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Burdock Summer Cleanse

Burdock Summer Cleanse is a decongesting, heat clearing, detoxifying beverage that clears heat and dampness toxins (Pitta and Ama in Ayurve...

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Roasted Chickpea Nut Cookies

Recipe and Description Here

copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Hyland Homeopathics Teething Tablets Safety Issues

Serious saftey issues have been reported by the FDA with the use of Hyland Homeopathic's Teething Tablets. Adverse effects have even been life threatening, and have been linked to actual doses of Belladona in the product, which should mean there has been an error in the manufacturing process by Hyland's, since the claim of homeopathy is that there are only "energetic" traces of drug left in homeopathic medicines, which is why there is homeopathic arsenic, that is alleged to be non-toxic.

 While the article in Scientific American that reports this does state that before a particular drug or medicine can be accurately blamed for adverse effects, evidence must be conclusive, and that in this case it is not necessarily conclusive

“It is important to note that while adverse event reports give us some information about a product and serious injuries or deaths related to use of a particular product, they often indicate situations that require additional analysis and do not constitute conclusive evidence of a problem with the product,” the spokeswoman, Lyndsay Meyer, said in a statement.
on the other hand, Hyland's has also been cited by the FDA for substandard manufacturing practices:

FDA inspectors who examined Hyland’s facilities criticized the company for substandard manufacturing practices and found inconsistent levels of atropa belladonna in its products.
The agency issued a public warning, noting “reports of serious adverse events in children taking this product that are consistent with belladonna toxicity.”

Buyer beware when it comes to unregulated natural products. Always buy from a company you have reason to trust. I only use herbal products from companies I have had consistent results with, and that have specifically good reputations and also independent testing for heavy metals, pesticide residues, and bacterial contaminants.

Read the whole article here

Copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA
All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission
Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Cooling Pitta to Prevent Hair Loss from Chemotherapy

I saw this article today in the New York Times about  Scalp-Cooling Caps that prevent hair loss as a side effect of chemotherapy. This is interesting, because Ayurveda has always attributed hair loss, especially when stress related, to Pitta  rising up to the head. Pitta is the embodiment in a human being of all the qualities that fire has in nature. 

Pitta elevation creates heat, first and foremost, and heat rises from the core of the body to the surface, where it causes hot type skin diseases like eczema, acne, and hives. But Pitta heat also tends to rise to the head. We see this with different kinds of Pitta, from the fire of anger to the Agni fire of digestion. 

Another characteristic of Pitta elevation in Ayurveda is that it creates tension. This is associated with the fight aspect of the fight or flight response that makes our muscles and energy tense and tight.

The drugs in both chemotherapy and radiation therapy are very heat producing, so they do elevate Pitta, by definition, which in turn "burns" the hair follicles. This is how Ayurveda would explain the hair loss associated with chemotherapy, as well as stress related hair loss, and the propensity for Pitta types to go bald early, and to have thinning or prematurely grey hair.

All the therapies for hair loss and mental tension in Ayurveda involve cooling herbs, like Bacopa/Brahmi and Gotu Kola, as well as Eclipta and Shatavari, whether taken by mouth, or cooked in Coconut oil, which is itself cooling and Pitta pacifying, and then massaged into the scalp.

A very fine brand of oil of this type for scalp massage is Neelibringadi sold by Tri Health, my favorite source for Kerala style Ayurvedic products.

copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Kitchen Medicine Cooking Medicine: Benevolence and Charity: The "Virtue" of the Liver...

Kitchen Medicine Cooking Medicine: Benevolence and Charity: The "Virtue" of the Liver...: One of the small things anyone can do is to give things to people weaker and poorer than oneself. This is an act of benevolence, whether a...

Eopyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With PermissionAyurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diegohttp://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Benevolence: The "Virtue" of the Liver

Benevolence: The Virtue of the Liver 

One of the small things anyone can do is to give to people weaker and poorer than you are. This is an act of benevolence, no matter how small. 

There is always someone worse off, and with a minimum of time, money and energy, you can help them. The recent Presidential election has prodded me to be more aggressive in my giving, as an antidote to the anger I feel over its result and, for obvious reasons,  towards the man chosen to be our next President. 

Anger is a useful nervous system response that is associated with the physiological responses in our body's that activate the physical and mental defense systems that are required to survive attacks from wild animals and wild humans, or any life threat your brain instantly decides can be best defended against with the fight aspect of your autonomic nervous system. 

The emotional state we think of as anger is the collection of bodily changes that occur automatically when we are in the fight aspect of the fight-flight-freeze response gifted us by nature. Our blood pressure raises, our heart rate goes up, blood is shunted into the muscles, especially the jaw, neck, and shoulders, so we can fight with our teeth and fists. And then there are the inchoate feelings we think of as the emotion. But if you ask someone what anger feels like in the body, which is where our brains and minds live, as opposed to the ideas associated with anger (such as hatred, wanting to harm the other, to punch, to hurt, e.g.) it can only be expressed in terms of physical sensation. We see here that the nervous system is how our body's express emotions, whether fear, anger, terror, love, grief, or sympathy. All emotions that we have words for have corresponding physical feelings and physiological states involving the complexity of all that makes us material beings--hormones, neurotransmitters, immune system, circulatory system, gut, etc. When we are in love in the early phase our endorphins elevate, our pupils dilate, our sexual systems are aroused, we develop insomnia and cant stop thinking--we in essence, go a bit mad, as in falling madly in love. Falling is losing yourself, losing your footing. Normally not desirable, but in the context of falling in love, a bit pleasurable, unless you are unstable and fall in love at the drop of a hat and can't concentrate on your work and get a C in algebra and can't go to the college you wanted to.... Whereas being in love with your baby, holding her in your arms, smelling her fresh scent and feeling her soft skin, involves elevated Serotonin and Prolactin, does not associate with any sexual arousal, but gives a sense of joy and even inner peace. As does cuddling with your pet Labrador Retriever or petting your Bengal Cat named Gigi.

And when there is a real physical danger, like a mountain lion, as soon as we fight off the danger, our body's can relax and return to normal homeostasis. The problem for humans is our cerebral cortex. A prey animal like a dear that escapes a mountain lion shakes and shivers for a bit to discharge the adrenalin of the moment, and then goes back to grazing. What it does not do is walk around thinking or saying things like "that damned mountain lion. Why does he not leave me alone. I hate him. I hate mountain lions." For sure, he learns to be alert to mountain lions and other prey animals like humans with cameras or guns. To that degree, deer are nervous animals. But what dear deer does not do is suffer complex emotional issues from having been bullied by mountain lions, or betrayed by a friend or spouse. A deer does not appear to be angry about disease or death. It definitely does not differ politically from other deer and then argue and get angry about that. It never complains its mother or father were mean, abandoning, or unloving. (Animal lovers note: i am not saying mammals like deer and dogs dont make attachments or have personalities or become neurotic...its just when they do its not as complicated).

This is all the gift of the cerebral cortex, and its a double edged sword. It gives us the Blue Mosque and Physics, the Eiffel Tower and Mozart, but it also makes us neurotic and creates physical diseases associated with amped up nervous systems locked in fight, flight, or freeze.

In the wild, this is so useful. But in modern civilization most of the time our anger only makes us sick, because when we live in communities full of rules, we have to constantly control our natural impulse towards aggression. For hot headed Pitta types, in Ayurvedic thinking, this is especially difficult, but as the fight part of our nervous system is shared by all, we all suffer from the physical tension and tightness it produces, the tightness between our shoulder blades, in our shoulders, neck, jaw, and scalp, in our guts, the constipation or diarrhea, the gastritis, the IBS, and the complicated interplay of  not to mention the grudges and aggressions, the need to control and to overcontrol, even to dominate. 

In Buddhism one learns to ask oneself if the feeling you are holding on to is useful or necessary. Again, if your anger about the election goads you into taking action to protect the planet and the nation, thats useful. But at some point to be living in this anger is not useful. People get very stuck in anger, which leads to mental and physical health problems relating to tension and the pain of separation from others. There are many ways to move through this anger; one is generosity and benevolence. 

Anger in Chinese Medicine

In Chinese Medicine anger is the emotion associated with the Gan/Liver Qi. We actually feel anger collect under the rib cage and in the thoraco-lumbar junction, where it disturbs our gut. We experience the heat of anger rise up the liver and gall bladder channels up into the shoulder, neck, scalp, and face. Anger, and any aversion, creates tension, and its the Liver Qi that maintains the relaxed feeling in the boy, but that also tightens everything up when we experience frustration, pressure, and anger.

The Sweet Taste and Anger

Among foods it is the sweet taste that immediately relaxes the Liver Qi; that is why we crave and use sweet things to relieve stress, whether fruit, candy, ice cream, beer, or wine.  Among emotions it is the sweet feeling that has the same effect, whether its being licked by the dog, gazed at by the beloved, told how much you are loved by your child, or even just the warmth and friendliness of friends, strangers, or family.

Pitta Dosha, Anger, and the Sweet Taste

In Ayurveda the same is true. Sweet taste pacifies Pitta dosha, which is fire, the fire of intensity, of mental discrimination and physical digestion, the fire of anger and frustration. Sweet experiences have the same effect. Pitta dosha is prevalent among General and Managers, Lawyers and University Professors; it is what's needed to become King or Queen, Emperor or Dictator.  Indeed, in Chinese medicine the Liver is called the General, because its the Liver that orders the Qi, folk with "strong Liver Qi and Blood" or Pitta dosha,  are naturally domineering and dominating.

Control vs. Yielding

But who does not prefer a benevolent King? The flip side of the Liver Qi, whose job it is to make boundrys and keep the Qi in its correct place, is that it needs to balance this Yang by the Yin of free and easy wandering. If the only way of doing things is your way, you are bound to be disappointed. Whereas being flexible, and allowing for more than one way of doing things....The tree that bends in the wind does not break.

Control vs. Overcontrol 

And at the same time, this quality of the Liver, to control and organize, to make boundries, separation, can be overdone and lead to overcontrol and taciturnity, to harsh, intense judgment Those people over there are them and I am me. I am better. This is how we do things, here. Snap judgments.  Someone speaks a different language or eats different food or looks different and you make them wrong, because they upset your sense of order. Someone cuts you off on the freeway and you immediately have a negative story about them.

Benevolence and Generosity as a Remedy for Liver and Pitta Excess

But once I was with my friend who is very "kaphic" and kind, and someone cut us off, and her immediate response was, "I hope they are OK." That is generosity and benevolence, having a softer boundry between self and other, in which the rigid separation between self and other has relaxed and allowed for concern rather than anger.  Now, instead of tension there is relaxation, and the Liver Qi is at its best when it is relaxed, and another way to cultivate relaxed Liver Qi, the opposite of what this election has left me feeling, is by cultivating generosity, kindness,  and benevolence, defined in Chinese medicine as something which can spontaneously arise when one begins experiencing self and other as not so separate, ergo, empathy.   

Giving to the Homeless to Regulate Your Own Liver Qi

Where I live, and this is now true of any medium to large city in the USA now, there are lots of homeless people living rough on the street, many of whom are quite mentally injured.

Most of us have nice clothes we never wear and that homeless women and men will really value and appreciate. In winter this means, especially, warm clothes.

Woolen socks are especially valuable for people living rough, as are warm jackets. But everyone needs pants, t-shirts, underwear, shirts, hats. 

If you want to go out of your way, homeless people tell me they really need blankets. Any kind of camping supplies are useful, as are day to day supplies like matches or lighters for their stoves and cigarettes, personal hygiene products like soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes. Painkillers like Tylenol and Ibuprofen.

I live near Balboa Park where there are plenty of homeless. Some are drug addicted, but before anyone launches on a self righteous rant about how its their own fault they are homeless then, ask yourself when was the last time you softened your pain with wine, beer, marijuana? How many of you take anti-anxiety drugs, or antidepressants? Everyone needs help. And even if a few dedicated alcoholics or drug abusers are homeless because of their drug abuse, that does not make them undeserving of kindness, of food, of conversation. 

I met a homeless woman the other day who wanted to pet Sasha, my friends lovely 35 lb mixed breed dog the other day. She was obviously educated. She mentioned she was/is a para-legal. I asked her what happened, how she became homeless, and she said the pressure got to her and she had a breakdown. I asked her if drug use had been an issue, she said “probably.” I gave her $4, which is nothing at all, one cappuccino, one loaf of bread, one craft beer, etc. And her eyes teared up. I got much more out of that $4 than she did. The feeling of giving benefits the giver as much or more than the recipient. I am pretty sure that good feeling would normally cost more than $4 if I could buy it at the store, which I can’t.

One thing I have been told by more than a few homeless people is how hard it is feeling shunned. They can be made to feel like lepers. And, conversely, how much they appreciate being treated like normal human beings when people greet them, say hello, or stop to talk. Obviously you have to be ready for the fact that someone you say hello to may be not doing well psychically, and ignore you or grunt, but I find that happens with non-homeless folk on the street just as often, if not more.

And homeless people are always pretty happy to receive food. Next time you are at the market, pick up some extra fruit, like oranges or Fuji apples (these don’t get damaged easily), and give them directly to people, or leave them in the park where you know homeless folk hang out.

If you have children, instead of going shopping yet one more time for stuff they may not really need, you might think of making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or some kind of deli meat sandwiches, and giving them out somewhere you know the needy congregate. That would be a very good experience for a kid.

Next time you waste $5 on gourmet chocolate to self-medicate your stress, or splurge on a bottle of fine wine for $30, pick up some Chocolate bars or even some beer for them. I used to think I should only give food to the homeless, not money, because they might spend it on alcohol, but now I have changed my thinking. 

First of all, not all homeless are drug addicted. But second, why is it fine for me to have wine or beer, but not them? Do I not have a bit of an addiction to sweet foods and chocolate that is no more defensible than someone’s alcohol addiction? Surely they have the same right to lift their spirits as I do? No need to be self-righteous or Puritanical. 

Moreover, when I was visiting Oakland and it was Christmas, my friend had given me a bottle of wine I did not want, and I gave it to a homeless woman who was selling a homeless newspaper. I asked her if she would like it, and her eyes lit up. She was very grateful to be able to celebrate Xmas with a bottle of real wine. When  I said Merry Christmas to her she said it back with a wide open smile…

Its actually really easy to be charitable in small ways that are not painful, though if you want to be even more charitable, and do it in big ways, all the better and much strength.

Giving to those weaker than yourself, giving charity to the poor and homeless is an integral part of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic morality. Its one of the five pillars of Islam, and is a clear-cut requirement in Jewish tradition. I know some Christian sects require tithing, and the Roman Catholic church, in addition to all of its obvious excesses, also does lots and lots of charity. Charity begins at home, and I remember when my friend Jeanne’s kids took their ten years of coins they had collected in a giant glass bottle and took it to the bank and used it to buy things for homeless people. It was very moving to see that the kids themselves had come up with the idea. 

Some Things the Homeless Need to Survive the Winter

Clean Clothing
Warm Clothing
Fresh Fruit
Canned Food
Paperback Books or Magazines

Camping Gear like Tarps

copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA Jan 2017 All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Friday, September 02, 2016

Fantastic news from the FDA. Finally banning toxic antibacterial hand cleaners.

FDA Bans Antibacterial Soaps

Just use soap and water. I love Greek olive oil soap, it is all natural, only three ingredients, olive oil, alkalai, and salt; smells great, and lathers well.

I use it on hands, body, even my hair. Some people find it a little drying, then use less and use a moisturizer afterwards....

Copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Twelve Ways to Heal Eczema With Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, and Ayurveda

From my recent article on my website, learn how to treat Eczema with an Holistic approach using Acupuncture, Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda safely, naturally, and effectively.


Copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Diet and Lifestyle in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine

One of my favorite sayings in Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda is, 

"You cannot cure with a pill, what you have created with a diet and lifestyle."

Let's be clear, the word pill here includes both drugs and herbal medicines. Herbal medicines are drugs. They are not diet or lifestyle. 
Yes,  Chinese and Ayurvedic herbal medicines have far fewer and milder side affects that Biomed drugs, and, as in the case of the Chinese tonic herbs like Reishi or Cordyceps, and the Ayurvedic Rasayanas, like Triphala, are promotive of health and longevity. Plant, mineral, and animal based medicinea are our natural allies. Its normal to use them to treat disease and promote health. Even dogs and cats eat grass to promote good digestion or to provoke vomiting of fur balls and other undesired matter. 

On the other hand there is no such thing as a Biomedicine drug that promotes health, because  Western medicine's specialty and blind spot both is that it treats disease, but does not prevent it. And second, because all Western drugs, without exception, have pernicious side affects, something M.D.s tend to be in denial about, from the Liver toxicity of statins for high cholesterol to the erectile dysfunction of  drugs that lower blood pressure.

So while it is true that using Chinese and Ayurvedic Herbal Medicines to treat disease and promote health and wellness are part of a healthy lifestyle, they are not themselves the healthy lifestyle. A health promoting lifestyle begins with what and also how you eat and what and how you think and feel and act. It includes your daily and seasonal routines...

...everything from whether you let your long black hair dry after a shower before going out into the cold (I had a patient whose asthma got much better when she began listening to her grandmother on that one) to do you rush everywhere as if there were an emergency, needlessly raising your heart rate and blood pressure. 

There are things you cannot always control, like having to commute two hours each day to work, but what you can control is,  if you do have that unpleasant task, do you stress out while commuting or use the time fruitfully by doing "driving mindfulness meditation." (See this book on How to do Mindfulness Meditation. So, what is now called stress management, what Asians call Mental Culture, is a big, maybe the single biggest, aspect of a healthy lifestyle in Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.

Healthy Digestion: Mental Attitude. Joe: A Case Study 

While a healthy diet is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle, a healthy diet is more than just the food you eat, but how you eat it. I know someone, let's call him Joe,  whose wife is a wonderful cook, who makes very healthy food, yet he has constant digestive issues. Honestly, I don't enjoy meals at their table. Because Joe is is so stressed out about what food is good for you and what is bad, he is such a control freak about watching what other folk are eating, (to make sure they don't eat too much of something that is bad for you, like a sweet food, for example,  and on top of it all, he gobbles down his food in a rather unpleasant, hurried fashion. 

So in his case, the digestive issue is a lifestyle problem, not a diet problem. Nothing about his diet itself could be corrected to solve his problems of heartburn and gas. A person of that type has a lot of fear based emotional stuff that gets projected onto food and that is dealt with, a bit pathologically, by trying to exert control where control is neither useful, nor necessary. This is so very common. Food is some deep stuff. A lot of us also grew up with family meal times that were stressful because of the dynamics between Mom and Dad. There are million variations on that theme. Overcontrolling military type Dad who made dinner very regimented. Smothering Mom who over fed. There are a million stories.

What would Joe want to do to correct his digestive issue by lifestyle medicine? First and foremost, in his case, Joe has to tackle the emotional, psychological component. Joe  would want to learn how to relax when he is not at meal time, so that he could bring that lesson to the table. He would really benefit from mindfulness meditation so that he could develop the skill of being comfortable with what he is uncomfortable with, so that he could begin observing how fearful he is around food and how tense he feels at the dinner table. 

Then Joe would be able to respond to that fear and intensity with courage and softness, or should I say courageous strong softness, and sit with the fear and anger with soft, gentle, non-judging awareness, grounding in mindfulness of breath. When you do that things start to shift and change. Fear, anxiety, anger, intensity soften and become less overwhelming, they have less influence and less power.

Basics of Healthy Digestive Lifestyle in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine 

Organize You Meals So You Are:
  • Relaxed when eating. 
  • Give enough time for your meal
  • Stop eating when 3/4 full
  • Eat at the right times of day for your bodymind type (dosha)
  • Eat in accordance with the Seasons

Here are some simple guidelines for Health Digestive Lifestyle

  • Eat Silently, or While Listening to Enjoyable Music
  • Don't eat at your computer or desk or watching the news
  • Place less food on your plate so you don't overeat
  • Set aside enough time for a meal
  • Chew Your Food
  • Don't eat late at night.
  • Match your diet to your Ayurvedic dosha--Vatta needs snacking and small meals. Pitta may need larger meals. Kapha needs light food.
  • Match your diet to the season: Warming Foods in Winter, Grounding Foods in Autumn, Cooling in Summer, Cleansing in Spring
Healthy Lifestyle in Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine also includes matching exercise to your body mind type and to the season. And it includes how you deal with your emotions and stress as well, as in the case of Joe, above.

Healthy Lifestyle vs. Health from a Pill

Which leads to the following point. It is a bit duplicitous the way Health Food Stores and Vitamin Companies market health substances like Reservatol (the active ingredient in Red Wine)  based on incomplete, limited, science based research. For example,  a researcher describes that people who live in the Red Wine drinking Mediterranean basin, areas like Sicily and Sardinia have less heart disease.

They immediately want to isolate, which is what Western Science is good at, the "active" ingredient in something that should account for these positive findings. The problem is, that, for one thing, even if, which is a huge if, there was a benefit to drinking red wine that was a function of the "active" ingredient in red wine, there is zero research that shows a positive long term result for the consumption of red wine outside of the cultural and social context of Sicily and Sardinia, and there is even less research that demonstrates any benefit to taking Reservatol in pill form, unless you count the money the "nutritional" supplement company is raking in.

The sceintists that try to reduce an entire lifestyle to a single drug-like nutritional pill miss the forest for the trees, and along with the drug companies that finance their research, and the health food industry that exploits on it, reduce health to a commodity: as if health could come out of a bottle. Take this drug or take this health food store product like red wine capsule, to prevent heart disease, when in fact there is zero evidence that taking red wine extract reservatol does anything at all,because the studies of each and every case of unusual health and longevity in the rural Mediterrenean and probably anywhere else in the world world show that aside from the food eaten, there are key lifestyle characteristics in common.

Healthy Lifestyle: Are You a Human Being or a Human Doing

Studies of people living in Southern Europe in places like Sardinia, Sicily, and Greece, with low levels of heart disease show there is much more going on than the consumption of red wine.

1) lots of natural exercise in the fresh air like walking and gardening; not extremes like marathons or triathalons

2) fresh food with lots of variety including flesh foods, dairy products,  whole grains,  locally grown vegetables and fruit in season, and usually red wine or small amounts of hard alcohol like the cretan tsoukodia or italian grappa.

3) warm loving relationships with family values and extended friend groups that people sit on their butts with in cafes doing nothing with but talking, and drinking espresso. Another words, an unhurried sense of community.

4) living with animals and experiencing quiet and  darkness at night

Modern Diseases Are Diseases of Speed and Rushing

A very significant aspect of a Healthy Lifestyle common to all the societies in which people live long healthy lives is the fact that they don't rush. People take their time. They stroll. If you just leave the USA and come back you will immediatedly notice how funny we look rushing around like there is an emergency, when in fact we are just walking to the car to go to the store. And rushing puts your nervous system into the fight or flight response, which puts in motion, no pun intended, a whole cascade of negative physiological, biochemical, and hormonal events that lead to high blood sugar and high blood pressure. Remember, cancer is your cells gone crazy with chaotic over-replication. 

We Americans are, frankly, a bit crazy. We make everything, every small thing, into an emergency. We are impatient and easily frustrated. People rush from here to there, mostly there, and are so often not here. And it leads to a lot of unnecessary stress, irritability, anxiety, and, key point--high blood pressure. Very very bad for the heart.

You sit down to eat lunch and your thinking about  what you have to do later, rather than on how delicious the food is. The American business lunch meeting-- it is a horrible idea for digestion. High stakes important stressful negotiations while taking food?

The USA coined the phrase, "time is money," Only its not. Time is actually an imaginative construct. For Hindus and Latins time is a very different thing. You might say for Hindus it does not exist and for Latins its an elastic concept. 

Point being that in USA even time is commodified. And if you want a healthy lifestyle within the belly of a society whose structures specialize in creating illness, as opposed to those Mediterranean villages with low rates of heart disease and cancer, it takes some work. The diseases of modern living are disease of speed. The remedy is consciously slowing down, taking it easy, learning to relax, and having a regular meditation practice as part of your mental hygiene, as part of your healthy lifestyle

Healing is a process, and not a pill, is another favorite saying of mine. And there it is. 

Look at this article from today's Guardian about lifestyle. 

Alan Maisel, a researcher from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, said Acciaroli residents lived long lives despite some unhealthy habits and tendencies, including smoking and obesity. He said the elderly residents ate a lot of rosemary and oily fish, walked on hilly terrain and had active sex lives.
The thing is, no one can make any money selling the idea of walking on hilly terrain, or having an active sex life. Even the rosemary and oily fish, while great, (I certainly urge people to use lots of herbs which are full of digestive enzymes and anti-oxidants, and to eat plenty of oily fish, too) cannot be taken out of the context of the lifestyle people in this beautiful seacoast village in Sardinia have...

So is it the walking alone? Is it the rosemary and fish alone? Is it the sex life? Is it the sense of community and belonging? Is it the fresh vegetables and fruit?   Or is it the combination of all of the above.....

That is what Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda mean by Diet and Lifestyle, and its the totality that we need to cultivate, including and especially for us Americans, the management of how we respond to stressors....

Copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA July 2016 All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Kitchen Medicine Cooking Medicine: Burdock Summer Cleanse

Kitchen Medicine Cooking Medicine: Burdock Summer Cleanse: Burdock Summer Cleanse is a decongesting, heat clearing, detoxifying beverage that clears heat and dampness toxins (Pitta and Ama in Ayurve...

Eopyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA All Rights Reserved, Use With PermissionAyurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diegohttp://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

Burdock Summer Cleanse

Burdock Summer Cleanse is a decongesting, heat clearing, detoxifying beverage that clears heat and dampness toxins (Pitta and Ama in Ayurveda) from the body, while at the same time protecting Agni digestive fire.
It is excellent for as a general seasonal cleanse, for weight loss, acne, eczema, psoriasis, allergic dermatitis, hives, poison oak and ivy.
In reviewing this post today from my website from a few years back, about my Burdock Summer Cleanse beverage, it became apparent why the version I made yesterday tasted spicier than the one I usually make. The reason why was there was more parsley, ginger, and celery compared to burdock and water than usual. Which is what I wanted, as I have been eating a bit too much heavy food of late.

I mention this because I encounter people all the time that do everything from a recipe. Its almost as if not having a recipe makes them nervous or anxious.

The beauty in making things your own, whether its exercise, cooking, artwork, using herbal medicines, is that when you learn to do things from inside yourself, when you internalize the process from experience, rather than from recipes, things come out differently each time, and beautifully so.  Every moment is unique. The exact opposite of mass production where each BigMac is identical, but of questionable nutritive and aesthetic value in the first place.

I was lucky enough to learn how to cook Indian food from my friend's wives and mothers, in both India and USA. Indian food is so complex, yet none of these women ever pulled out a recipe. Always from the head, and, key point, according to the mood of the moment, like improvised music based on classical training.

So when you cook, even if you first learn from a recipe, as we all did at some point, even if the recipe was memorized without notes from observing your mother or father, be free, improvise, within the bounds of taste and reason, which is, of course, very subjective, but just remember, if cooking for a medical purpose, stick to improvisations that respect the logic of the starting point.

This is the recipe for what I made yesterday

Burdock Summer Cleanse Beverage

2 quarts water
1 bunch flat Italian parsley
1 medium carrot
4 celery stalks with leaves
2 tbsp dried burdock root
1 tbsp sliced ginger root

Bring to the boil, and simmer for 45 minute on low, adding water as you go so the end product is 2 quarts of beverage. When done, pour out the contents, and add 2 quarts water again, bring to a boil and simmer. You can now get a 2nd more dilute version of the beverage.

You can add 1 chopped beet root if you want to make your drink sweeter and spicier, and beets are a rich source of potassium and magnesium, very good summer minerals as potassium is lost by sweating, and magnesium is food for the muscles.

Why Cleanse in Summer?

Summer is NOT the typical time to cleanse the body strongly. Spring is. So I don't imply you should fast on this beverage. But on the other hand we can often overindulge in high fat high sugar treats in summer like ice cream, ice coffee, ice tea, frozen yogurt, that clog the shrotas and nadis (tissues and channels) and weaken the gut. We may also over eat cold energy fruit and heavy foods like barbeque.

A simple remeedy is to start your day in summer with a cup of this beverage instead of tea or coffee, and drink between meals instead of snacking. Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine are not in favor of radical cleanses, so this is a very gentle, seasonally appropriate way to clear pathological heat that develops from overeating sugar and heavy foods and from the summer season, decongest, and detoxify dampness and Ama/toxins from the gut and cells.

As such it is excellent for weight loss and acne. If you are a cold type who is overweight, you can add some black pepper or long pepper to your version and more ginger.

Add Salt If Using As Your Exercise Beverage

If its hot and you are exercising heavily and sweating, make this with a dash of sea salt or more. Otherwise, make it saltless, especially if you have blood pressure issues.

Burdock Root for Skin Disorders

Burdock root which clears heat and toxins from the body is both a food grade general cleanser safe for anyone, but its also used in Chinese Medicine as Kitchen Medicine for acne, eczema, psoriasis, allergic dermatitis, hives, and poison oak and ivy.

But, if you are using this Burdock summer cleanse for heat type skin issues like hives, eczema, or poison oak,  especially if there is itching, then drop the ginger reduce the parsley and increase the burdock as follows:

Burdock Beverage for Itchy Hot Skin Disorders 

4 quarts water
1 cup burdock
2 large carrots
1 celery stalk
1/2 bunch parsley
1 tbsp Job's Tears barley

Yi Yi Ren, Hatcho Mugi, or Job's Tears Barley for Skin Disorders

An excellent ingredient to add to this for eczema, acne, and hives, is job's tears barley, called Yi Yi Ren in Chinese Medicine, which is historically used for hot weather, heat stroke, for acne, and for detoxifying the skin in diseases like eczema acne and hives.  And unlike regular barley, Job's tears appears to be gluten free.

Daikon Radish for Acne with Digestive Congestion

If you have acne, and a thick coating on your tongue, then stick to the first recipe above and try adding 1 tbsp daikon radish and 1 tbsp Job's Tears barley. Acne is to due heat in the stomach that develops when there is food stagnation. Radish is a wonderful vegetable that stimulates digestive fire. Why raw radish is served in Japan with sashimi which is cold and raw.

Even though acne is a heat disorder, when we move the Qi in the gut it helps the heat clear up.

Where to Buy Burdock

Fresh burdock is sold in East Asian markets and some health food stores. Dried burdock is available on line here, and for beverage purposes is just as good as fresh.

copyright Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. San Diego, CA July 2016 All Rights Reserved, Use With Permission Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com