The ability to adapt to the stresses of life is fundamental to life itself. Adaptability is the root of evolution and the rate limiting factor to biological success. Fortunately, human beings are one of the most adaptable creatures on earth. We have adapted to almost every climate. People live in some of the hottest, driest, dampest, coldest, and most barren parts of the earth.
In this age, a healthy person easily adapts to a wide range of normal stressors, such as changes in weather, nutrition, emotions, or physical activity. Success could be measured by how well we handle stress. Those who manage stress well generally take on greater challenges, overcome more obstacles, and get more accomplished.
Successfully adapting to change is the truest way to grow in experience, knowledge, and wisdom. The more adaptive an individual, the more vigor with which one can meet the challenges of life, and the greater that person's heath.
But if we lose this fundamental ability, we stiffen and lose our ability to change. Therefore, we easily become imbalanced and stagnant, and dangerously susceptible to disease.
Traditional Chinese medicine emphasizes the importance of flowing with nature's changes; constantly harmonizing, always maintaining balance to avoid the extremes. By knowing when you have gone far enough, you will lead a less stressed, less draining life. Additionally, by living close to nature and changing gracefully with your environment, you can avoid disaster and slow down aging.
One of the greatest secrets of a satisfying and happy life, according to traditional Chinese medicine wisdom, is to focus on promoting health instead of managing disease. Physical health is irrelevant if it is accompanied by unhappiness, trouble, or failure. It is necessary and possible to cultivate an attitude of holistic health so the body, mind, and spirit can flourish. Total success takes determination, knowledge, and discipline.
But we don't have to do it alone. While we already have excellent adaptive systems in place, such as the work done by our liver, kidneys, and digestive tract, sometimes we can use a tune up to function optimally. Regular acupuncture and tonic Chinese herbs are wonderful resources to promote physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. Traditional Chinese medicine can help you look and feel your best. Try out a system of healing that's full of wisdom and perfect for the modern age.
Inspiration: The Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs, Ron Teeguarden
New Research Shows Salicylic Acid Targets A Pathway To Cell Death In Parkinson's, And It's Better With Licorice!
April is Parkinson's Awareness month! This post highlights some exciting new research in Parkinson's Disease (PD) at Cornell University.
Researchers found that the main ingredient in aspirin may stop the process leading to cell death in PD. The published paper can be found here. The compound is called salicylic acid and is found naturally in many plants. Scientists were studying its effect on cell death in plants when they noticed its similarities to a medication called selegiline, used to prolong the anti-parkinson activity of levodopa.
To understand its potential to treat PD, the researchers know they would need to study it in human cells. They tested three forms of salicylic acid (plant-derived, synthetic, and a form from Chinese medicinal herb licorice) to see if it could prevent cell death in human cells.
This research shows that salicylic acid may interact with an enzyme linked to PD to stop cell death in laboratory settings. This opens the door to development of compounds that are similar to, but more effective than, aspirin. Undoubtedly, more research is needed. Note, although salicylic acid is a main component of aspirin, aspirin itself has not been shown to be beneficial in PD.
In this study, a medicinal Chinese herb was as effective as a synthetic compound, and more effective than aspirin itself. Meanwhile, eating licorice for these therapeutic purposes is not recommended. The licorice used in this study is a specific form derived from Chinese medicine.
About licorice root:
Licorice root, Radix Glycyrrhizae, is traditional Chinese herb that tonifies energy, especially in the digestive and respiratory systems. In combination with other herbs, it releases cramps and alleviates pain, is used as a poison antidote, can lessen the harsh and toxic nature of other herbs, and enhances the overall effects of an herbal formula.
Source: Parkinson Disease Foundation
Spring has arrived, which means many of us will begin a seasonal spring cleanse. A gentle and thorough spring cleanse is an important part of traditional Chinese medicine. The goal is to remove any stagnation left over from the conservation of winter, lighten our systems in preparation for the high activity of summer, and become more vibrant and focused. Additionally, a spring cleanse helps us to decide what is important and what to let go of in pursuit of greater wellbeing.
Spring is characterized by expansive energy that promotes growth and change. It is important to exercise, be in nature, and practice deep breathing exercises to align with this energy and gain its benefits. For more information, read this article on how to spring forward into health.
What I want to discuss is how your body works during the cleansing process.
First, metabolic waste is pushed into the circulation system. This process is led by the liver where the blood, which carries metabolic waste, is stored and filtered. From the liver, blood flows into the right atrium of the heart, also where the lymph system empties. With contraction, the blood and lymph enters the lungs to become oxygenated. Initial cleansing side effects at this stage include symptoms of cold/flu, congestion, or coughing.
The blood then flows back to the left heart. There is a strong connection between the heart and mind in traditional Chinese medicine. This connection correlates to emotional release, insights, or insomnia as waste is removed from the heart.
Waste is then circulated through the digestive system. A functioning digestive system is able to eliminate some waste with defecation. If the digestive system is weak or stagnant, the waste can become stuck and common side effects are bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or flatulence. As the blood continues to circulate, it reaches our kidneys which eliminate some waste via urine. Waste that is not able to be excreted travels back to the liver.
On one hand, this cycle can be quite fast- your heart circulates blood approximately 1400 times per day. But we can also become stuck at one part of this cycle for weeks or months, making this process much longer. It is valuable to note what symptoms you experience during a detox, as this can help you understand where health issues originate and where they progress to.
To recap: waste is drained into the circulation system, which is eventually excreted via sweat, breath, urine, bowel movements, and emotional release. With any cleanse, it is important to move gradually so the body can efficiently manage the discharge of waste.
By clearing waste and preventing reabsorption, we make room for the body’s natural process of regeneration and rejuvenation.
To make your spring cleanse as beneficial as possible, consider incorporating some acupuncture or herbs to harmonize your body’s energy and expedite the rejuvenating process.
Chrysanthemum flower (Chrysanthemum morifolium) has been brewed for thousands of years in Asia and continues to be one of the most commonly consumed herbs in China. Chrysanthemum is aromatic, has a cooling effect on the body, and has a slight bitter and sweet flavor.
This delicious flower is most known for its effect on vision and eye health. It is used to brighten the eyes, improve vision, and clear minor eye irritation. It helps support the natural moisture and coolness of the eyes. It is widely used by individuals who experience mild, occasional dry eyes or redness due to irritation by dust, wind, or overstrain, especially during the spring or summer months.
Chrysanthemum is also used to calm and clear the mind. Consuming a relaxing cup of chrysanthemum tea can help to relieve stress and tension when due to mild overwork or too much thinking.
Ever since the earliest record of traditional herbs, the beneficial effects of long-term consumption of chrysanthemum have been recognized. It has long been a favorite of Daoists and poets. The famous painter Zheng Ban-Qiao (one of the “Eight Eccentrics” of 18th century Yangzhou) remarked:
Tasting chrysanthemum tea of old- this flower of longevity!
It is called Taichong, or Great Rushing. Located between the first and second metatarsal bones, it is the source point of the Liver channel. Source points are acupuncture points where energy from deep in the body surfaces and concentrates. These points modulate organ function.
Activating this point helps to improve any stagnation, any time of year. It is extra beneficial during the springtime to address issues like itchy, watery eyes or headaches. Spring Forward Into Health has more info about the Liver and spring connection.
Starting at your toes, run your finger between the metatarsal bones toward your ankle on both feet. The point is located at the pronounced depression before the junction of the metatarsals. Apply pressure in the area until you discover a tender spot. Then, apply firm pressure until it feels a little achy. Repeat until the achiness disappears.
Here are five tips to help get you through allergy season this spring.
If these tips don't do the trick, acupuncture and Chinese herbs are excellent at reducing or eliminating seasonal allergies, as well as boosting immunity to prevent a recurrence of symptoms.
While winter was a time to rest and go inward, spring is a time of renewal and regeneration. In traditional Chinese medicine, spring is associated with the liver and its energy is expansive and outward moving.
When liver energy is balanced, we are able to make decisions and follow through with our creative visions, our tendons are flexible, and our eyes are clear and bright. When the liver is out of balance, we may notice foggy thinking, tight tendons, red and itchy eyes, or increased agitation.
Four tips to put some spring in your step:
When spring arises, if you begin to feel out of balance, consider receiving a traditional Chinese medicine treatment. Acupuncture and traditional Chinese herbs can help to improve the health of your liver, as well as harmonize with spring’s energy.
Thoughts and practical tips to help you look and feel your best based in the wisdom of Chinese medicine.
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