Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) utilizes many different modalities to help keep the body free from disease. These modalities include acupuncture, moxibustion, nutrition, qi gong, tai chi and herbal formulations among many others.
Chinese herbal medicine has been used for millennia to keep the body free from disease and to also help remove disease when it attacks by strengthening a weakened immune system by increasing red and white cell counts, T-cell count and enhancing humoral and cellular immunity. Herbs can be used alone or combined with other herbs to make more effective formulas used to strengthen the immune system when the body is fighting illness. Chinese Herbal remedies and nutritional therapy can treat a wide range of health conditions, including immune deficiency, by stimulating and balancing the immune system. TCM strives to regulate immune function and treat the underlying cause of the disease by reducing symptoms, speeding up the healing of infection and normalizing the body’s immune response. And while not all of the herbs we will discuss here are specific to TCM, they can be found and utilized easily.
Reishi Mushroom: This fungi is sometimes called the “great protector” because it guards the body against the detrimental effects stress can have on the physical body. When taken regularly, it has been shown to improve immunity, while also calming the nerves. Specifically, it can help inhibit tumor growth in both breast and prostate cancer.
Elderberry: Elderberry is a commonly used medicinal plant that is known all around the world. Elderberry has been gaining popularity over the past few years, and rightfully so! The berries and flowers of elderberry are packed with antioxidants and vitamins that can boost your immune system. Elderberry is most often taken as a supplement to treat cold and flu symptoms.
Ginger: Ginger can be used fresh, powdered, dried, as oil and juice, and is even added to processed foods. Ginger has a long history of use in various forms of traditional and alternative medicines. It has been used to help digestion, alleviate nausea, reduce the risk of heart disease, and help fight the flu and common cold. Ginger can also reduce inflammation and alleviate exercise-induced muscle pain.
Probiotics: Having the right gut bacteria is linked to numerous health benefits, including weight loss, improved digestion, and healthier skin. There is now substantial evidence that probiotics can provide benefits by improving and modulating immune function, regulating inflammation, and cell-to-cell signaling. Certain probiotics have even shown to decrease airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation by inducing regulatory mechanisms.
A great way to nourish a healthy gut is to consume foods filled with beneficial bacteria, rather than adding supplemental pills. This includes cultured dairy products like yogurt and kefir; fermented vegetables such as kimchi or sauerkraut; miso, tempeh, natto, and other fermented soy products; as well as kombucha (a type of fermented tea).
Astragalus: This herb is a favorite among TCM practitioners and has a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine for a variety of conditions, especially for those who are already fatigued. This herb is specifically known for its ability to strengthen the Wei Qi. Astragalus root is often used as a tonic to increase stamina (the ability to sustain prolonged physical or mental effort). Astragulus promotes healthy resistance from the occasional physical and emotional stressors, all the while supporting healthy immune functions.
The appropriate dose of astragalus depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. Also worth noting, there are over 2,000 different species of astragalus.
As you can see, herbs can be very beneficial and help keep the body free from illness. The herbs mentioned above are just a few examples that would be good to have on hand to help boost your immune system.
Please be proactive in your health, always seek professional advice when adding any kind of supplements to your daily routine.
Aches, pains, fatigue, constipation, skin tags, stress, anxiety, colds, bad breath, sleep apnea, muscle soreness, etc. The list of the everyday ailments many people face is endless. And the medical profession is cashing in on all of it. Why? Because we’re programmed to believe our family doctor has a pill or procedure for everything. But that’s just not true and more importantly, how many pills are you willing to take every single day? Or how many procedures are you willing to undergo? Pills and procedures have side effects, and some can be quite harmful.
Many of the pharmaceuticals we’re now familiar with are derived from naturally-occurring substances. For instance, aspirin was originally derived from the bark of the willow tree and written about by ancient Egyptians. Now, most of the “cures” we use daily are man made in a factory somewhere, using chemicals that tend to be toxic to our bodies when used long term. But there are always alternatives.
Here are some everyday ailments and the alternative/uncommon cures that have been documented over the past few decades.
1. Muscle pain and soreness – This common affliction can be treated using cherries or cherry juice. A recent study at the University of Vermont showed drinking 12 ounces of cherry juice twice daily led to faster muscle pain relief. This is because cherries contain inflammation-fighting antioxidants that help ease muscle achiness. The juice also has a positive side effect of helping insomnia sufferers fall asleep more quickly.
2. Sleep apnea – According to the National Sleep Foundation, this ailment affects more than 18 million American adults. Sleep apnea is a disorder caused by flabby throat muscles and tends to be exacerbated by those carrying extra weight. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal listed a surprising way to decrease sleep apnea….blowing on a didgeridoo. Yup. Those long wooden trumpets used by the aborigines of Australia can actually help ward off sleep apnea by strengthening the muscles and tissues in the throat and mouth. When these muscles are strengthened, there is less chance of the tongue obstructing the airway. Obviously, this one takes some time to see results, as the muscles and tissues have to build up over several months.
3. Skin tags – These common skin growths that stick out from the surface of the skin can be large or small, flat or rounded and affect nearly three million United States citizens each year. While these little annoyances can be removed by a doctor, there is no need. Apple cider vinegar works well at removing these unsightly blemishes. By simply soaking a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and then covering the skin tag with the cotton ball and a bandage a couple of times per day, the tag will eventually dry up and fall off.
There are many different approaches to treating everyday problems and afflictions, there are even books written about the subject. While many of these “home remedies” are available for anybody to try, it is recommended to do research before taking the leap. You might be surprised how easy it is to “cure” yourself using uncommon and unconventional methods.
Thousands of years ago the Imperial Physician in China was tasked with all things health and wellness related for the Emperor and Empress - aches, pains, colds, flus, fertility, vigor, focus and yes - appearance. To rule a nation one had to appear as youthful and strong as possible and, since each Emperor wanted his dynasty to last forever, both actual longevity and the appearance of youth to maintain the confidence of the people was of tantamount importance.
In China this meant a combination of Acupuncture, Herbs, Massage, Gua Sha, Cupping, Dietary and Lifestyle advice - all the tools Licensed Acupuncturists still employ in tandem today to help YOU stay healthy for the long term!
In the realm of natural anti aging specifically however, in addition to Acupuncture, herbs were not only taken internally to support the constitution and maintain health, but also used externally as masques to prevent visible aging and turn back the hands of time when needed.
One of the truly lovely things about Chinese Medicine and Chinese Herbology specifically, is that FOOD is MEDICINE both internally and externally. Here, therefore are my five favorite Chinese herbal facial masques to help prevent and reverse aging using ingredients you can easily get at your local health food store or asian market. If all else fails, Amazon surely has what you need in stock!
5 DIY Chinese Herbal Masques - Natural Remedies for Anti Aging
Most of these require the use of a cloth masque - you boil a tea and then soak the tea in the cloth masque, apply cloth masque to face. If you don’t have a cloth masque, you can easily make one with an old t-shirt or just use gauze.
**To use a T-Shirt - cut out a circle that is the size of your face and under chin area - you can extend all the way to the collar bone to encompass the “decollette” area if you like. Soak in tea, apply!
**To use gauze - pick up some large squares or a roll of gauze in the first aid department of the drug store. Open enough packages, or cut enough strips, to cover the face. Soak in tea, apply!
Anti Aging Facial Masque Ingredients and Indications:
Contact Rebecca for More Information - See Her at New Seasons This Month for More Anti Aging Tricks!
For the ultimate in anti aging therapies, Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture is your best holistic natural anti aging face treatment. Encompassing thousands of years of Chinese Medicine knowledge, your personal constitution is assessed and specific techniques are applied to your individual concerns to turn back the hands of time. Expression lines, fine lines, deep lines, complexion concerns, are all addressed using a combination of highly individual Acupuncture, herbal, massage and home therapies that not only treat your appearance, but also your internal physical and energetic self to optimize health and wellness.
In Chinese Medicine, the face cannot be divorced from the rest of the body. The energetic channels represented there include Stomach, Bladder, Gall Bladder, Large Intestine, Conception Vessel, and stimulating them stimulates and balances the internal organs while we are treating those pesky signs of aging. It is a quite a bit more than skin deep!
As for the information above, all of these herbs can also be taken internally in capsule form, or cooked and consumed as tea. Yes, even rose! So don’t hesitate to use them both internally and externally if they match your constitution.
If you want to more, please peruse my website, facebook page or pinterest page. Better yet - contact me! You can contact me via email anytime or schedule an appointment or free consultation (phone or in person) online 24/7.
You can also catch me in person at New Seasons in February for a lecture on Chinese Medicine Facial Rejuvenation and Anti Aging - see dates below. Email email@example.com to sign up for these **FREE** classes or call the wellness class hotline at 503-280-5177. I hope to see you there!
Until next time,
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the Immune System is interconnected with everything. Spleen Qi (or energy), Lung Qi and Kidney Qi especially each have a role to play in the immune system’s ability to do its job well and protect you from colds, flu’s and “external evils” as they’re called in TCM.
Truly, having a strong immune system is an all-year kind of thing. When you’re sick, you have to treat the pathogen. When you’re not sick, you should be tonifying or strengthening the immune system to prevent colds and flu’s, and in TCM this includes allergies as well - they can be related to the same energetic strengths and weaknesses.
Here are my 5 favorite supplements for a strong immune system that can help you stay well long term:
5 Supplements for a Strong Immune System
Boost Essence by People's Herbs
This herbal remedy is one of my favorites. It is a balanced adaptogenic tonic formula that helps the body find a natural homeostasis. It has herbs that enter the Lung, Spleen and Kidney Channels. I always keep this formula on hand in my office because it is so excellent for people who are highly stressed, fatigued and feel like they are prone to get sick easily. 2 caps per day recommended.
Liquid Vitamin D 1,000IU by Seroyal
Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system and here in the Pacific NW, it is virtually impossible to generate enough naturally from sun exposure. A new study found that Vitamin D actually regulates the body’s ability to fight bacteria. When you combine that with the improved energy, improved bone strength and anti-cancer properties of this supplement, it is easy to see why EVERYONE should be taking it. In the Pacific NW I recommend 2,000 IU per day.
Probiotic Pearls by Integrative Therapeutics
Did you know that immunity starts in your gut? It does! Genetic sequencing has revealed that gut microbes are closely related to immune function, not to mention Peyer’s Patches - the large immune “sensors” specific to your intestines. Good gut bacteria is essential for immune health, and if you aren’t certain about the happiness of your gut bugs, three to six months of probiotic supplementation is recommended to cheer them up. IT Probiotic Pearls are my favorite because they are highly concentrated and shelf stable. 1 Pearl Per Day.
Empowered Cordyceps by People's Herbs
Cordyceps fungus is a Lung and Kidney tonic in Chinese Medicine. It is especially strong for reducing asthma, improving adrenal function and improving thyroid function. Also, because it helps with lung function, it has been found to improve endurance in high level athletes. I prescribe this often for patients who have low thyroid, fatigue and are prone to get sick in colder weather and for my Iron Man competitors to give them an edge, especially at altitude. People’s Encapsulations represent the best in quality and purity. 2 caps per day.
Five Mushroom Formula by People's Herbs
Mushrooms have long been heralded in Chinese Medicine as longevity tonics to increase energy and vitality. We now know that Reishi in particular, a Kidney Tonic, can also decrease blood pressure, improve sleep, and that it has mild anti-cancer properties as well. For patients who have cancer, who are are highly stressed and have trouble sleeping, or for patients who are recovering after a long illness, I often recommend Five Mushroom Formula to improve immunity and vitality. Can be taken in addition to any other remedy or regime to enhance its effectiveness. 2 caps per day.
Simple Supplements, Big Results
The supplements above are safe, simple and highly effective. Their effectiveness comes from the fact that they work on both physical and energetic levels. Improving gut health, improving sleep, improving the body’s natural anti-bacterial response, and immune sensing abilities of the gut - all important for long term immunity. With herbs that focus on the Lung - our first line of defense where immune battles are fought, on the Spleen - the supply line behind the soldiers, and the Kidney - like basecamp where extra supplies are stored, these herbs ensure that you have strong Qi for maintaining an immune system that is prepared for the fight and ready to win.
If you want to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime. All the supplements listed are available in office and for shipping if interested! Email me with questions.
Until next time,
supplements for strong immune system, strong immune system, best immune system supplements
Green food supplements are something I often recommend to my patients and something that I take regularly myself. Is it possible to eat enough green foods to not need a green food supplement per se? Of course, but it can be hard to get enough vegetables throughout an average day. Ideally, 50% (or more!) of your daily food intake should be vegetables and at least half of these should be dark green such as kale, broccoli, alfalfa. If you look at your plate for lunch and dinner especially, can you say that 50% is plant based and that half again of that is dark green in color?
Green food supplements are also highly alkalinizing to the body and there is increasing evidence that an alkaline pH is highly beneficial to your overall health and longevity. In particular an alkaline body pH has been proven to:
In short, an alkaline diet can be facilitated by regular green food supplementation and can improve health, wellbeing and longevity by decreasing inflammation, mitigating the effects of stress and actually reducing common chronic diseases. Furthermore, in Chinese Medicine green foods are blood and Qi building. This means they are especially important during high stress times and, for women, during your menstrual cycle when your Qi and Blood are naturally depleted by life.
Best Green Food Supplements
Okay, green foods, green food supplements and powders are good, but there are so many, how do you choose? Here are my two favorites that I carry and recommend in my office:
Biotics Nitrogreens - available in office
Biotics Nitrogreens is a highly alkalinizing formula of the darkest of dark high potency green grasses plus acerola berry to provide a high vitamin C content. Formulated from organic barley grass, wheat grass, oat grass, alfalfa grass and kamut, it has a high chlorophyll content. In addition, it contains concentrates of organic broccoli sprouts, cauliflower and kale for a high dose of cruciferous vegetables which improve phase 2 detoxification and have anti-cancer and hormonal regulating functions. Lastly it contains carrot and beet which provide naturally occurring antioxidants for anti-aging and digestive health. It is the darkest green green drink you will likely ever see, and I personally feel like I get a noticeable energy boost with every cup.
Innate Renewal Greens - available in office and online via my virtual dispensary
Innate Renewal Greens is my other favorite green food supplement because it contains so much more than just green food. If you’re looking for an all-in-one health boosting food based formula, this is it. Innate Renewal Greens contains green grasses and cruciferous vegetables like the Nitrogreens, but also contains additional digestive enzymes, mushroom blend including Reishi, Cordyceps and Shitake (longevity herbs in Chinese Medicine), green tea extract and turmeric for decreasing inflammation, milk thistle, chlorophyll, grape seed extract and probiotics. Add a simple multivitamin and a fish oil or essential fatty acid supplement, and you have a complete program for long term health and longevity with a minimal quantity of pills and powders.
I personally alternate between these two depending on what is going on in my life. When I have phases that require burning the candle at both ends between kids/work/family obligations I take the Renewal Greens - if I forget some of my other supplements (as I’m prone to during high stress times) I have a little more coverage with the Innate Renewal Greens. During lower stress times when I am better with my full compliment of multi vitamin, personalized herbal remedies, probiotics, fish oil, heart health supplements etc, I take the Nitrogreens. They are more highly concentrated and feel like they have a slightly stronger alkalinizing effect for me.
Question? Want some Green Food Love? Ask Rebecca!
If you’re curious about knowing more, you can comment here and I’ll respond as quick as I can! Both of the formulas I mentioned are available in office, or can be ordered and shipped direct to you if you desire - just email me! Green foods are a great addition to any supplement regime that can only enhance your health and wellbeing. I often have a container open in the office for sampling too - just ask next time your in!
Remember that for supplement, acupuncture, general health or facial rejuvenation questions you can always book a free consult or a full acupuncture session online. Thanks for tuning in!
Until next time,
Do you experience any of the following symptoms:
The reality of food today is that food isn’t what it used to be. If you aren’t able to eat organic, meats can be full of harmful hormones, and non-organic genetically modified fruits and vegetables can hold less than 10% of the nutrients found in their organic counterparts. Vitamin deficiencies, therefore, are more common in the United States than many people realize. Furthermore, almost all the symptoms listed above, can be taken care of by a simple daily multiple vitamin!
Getting the Most out of Vitamin Supplements
Before you run out to the grocery or health food store and grab a multi, however, be warned - recent research has shown that many vitamin supplements over the counter falsely advertise their contents. Probiotics have been found to contain E.Coli, and herbal remedies sometimes have completely different herbs in them than what the bottle says! Are there over the counter brands you can trust? Yes, especially for basic single nutrients like Vitamin C or Magnesium, but for multi vitamins and herbs, it is always recommended to get them from a trusted provider.
Acupuncturists, Naturopaths and Nutritionalists have access to provider only brands that undergo much more rigorous testing than what you find over the counter, and who guarantee the contents of their products. This is in part marketing driven - more expensive brands want to be trusted and want to engender brand loyalty. To be trusted, they spend time and money on making sure their products test true and make a measurable difference in treatment outcomes. They spend more money on their products and guarantee purity, and the investment pays off - these brands are more expensive, but they are trusted and the do make a difference so they are worth the money.
The other important distinction of provider-only brands compared to over the counter vitamins, is that they are guaranteed to be bioavailable. Many over the counter supplements contain tablet binders that your digestion can’t get through to actually make use of the vitamins inside. Provider only brands, such as Standard Process, Seroyal and Biotics NW to name a few, use binders that are antioxidant rich and tested to ensure that they break down easily in your digestion so you can feel confident that your body can actually get to the nutrients inside. These brands are arguably the best vitamin supplements available.
How Do I Get the Best Vitamin Supplements Available?
To get the best supplements available, and the right selection for your needs, its ideal to see a provider. I always encourage all of my patients to take a basic multi vitamin, an Omega Fatty Acid supplement, vitamin D and probiotic for optimal health and I actually created my All Ways Wellness program around this concept.
You can also order and refill prescriptions for provider only brands through my Emerson Ecologics Virtual Dispensary HERE.
If you’re interested in learning or more, contact me via email anytime or book a free consultation online. I always include nutritional and herbal counseling in all my acupuncture sessions as indicated for your unique case!
Until next time,
My earliest and fondest memories of Chinese Medicine are of tea - the thick brown to black stuff my mom used to cook weekly and drink daily to treat her debilitating joint pain and weakness. It made her functional, I honestly believe it saved her life and I couldn’t be more thankful.
As a child I delighted in watching her Acupuncturist create this tea to treat illness just for her. I’d watch as leaves, twigs and bug carcasses (mom hated that part, so naturally I loved it…) were carefully weighed, measured and packaged into doses, and our whole house always smelled of that unusual bitter herbal tang.
Chinese herbs are like a language all their own and can be used to treat many illnesses - from something simple like a cold to something complex like diabetes, thyroid issues or inflammatory bowel disease. The Chinese pharmacopeia includes ingredients from Magnolia and Mint to Earthworm, Leech and Myrrh.
A surprising number of simple herbs found at the grocery store are part of the Chinese Materia Medica, however, and in my humble opinion, the best teas for health are simple remedies that go a long way towards treating common ailments.
Here are my 4 favorite herbal home remedies, therefore, to treat Allergies, Common Cold, Digestive Complaints and to enhance overall health.
Rebecca's Top Healthy Teas
My favorite teas are healthy, easy and delicious. You can find all of them at the grocery store or, in some cases, online through my Amazon store if needed.
If you’re interested in creating an effective medicinal-tea cabinet, start with these and you can’t go wrong. If you have questions post them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to help you!
Until next time,
Chinese Medicine has been treating colds and flus without the help of western science for over 3,000 years. There is a very sophisticated differentiation between types and stages of viral illness in Chinese herbal medicine, and concrete symptoms associated with each different presentation. Do you have chills? Fever? Alternating chills and fever? A sore throat? Congestion in the head vs. the chest or both? Malaise? Fatigue? Phlegm that is difficult to expel or easy? All of this and more combine to create your specific and unique picture which can be diagnosed and treated with Chinese Medicine.
Thousands of years of clinical history as well as an individualized approach to treating viral illness gives Chinese Medicine a corner on the market of tried, tested, and truly effective supplements to treat illness and I’m going to share my top 5 supplements for cold and top 5 supplements for flu recovery here with you today.
I keep all of these are remedies on hand in the office and at home. I prescribe them regularly and use them often for myself and my family. At home, if we get sick we are usually over the illness in 3-5 days thanks to the remedies below. If you are pregnant or nursing, however, please consult your physician or TCM practitioner before taking any type of new remedy.
Top 5 Supplements for Colds and How to Use Them
Top 5 Supplements for Flu and How to Use Them
Questions? Contact Rebecca:
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.