this sacred tree that grows in limestone-rich soil found growing on rocky hillsides and cliffs, or in the dried riverbeds below in India, North Africa and the Middle East. The tree has gnarled branches with a plethora of narrow leaves and small racemes of white flowers which give rise to 3-celled capsules, with each cell containing three seeds. At least 17 distinct species of Boswelliaexist, and up to the three different trees (which are possibly distinct species) are classified as Boswellia carterii. Other commonly used varieties are Boswellia serrata andBoswellia sacra.

Chinese Herbs for “Food Stagnation”

There is a concept in Chinese Herbal Medicine theory called “Food Stagnation” – you can probably guess what this is. Food Stagnation often occurs after eating too much or too quickly, or eating food that doesn’t agree with your body. Symptoms of food stagnation include an uncomfortable feeling of fullness, bloating, pain in the stomach, nausea, vomiting (if severe), loss of appetite, and constipation. The stuck food can cause our normal digestive Qi (energy) to become stuck, too, leading to additional symptoms. If there is regular food stagnation, over time this can weaken the digestive energy, leading to more chronic symptoms of indigestion and pain.

Chinese Herbal Medicine: Historical Perspective and Formula Design

Before acupuncture was discovered, other methods of healing were known and commonly used in ancient China. Prior to the first known Chinese medical texts, which brought together various theories and modalities forming a complete system of medicine, two main predecessors of Chinese medicine existed. The first and maybe oldest form of medicine in China is known as shamanic medicine. This included more ritualistic healing such as chanting, dancing, incantations, and was based on “spirits” and “demons” that a shamaness would try to dispel from the “possessed” person. The second precursor to modern Chinese medicine is folk medicine. This type of medicine had some elements of ritual and superstition to it originally, as it probably derived from or parallel to shamanic medicine at its origin, but the main difference is that the herbal properties became central to the treatment rather than merely just being used as a prop or medium for the Shamaness’ incantation. It is this type of herbal folk medicine that became the roots and really the first modality of the Chinese medical system that has flourished for the last 2500 years.

Acupuncture & Herbs for Anxiety

Anxiety is a very common issue that we treat in our clinic using acupuncture and herbs. While anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences at one time or another. However, for individuals with anxiety disorders, the anxiety can affect their ability to function in their day to day life. Anxiety disorders are conditions that cause people to feel excessively frightened, stressed, worried, or upset, in situations where others would likely not experience the same feelings. There are numerous types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. Anxiety disorders are very common – they affect about 20% of the US population at any given time. Individuals without a diagnosed anxiety disorder may also experience intense anxiety in certain situations – before a big test, for example.