May / June Classes at The Wellspring School for Healing Arts in Portland, Or USA
Contributed by Rylen Feeney, Dipl. ABT & CH (NCCAOM), Certified Amma Therapist, Whole Food Nutritionist.
Herbs and spices are rich in phytonutrients such as flavonoids, antioxidants, carotenoids, inositols, isoflavones, and lignans, which contribute significantly to overall health and wellness. Phytonutrients improve our immunity, provide antioxidants, assist with estrogen metabolism, detoxify carcinogens, repair cellular damage and more.
From a Chinese Medicine dietary perspective herbs and spices are largely aromatic and pungent and thereby increase and circulate blood, qi and fluids, preventing stagnation and damp accumulations.
Here is a sample of one such common herb:
Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum; or Luo Le in Chinese medicine) belongs to the mint family and is referred to as the king of herbs. It is used medicinally and in culinary cuisines of Mexico, Spain, Italy, Greece, Thailand, Vietnam, and India among others. In addition to being loaded with phytonutrients, Basil is a good source of protein, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Riboflavin and Niacin, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Zinc, Copper and Manganese.
Chinese Medicine categorizes sweet basil energetically as warm, pungent, sweet and bitter. It is a warming, drying yang tonic with an affinity for the organ complexes of the Lungs, Kidneys, Stomach, Spleen and Large Intestines. It can be used to transform phlegm in lung conditions, lift the spirit and brighten the mood by tonifying the yang. It also helps with upset and pain in the abdomen including stomach aches, bloating, gas and menstrual cramps due to cold in the abdomen.
Western Herbal Medicine recognizes basil to be antiviral, antifungal and insecticidal agent, anti-inflammatory, it lowers blood glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and said to be a remedy for headaches.
Along with pesto and Caprese salad, consider these additional ways to add basil into your diet:
Basil tea: coarsely chop a handful of fresh Basil and steep in hot water for 5 – 8 minutes, strain and drink. May add ginger and/or licorice for abdominal bloating, and pain.
Fruit salad: particularly good with berries, papaya, mango, peaches and apricots.
Eggs w/ basil (instead of parsley or chives)
Stir fry with ginger and green onion and meat for menstrual pain.
Blend handful of fresh Basil in blender with fresh apple juice for sinus congestion.
Here is a Wellspring School favorite recipe that contains Basil: Carrot & Cashew Pate … enjoy!
Photo by Hopkinsil on Flickr.
lusters: (via Healing Florals & Quick Tincture Recipe | Design*Sponge) Healing Flowers and Herbs Chamomile: Aids digestion and calms and soothes nerves. Dandelion Leaf: Natural diuretic. Removes excess water and toxins from the body. Helps to cleanse and protect the liver after excess amounts of alcohol and unhealthy eating. (Something we can all use this time of year!) Eucalyptus Leaf: Internally used to relive cold and flu symptoms. Inhale vapors or use in bath to help with chest congestion. Externally used as an antiseptic or an antibacterial and to relieve aches, stiffness and pains associated with burns and scrapes. Feverfew: Derived from the Latin word for fever reducer, this is used to treat headaches and reduce fever. Holy Basil (Tulsi): Thought to be the most sacred herb of India and known for its many healing qualities including stress relief, boosting and supporting immunity and promoting healthy metabolism. Hops Flower: Similar to Valerian in promoting anxiety and stress relief and aiding in alleviating restlessness and insomnia. Lavender: Helps promote restful sleep and stress relief. When applied topically, it helps to relieve irritated and dry skin due to rashes, burns or minor cuts. Rose: A natural antidepressant, astringent, antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and digestive stimulant. Shiitake Mushroom: Great immune-system booster and antioxidant. Yarrow: When added to other herbs, helps intensify their medicinal benefits. Also aids in cold and flu relief.
Contributed by Rylen Feeney (reprinted from 2011 Wellspring blog)
In a world filled with hustle and bustle; a world of “too much” to do in not enough time we may find ourselves multitasking in nearly every level of our lives - losing sight of the importance of one. Losing sight of how powerful single minded intent can be.
I find reprieve in a daily practice of meditation, or tai chi/qigong. Sometimes it is enough to just sit. But sometimes to just sit, first I need to move gently and intentionally. Tai Chi and Qigong are classic intentionalmovement arts that serve to harmonize the mind and body. Both are designed to cultivate one’s consciousness and spirit; to fill the body with life force (Qi) and to circulate it freely and harmoniously - so that we may have greater vitality, health, and so that we my feel congruency within ourselves.
Tai Chi and Qigong is the diligent practice of developing and directing one’s Qi. It deeply and positively synchronizes the body and the mind. In Chinese medicine we say “where the mind goes, Qi flows and and where Qi flows, Blood goes.” When we practice Tai Chi or Qigong we learn to hone our focus and to direct the movement of Qi in our bodies. This leads to increased alpha brain wave states (the calm alert state experienced in deep meditation), strengthens the heart, lowers blood pressure, increases endurance and stamina, tones and strengthens the body, reduces chronic pain and improves proprioceptive awareness and balance.
The beauty of Tai Chi or Qigong is that it can be practiced by anyone of any age. Like all of Chinese Medicine, it’s effects are immediate and profound - and yet continue to unfold and multiply as we deepen and continue our practice.
Discover the benefits first hand and consider taking a little time out of the frenetic pace of life to cultivate wholeness through a daily practice of Tai Chi or Qigong.
Click here for Qigong Weekend Workshop in Portland, Oregon
Photo of Bill Helm of Taoist Sanctuary
WE know that the proteins called gluten, found in wheat and other grains, provoke celiac disease. And we know how to treat the illness: a gluten-free diet. But the rapidly increasing prevalence of celiac disease, which has quadrupled in the United States in just 50 years, is still mystifying.
BLAME for the increase of celiac disease sometimes falls on gluten-rich, modern wheat varietals; increased consumption of wheat, and the ubiquity of gluten in processed foods.
Yet the epidemiology of celiac disease doesn’t always support this idea. One comparative study involving some 5,500 subjects yielded a prevalence of roughly one in 100 among Finnish children, but using the same diagnostic methods, just one in 500 among their Russian counterparts.
umistakemeforstraight: fearfullittleloverr: A psychologist walked around a room while teaching stress management to an audience. As she raised a glass of water, everyone expected they’d be asked the “half empty or half full” question. Instead, with a smile on her face, she inquired: “How heavy is this glass of water?”Answers called out ranged from 8 oz. to 20 oz.She replied, “The absolute weight doesn’t matter. It depends on how long I hold it. If I hold it for a minute, it’s not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I’ll have an ache in my arm. If I hold it for a day, my arm will feel numb and paralyzed. In each case, the weight of the glass doesn’t change, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes.” She continued, “The stresses and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. Think about them a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralyzed – incapable of doing anything.”It’s important to remember to let go of your stresses. As early in the evening as you can, put all your burdens down. Don’t carry them through the evening and into the night. Remember to put the glass down!
March/April Classes at The Wellspring School for Healing Arts
Shen Qigong Class begins Wednesdays, March 6th from 12 - 1pm in Portland, Or at The Wellspring School for Healing Arts. Sign up here
It is STILL flu season, what are you doing about it? In my house, we have a box devoted to herbs and supplements to use in acute situations or for prevention. Here is what I recommend for natural flu prevention for your family. Use one or two - but a few of these products in combination give the best results. Happy Healing.
Elderberry and/or Andrographis Extract: These are two great anti-viral herbs that boost your immune health and help fight pathogens. Use these especially if you are teacher, traveler, or health-care practitioner who finds yourself around lots of people this season. Other anti-virals you can buy over the counter are grapefruit seed extract or echinacea angustifolia. Note: Most of these herbs work best when used BEFORE you have full blown symptoms, so taking preventatively is the safest bet.
Cayenne capsules or Garlic oil: Cayenne and Garlic are both cooking herbs that have enormous health benefits. Using cayenne pepper as a supplement in capsules can prevent flu, colds, headaches, and arthritis. Making a simple garlic oil is a great use of time. It helps in any case of lung ailment, cough, cold, flu and flu prevention, & infections both bacterial and viral. Note: Make garlic oil by mincing or crushing about 6-8 oz fresh garlic cloves into a mason jar. Add just enough olive oil to cover the garlic and let sit in a warm place with a tight lid on for about 3 days, shaking daily. Strain the mixture and store. You can take 1 tsp of this oil internally up to every hour for colds, flu, fever, and infections. It also makes a great ear-drop oil for ear infections!
Oscillococcinum Homeopathic Remedy: I think it’s best to take these over the counter vials for prevention, rather than waiting until you have active symptoms.
Multivitamin: If there is ever a time to take your vitamins - it’s now! Taking a well-rounded whole foods multivitamin is a safe way to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need and replenishing your daily stores. I like Catalyn from Standard Process or Rainbow Light Organic Multivitamins.
Five Mushroom Formula: Ask your Chinese medicine practitioner about Wu Gu Fang (“5 Mushroom Formula” by Golden Flower). Because it is both tonifying and can kill pathogens, it is safe and effective to take throughout the season as a preventative and can also be used in the initial exposure phase of influenza. It contains 5 species of mushroom that have the power to kill viruses and stimulate your immune system. Good stuff!
Don’t Eat Sugar or Junk Food: Numerous studies show that eating refined sugar is immediately followed by a decrease in immune function - happening within minutes of consumption. Don’t allow your body to get bogged down by sugar and junk food during this season… it’s not worth it to yourself or your family. Instead, strengthen your defenses with warm meals like hearty soups, cooked veggies and rice, meat broths, and plenty of water or herbal teas.