B Wisdom, a Bala series in which we explore wisdom for the modern yogi. This month, we are covering an Chinese Herbal Medicine with Casey McSewyn (Full Circle Acupuncture).
Chinese herbal medicine is an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine and is often used in conjunction with acupuncture as a safe and effective means of healing the body and mind. For thousands of years, empirical and clinical research has demonstrated the therapeutic properties and benefits of Chinese herbs. Chinese herbs consist of natural plant parts such as roots, stems, branches, bark, leaves, flowers, fruit or seeds, as well as natural minerals and some animal products. Each herb is understood to target specific organs and carry out distinct functions in the body, and when used in combination, a variety of therapeutic strategies can be employed at once. Chinese herbal formulas are custom tailored to meet the specific constitutional pattern and diagnosis of each patient, although often times single herbs are used to promote a certain function in the body and boost overall wellness.
Here are a few of my favorite individual Chinese herbs:
Gou Qi Zi – Dried Lyceum fruit
This delicious fruit can boost your immune system, help to lower blood pressure, and also was shown in one study to increase red blood cells. Soak in hot water and enjoy a therapeutic tea all year round or enjoy in a creative trail mix.
Chen Pi – Dried Citrus Peel/Tangerine peel
This wonderful herb promotes harmony in the middle jiao – translation: helps your stomach digest and treats indigestion with bloating and distention or poor appetite. It can also help sooth a cough and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent in your body. This one is good soaked in hot water as well.
Da Zao – Dried Date
Da Zao calms the spirit and treats irritability and disturbed sleep. It can also sooth an upset stomach, ease digestion, and help treat diarrhea. This one can be stewed and eaten in your favorite congee recipe.
Sheng Jiang – Fresh ginger
Sheng Jiang “releases the exterior and induces perspiration” – translation – great to soak in hot water when you first catch a cold! Also this one is tasty in your favorite stir fry or in combination with other herbs to warm the middle jiao and relieve vomiting (very helpful for morning sickness in your favorite ginger beer).
Feng Mi – Raw Honey
Raw Feng Mi (unprocessed honey) tonifies the middle jiao as well, it relieves constipation, and can help moisten the lung to stop a dry cough. Feng Mi has also been shown to have an antibiotic effect.
As a Bala Yoga Partner, Casey (Full Circle Acupuncture) offers 1 Ten Minute Tuning Fork or Cupping Session for Bala Yoga Infinity Members. Please see monthly email for promo code + details!
Casey McSewyn, LAc
Licensed Acupuncturist, certified Chinese herbalist
“Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology” by John K. Chen and Tina T. Chen