Job’s Tears and Red Beans For Longevity

By Vicky Chan of NourishU 

Job’s tears are commonly known as Chinese pearl barley or coix. They are the seed of a grass, grown mostly in Asia and are well known for their many health benefits.

Chinese Medicine classifies the nature of Job’s tears as slightly cold and sweet and they are attributive to spleen, stomach, lungs, liver, and large intestine. They are known to promote diuresis and invigorate the spleen; relieve dampness obstruction and eliminate phlegm. They can also clear away heat and drain pus. Job's tears are a superior herb, proven and safe and commonly used for treating babies with heat rashes, children with smallpox and skin allergies and adults with arthritis, high cholesterol, obesity, scanty urine, swelling and pain in joints and sinews, rheumatism, lung infections, cough with blood in sputum and dry scaly skin. They are almost like an all-encompassing herb which can do so much good for our health.

Modern scientific research has confirmed the anti-allergic effect and cholesterol lowering properties of Job’s tears. Some research suggests that the chemicals in Job's tears might interfere with cancer cell growth, has antioxidant effects and might also decrease the growth of bacteria and parasites. Other research has found that the fiber contained in Job's tears might decrease how much fat and cholesterol the body absorbs.

In order to get the best results from Job’s tears, it is recommended to eat them regularly. There are many ways and recipes incorporating Job`s tears in our everyday diet. They can be made into tea, soups, desserts or stews. Please search our website (www.nourishu.com) to see many recipes using Job’s tears to cure many different health problems.

Chinese Herbal Medicine Cabinet - Burlap : Chinese Medicine LivingNatural Laundry Soap : Chinese Medicine LivingSilver Bodhisattva Earrings : Chinese Medicine Living

With many middle age people nowadays suffering from high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease, one common root cause of their problems is internal dampness or water logging in cells. The following recipe of using Job’s tears and red bean is the best natural cure to solve their health woes. In many Chinese Medicine literatures, this recipe is highly praised as the one thing to take daily for health and longevity. The basic recipe can be extended depending on one`s needs by adding one or two extra ingredients to give added benefits. This is the healthiest breakfast replacement to the unhealthy food that most people are eating daily such as milk and cereals, instant oatmeal, bread and baked goods.

And it is very easy to make. You just need to put the ingredients in a slow cooker and start the cooking before you go to bed and then you have this healthy hot breakfast waiting for you when you get up in the morning. It is especially comforting during winter time to have a hot breakfast before heading out into the cold. You can make it as thick or as watery as you like. You may drink the liquid as a beverage and strain the grains to eat separately at lunch by adding them to a salad or eat them together as a hot thick cereal. You can make a batch good enough for up to two to three days if it is easier for you. Please note: never add rice to this recipe because it will defeat the purpose of using it as a diuretic because rice is bonding and will do the opposite!

Job’s Tears and Red Beans Recipe : Chinese Medicine Living

 

Job’s Tears and Red Bean Soup

Symptoms

Overweight, water retention, poor digestive health.

Therapeutic Effects

Releases water retention, promotes energy circulation and reduces body fat and overall body weight.

Ingredients (for 2 to 3 servings)

  • Job’s tears (yi yi ren) 意米 – half cup
  • Red beans – half cup

 

Optional Ingredients

  • add  pumpkin – to treat diabetes, stomach pain, constipation or diarrhea
  • add yam – to treat underweight and lack of appetite
  • add fox nut – to treat weak constitution, weak kidney functions and frequent urination
  • add ginger – to treat cold stomach syndrome with cold hands and feet
  • add black bean – to strengthen kidney
  • add soy bean – to treat water retention in lower legs and feet
  • add pear – to treat cough
  • add longan fruit – to treat lack of energy and over sleeping
  • add lily bulb and lotus seed – to treat insomnia

Job’s Tears and Red Beans Recipe : Chinese Medicine Living

Directions

  • Rinse all ingredients and put in a pot with adequate water. If using a slow heat cooker, start off the cooking with hot boiling water.
  • Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium and cook for one hour or to desire softness.
  • When ready to eat, add honey or organic sugar to taste if preferred.

Job’s Tears and Red Beans Recipe : Chinese Medicine Living

Usage

No limitations and suitable for all ages.


Living with the Seasons According to Chinese Medicine - Autumn / Fall

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

Living in Harmony with Autumn/Fall with Chinese Medicine

Autumn is the season where the hot summer days gradually become shorter, and the leaves begin to change, presenting us with their beautiful colours before they fall off the trees to prepare for the coming winter. There is a chill in the air that signals us to start putting away our summer clothes and get out warmer clothing for the coming cold weather. We also begin to harvest and gather the brightly coloured foods that grow at this time of year like pumpkins and squashes, so they can be put away for winter. It is the time of year that we go from the relaxed and carefree attitudes of summer to the more serious and introspective energies associated with autumn.

fall in Chinese medicine

In Chinese medicine, autumn is associated with metal and the lungs. This season governs organization, setting limits and protecting boundaries. In autumn we move from the external, expansive nature of summer to the internal, contractive nature of autumn. It is a good idea to finish up any projects you started in spring or summer and enjoy the results of all your hard work. It is also a good time to begin new projects that focus more on the internal – cultivating body and mind and becoming more introspective. The energy of the lungs is “letting go”, so autumn is a good time to be mindful to let go of anything we may be holding on to so we can make room for new experiences that will help us to learn and grow.

Autumn Associations in Chinese Medicine

Element - Metal
Yin Organ - Lungs
Yang Organ - Large Intestine
Emotion – Grief / Sadness
Climate - Dryness
Stage of Development - Harvest
Flavour – Pungent
Colour – White
Sense Organs - Nose
Tissues - Skin
Sound - Crying
Healing Sound – sssssssssss

eye

Grief, the Emotion of the Lung

In Chinese medicine, every organ is associated with an emotion, and the emotion of the lungs is sadness and grief. The lungs are associated with clear thinking and communication, openness to new ideas, positive self-image, and the ability to relax, let go and be happy. When the lungs are out of balance or you are dealing with excessive grief, you will have difficulty coping with loss and change, a sense of alienation, and experience a prolonged sense of sadness that does not dissipate. The lungs are also associated with attachment, so if you have a hard time letting go of people, objects, experiences or spend a lot of time reliving the past, this can point to a deficiency of the lungs. If the energy (or qi) of the lungs is weak, you may experience an overwhelming, constant state of grief that does not ease. This deficiency, if prolonged, can lead to depression and other issues.

In contrast, grief that is expressed fully and resolved is strengthening both physically and psychologically. Therefore it is not avoiding grief, but rather dealing with it in a healthy way that is the key to being happy and maintaining balance in all aspects of life. For a more detailed description of how sadness and grief affect the lungs, you can read - Grief - A Chinese Medicine Perspective.

The Lung and its Partner - The Large Intestine

Every organ in TCM has a partner - one is yin, the other yang. The lung is yin, and the large intestine is yang, and they work together to keep balance in the body. The lung is responsible for taking in the new. This manifests physically as breathing in the clean, crisp fall air, filling us with the oxygen we need to think clearly, and our bodies to function optimally. The large intestine is responsible for letting go of the waste. It is the last stage of digestion, and takes everything the body doesn’t need, and releases it, only keeping what is vital and important for us to function. Emotionally, this is why fall is a good time to look at things we might be hanging on to, and working through them so that we can let them go for good. Often, people with elimination problems like chronic constipation can have problems letting go, and an acupuncturist would look at the emotional aspect of each of these symptoms. Because the lungs are associated with sadness and grief, they can be damaged by these emotions if they are in excess, conversely, a prolonged lung deficiency can lead to feelings of sadness.

Here are some things that you can do to keep your lungs and large intestine in tip-top shape this fall and for the year to come.

living with the seasons in Chinese Medicine - Fall

Breathe Deeply

One of the best ways to strengthen the lungs is to breathe deeply. It sounds so simple, but most of us don't breathe deeply at all and this affects things like our memory, energy level, and immune system. When we breathe deeply and with intention, we are flooding our cells and brains with much-needed oxygen that is vital to all the body's processes. We are also taking in vital qi from the air that the lungs use to perform many functions that keep us healthy. The best thing to do is to go for a walk outside in the crisp, clean autumn air, and fill your lungs with all that good qi. Below is a simple exercise to help you get started.

Breathing Exercise - Deep Breathing

Breathe in through your nose, and think of breathing in all the way to your belly, taking is as much air as possible. Once the lungs are completely full, hold the lungs full for a count of five. Once you have counted to five, exhale through your mouth from the very bottom of your Lungs until they are completely empty. Do this three times. This exercise should be done three times daily.

Let Go of Negativity in Your Life

Of course, letting go of negativity is always a good idea, but it is particularly important in autumn when Lung energy is at its peak. We can often feel like many of the negative things is our lives are beyond our control, but if we become aware of negative things, we can make small changes to avoid them as much as possible. Negativity can be an extremely destructive force both physically and psychologically, so working towards keeping as much of it as possible out of our lives is a good goal. Sometimes, it is just the awareness that can really help make the changes necessary to keep as much positivity and light in our lives, because that is the energy that feeds us on every level and helps us be happy healthy beings.

Living with the Seasons - Autumn / Fall

Walk Outside

One of the best things we can do to strengthen the lungs is to walk outside, soak up the beautiful fall colours and breathe in the clean, cool air. There is nothing more healing to us that connecting with nature, and autumn is one of the most beautiful times of the year to do it.

Reorganize, Clean & Donate

Autumn is the perfect time to take stock of things in your life, organize and let go of the old, to make room for the new. This is a good practice in the fall in the physical world, as well as the emotional one. Go through your closet and take out all those old clothes that you haven’t worn in ages - donate them to a local charity so that they can be new for someone else. Clean out your computer deleting anything you no longer need. Organize your cupboards. All of these activities can be incredibly liberating and are in harmony with the autumn season and strengthening to the lungs function of letting go.

 

This beautiful illustration by Morgan Davidson

Wear a Scarf

Because fall is a season also associated with wind - in Chinese medicine considered the cause of 100 diseases - a simple thing like wearing a scarf can ward off cold which is said to enter most easily at the neck. It’s an easy way to stay warm, portable and very stylish!

Keeping the lungs strong and healthy is important in autumn. In Chinese medicine, the lungs are considered a “delicate organ” because of their close relationship with the outside of the body. The lungs are the only yin organ with a direct connection to the outside of the body - so we must be extra careful to keep them strong, especially in the fall.

fall foods in Chinese medicine

Beneficial Foods in Fall

Because the weather begins to cool off in autumn, its a good idea to eat less cooling foods, like salads and raw foods at this time of year. Longer cooking times and heartier ingredients are used in autumn to help nourish the body and support the immune system throughout the winter months. To support the digestive system, soups and stews are eaten as their long cooking times are warming and the foods are easier to digest. And because the autumn is a season associated with wind and dryness, it is important to eat moisturizing yin foods like the snow-ear mushroom. Here is an excellent recipe using snow-ear mushroom, perfect for fall - Snow-Ear Mushroom, Apple & Pork Soup. Foods that nourish the lungs are eaten in fall. Below is a list of beneficial foods to eat in the fall season.

  • Garlic
  • Sweet potato
  • Ginger
  • Onion
  • Cabbage
  • Pears
  • Walnuts
  • Black pepper
  • Radish
  • Rice
  • Chilli
  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Leeks
  • Miso
  • Navy Beans
  • Soy Beans
  • Almonds
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Mustard Greens
  • Apricot
  • Banana
  • Eggs
  • Sourdough Bread
  • Sauerkraut
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Vinegar
  • Cheese
  • Yoghurt
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Grapefruit
  • Apples
  • Plums
  • Grapes

The best way to stay healthy according to Chinese medicine is learning about the nature of each season and living in harmony with its spirit. If we are living in harmony with the world around us, we see that nature is slowing down and contracting, preparing to rest so it is good for us to do the same. Sleeping a little longer, eating warming, nourishing foods, and moving inward - paying extra attention to our internal lives. Because the metal element within us gives us our sense of self-worth, this is the season to give ourselves some extra attention and self-love so that instead of seeking value outside, like chasing status, money, and power, we can be content inside and know that we have (and always have had) everything we will ever need and are all perfect, complete beings.

 

The beautiful featured image photo by Jeremy Thomas on Unsplash



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Painful Periods? Why You Don't Have To Suffer.

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

Painful periods are what got me into Chinese medicine. A strange thing to say maybe, but it is true. I hated them then, but when I look back, I am so grateful for them. It is because of my horrible cramps that I became an acupuncturist.

Horrible cramps are what led to my introduction to Chinese medicine when I was a teenager. I had been suffering with them for years, and the only thing that doctors would ever tell me was that I would have to deal with them, that this is what came with being a girl. There were also prescriptions for hard core painkillers which could knock out a horse, but that was it. This was the treatment.

period cramps : Chinese Medicine Living

I was always amazed, even then, that there was no investigation. No tests, no ultra sounds to determine what might be happening. My doctor suspected that I might have endometriosis, but said that there was really nothing they could do about it. They could do an exploratory surgery through my belly button, but there was nothing to be gained by knowing.

At one point I asked if I could please be referred to a gynaecologist. I figured, this is what she DOES, so she might have some answers, or at least ideas of what I could do for my debilitating cramps. I was excited to see her. I was hoping that she might help me. I went in and explained my situation. And this is what she told me. She said why don't you come back when you want to have children, have tried and failed to conceive, then we will know that it was probably endometriosis (which, if left untreated can lead to infertility and the eventual inability to have children). So... let me see if I get this straight... you want to wait, and see if the thing you think I might have (endometriosis) renders me infertile to get a correct diagnosis? Really? Wow. I was stunned. Nothing about how to deal with my cramps. She didn't even ask me if I ever wanted children. I walked out of there with my mouth agape, wondering how this approach could be called medicine. It got worse.

It was after it was suggested by, not one, not two, but three separate doctors that I have a hysterectomy (that is the removal of the uterus) that I knew the world had gone mad. Could this really be a viable solution? I knew then it was crazy. I was fifteen years old.

hysterectomy : Chinese Medicine Living

I feel like I have told this story many times. It was the story that I told when I applied to Chinese medicine school. I wrote an essay answering the question - "Why did I want to be a doctor of Chinese medicine?" This experience with Western medicine was profound and transformative. It was also devastating and disappointing. I was experiencing first hand how broken the system was, and I knew there had to be another way.

I am grateful to my parents for teaching me to think for myself, and to question everything. This made for some frustrating interactions with many of my teachers growing up, but I was stubborn, and always looking for the truth. I didn't take anybody's word for anything, I always wanted to figure things out for myself. Every fibre in my being told me that the "solution" that these doctors proposed was insane. This was no solution at all. So one day my mother asked me if I wanted to see an acupuncturist. One of her musician friends was seeing one and said she had helped her a lot. I didn't know anything about acupuncture but I said yes. Of course. I was open to trying anything.

I went to see this acupuncturist in her home that was incredibly quiet and peaceful. I walked into her office and felt instantly calm. It was serene. She asked me questions and listened to my answers. She was kind, compassionate and gentle. She did a very detailed intake and asked me about my entire life, going back as far as I could remember. She took my pulse. She listened for a long time. She looked at my tongue and wrote extensive notes. I remember feeling that she was really LISTENING to me. She was listening to me explain my experiences and creating an overall picture of my health.

Chinese Herbal Medicine Cabinet - Crate : Chinese Medicine LivingSilver Om Earrings : Chinese Medicine LivingThe Acupuncture Kit : Chinese Medicine Living

The acupuncturist then looked at me and told me that she would help me resolve my cramps. She said I had some imbalances but that with acupuncture and some herbs I could rebalance and my cramps would go away. It took me a minute to process this information... yes. This is what she said. I think I fell in love with her a little. She was going to help me so that I would not spend one week out of every four writhing in pain and unable to function. I was so happy I was speechless.

After a few months of acupuncture treatments and herbs my cramps went away. I went for treatments a couple of times a week and they were an enormously wonderful and healing experience. I fell asleep on the table almost every time. When the session was over I would be gently awakened and brought out to sit down and given tea.

Acupuncture : Chinese Medicine Living

I saw my lovely acupuncturist for many years. When anything came up, I would go to her. She always helped me and healed me. She told me what to eat, and what to avoid and I asked her a million questions, trying to understand.

It was after that experience that I realized that this is what medicine should be, and that this is what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. If I had had this experience with Western medicine, in theory, countless others had as well. I wanted people to know that they didn't have to suffer or have organs removed. Chinese medicine offers a tool we can use to regain health, and maintain it. It offers not just healing from illness, but a way of life. Chinese medicine looks at things in a different way. You need to be whole to be healthy. It treats the person and not the disease.

I feel very blessed to have had this experience. It bought me to Chinese medicine. Because of what happened, I am passionate about it and deeply committed to sharing its wisdom with whomever would like it. I know that there are probably many people out there who are suffering with all kinds of ailments and some have been told that nothing can be done. I believe that there is ALWAYS something that can be done, and what happened to me is proof. :)

Yin Yang : Chinese Medicine Living


Traditional Chinese Medicine - The Medicine of Prevention

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

I like to use the metaphor borrowed from the wonderful book Between Heaven and Earth that compares the body to a garden. Chinese medicine sees the body as a garden; something that needs to be tended and nurtured. You must water a garden, pull weeds and be mindful of pests for your garden to thrive. You must look at your garden every day so that you can detect subtle changes and make adjustments so that your garden will flourish.

In the West, the body is seen more as a machine. Parts break and must be fixed or replaced. It is a reductionist model, reducing the body to parts, that instead of working together are seen in isolation. We tend to wait until something "breaks" before we seek out a mechanic to do the needed repairs. This is one of the fundamental differences between the Eastern and Western models. In the West, we tend to wait until we are diagnosed with a disease before we seek out treatment, and in the Eastern model, we are learning to take care of ourselves on every level so that we can stay healthy so sickness never develops. Chinese medicine is a medicine of prevention.

Chinese Medicine - The Medicine of Prevention

The thing that many people don't know about Chinese medicine is that it is not just going to have acupuncture for a headache, or when your allergies flare up - it teaches a way of life, or better yet - a way of LIVING. In acupuncture school, we are all taught the acupuncture points and their functions, but this is only a fraction of the overall picture. We are mostly looking at the entire body and its relationship to the environment. We are also looking at the body and its various parts in relation to each other. In the garden, if you tend it every day you see which plants are happy and which ones are struggling. You can see which ones need fertilizer and which ones are getting too much sun. It is the same with the body. If we are paying attention, we can feel the subtleties happening inside, if we have an excess liver, a deficient spleen or a disturbance in our shen. This kind of attunement is possible, and vital to being as healthy and balanced as we would all like to be. The thing is, that we have to learn how. And this is what Chinese medicine teaches.

This learning, or teaching - the sharing of information - is the job of the acupuncturist. That is the entire intention of Chinese Medicine Living and why I started it in the first place. It is not to hand over your health to someone else, it is to participate and empower everyone to achieve the healing, health, and happiness they want because they can have it.

How To Stay Healthy and Prevent Illness

The wonderful thing about the Chinese medicine approach to health is that it is all-encompassing. You are not just your body, you are so much more! You are spirit, emotions, energy, light - they are all part of you. You are also flesh, bones, muscles, and tendons, and all must be maintained so that you remain healthy. Every aspect is important, they all matter. The intake process of the acupuncturist or practitioner of Chinese medicine is comprehensive and extremely thorough. The theory is that we are trying to paint a picture of the entire organism because every part is connected to every other part, nothing exists in isolation. If you have a headache, we do not just look at the head, we must look at the entire body in all its aspects. The headache is only the symptom, we must determine the main cause. The other reason is that we are treating the root problem and not the symptoms. This is at the core of Chinese medical theory. Any illness that manifests is seen as a symptom of a deeper problem, and that is what we are trying to correct. People sometimes wonder, what if they have many symptoms? Do you treat them all at the same time or can you treat them all at once? This situation depends on the severity of the symptom. If it is acute and causing distress to the patient, then we treat the symptom immediately and then treat the root afterwards. If the symptoms are causing discomfort, then both symptom and root would be treated at the same time, and if the symptoms are not causing distress, then the root would be treated, and once the root is discovered and corrected, the symptoms simply disappear. This is one of the reasons why Chinese medicine treatments are so effective. They are individualized treatments, seeking out the root of the problem and correcting it. It is not treating a headache, it is treating YOUR headache by figuring out why you are having them.

Why Emotions Matter


Photo by Jeremy Wong on Unsplash

A thorough exploration of the emotions is of vital importance for every patient. Sometimes someone will come in with problems they see as reasonably superficial and when I get to the part about the emotions they ask "what difference does that make? What could that possibly have to do with having stomachaches?" And this is my answer. It could have everything to do with your stomachaches and everything else that is going on with you. Emotions are a huge factor in our health and Chinese medicine takes them very seriously. They are as important to the practitioner of Chinese medicine as the virus you caught in a third world country or the chronic asthma you have been suffering with since you were a child. In my opinion, the emotions are responsible for a huge percentage of all the imbalances I see in clinic, and that is why they really matter.

Living in Harmony with Nature


Photo by Amy Rollo on Unsplash

People used to live in complete harmony with the world around them. After the development of agriculture, we began to break this connection, and instead of living in harmony with nature, we began to dominate and control it. People were aware of subtle changes in weather and were deeply connected to animals, the seasons and the planet. The natural world governed behaviour; what people ate and when as well as eating what was in season. This is the way our bodies were designed and evolved over thousands of years, and how we could best stay healthy and ward off disease. Things like the weather, the ebb and flow of the seasons and the migration of animals were all a vital part of life, health, and survival.

In the present day, this connection has largely been severed. We suffer and die from diseases at an unprecedented rate. Many of us sit in front of computers for many hours a day and eat foods that are highly processed and full of unnatural chemicals. Going outside is something to "do" and not our natural state as it once was. Our relationship with nature and the planet is no longer harmonious and mutually beneficial, human beings live unnatural lives and get sick and die from many diseases that did not affect our ancestors.

Chinese medicine teaches a way of living, and that is to live as close to nature as possible. Eating with the seasons, rising early in the summer months and spending time outside being active, eating more cooling foods, and sleeping more and turning energies more inwards in the colder months, eating warming foods and conserving energies. It is simple, and it works well to keep us healthy so that disease doesn't have a chance to develop.

Food as Medicine 

Photo by ja ma on Unsplash

Food is perhaps the most important aspect of good health. There is a lot of information and therefore confusion about how and what to eat. There is an overwhelming amount of information out there about foods, diets, what is harmful and what is beneficial, so it is understandable that nutrition is a huge and confusing subject for many. Chinese medicine uses food as medicine. Food is something you put into your body every day, so eating well is the best way to stay healthy and avoid disease.

There is a huge amount of evidence that diet alone can reverse many of the most devastating diseases in Western society - heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The trick is not to wait until you get a diagnosis of one of these diseases to take action. Eating well is something that you can do every day, at every meal. Chinese medicine sees foods as having a thermal nature, or temperature. Along with your constitution (you may be a hot or cold person), you can add or take away foods that will help keep you balanced. The key is to be constantly paying attention so that you can adjust accordingly. You must listen to your body.

Listen to Your Body

listen to your body : Chinese Medicine Living

This is perhaps the thing that, in my experience, we are missing the most. I fully believe that the body has an intelligence that far exceeds the one we attribute to our brains. Your body is a miracle. It is a miracle of healing. There are stories about this healing from all over the world. Your body wants to be healthy and heal from illness, you must only give it what it needs to do so. But you must listen. It is always trying to communicate with you. Take the example of pain. This is a communication tool used by the body to tell you that something is wrong. Instead of listening, doctors prescribe painkillers so that we don't feel it. We don't want to feel pain, but it is the body's way of trying to get your attention. There are many, many ways that the body communicates, but we have largely lost the ability to listen. So many times I have patients who have been diagnosed with illnesses like MS, cancer, heart disease and are completely shocked when their doctors tell them they are sick. Once we speak and I learn of their history, be it medical, emotional or psychological it is usually obvious that there were signs, many, many signs before there was a diagnosis of one of these serious diseases.

We live in a world where we are overworked, underslept, in debt and stressed out. Many of us feel we do not have the luxury of listening to our bodies because we have to go to work so that the mortgage can be paid, or the children can go to school. We push ourselves harder and harder and our health - both physical and spiritual, suffers. It's not easy. But it is WORTH it. Deep down we all have that sense, that gut feeling that we know when something is wrong. Something is out of balance. We need more sleep, we need to eat better. This is your body speaking to you. It wants you to be healthy and to live a long, happy life. It only wants you to listen.

 


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Mung Beans Are Good for Your Health

By Vicky Chan of NourishU

Mung Beans

Mung beans are grown in many countries in the southern hemisphere, therefore are common in many cuisines for making both savoury and sweet dishes.

In Chinese medicine, mung beans are cool in nature and sweet in taste. They act on the heart and stomach and have many healing properties. Mung beans can clear heat, promote urination, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, treat pesticide poisoning and lead poisoning, treat burns, alcoholism and food poisoning.

In Chinese cuisine, whole mung beans are used to make dessert, which is served either warm or chilled. Shelled mung beans and mung bean paste are made into ice cream or frozen ice pops (great ways to entice children to eat them). Mung bean paste is used as a common filling for Chinese mooncakes in East China and Taiwan. Also in China, the boiled and shelled beans are used as filling in glutinous rice dumplings eaten during the dragon boat festival. The beans may also cooked until soft, blended into a liquid, sweetened, and served as a beverage, popular in many parts of China.

Mung beans are especially good for summer because they clear internal heat and toxins for people who eat too much BBQ food and heat causing snacks such as chips. The symptoms for excess heat are skin problems, indigestion, bad breath, constipation and sore throat. With many people nowadays having high blood pressure and cholesterol, mung beans can certainly help them without having to rely on drugs. The added bonus is that they are very inexpensive and easy to cook. Mung beans are good for your health.

The following recipe is a common one and is excellent for detoxification. It is good for the whole family and all ages. Please explore our website www.nourishu.com for many more recipes using mung beans to treat various health problems.

Mung Bean and Kelp Dessert

Mung Bean and Kelp Desert : Chinese Medicine Living

THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS

  • Lowers Blood Pressure and Cholesterol
  • Detoxifies and Prevent Stoke
  • Treats pesticide and Lead Poisoning
  • Clear Heat
  • Promote Urination
  • Treat Burns, Alcoholism and Food Poisoning

INGREDIENTS

  • Mung beans 綠豆 – one cup
  • Mandarin Orange /  citrus Peel (chen-pi) 陳皮 – one piece (pre-soaked and with white tissue removed)
  • Dried kelp – 15gm
  • Brown sugar – to taste

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Soak beans and kelp for about 10 minutes. Cut kelp into thin strips.
  2. Rinse and put together with orange peel in a pot with about 6 cups of water. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium boil for about 30 minutes. Leave pot only half covered to prevent boiling over. Add more water if necessary to beans becoming mushy and soft.
  3. Add sugar to taste. Serve warm or cold.

Mung Bean and Kelp Desert : Chinese Medicine Living

Deliciousness!!

USAGE

Pregnant women or people with a cold constitution should eat mung beans sparingly.


Read Our Article in Chinese Medicine Digital Magazine

Chinese Medicine Living will be collaborating with Chinese Medicine Digital Magazine by contributing eight articles for the next eight issues. This month is the first article titled - Love Your Spleen. Keep a look out for the next issue and our next article. :)

The magazine is so far only available for iPad (but is coming out on android soon), you can get it here in iTunes

Chinese Medicine Digital Magazine in iTunes

Here is the cover for this issue. Awesome!! Watch out for our next article in their next issue.

CMDMag Issue 7 Cover


The Liver and Anger - Part 3

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

Ever see a really impressive display of anger? Someone losing it in the lineup at the bank, an exasperated parent yelling at a child having a tantrum in the grocery store, or someone, after being on a plane for a bazillion hours being told that they have missed their connecting flight and that the airline has lost their luggage. Yeah, we've all seen that. And it is most of our instincts' to back away a few steps because of how powerful that anger can be. That, my friends, is your liver talking.

Now in the West, this doesn't make much sense. The liver, we are taught, is the body's filter, making sure that we stay clean and toxin-free. But in Chinese Medicine, each of the organs has an emotional component, which is just as important as its physical functions in the body, and the emotion of the liver is anger. Below is a list of the organs and the emotions associated with them in Chinese medicine.

anger and the liver in Chinese medicine

The Liver - Anger

The Lungs - Sadness & Grief

The Spleen - Overthinking & Worry

The Heart - Joy

The Kidneys - Fear

Now these outbursts of anger are not the liver in its normal state, they are obviously a liver terribly out of balance. It is, of course, normal to experience emotions like anger, but as we know in Chinese medicine, it is when those emotions are unexpressed or repressed that things can build up and in the case of the liver if left long enough, can cause a Chernobyl like effect. And nobody wants that.

So how do you not let it get there, you may ask? Well, it is interesting to me that of all the life skills that are most useful to us, none of them to be taught in the place where it would be useful to acquire them - school. Emotional wellness is vital to our health and wellbeing and yet, most of us are at a loss at how to deal with them.

In Chinese medicine thinking, the emotions are a cause of disease. Now, this may sound ominous, but let me clarify. HAVING emotions is not a cause of disease and that is an important distinction. It is emotions out of balance, and they become imbalanced when we do not express them freely, or worse when we do not express them at all.

Let me give you an example...

Expressing Your Feelings

Two friends are having a conversation and one says something that is hurtful to the other without realizing it. The conversation continues with one person being very hurt and the other having no idea that they hurt the others feelings. After the conversation, the hurt person starts to feel angry at their friend for having hurt their feelings and not even realizing it. But, once they have had a few days to cool off they realize that they need to express their feelings to their friend so they will feel better. After the conversation the friend who said the hurtful thing unintentionally apologizes and explains what they meant when they said the thing that the other perceived as hurtful. The hurt friend sees it from the other's perspective and realizes it was not said intentionally and that anger was diffused and let go. The friends make up and their relationship is made stronger by the fact that they can openly express their feelings to each other.

expressing anger in Chinese medicine

Suppressing Your Feelings

The alternate scenario and many people do this, is for the hurt friend to be hurt which turns into anger and never mention anything to the other friend about it. This builds up over time and every time any other little thing the other friend does frustrates the already angry friend it just adds to the anger that is growing and growing. The friend who initially said the hurtful thing, completely unintentionally, has no idea that their friend is harbouring so much anger and one day, after a small disagreement, the angry friend has a complete blowup and all the anger that has been growing comes out all over the bewildered friend who had no idea that all that anger was in there, and certainly not that things they had been inadvertently saying or doing were the cause.

Not Expressing Your Feelings

Another scenario is that the hurt friend internalizes the initial hurt, and all other hurts, frustrations, etc... and never speaks about them. They do this not only with this particular friend but with everyone in their life. Eventually, this person becomes sick, despite being otherwise healthy and wonders why. This is one of the theories about where many cancers come from - a long-standing stagnation of energy, and in many cancers, many believe that there is a huge emotional component.

Now all that said, sometimes expressing your feelings isn't easy. We are not taught how, but it is of vital importance for your health and well being. A lot of us are taught to avoid confrontation, and many see expressing emotions that are seen as negative as opening the door to possible confrontation. But, I can tell you, that if you can speak your mind, and express what you are feeling, with kindness and compassion, it will almost always strengthen a relationship, and if it doesn't, that might not be a relationship you want to keep.

suppressing emotions is Chinese medicine

A Healthy, Happy Liver

When the liver is balanced and healthy we are able to move freely because of the liver's responsibilities of governing the smooth flow of Qi in the appropriate directions. You may wonder what happens when Qi flows in the wrong direction? Well, each of the organs has a natural direction in which its Qi flows. For example, the Qi of the stomach flows downward, helping to move food and drink through the digestive system, but when the flow of that Qi is reversed due to pathogenic factors it causes belching, hiccups, nausea and vomiting. A healthy liver means a strong immune system because the liver is responsible for the body's resistance to exterior pathogens. Because the liver opens into the eyes, if you have a healthy liver your vision will be clear and your eyes moist. If your liver is in a state of balance you will have strong nails, recover quickly from physical activities, your movements will be smooth and your body flexible. Those with a healthy liver will also have great courage and resoluteness, and will easily be able to plan their lives wisely and effectively with a clear sense of direction.

Some Symptoms of Liver Stagnation & Imbalance

  • frustration, depression or repressed anger
  • hypochondriac pain
  • sensation of oppression in the chest
  • a feeling of a "lump" in the throat
  • abdominal distension
  • women - pre-menstrual tension, depression, irritability, distension of the breasts
  • belching, sour regurgitation, nausea, vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • bitter taste in the mouth, belching, jaundice
  • contraction and/or spasms in the muscles and sinews, impaired extension/flexion, numbness of the limbs, muscle cramps, tremors
  • dark, dry or cracked nails
  • blurred vision, myopia, floaters, colour blindness, a feeling of dryness or grit in the eyes
  • bloodshot, painful or burning sensation in the eyes
  • irritability, outbursts of anger, red face, dizziness, tinnitus, headaches
  • lack of direction in life, feeling of being stuck

the liver and anger

As you can see, there are a wide variety of symptoms that can point to a disharmony of the liver. The liver has a great many responsibilities in the body, so keeping it healthy and happy is not only good for your physical health, it is important for your emotional health too. The other thing to remember is that having prolonged feelings of anger or frustration that are repressed or unexpressed can damage the liver and the opposite is true as well. A deficiency in the liver from either external pathogenic factors or an internal imbalance can make you more prone to feelings of anger and frustration. Expressing our emotions honestly and regularly is one of the best ways we can keep this important organ healthy. You'll know you achieved it the next time you are in a stressful situation and you are able to shrug it off and see the positive instead of going nuclear and destroying everything in your wake. ;)



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Goji Berries For Health and Longevity

By Vicky Chan of NourishU

Gougicai / Goji Berry

Gougi / Goji berry is one of the most popular Chinese herbs used in Western countries since the beginning of the 21st century. It is commonly known as wolfberry. Goji is the modern name, the direct translation from the Chinese name枸杞.

The gougi plant is a perennial scrub which can produce large amount of berries after a couple of years and can grow to as tall as two meters. The health benefits of the berries are well known to the West, but not so much for the leaves of the young plant and the root of the very old plant.

The gougi leaves are called gougicai which means gougi vegetable in Chinese. They are cool in nature and bitter in taste. They can strengthen the body's constitution, promote essence (Jing in Chinese medicine), clear internal heat and wind, improve vision, and promote liver, lung and kidney health. It is a very popular summer vegetable in the southern provinces of China.

goji berry leaves

Gougicai can be easily grown in a backyard or container garden. You can start from transplanting some strong stems by just sticking them into the soil. By keeping the soil moist for the first 10 to 15 days, new roots will come out and give life to the plant. When the plant grows to about 1.5 feet tall, you can harvest it by cutting the stem, leaving 3 to 4 inches above ground and it will grow back again. In time, the root will spread out to give life to more new plants. The best thing is that once you have started growing them, they will come back year after year.

Gougicai is commonly used in making soup. It only takes about 5 to 10 minutes to cook. The vegetable is slightly bitter in taste so using a meat broth or adding thinly sliced meat to the soup can offset the bitterness and make it more delicious.

The following is my favourite gougicai soup recipe. It is best for the whole family, for young children and for people recovering from illness.

Goji Berry Soup Recipe Ingredients

Gougicai and Pork Liver Soup

THERAPEUTIC EFFECTS

Promotes liver health, improves vision, reduces liver heat, promotes blood and improves overall health.

INGREDIENTS

(3 to 4 servings)
• Gougicai 枸杞葉 - 320gm
• Pork liver豬肝 – 160gm
• Pork豬肉 – 80gm
• Gogi berries – one handful
• Egg- 2
• Ginger – 3 slices

Goji berry soup recipe

DIRECTIONS

1. Remove leaves by holding the top of each stem with one hand and put it between the thumb and the index finger of the other and then push leaves downward from top to bottom. The leaves will fall off easily. But be careful to avoid the small spikes on the stem when doing it. You can protect your hand by wearing a glove. Rinse the stems and leaves separately.

2. Put the stem to boil with about 6 to 8 cups of water for 10 to 15 minutes, remove stems and discard.

3. Rinse pork and liver and cut into thin slices. Soak and rinse goji berries.

4. Bring the water to boil again. Add ginger, liver and pork to cook for about 5 minutes.

5. Add gogi berries and leaves and bring to boil for another 5 to 10 minutes.

6. Beat eggs, turn off heat and add eggs to the soup and stir slowly. Add salt to taste and serve.

Goji berry Soup Recipe

USAGE

No limitation. But avoid consuming dairy products at the same time because dairy hinders the effects of goujicai.

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foods for the gallbladder

Loving Your Liver With Nutrition - Part 2

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

He that takes medicine and neglects diet wastes the time of his doctor.

~ Ancient Chinese Proverb

In this second instalment of the Liver series, we will cover how the foods we eat can heal and support the liver. The spring is the time when liver energies are at the fullest, so this is the perfect time to eat foods that support the liver as well as detoxify, letting go of things we don't need to make room for the new things that will nourish and heal us.

Spring and the liver in TCM

In spring we begin eating less than we did in winter, consuming lighter foods and cleansing the body of the excess fats and heavier foods eaten in winter. Spring is a time of renewal and growth, a time of expansion and expression. Spring is when we introduce newly grown greens and sprouts, salty foods and pungent herbs which support the liver and help to cleanse the body.

Cleansing the body is especially beneficial in spring not only because of the liver's function of filtering toxins, but emotionally as well - emotions like frustration, impatience and anger are associated with the liver and a cleansing of the body and emotions allows us to clear out old residues and enables us to see more clearly and move forward in life with renewed passion and purpose.

Here is a list of things associated with the liver and spring in Chinese medicine.

Yin Organ - Liver
Yang Organ - Gallbladder
Season - Spring
Colour - Green
Direction - East
Flavour - Sour
Sense Organ - Eyes
Emotion - Anger
Weather - Wind

Cooking in Spring

Cooking in spring should be of shorter duration and at higher temperatures. In Chinese medicine raw foods are mostly seen to be cold in nature so some cooking is always recommended, but of all the seasons, the spring is the time food is cooked the least for its cooling and cleansing capabilities. Sautéing with a bit of high quality oil over high heat, or light steaming with water is the perfect was to cook food in spring and the way your liver will receive the most benefit.

greens for a healthy liver

Liver Disharmony

Of all the organs, the liver tends to be the most congested, and ironically, is responsible for the free flow of qi throughout the body. A diet high in fatty, deep fried foods as well as eating highly processed and denatured foods congest the liver and lead to disharmony, physically, mentally and emotionally. A person with a healthy liver in Chinese medicine is supremely calm, has no feelings of stress or tension, easily makes decisions and has excellent judgement.

Physical symptoms of liver imbalance include many symptoms. The liver opens into the eyes so many eye symptoms point to a liver disharmony (bloodshot eyes, floaters, vision problems like cataracts and glaucoma), tendon issues (contraction, weakness, rigidity and inflexibility), pain and distension in the sides and rib areas, vertex headaches and outbursts of anger or frustration are all symptoms of a liver disharmony.

Avocado Salad for Liver Health

Beneficial Liver Foods

  • Honey/mint tea
  • Herbs - basil, fennel, marjoram, rosemary, caraway, dill, bay leaf, turmeric, ginger, black pepper, horseradish, mint, lemon balm, angelica root, prickly ash bark
  • Complex Carbohydrates - grains, legumes, seeds
  • Vegetables - beets, carrots, watercress, onions, mustard greens, taro root
  • Raw foods - sprouted grains, beans, seeds, fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Fruits - lemon, lime, grapefruit
  • Bitter Foods - rye, romaine lettuce, asparagus, amaranth, , quinoa, alfalfa, radish leaves, citrus peel
  • Liver cleansing herbs - dandelion root, bupleurum, mandarin, milk thistle seeds, Oregon grape root, chamomile flowers
  • Liver detoxifying foods - mung beans and their sprouts, lettuce, cucumber, watercress, seaweeds, celery, millet, tofu, plum, chlorophyll rich foods, mushrooms, rhubarb root, radish, daikon radish

dandelion for the liver

If you are feeling like your liver might need a little extra love, then try eating some of the foods listed above, drinking some green juices (dandelion and milk thistle are particularly good) and go outside, take in the new green of the growing plants through your eyes, move your body to circulate the qi and stretch to keep those tendons limber. Your liver will love you for it. :)



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Why Garlic is Your New BFF

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

How do I even begin to describe the wonders and deliciousness of garlic? Let me put it this way. I love garlic. Sometimes inappropriately. When a recipe calls for 4 cloves, I use 8. Garlic makes everything better, and the great thing about it that it has more healing properties than you could imagine. So lets look at garlic and why it is going to be your new BFF.

Garlic is a member of the onion family and is one of the few herbs that have has been recognized around the globe for its many medicinal properties, and its daily usage protects and supports the body in a way that no other herb does. It is one of the most antimicrobial plants known, acting on bacteria, viruses and parasites acquired from consuming unclean food and water. The oil is where many of garlics healing properties lie and is extracted largely via the lungs making it extremely affective to treat respiratory infections like chronic bronchitis, catarrh, recurring colds and influenza. Garlic is used preventatively for many infectious conditions, both digestive and respiratory. In the digestive tract, garlic will support the growth of good bacteria as well as killing pathogenic organisms. It reduces high blood pressure, and taken over an extended period of time, will lower blood cholesterol.

garlic as medicine

Garlic's Medicinal Properties

  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-microbial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-parasitic
  • Commonly used to treat infections of the upper respiratory tract
  • Taken preventatively for infectious conditions, both digestive and respiratory
  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Reduces blood cholesterol
  • Used to treat worms (ringworm and threadworm)
  • Promotes circulation
  • Promotes sweating
  • Eliminates yeasts, including Candida albicans
  • Inhibits viruses and other micro-organisms associated with degenerative diseases like cancer
  • Eliminates toxins from the body, including poisonous metals like cadmium and lead
  • A drop of garlic oil in the ear canal once a day relieves ear infections
  • A poultice made of garlic draws out swelling from boils
  • Eliminates worms
  • Used for dysentery, snake bites, warts, hepatitis, asthma, tuberculosis, hay fever, asthma and diarrhea
  • When travelling eating a clove of raw garlic before suspected food or water will protect against dysentery
  • Eating a clove of raw garlic a day will protect against colds and flu
  • Garlic tea relieves poison ivy, poison oak and nettle stings
  • Promotes the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria

Preparation & Dosage

There are many ways to use garlic depending on what condition you are treating. Most of garlic's medicinal properties are in the oil, so any cooking or using capsules that are "odourless" are of little medicinal value. Garlic can be eaten raw; the entire clove with the paper or crushed and swallowed, but for some, this might be too intense as there is a significant burn going down. To remove some of garlics strong flavour and odour, it can be steamed - although some of its potency will be lost. Eating a few sprigs of parsley or other cereal glasses which are very cooling is a good way to neutralize the burning sensation in the digestive tract after eating garlic raw. Also drinking something cooling directly after taking garlic will help with the intense aftertaste.

As you can see garlic is an amazing herb with a huge list of healing properties, so next time you aren't feeling well and reach for the advil or think you might need antibiotics, consider reaching for the garlic instead. Because, for all of the reasons above, garlic should be your new BFF.

Garlic InfoGraphic

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Thank you to the people at Stedas Dizajn for this lovely infographic. 

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