All posts filed under: Chinese Medicine

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Introduction to Headache Differentiation

A while back I was talking to a friend who had migraines about six times a year, but came two at a time. She would have one for two days, then within a week she’d come down with another. I felt very sympathetic for her and everyone else who are prone to headaches, and thought to myself, “I’d rather have horrible menstrual cramps then a headache any day”. At least with cramps, you know when they are coming and when they will be done. To be honest, the main reason I’d rather have cramps is because there is something so elusive, so hard to pin down about headaches. Feverfew has been proven to help migraines, but I have known it to not work on some people. Laying down with a wet rag over their eyes help some people, but others feel the headache actually get worse when resting. When I got Lesley Tierra’s Healing with the Herbs of Life I became enamored with her chapter about headaches. Part of the mystery of headaches dissolved as …

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Kidney Yang Tonics – Warm the Source

Remember that the Kidneys are the root of both Yin and Yang, even though in and of themselves the Kidneys are considered Yin. Michael Tierra says that Kidney Yang is the “pilot light for our energy system”. When deficient, the warming ability of the Kidneys decreases and can manifest in one or more of the following patterns: Cold, sore, weak low back Copius clear or pale urine, incontinence, nighttime urination, weak or dripping urine stream Coldness, cold limbs, avoiding cold and wanting warm Weak legs, leg edema Poor appetite, loose stools Sexual dysfunction, infertility, premature ejaculation, nocturnal emission Chronic vaginal discharge, leukorrhea, spermatorrhea As you can see, some of these Kidney Yang deficiency patterns overlap with other Kidney deficiency patterns, although the bolded symptoms are the most tell-tale of Kidney Yang. We should also keep in mind that a person may very well have Kidney Yang deficiency and another pattern of excess, and maybe more deficiency patterns, as our bodymind is connected on so many levels. For example, the Kidneys receive from the Spleen and …

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Meet the Kidneys

Winter is the season of the Kidneys. That growth and development, as well as reproduction and the immunity that is deep within us are ruled by the Kidneys is no surprise when you consider that they also rule the uterus and the brain (the two extraordinary organs in Chinese Medicine). The Kidneys are classified as the most Yin organ, so Yin it is the source for Yang. Think of Yin as blood and moisture, cool and fluid. It flows, passive and receptive, to nourish the substances of the body. To know Yin we must also know Yang–as they are interdependent. Yang is the energy and warmth that is circulates stuff in the body. Yang is the processes, the things that happen like digestion, assimilation, homeostasis, libido, appetite. Indeed the Kidneys are full of moisture, they maintain the correct water balance of the body and the correct composition of extrecellular fluids. They concentrate urine, pass it to the bladder for storage until it is released through the urethra. To do this, the Kidneys have about 1 …

The Watery Land of Chih

Have you discovered Iona Marsaa Teeguarden’s The Joy of Feeling? Teeguarden practices Bodymind Acupressure (known as Jin Shin Do), and demonstrated through this book that one can use “negative” emotions as a means of transformation into a more harmonious way of life. I have never received Jin Shin Do, but nonetheless her book has been a powerful teaching tool for me. Not only have I have gained a deeper intellectual understanding of the organ systems of Chinese Medicine and the interrelatedness between acupuncture points, but I have been able to see the emotions associated with the organ systems and their excessive or deficient states. Since it is around 15 below zero with 30 below wind chill right now in northern Minnesota (and it’s 12:30 in the afternoon!), I have been reflecting on what winter means in Chinese Medicine. The North, or winter, as called by Teeguarden, is the “Watery Land of Chih”. Yin organ: Kidney                                            Extreme emotion: Fear Yang organ: Bladder                                        Synergic emotion: Resolution, willpower Sound: Groan                                                    Sense: Hearing Body fluid: …

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Safflower – Cathamus Tinctorius

Safflower, Cathamus Tinctorius, is an herb I know little about. Even when I taste a simple of it, the taste and properties still flee my senses and intuition. Upon a single sip of a Safflower infusion, the center back of my tongue is stimulated, with a production of saliva following seconds later. Next the stimulation/saliva production moves from the center back tongue to the edges. When I open my mouth and move my tongue around, I feel a slight tingle in the tip of my tongue. The taste and smell are similar, light and flowery with a bit of oily coating. One thing I can definitely say about it is that it is warm in temperature. hen I can’t get a feel for the herb on my own, I hit the books. But alas! hardly any of my references mention this yellow-red member of the aster family. The Spring 1996 issue of The Protocol Journal of Botanical Medicine includes a brief listing of Safflower in the botanical materia medica for ovarian cysts. This listing is …