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Acupuncture Can Help You Deal with Allergy Symptoms

Acupuncture Can Help you Deal with Allergy Symptoms

Research tells us that acupuncture has been beneficial in treating a variety of conditions including high blood pressure, stress and anxiety, and headaches, just to name a few. And the good news is, you can add allergy symptoms to that list as well. continue reading »

Late Summer is a Season All Its Own


We have arrived in what Traditional Chinese Medicine terms the season of “Late Summer.”  Here in southern New England, this begins on some unscheduled moment in August, when the winds shift, the humidity clears, and the temperature veers away from the torpid high numbers.  We breathe more easily, and sleep more soundly. We turn our smiling faces again to the afternoon sun, no longer in fear of scorching.


The Spleen system, along with its pair the Stomach, is now in control.  The red hot Fire element of the summer’s heat fades into the warm golden glow of the Earth.  Heavier vegetables and fruits ripen, full of sweet flavors which easily charge our bodies with Qi after quick digestion.  This thick density of flesh and easy energy then nourishes our muscles, and builds our immune system against the colder months to come.


The Earth is our mother, she grounds and nurtures us.   The harvest fills us with summer’s stored energies, strengthening our bodies; memories from our active summer will entertain for months.  With a hot squash soup and a fresh bread loaf, we are cared for, supported, sustained, sated, and loved.   


A wonderful season for activity, exercising now will not only strengthen our muscles, but pump the lymph to clean our bodies.  Too much inactivity now will add fat to our frames and blood, slowing our metabolisms, contributing to ill health through wintertime.


The Spleen is in charge of our digestion, and so loves foods that are easily digested: cooked foods: soups, stews, steamed vegetables.  These foods give us quicker energy, or Qi, are often high in carbohydrates, and tend to be earth toned: winter squashes, potato, most grains, seeds, salmon & sardines, poultry & beef, dates & figs.  Other vegetables in full ripeness now also make the list, including eggplant, cucumber, and watercress.


What’s the best way to nourish your Spleen/Stomach system and Earth element?  Get outside and walk. The Chinese suggest walking 1000 steps after each meal to maintain your health.  Consider getting in the habit of an after dinner neighborhood stroll, or a midday lunch break walk in the sun.  Walk with a friend or loved one, and enjoy your time. Joy is the emotion of the season, and the brain its organ, so stop overthinking, let the details go, and appreciate all that’s around you: the beauty, the bounty, the sunshine, and those you love.

7 Reasons to Seek Out Acupuncture


Do you ever feel your life’s a ride that won’t ever stop? How many nights do you wait for Mr. Sandman to magically appear? How often do you truly take time for yourself? Do you have aches and pains almost daily? Are over-the-counter or prescription medications controlling your life? When was the last time you actually felt at peace? If any of these questions resonate with you, then it might be time to look at Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture for an answer. People in Asian countries have known the magnificence of acupuncture for thousands of years. Traditional Chinese Medicine is growing in popularity in the United States and here are some reasons why you might want to consider utilizing it also. continue reading »

11 Benefits of Cayenne Pepper

By Tracee Sloan, from her blog Juice Recipes for Your Health

Did you know that in the Old West, herbalists would use cayenne pepper to save people from gunshot wounds? Mixed with water in the form of a ‘tea’, very hot cayenne pepper would be mixed with water and given orally to the victim. In most cases, by the time the herbalist would count to ten, the bleeding would stop.

How is this possible? Cayenne pepper goes immediately into the blood stream. It adjusts the blood pressure from the top of the head to the bottom of the feet, thus equalizing pressure over the whole body. The high pressure, which causes rapid bleeding, is taken away from the wound. As a result of this, clotting starts immediately.

As I have followed my fascination with herbs and herbology, I noticed a common thread among the great herbalists of the last century. They all say that if they only had two things to work with on the entire planet, cayenne pepper would be one of them. This led me to ask, ‘Why?’ This question has led me to some surprising answers.

  1. Beneficial to the Heart

    Dr. John Christopher, one of the greatest herbalists of the last century, called cayenne pepper ‘the finest food for the heart’.

    “People are starving their hearts while feeding their taste buds” – Dr. John Christopher

    There are flavonoids in cayenne that heal heart cells and protect your heart.

  2. Breaks up Congestion in the Body

    Cayenne stimulates the peristaltic motion of the intestines. It aids in assimilation and elimination.

  3. Has been known to help heal ulcers

    Cayenne helps rebuild the tissue in the stomach and heals intestinal ulcers.

  4. Digestive Aid

    By increasing the flow of enzyme production, cayenne pepper stimulates the digestive tract. Cayenne also breaks up mucous in the body, leading to better absorption and digestion of food.

  5. Burns Fat & Boosts Metabolism

    By giving the body a natural thermogenic boost, cayenne allows your body to begin to burn its stored fat. The capsaicin found in cayenne pepper, put simply, helps the body to burn more calories. (Hint: Great addition to your fresh vegetable juice!)

  6. Serves as a catalyst for herbs to work faster in the body

    Cayenne will increase the value and healing properties of other herbs. It carries herbal agents more quickly to any specific area.

    ‘Without blood flow to sick areas, how can any herb work?’ – Dr. Richard Schulze

    For example, if you take gingko but have bad circulation to your brain, what good is that herb doing? If you take milk thistle, but have bad circulation to your liver, how much good is that herb really doing to aid the liver?

    Dr. Christopher once stated that without herbs, a condition may take months to improve. With herbal remedies, it may take weeks. Add cayenne to the herbal remedy, the condition may improve in minutes.

  7. Contains Anti-Cancer Properties

    Studies have shown that cayenne induces cancer cell death, otherwise known as apoptosis, while leaving healthy cells intact.

  8. Regulates Blood Pressure

    When the veins become loaded with sticky mucous, the blood has a more difficult time circulating through the body. Higher pressure forces the liquid through the system. Because cayenne regulates the flow of blood from the head to the feet, the pressure is equalized. The heart is affected immediately, which then effects the nerves, arteries and capillaries. The veins and capillaries regain the elasticity of youth, and blood pressure returns to normal.

  9. Anti-fungal Properties

    Known for its anti-fungal properties, cayenne can be useful when taken to ward off colds, sore throats or even the flu. Cayenne breaks up congestion and mucous in the body. Squeezing a fresh lemon in warm water while adding cayenne is an effective at home remedy at the onset of a cold or sore throat.

  10. Beneficial to the Skin

    Not only does cayenne increase the flow of blood to the skin, but it is also rich in Vitamins C and E, flavonoids, and anti-oxidants.

    Cayenne is also helpful for healing the skin. If a wound is cut and exposed, even to the bone, sprinkle the wound with cayenne pepper. It will stop the bleeding and heal the wound beautifully. If the skin appears red, it is not because the cayenne is irritating the wound. On the contrary, cayenne is a counter-irritant. The cayenne is actually bringing blood to the surface to both start the healing process and take away toxic poisons. The redness of the surface simply indicates the carrying off of the waste.

  11. Remedy for Tooth and Gums

    Cayenne pepper circulates blood to the gums and teeth. Combined with other herbs, the properties combine to reduce inflammation and swelling.

    One of my favorite herbal combinations is Dr. Schulze’s Tooth & Gum. I am not being paid to recommend this. I just wanted to share this information with you, in case you may need it some day.

How much do I take?

Herbalists Dr. Christopher and Dr. Schulze have long recommended starting with 1/16th of a teaspoon in a glass of room temperature water. Gradually increase this amount to 1 teaspoon per day, up to 3 times a day.

A few interesting tips

  • Look for higher heat units, organically grown, in the bulk section
  • According to Dr. Schulze, purchasing cayenne pepper in the spice section is usually not best. It can be old, burnt, or just not hot enough to be effective.
  • Purchasing cayenne in capsules is not the most effective way to take cayenne pepper. When you take cayenne in a glass of water, digestive juices are secreted to prepare your stomach for the cayenne. If you swallow a capsule, a few minutes later when the gelatin dissolves, you have surprised your stomach with about a half of a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.

‘When you take cayenne in capsules, you get a punch in the stomach. It’s a very different reaction. It’s like doing no warm up or stretch before you do a vigorous physical exercise.’ – Dr. Richard Schulze

In addition to this, the cayenne in capsules is often low quality. If it has been overheated by processing machines, its healing ability will be diminished. Beware of cayenne that has a dark color or smoky smell. If it has been burnt, the enzymes and other nutrients will be lost through overheating.

Final Thoughts…

Dr. Christopher used to have an expression he liked to use:

‘Eat of the fruit of your own fig tree.’

Oftentimes, we think that what we need to help ourselves is some very expensive, exotic plant from some far away country. I happen to agree with Dr. Christopher on this one:

‘The herb that’s been right in front of you is much more amazing than those plants hiding out in the jungles.’


Some Simple Answers About Inflammation


Beat Inflammation Before It Beats You

by Donald McGee


Body inflammation gets a lot of bad press, but these stories refer to chronic or excessive inflammation that causes health problems. There is also a good type of inflammation that occurs when a strong immune system responds therapeutically to an illness or injury. Beneficial inflammation is a survival tool the healthy immune system uses to differentiate a harmless substance from a harmful one called an antigen. Inflammation occurring appropriately in the body is a sign that an individual’s immunity is hard at work as a healer.

Unfortunately, if the immune system becomes impaired, it is liable to attack the body’s own cells or tissues and create a harmful type of inflammation that becomes chronic, causing untimely aging and illness. When inflammation invades the body as an immune system overreaction, it may initiate a detrimental response to a new allergen, formerly innocuous. Worse, it can result in autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus and diabetes. Autoimmune diseases have both acquired (obtained after birth) and hereditary component, often overlapping, and something we are learning we have more control over. Stress, exercise, and our diet DIRECTLY interact with our own DNA and can turn on and off good and bad genes via TELOMERES.

Healthy weight and diet can keep the autoimmune DNA disposition of diabetes at bay.

Additionally, chronic inflammation within our microvascular system contributes to serious health conditions like heart disease, solid cancer (breast, colon, prostate), and dementia; also impacted by our stress, exercise, and diet DIRECTLY on the DNA responsible for the inner lining of our arteries: endothelial glycocalyx.

Here are some principal triggers of chronic inflammation. Learn them and make lifestyle changes to protect yourself from an inflammatory rampage.

STRESS – Chronic stress keeps the body on “fight-or-flight” alert and is an inflammatory factor that can throw the immune system out of whack. Research at Carnegie Mellon University showed that prolonged psychological stress lessens the immune system’s ability to regulate the inflammatory response, increasing risk for certain diseases. Meditation and other stress management techniques may help.

ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS – The modern world we live in provides us a wealth of technology and bounty that people in the nineteenth century couldn’t imagine. This progress carries a high price, however, because our twenty-first century environment is filled with toxins, such as mercury, pesticides, and industrial chemicals. Scientific advancements by industry and agriculture introduced more than 75,000 synthetic chemicals into the environment, and their use increased in recent years.

If you expect government agencies to protect your family from dangerous toxins, think again. The EPA, FDA, and USDA seem less intent on protecting the public’s well-being than ensuring that industry and agribusiness continue to spew poisons into the air and water. It’s up to individuals to learn about common toxins and how to avoid them as much as possible. One non-governmental agency providing information about toxins in air, water, food, and common consumer products is the Environmental Working Agency, which also urges safer practices by energy-producing companies and industries. Check for helpful guides to safer consumption and use.

INFERIOR DIET – Eating too much sugar, refined grains, processed foods, trans fats and other fats that oxidize when heated, including hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated vegetable oils and margarine, can produce chronic inflammation. While the Internet and numerous books tout a variety of “anti-inflammatory diet” plans, it’s wise to consult your primary care doctor before embarking on a special diet. If you eat a whole foods, high-fiber, heavily plant-based diet rich in phytonutrients (plant chemicals that are naturally anti-inflammatory) and consume healthy monounsaturated fats with omega-3 fatty acids and not chemically hydrogenated (good fat examples: olive oil, flaxseed oil, nuts, and avocados), you will go a long way toward improving your diet and keeping chronic inflammation at bay.

EXERCISE DEFICIENCY – By now, most people are aware that a lack of regular exercise plays a role in many health problems. You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or perform stringent workouts in order to benefit from increased movement. Simply aim for at least thirty minutes of moderate exercise daily. A brisk walk will do, or, if you have aching joints or mobility issues, a half-hour swim in a heated pool at the YMCA is adequate.

PERSISTENT INFECTIONS AND ALLERGIES – People who have chronic infections, caused by bacteria, yeast, viruses, or parasites, are likely to have body inflammation. An opportunistic fungus called Candida Albicans is one of the worst culprits, taking advantage of a period of stress or course of antibiotics that upsets the balance of intestinal flora, and then excessively multiplying until it controls a large portion of the digestive tract, sometimes spreading throughout the body. Uncontrolled food or environmental allergens also spark inflammation. A thorough physical checkup or allergy testing can lead to the correct diagnosis and treatment.

Do what you can to avoid chronic inflammation. It’s hazardous to your health.

How To Dine Out If You Have a Food Allergy

food-allergies-01Food allergies shouldn’t prevent you from dining out with your friends and family. Unfortunately, though, many people with food allergies resort to cooking their own meals to reduce the risk of an adverse reaction. From dairy and nuts to gluten (wheat-based protein) and shellfish, there are certain foods that people must avoid to prevent adverse reactions. continue reading »

Food sensitivity is a real possibility.

A simple blog entry about food sensitivities, a couple of ways to test, some symptoms, and some foods to try.  Includes a trailer for “Food Inc.”

6 Ways to Relieve Allergies Without Drugs, Shots or Needles

summer-fieldSummer finally arrives.

The sun comes out.  The flowers bloom.

Most people grab their sunscreen and head outside.  But what do you do?

You close the windows, grab your antihistamines and hide in the house.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could enjoy being outdoors?

Allergies are widespread.  According to WebMD, 20% of the population suffers from allergies or asthma, and 55% of the population tests positive for one or more allergens.   Allergies are the 5th leading chronic disease in the US and cost the US health care system $7.9 billion annually.

If you can’t live with your runny nose, congestion or watery eyes, but you don’t want to take antihistamines or get allergy shots, what can you do to relieve your symptoms?

continue reading »