Thursday, June 14, 2012

Upcoming Children's Wellness Clinics

Children's Wellness Clinics

for newborns, infants & children (aka "big kids")

Children's Wellness Clinics are held on the last Saturday of each month. On these Saturdays, we offer 20-minute friendly & personalized sessions, in which your child receives a gentle shonishin massage treatment aimed at:
  • enhancing immunity,
  • treating common pediatric illnesses, and 
  • promoting wellness.
During the sessions, parents and caregivers have an opportunity to:
  • consult regarding children's health conditions, and
  • learn pediatric wellness techniques to practice at home, including acupressure, massage, herbs, teas, and nutritional therapy.

Upcoming Children's Wellness Clinics:

Saturday, March 30
Saturday, April 26
Saturday, May 25

10:00 a.m. - 4:00 pm.

Chinese medicine treatments are a great way to treat & prevent colds, flus & allergies, and to support children's bodies & minds during seasonal transitions.

To schedule a 20-minute session for your child, please call  510-495-5752     
or email

$15 per 20-minute session per child

If your child has a complex health issue, it might be preferable to come for a longer visit before or after Children's Wellness Clinic Saturdays.

What is shonishin?
Shonishin is a gentle, non-invasive healing method which originated in Japan and is based on Chinese medicine acupuncture techniques. A specialized set of small metal tools are used to stroke and tap the skin. These techniques harmonize and fortify the child's vital energy, help clear illness-causing pathogens, and strengthen the child's constitution.

Please see my article Shonishin Pediatric Acupuncture.

Click here for more on Traditional Chinese Medicine Pediatrics.

Conditions commonly treated with TCM Pediatrics:
food allergies/senstivities
recurrent ear infections
frequent colds/flus
sleep issues
and more

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Summer Foods & Recipe: Aduki & Mung Bean Salad

Watermelon, aduki beans & mung beans are common foods with enough medicinal properties to earn a place in the pharmacopeia of Chinese herbs & medicinals.

All of these are useful in treating a condition described in Chinese medicine as summerheat. Summerheat happens when we catch a bug during the summer or simply get overheated by long days of sunshine. Summerheat is characterized by fever, sweating, irritability, thirst and sometimes diarrhea.

When you're feeling overheated this summer, try eating watermelon, aduki beans or mung beans. They all help to cool you down. They help generate fluids in your body to alleviate thirst and irritability. Gentle diuretics,  to drain that heat and dampness that's making you feel so lethargic, through your urine.

Each of these food also dilates the blood vessels and gently reduces blood pressure. They also have antiseptic & anti-bacterial properties as well, helping to rid our systems of toxins and pathogens.

Eating watermelon is kind of a no-brainer.

Aduki (sometimes also called azuki or adzuki) and mung beans can be found in their dry form in most grocery stores. Prepare them as you would prepare other dried beans: soak them for several hours or overnight (or even sprout them) to improve their digestibility before cooking.

Here's a yummy recipe from Penelope Ody's book, The Chinese Herbal Cookbook: Healing Foods from East & West:

Aduki & Mung Bean Salad


5 oz aduki beans
5 oz mung beans
a head of garlic, cut in half horizontally
1 lemon cut in half
1 lime cut in half
2 bay leaves

For the dressing:
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1 Tblsp lemon juice
1 Tblsp lime juice
5 Tblsps extra-virgin olive oil
Handful of fresh basil leaves, coarsely torn into shreds
Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsely
Handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Start making the salad the day before by soaking the aduki & mung beans in a bowl of cold water overnight. Drain well.

Put the soaked beans in a saucepan with the garlic, lemon and live halves and the bay leaves. Cover with plenty of water; bring to boil, cover, reduce heat & simmer for about 1 hour, until the beans are cooked (soft but not too soft).

Meanwhile, make the dressing, which must be ready to pour onto the hot beans when they are cooked. Using a pestle and mortar or small blender, mash the garlic with the lemon & lime juices, then slowly pound in the oil and herbs. Add salt & pepper to taste.

When the beans are cooked, drain them well, discarding the garlic, lemon & lime halves and bay leaves. Toss the hot beans in the dressing and serve them when cool, as a light summer lunch.

Recipe from:
Penelope Ody. The Chinese Herbal Cookbook: Healing Foods from East & West. London: Kyle Cathie Limited, 2000.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hawthorn for Heart Health

In Chinese medicine, the season summer corresponds to the Heart. Summer is a great time to focus on heart health.

Widely used in both Western and Asian herbal traditions, hawthorn may well be the supreme herb for the heart.

Hawthorns are big regal trees with white flowers in springtime, red berries later in the season, and formidable thorns all year round.

Western herbalist, Rosemary Gladstar writes, “The hawthorn tree has been planted in or near most herb gardens throughout Europe and has been revered and surrounded by legend for centuries.”

The berries, flowers and leaves of the tree are used medicinally. All three forms of hawthorn, leaves, flowers and berries can be taken in tea form. The berries and flowers work wonderfully in alcohol-based tinctures as well.

Cardiovascular Health

Hawthorn has a strong affinity for the heart. Indeed, it's bright red berries the heart organ, or a chamber of the heart and its valve. Hawthorn is a cardiac tonic with the ability to gently stimulate or depress the heart's activity as needed. Hawthorn strengthens the heart muscle, regulates blood flow and stimulates circulation by dilating arteries and veins and releasing cardiovascular constrictions and blockages. It lowers blood pressure and helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. An outstanding herb for both preventing and treating heart disease, hawthorn is frequently used to address all cardiovascular conditions, including:
  • high and low blood prssure
  • rapid or arhythmic heartbeat
  • inflammation of the heart muscle
  • angina pectoris
  • arteriosclerosis and valvular heart diseases
  • edema
  • nervous palpitations

Digestive Health

Interestingly, the use of hawthorn to treat the cardiovascular system is a relatively recent development in Chinese herbalism. Traditionally, Chinese herbalists used hawthorn berries primarily to treat digestion. Indeed, hawthorn berries are the preeminent herb used for removing congestion of accumulated food masses due to overeating and poor digestion. In this way, they help detoxify the digestive system, making you feel lighter and more energetic. They stimulate poor appetite, reduce abdominal distention and aid, particularly, in the digestion of meat and greasy foods.

The green fruit is good for diarrhea and the roasted, charred red fruits are good for both diarrhea and chronic dysentery-like disorders.

Postpartum Pain

Because of its ability to promote blood flow, and because it has some affinity with the reproductive system (again, the ripe berry can be seen to resemble the uterus organ), hawthorn is sometimes used to alleviate postpartum pain by helping to dissipate uterine blood clots.

The Heart Spirit

In both West and East, the heart corresponds strongly with emotional, mental and spiritual health. Although it's not usually a first choice in treating mental and emotional problems in Chinese medicine, it can be a useful adjunct in treating insomnia accompanied by overthinking and nervousness. This is because overthinking relates to a weakness in the Spleen system (digestion and assimilation of nutrients), and hawthorn is such a wonderful support for digestive function.

Hawthorn fruit or flowers are more likely to be used by western herbalists to treat emotional issues. Rosemary Gladstar writes, “Hawthorn is a wonderful remedy for “broken hearts” and for depression and anxiety. It is a specific medicine for those who have a difficult time expressing their feelings or who suppress their emotions. Hawthorn helps the heart flower, open, and be healed.”


Great For Elderly and for Children

A healthy heart is essential to a long and productive life, and hawthorn is a wonderful tonic for the elderly. It works particularly well for problems of old age.

Because of it strong concentrations of bioflavonoids, hawthorn is an effective antioxidant. By reducing free radicals in the body, it slows the aging of tissues, fights cancerous cell growth and promotes longevity.

Hawthorn is also a great herb for children. According to Chinese medicine theory, most common pediatric illness in small children stem from weak digestion and from accumulation of poorly digested food in the digestive system (and the phlegm and heat that results from this food accumulation). Hawthorn berries are a wonderful her for breaking down and eliminating food stagnation.

Hawthorn is a key ingredient in some of my favorite pediatric herb formulas used in treating indigestion and colic.

The Chinese even make a candy from the hawthorn berry called "haw flakes," available in packaged form in Chinatown. Adults sometimes eat haw flakes along with a dose of herbal medicine to make the bitter herbs more palatable and digestible. Kids eat them just for fun.

Hawthorn is a gentle herb, completely safe to take in small doses over a long period of time.