Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac.
Natural Healing with Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine
Autumn Newsletter 2006
Lifestyle and Diet: Chinese Medicine
*Living with the Seasons and the Immune System
*Kitchen Medicine for the Lungs
*Keeping Skin Naturally Moist
*Balancing Vatta and Kappha in Fall
Science and Western Medicine
*Antibiotics Not Always the Answer: Latest Research
Living With the Seasons
Autumn the Hinge Between Summer and Winter
In Chinese Medicine, Autumn and Spring are the "hinges" between Summer and Winter. The seasons are a kind of love dance between heaven and earth. In Summer, Gaia is opens like a flower, her energies are at their maximum, she flourishes and reaches up to embrace her cosmic lover. In Winter, she withdraws, taking her energies back into the core of her being. It is a time of maximum Yin, whereas Summer is a time of maximum Yang.
A Time of Wind
Autumn and Spring are both times of movement, of what Chinese Medicine names Wind. Wind starts up suddenly, and dies down just as suddenly. From September to November there is rapid give and take: one day its really hot, the next day cold is in the air. In Spring it is the same, one day we smell Spring coming, and notice the buds on the trees, the next day it snows.
In Chinese Medicine this push and pull, what they call wind, is dangerous. It is a time when the body must continually adapt to change of weather, from opening the pores to sweat to closing them to protect from cold.
Lungs the Organ of Grief
And in the case of Autumn, it is a time when our bodies and souls have to make the adjustment from the abundant splendor that is Summer, to the more circumspect spare experience of Winter. The sky is different.
The stars are different. There is nothing like a night sky in the crisp weather of November and December. But there is a natural sadness that many people experience as the days fall away and the nighttime legnthens. And the Lungs are the organ most affected by sadness and grief.
Chinese Concept of Immune System: Defensive Qi
One of the strengths of Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine, is an awareness of the interplay between living with the seasons, and maintaining a healthy immune system. Chinese medicine breaks the immune system down into three particular kinds of "Qi", that regulate different aspects of immune function.
The first is called "Wei Qi" or "Defensive Qi". Wei Qi is the first line of defense against infectious disease. Weak Wei Qi is a factor in patients who catch colds, bronchitis, and flus easily or repeatedly. It is also a factor in Allergies and Asthma. And producing Wei Qi is primarily a function of the Lungs.
In the body, preparation for Winter is centered around the Lungs, the organ whose power is exerted in Autumn. That means that poor maintenance of the body, poor diet, sleep, insufficient or excessive exercise, and stress will easily damage the lungs this time of year. The power of Autumn is the power of the Harvest. And when the harvest fails, you go hungry in Winter.
Protect the Lungs from Dryness in Autumn
The chief climactic "Evil" in Autumn is dryness. The lungs are like giant tissue paper, in which the tissue is like fine mucosa.They like to stay moist, but not "damp", cool, but not cold. During illness the lungs often become hot, which in turn dries them out. That is why people recovering from bronchitis often end up with a lingering dry cough.
People with Asthma often have "cold trapped in the Lungs," which is why many of the herbs given are warming.
Three Steps for Protecting Lungs
1) The first step in protecting the Lungs is to protect them from exposure to severe cold, or severe dry. But since you can't control the weather (but you can wear a scarf, for example) we use herbs and food to ameliorate nature's effects.
2) As the Lungs are the organ most affected by grief and sadness, it is important, especially if you have weak Wei Qi or Asthma, to process issues of grief and sadness, whatever they may be. That means allowing the discomfort to be felt, and then moved through, as opposed to repressed.
3) Knowing your constitution (Dosha) and having a lifestyle and diet appropriate to it is an excellent way to ensure Lung health. For many Americans, the diet is far to heavy with Wheat and Gluten. Most of us can do better with less Wheat.
Kitchen Medicine for Dryness of the Lungs: Pears
This year has been a particularly dry Autumn here in
This dries out the mucus membranes of the nasal passages, lungs, and even the eyes. Lots of natural pollutants come in as particulate matter and desert plant pollens. Our skin gets dried out, too, especially with the cold desert nights.
Protecting the Lungs from the external pathogen Dryness is a first line of defense against catching colds. Adequate moisture in the mucosa make them slippery. When the Nasal Mucosa is dry, it is much easier for the Rhino Viruses that cause colds to attach and get into the blood stream.
The most common Kitchen Medicine in the East in Autumn are Pears. Pears are cooling and moistening. Bite into a ripe pear. Compare with a ripe Apple. Apples tend to be crisper, and are astringent. Pears have a viscous quality that helps moisten the lungs. And they have a very cool energy, like cucumbers.
In Autumn I use pear in salads a lot. Here is a favorite I learned years ago. Its simple and delicious and cleansing. Most of the year I use apple, but in Autumn I switch to pear. Any kind of pear can be used.
Autumn Pear Waldorf Salad (hold the mayo!)
1 cup chopped Celery
2/3 cup chopped Walnut or Cashews
Depending on your taste. Walnut is slightly Bitter, Cashew more Sweet
2/3 cup chopped Yellow Asian Pear.
That's it! You can modify this recipe to taste. I like to use a high ration of celery, since it’s a wonderful Kidney, Blood, and Intestinal Cleanser,
And this is an easy way to eat lots of it.
But if you want to make the dish sweeter, change the ratio.
Sometimes I add toasted Sesame Seeds, too.
One can also add some fresh or bottled pear juice to make it sweeter or for children.
Where to buy Asian Pears? Asian pears are ludicrously expensive at American markets. Go to Nijiya Japanese market on
Asian Pears can be cooked, too. They are commonly boiled with licorice root for dry cough in
Other Foods That Benefit the Lung Qi and Yin
Persimmons are a wonderful Autumn Fruit. They are mild and light, help to dissolve Phlegm and reinforce the Digestive Energy. Persimmon's are especially good when there is a heat condition in the lungs with cough.
Almonds reinforce the Lung Qi and Yin. They are a Sattvic food in Ayurveda which means they balance all the doshas and create harmony. Try Persimmon muffins with almonds and saffron.
Turnips strengthen Lung Qi, and Tremella mushrooms benefit the Yin. Try Miso Soup with Turnips and Tremella Mushroom. If you suffer from digestive system dampness (thick or greasy tongue coat), eat your Miso Soup with cooked Job's Tear's barley, and avoid or eliminate Wheat and Gluten.This can be critical for people with allergies and asthma.
Lotus Rhizome is also for the lungs. It is very healing to Lung tissue, and helps alleviate damp cough. You can buy it at any Asian grocery. Try juicing it with Pears and a little Ginger root. It looks funny, but has a mild taste. Excellent in soups and stews, too
Chinese and Ayurvedic Herbs for the Lungs:
Chinese White Ginseng, Ophiopogon and Schizandra: Sheng Mai San
The above three herbs make up the venerable herbal rememdy called Sheng Mai San. This is a formula that protects and nourishes the "Yin" and "Qi" of the Lungs. That means it strengthens lung function, and restores the lungs after respiratory illness.
In Autumn, Sheng Mai San is a good formula to take in small doses to protect the lungs. But never in the presence of a fever or while you have a cold.
If someone has a weak immune response, or has a very "Damp" Constitution, I also give them Astragalus and Reishii Mushroom. This combination strengthens the "Wei Qi" and Lungs to improve immune response and the ability to fight external attack. It also strengthens the transformation of dampness and fluids which tend to collect Lung-side.
Ayurveda for Autumn
Autumn is the season characterized by Vatta. Vatta is dry and cold. That means people with Vatta imbalances will need to take protective measure during this season. As autumn is a time for consolidating the gains of summer, a renewed meditation practice is an excellent way to help our body's adjust to the change.
Symptoms of Vatta Imbalance:
Anxiety, restlessness, fatigue, insomnia, constipation are a few.
When Vatta is balanced one feels calm, creative, happy, energetic.
In general one goes for warming and moistening foods, without extremes. Things like Vegetables cooked in olive oil with mild spices.
The following is a spice mixture you can make for Vatta that tastes great.
Vatta Spice Churna
Cardamom Seed, Cumin Seed, Fennel Seed, Hing , Ginger , and Turmeric.
Grind together equal amounts of the first three seeds, and then 1/5 the amount of each of the last three.
Available at my clinic is ProVata Tea, which is a non-caffeinated herbal tea that balances Vatta and tastes great.
Keeping Skin Moist in Autumn: Ayurvedic Oil
Ayurveda's remedy for Vatta imbalance and for dry skin is called Herbal Oil Bath. Its simple. On a day when you don’t need to be anywhere and are not multi-tasking, take one cup of organic sesame oil, or if you are a hot type, coconut oil. Even better is medicated herbal oil, sesame oil in which certain beneficial herbals have been cooked and extracted.
Whatever oil you use, warm it gently on a very low flame, equivalent to a candle. Now massage your body from head to toe, leisurely and fluidly.
Allow generous amounts of oil to seep into your scalp and skin. You can even get it in your ears and eyes, if it does not irritate you. The molecular structure of Sesame Oil is such that it penetrates past the dermis of the skin. That is why sesame oil is in many of the finest and most expensive body care product lines, such a Dr. Hauschka.
When your body is soaked in oil, lay down in a quiet spot for 15 minute or more, as if napping. Really relax.
Now get in the shower and gently wash the oil off with a natural soap such as NeemTulsi soap (available at my office). This is a wonderful soap made from Coconut Oil, with the medicinal qualities of Neem, Tulsi, and Multani Mati, a kind of mild Indian Clay that benefits the skin, and is not drying.
Allergies and Santa Anas
1. Take a break from Wheat and perhaps Dairy
Many people's allergies improve when they avoid grains with gluten, but especially wheat. Some people do better without dairy products. Everyone benefits from use of the herb Nettles.
Nowadays it is easy to get even bread that is wheat free. Just go to a health food market and look at the gluten free section. Whole Foods' is quite large.
Stinging Nettles, Quercitin, and "Ma Huang Tang plus"
First and foremost I use fairly high doses of Stinging Nettles. This herb has been shown in many studies to reduce Histamine Response, the chief culprit in allergic reactions. For respiratory allergies I recommend a product called "Allermax." It contains all the stinging nettles you need plus a substance called Quercitin that also reduces Allergic Response.
Chinese Medicine favors a formula called Ma Huang Tang, which iscalled"Allergease" by the supplier I use. This is a 2000 year old formula used for Common Colds, Allergies, and sometimes Asthma.. It has been modified recently with a few herbals that modern science shows to have anti-allergy response, such as Scutellaria and Wume Plum.
above material copyright nov 2006 eytonshalom
Antibiotics Aren't Always the Answer
EXCERPTS FROM RECENT NY TIMES ARTICLE
Your throat feels as if you've swallowed broken glass, your sinuses have been clogged for a couple of days, you're coughing up green stuff and you're slated to fly in a week.
Never mind that your doctor thinks you're suffering from a viral infection that antibiotics won't touch. Why not start a prescription of some powerful bacteria-busting drug immediately, just in case?
Dr. Alastair D. Hay, who teaches medical students at the University of Bristol in England and also treats patients, says that until recently, even he may occasionally have succumbed to the pressure to hand over a prescription.
And giving the standard lecture about how antibiotics will not stop a virus but may contribute to the growing, worldwide problem of drug resistance rarely convinces sick people that they don't need the drugs. "Unless you can tell them that there's an immediate downside for them personally," Dr. Hay said, "the message just doesn't sink in."
Now, though, Dr. Hay can quote direct evidence of a downside. An increasing number of studies, including his own work, suggest that even a properly prescribed antibiotic can foster the growth of one or more strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria for at least two to six months inside the person taking the pills.
That particular strain may not make you sick. But if you find yourself one day immune-suppressed after chemotherapy, cut open by a car accident or surgery or especially vulnerable to bacterial pneumonia after a bad flu, those resistant strains of bacteria living inside you increase the odds that any infection will be hard - or even impossible - to beat.
In a study published in the July 2005 issue of The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, Dr. Hay and nine colleagues solicited urine samples from a broad cross-section of generally healthy people throughout southwest
They then checked the samples for E. coli, a common intestinal bacterium that can invade the urethra. Published surveys estimate that roughly 25 to 35 percent of women ages 20 to 40 in the
Of the 618 men and women from whom Dr. Hay and his colleagues were able to isolate E. coli and also get extensive medical records, 39 percent carried a bacterial strain that was resistant to one or more of the first-line antibiotics commonly used to treat urinary infections.
More significantly, Dr. Hay said, a patient's likelihood of carrying a resistant organism was doubled if the patient had taken "any antibiotic for any reason within the previous two months, when compared with those who had not taken an antibiotic."
The findings dovetail with results from other studies that found a strong, though temporary, link between drug-resistant urinary tract infections and antibiotics taken in the previous six months.
"A lot of women have had the experience of having a urinary infection that doesn't seem to be treatable, or of going through more than one drug," said Abigail A. Salyers, a microbiologist at the University of Illinois and a co-author with Dixie D. Whitt of the new book "Revenge of the Microbes: How Bacterial Resistance Is Undermining the Antibiotic Miracle."
But the implication of the research goes beyond urinary infections. Doctors are beginning to realize that any oral or injected antibiotic they prescribe to fight a particular infection also cuts a wide swath in bacterial neighborhoods throughout the body, mowing down microbes that are susceptible and leaving room, temporarily at least, for resistant bugs to colonize the empty real estate and thrive.
Bacteria differ in their ability to fend off antibiotics, and in the methods they use. The most worrisome are those that quickly and easily trade genetic material across species. A bacterium that was once vulnerable to any one of several drugs can overnight become impervious to all of them. It does this by picking up an extra loop of DNA - essentially a highly portable genetic suitcase containing several different resistance genes - from a passing microbe.
Public health officials used to assume that these sorts of superbugs arose mostly in hospitals, where a variety of conditions - including a concentration of seriously ill patients, open wounds, hands-on care and the wide use of powerful antibiotics - made the buildings incubators of drug resistance.
But just because hospitals are incubators doesn't mean that's where the problems start or stay.
"Many hospital infections walk in the front door, on the patient, or the patient's family, the doctors, or the guy in the next bed," Dr. Salyers says. "It's the opportunistic bacteria that we all carry around with us that are causing the trouble in hospitals."
Which brings us back to you, with your nasty sore throat, throbbing sinuses and cough, waiting in the exam room, hoping for a prescription from your doctor.
Dr. Ralph Gonzales, an internist at the
Dr. Gonzales hopes to preserve the drugs' powerful benefits while minimizing resistance. Several years ago, he worked with medical associations and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to devise evidence-based guidelines for doctors to use in telling which patients need antibiotics for their respiratory infections and which patients do not.
But increasingly, Dr. Gonzales thinks it is the patients - particularly the 30- or 40-year-old professionals with bad colds and overwhelming deadlines - who need to be persuaded, as much as other doctors.Studies have shown that when patients come into the clinic expecting a drug, Dr. Gonzales said, doctors are more likely to prescribe one."Very few ask directly for an antibiotic," he said. "Instead you'll hear, 'I have a wedding coming up - my wedding - and my cold won't go away.' "
We Love Referrals!
Referring patients, like yourself, is a source of joy and satisfaction to me. I do appreciate those who spread the good word, who send their relatives and friends to me, and who try to use Natural Medicine as their method of Primary Care. I am grateful for the patients who express their confidence and trust in my abilities in this way.
At this time of the year, let me thank all of you for
*telling your friends and relatives about my work*
*helping me build Natural Medicine as a Primary Health Care*
*taking it upon yourself to communicate about Natural Medicine*
*for understanding that anyone you refer to me deserves and will receive my caring, undivided attention, and skilled, gentle treatment.*
BodyMind Wellness Center is Moving, End of November !!!
After 10 years in Mission Hills, our building is being torn down and converted into a two-story residence.
The good news is I have found a lovely office in nearby Morley Field at
Access is easy, from every direction.
From the 5 freeway south of downtown, get off at Pershing Road, take it north to Upas, turn left, go a few blocks to Louisiana, turn right, go 2 blocks and it is on the right hand side.
From the North or East, take the 805 south and get off on University and go West (right) to 30th, make a left and go to Upas, make a right, and go to Louisiana, make a right, and its on the right hand side. There may be a short cut that I havn't yet explored.
From the 8 you can take
I look forward to serving all of you in my new office in December.
Eyton Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. 619/296-7591