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Herb Talk: tonics

Herb Talk: tonics

Tonics are herbs that strengthen the body in some way.  Either supporting a particular organ system or energy.  In traditional Chinese medicine we have herbs that boost different types of energy in the body: qi, blood, yin and yang. Astragalus (huang qi) – Qi tonic Boosts the body’s energy and immune function.  Helps treat fatigue, poor appetite, nausea and diarrhea, as well as reducing water retention. Longan (long yan rou) – Blood tonic Nourishes the blood, which provides a calming effect to treat insomnia, fearfulness, poor memory or dizziness. Walnut (hu tao ren) – Yang tonic Strengthens the kidneys which helps with low back or knee pain, as well as frequent urination of large volume .  It has a warming and moistening nature which can help soothe the lungs and treat constipation. Lily bulb (bai he) – Yin tonic Soothes the lungs for dry cough.  I often recommend steaming lily bulb with pear and adding honey for residual dry cough.  Lily bulb also has a calming effect when there...

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Herb Talk: Rose, Honeysuckle and Chrysanthemum

Herb Talk: Rose, Honeysuckle and Chrysanthemum

All three of these flowers make beautiful teas on their own or in combination with other herbs.  They each have their own unique benefits. Rose (mei gui hua) The Chinese rose bud is different than the Western variety and can be used for relieve pain related to menstruation, such as cramps or breast tenderness.  It has the action of moving Qi (your body’s energy) and blood which can help moderate moodiness.  Warming in nature with a sweet, slightly bitter flavour it makes a mild tea that is safe to drink anytime.       Honeysuckle (jin yin hua) Honeysuckle is also sweet, but with a cold nature it should be taken when there are signs of heat in the body.  Signs of heat could be hot, painful sores or swelling;  early stages of a cold presenting with a sore throat and headache; painful urination.  Honeysuckle tea can make a refreshing drink in the summer to cool down. Avoid drinking honeysuckle tea if you feel cold.       Chrysanthemum...

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Herbs for Heart Health

Herbs for Heart Health

Do you feel anxious, have trouble sleeping, startle easily, pounding in your chest, dizziness, sweating at night, scattered thoughts or poor memory?   Balancing your Heart may help.  This doesn’t mean sitting in lotus, chanting Om until your heart chakra opens up but there is definitely a spiritual and emotional component to the Heart system in traditional Chinese medicine.  According to Traditional Chinese Medicine the Heart governs blood by the following actions: supplies blood to all body tissues, determines strength of constitution, converts food Qi (energy) into blood blood vessels reflect the energy of the heart, if Heart Qi and blood is strong the pulse will be full and regular manifests in the complexion – a rosy, lustrous complexion is a sign the heart is pumping blood all over the body and that the blood is abundant houses the Shen (mind) which is considered to be all mental faculties as well as the emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of a person. there are 5 functions in particular related to the heart: mental...

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Make Your Own Wine Tonic

Make Your Own Wine Tonic

Tonics have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for a very long time.  It is not unusual to see bottles of rice wine with herbs floating in them, ginseng being one of the most common (seen above) as it has known energy and immune boosting benefits.  Recently there has been a trend towards bitters which share some similarities with wine tonics and historically have been used as a digestive aid.  Wine tonics are easy to make and customizable to particular ailments and palettes.  Typically rice wine is used, however a good quality vodka or brandy may also be used.  Herbal tonics can be taken daily to strengthen the body, aid in sleep or digestion and boost the immune system.  Herb selection can be tailored to the need of the individual.  A small amount is ingested each day somewhere in the range of 20ml – 60ml.   The simple steps to making your own TCM tonic are outlined below.   1. Gather the herbs for the desired effect, tonifying blood...

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