Monday, February 23, 2009


Astragalus membranaceus

Astragalus root, or Huang Qi, has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. It wasn't until it was researched by the West and shown to have immune enhancing properties that it became more commonly known.

Astragalus has a multitude of positive effects on the body. It strengthens the immune system, protects the liver from toxicity and some studies show that it has anticancer effects.

Astragalus root can be taken in tincture form (herb is diluted in alcohol) or made into a stock for soups as in 'Change of Season Soup'

Change of Season Soup

With Spring approaching it is sometimes difficult to slough off the remains of the Winter season - physically and metaphorically! 

Here's a soup that will pick you up and help support your immune system during seasonal transition times:

Using equal parts of each herb (2-3oz ea.), combine:

Codonopsis pilosula root (Dang Shen)
Astragalus root (Huang Qi)
Dioscorea villosa (Wild Yam)
Chinese Lycii berries (Lyceum)

These herbs can be found in Asian herb shops and sometimes even come pre-packaged for convenience. 
The soup is to be taken 2 weeks leading up to the change in season and can be taken simply as a broth that you sip continuously throughout the day, or used as a stock for soups.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Detox you've put off...

Detoxify today, feel better tomorrow... (well... maybe not exactly tomorrow...)

Demystifying the elusive detox doesn't have to be as difficult as it seems at first. 
It doesn't have to involve a bunch of different boxed supplements, or cayenne pepper, or only liquids. 
In fact, not only can detoxification can be much much easier than that, it can be something gentle that you incorporate gradually. It can be a seasonal affair that you implement quarterly to help ease your transition into Spring, or Winter. It can be more specific dietary changes and restrictions that you apply for a specified amount of time. But whatever way you choose to detoxify in this toxic world, it is something that we all could use!

In my opinion, gradual detoxification is the healthiest way to detoxify. Radical detoxification, while it certainly has its place (as an adjunct to Cancer treatment, for example) is too extreme for those of us blessed with relatively good health.

Here's how I choose to detox seasonally:
Eliminate wheat, dairy, meat, alcohol, caffeine, refined sugar, refined carbohydrates, and anything canned or that comes in a box (this is pretty much covered by the previously listed restrictions.)
These foods are, to speak generally, pro-inflammatory. The aim is to take the burden off the gastrointestinal tract, the liver, and the kidneys. 

This may sound extreme - but it really isn't that hard. All it takes is a little preparation and a stocked fridge. The aim is certainly not to go hungry!
These changes leave room for almost anything that grows in the ground! Fruits and vegetables in abundance. (All preferably local and organic.) Brown rice. Nuts and seeds. Healthy oils. Seaweed.

In addition, I try to get plenty of sleep, drink LOTS of water, get my exercise in, and if you have one accessible, sauna and sweat out those toxins! 

I generally detox for 1-2 weeks and incorporate specific homeopathic drainage remedies depending on symptoms and season.

Book a consultation and we can chat about what remedies and detoxification program would work best for you!

Digestive enzymes aren't just for digestion anymore!

Aches and Pains got you down??

Studies have shown that those digestive enzymes you've been taking can be used for managing muscle pains and inflammation. 

Bromelain and other enzymes derived from pineapple have long been used as natural digestive aids. They are what is know as 'proteolytic enzymes'. 
These enzymes help your body break down protein. A lesser known fact, however, is that Bromelain also acts as an anti-inflammatory, reducing pain and increasing mobility! 

People generally take their digestive enzymes with meals to aid in bloating, gas and general indigestion. Taken away from food, however, digestive enzymes have shown to be effective in pain management.  

Eat that pineapple!