Medicinal Teas tailored to good health!

By Mark Davis BHSc (TCM).

 

Asian countries have a rich tradition of using herbs in traditional medicine; one of the simplest things we can do for good health is using healthy teas to improve our health when used appropriately.

From Green, Pu’er, Oolong, Loquat, Dokudami, Omija to Hawthorn tea and beyond, I have long enjoyed these tasty teas on a daily basis for many years; with their vibrant colours people often exclaim ‘what are you drinking?’

I enjoy them Hot in the morning and during the cooler months and slightly chilled during summer, even kids can adapt to the taste and in Asia they are often enjoyed in place of soft drinks, calorie free!

The results can be subtle for occasional use, or marked if you make a conscious effort to follow a particular tea as a health regime.

 

Green Tea:

We’ve all heard about the life prolonging benefits of green tea (especially Sencha & Matcha) the health benefits include antioxidants & disease fighting catechins and rich vitamins profile with moderate caffeine levels for a ‘pick me up’ effect.

The leaves of Camellia Sinensis and its many sub species are unprocessed and plucked from buds at the apex of the plant.  It contains high levels of free radials for cellular stress, it boosts metabolism, reduces cholesterol and stimulates the brain to improve memory.  It is said to have anti-cancer properties -research is continuing particularly for prostate cancer.

Matcha powder is also a great addition to homemade puddings and desserts. Overall green tea has a cold nature and whether drunk hot or cold, it may not be suitable for people who yearn for a heat pack on their belly.

 

 

 

 

Pu’er Tea:

People often laugh when I tell them I’m serving them ‘poo er’ tea, unfortunately it doesn’t do what it sounds like it might; however it is great to harmonise digestion.

An oxidised, aged form of fermented tea leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant are mostly produced in the Yunnan province of China.  In China Pu’er tea is revered for its weight loss benefits, cholesterol reducing and cardiovascular protective benefits.

The microorganisms that ferment the tea have been shown to compliment a healthy gut flora with aids digestion for heavy meals and this is the tea you will often find served at Chinese restaurants in conjunction with Yum Cha.

It varies hugely in price, its not necessary to buy the crazy expensive ones, however the cheapest are likely to be a waste of money.

 

 

 

 

Oolong Tea:

Partially oxidised leaves of the Camellia Senensis plant are popular in Japan as both a hot and cold beverage often enjoyed after meals, favoured for its effect of being able to metabolise fatty foods.

Additionally regular consumption of Oolong tea is said to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, lower the risk of cancer through its high antioxidant content, promote healthy blood sugar levels and decrease inflammation.

Oolong is great to be enjoyed all day long, take it in your drink bottle as a water replacement.

 

oolong

 

 

 

 

 

Loquat Leaf Tea:

Loquat trees are native to the southern parts of China, Korea and Japan, the leaves form the basis of a famous Chinese Medicine Cough formula called ‘Pei Pa Koa,’ it is a traditional cure for itchy skin, dermatitis and as a treatment for coughs and bronchitis

Loquat leaf tea, or ‘biwacha’ is also high in antioxidants so helpful to support immunity, while also being highly beneficial in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and even said to be beneficial to pancreatic cells.

It is also highly favoured for its ability to aid in removing toxin accumulation in the body to aid the skin and liver health, it contains a substance called Amygdalin (B-17)(also found in peach kernels) B17 is a currently experiencing a research spike in western laboratories for cancer trials.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dokudami:

Houttuynia Cordata is a flowering invasive ground cover native to Asia.  It grows in dark moist areas, sometimes called “fish-smell herb” and its common name ‘Dokudami’ means “poison-blocker” in Japanese.

Dokudami has natural anti-histamine effects, which may be beneficial for allergies and for asthma.  It is again a good source of antioxidants, and has he ability to neutralise free radicals while also supporting the lymphatic system to maintain the body’s natural health defences.

Dokudami is a popular home remedy in Japan for allergies, detoxifying and even for skin rashes; its purported benefits include an anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal function while also having a mild laxative and diuretic effect.

Dokudami is one of the main constituents often found in detox foot patches.

 

 

 

 

 

Omija Tea:

Is a popular iced summer tea from Korea.  Omija is also known as Schizandra or ‘five flavour berry,’ and it is often used in Chinese Medicine herbal prescriptions.  Used as an infusion is has some benefits such as improving liver and kidney function, boosting circulation, good for the skin and makes us resilient to stress.  Some herbal traditions ay that this wonderful berry has anti-ageing benefits!

This tea may not be suitable to everyone it should be used with care for people who suffer from heartburn or those who suffer from phlegm on the chest, or sinus infections.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hawthorn Berry:

Hawthorn Berry is often called ‘the heart herb’ for good reason, even when you look at a Chinese Hawthorn Berry slice it resembles the side profile of an artery itself (there is a lot of symbolism in Chinese Medicine).  It is said that the cardio protective effects include angina, high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries and even irregular heart beat.  Even the Native Americans used hawthorn for heart and gastrointestinal complaints.

Similarly in Chinese Medicine the hawthorn fruit called ‘shan zha’ is used for an overloaded digestive system after overindulgence of meat products in particular (in addition to the heart and blood moving benefits).

 

 

Bael Fruit Tea

My own private Miso

Hello, I’m Shiatsu Masa. I’m a qualified Shiatsu practitioner at Root & Branch Oriental Therapieshere in Abbotsford, Melbourne Australia.

It was almost over a year ago when I started making my own Miso.

I am trying to improve my diet with fermented foods which are good for your gut flora.

Homemade Miso 2017
Homemade Soybeans & Chickpeas Miso 2017, stored in zip lock bags, but also good in any dark airtight bucket or container.

I made few different kinds of miso over the last year. I made normal Soybeans Miso – 3 times and also I made Chickpeas Miso and mixed beans Miso which includes Black Beans, Chickpeas, and Azuki Beans.

I opened my first batches of Soybeans & Chickpeas Miso last month and It tastes delicious.

The Chickpeas Miso tastes sweeter than Soy Beans one which I prefer.

Making your own Miso is great because the good bacteria are still alive in the miso and the tastes get better and better with age.

The Soybean miso looks pretty good!

So, I prepared this year’s 1st batch after tasting last years.

Sorry I was too busy and didn’t have time to take photos of the process.

I hope the next batch is as good as the last!!.

I’ll write about making miso & cooking with Miso one day soon!

 

Have a nice day 🙂

 

Easy Instant miso soup balls

Nukazuke  (糠漬け)

Shiatsu Masa does great SHIATSU Massage Melbourne!!

 

 

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Sciatica pain relief with Acupuncture

Sciatic pain (sciatica) typically affects the body unilaterally, with pain extending from the hip / lower back down one leg.  People often describe the uncomfortable sensation as a ‘pain in the butt cheek’, often worse when sitting, as numbness, burning or tingling which runs down the leg or even as sharp and shooting sensations from the hip the calf.

Sciatica is a symptom of an underlying lower back condition such as a structural impingement or compression of the sciatic nerve, which exits the spinal column around the upper sacrum.  Trauma, chronic disk degeneration or even pregnancy can be the cause of the condition.  Sciatica and Piriformis syndrome are two conditions which are often confused, they are quite different structurally however the pain and symptoms are very similar, pain management of both conditions resolves over time, and the symptoms of sciatica can be expected to improve in the absence of significant structural damage.

Sciatica is a condition, which can come and go over time; western medicine typically treats it with surgery, painkillers, anti-inflammatory medicine and even cortisone injections.

Research into acupuncture treatments has shown effective pain relief and the resolution of symptoms are manageable naturally with acupuncture.  Fine needles are inserted into specific sites, which trigger a nerve system response including a cascade of natural endorphins and enkephalins for pain relief. Blood circulation to the area is increased which nourishes the surrounding tissue and over the course of several treatments it is likely to resolve the symptoms and prevent further deterioration of the condition (McDonald & Janz 2017.)

At Root & Branch Oriental therapies, Mark Davis [Dr of Chinese Medicine] treats sciatic pain using a combination of trigger points, electric stimulation, cupping and distal acupuncture using the ankles and wrists.  Increasing blood flow and relaxing the muscles around the lumbar vertebrae is the first step followed by targeting the nerve itself to increase circulation and muscle relaxation along its pathway down the back of the leg.

Manual therapies such as Shiatsu can also contribute significantly to rehabilitation through stretching and by working on the tight muscle tissues of the Glutes, piriformis and hamstrings.

References:

Table 1 & 2 of the Acupuncture Evidence Project (McDonald J, and Janz S, 2017) retrieved from: www.acupuncture.org.au

Further Reading:

https://www.spine-health.com/blog/acupuncture-and-stretching-helped-my-sciatica-open-letter-spine-health-reader

 

Kvass & other lacto-fermented foods.

By Mark Davis, BHSc (TCM).

I have been making Kvass this week, it is basically lacto-fermented raw beetroot cubes with added water, the resulting deep red liquid is taken in small doses internally for its health benefits.

Beetroot is  a powerhouse of nutrition packed full of vitamins and minerals, however it is higher in natural sugars than any other root vegetable, when fermented, enzymes and beneficial bacteria consume the sugars to make the nutrients more bioavailable.  Beetroot is particularly good for heart health, blood production and it is even said to lower blood pressure;  anecdotal evidence suggests that is especially beneficial for the Liver.

Taste-wise, the Kvass is a little sour, sweet and salty all at the same time.  In Chinese Medicine, the sour taste directs foods to the Liver, the sweet taste to the Spleen and salty to the Kidneys.  So you can see already that it is quite a well balanced tonic for all three organs.

Although it’s origins are not Chinese, as an integrated health practitioner, I prefer to mix the best from all traditional health concepts regardless of where they originate.

We have all heard the saying “you are what you eat,” and the famous quote by Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine.”

Asian countries have a long history of using fermented foods including miso, tempeh, kimchi, natto etc.  In the West also, particularly Eastern European countries have traditions such as Sourdough, Kefir, Sauerkraut and Kvass.

Before refrigeration was available these processes were used to preserve staple foods so that they were available during the colder seasons when there was less produce, however  as they have been shown to be a valuable resource nutritionally, the tradition continues today and the consumption seems to be gaining popularity.

Regular intake of fermented vegetables will improve digestion, resolve bloating and compliment intestinal health.  Important research is currently exploring the associations between gut health and cognitive function.

In Chinese Medicine dietary guidelines, over-indulgence of fermented foods can result in ‘dampness,’  typically noticed as excess mucous, a heavy feeling, diarrhoea and sluggishness.

So these foods should be enjoyed in small doses, as an accompaniment to meals, on a daily basis.

Other similar blog posts:

Nukazuke  (糠漬け)

IT DOESN’T GET MUCH HEALTHIER THAN BEETROOT SOUP WITH BONE BROTH!

My own private Miso

 

 

Plantar Fasciitis

Acupuncture for Plantar Fasciitis, by Mark Davis, BHSc (TCM).

 

Plantar fasciitis is sometimes referred to as “Runners Heel,” it is an inflammation of the muscles on the underlying surface of the foot – the long, flat ligament that runs along the sole of the toes. It is one of the most common & painful foot problems which some people typically experience when getting out of bed in the mornings, or after being seated for prolonged periods.

Plantar fasciitis is usually caused from repetitive strain to the heel area, it is a common, and very persistent injury afflicting runners, walkers and hikers, and people who stand on hard surfaces like concrete & tiled surfaces for extended periods.

Although pain is typically felt between the arch and heel of the foot, plantar fasciitis pain often originates in the muscles of the lower legs and calf. When these muscles are tight and overstretched, it puts strain on the plantar fascia on the bottom of the foot. Being quite a stubborn condition, people can often see many health practitioners and typically invest quite large amounts of money in ongoing treatment for cortisone injections and orthotics.

At Root & Branch Oriental therapies, we have found quite a good success rate using manipulation of the calf muscle with heat therapy, combined with distal acupuncture which avoids upsetting the already inflamed facia of the plantar surface; typically most cases resolve within 3-4 consultations. Several products such as liniment patches and foot soaks are available to compliment the physical intervention between treatment.

Medical Science shows similar results; Xu Xuemeng et al., Guangzhou Dongcheng Hospital randomly divided 66 plantar fasciitis patients into an acupuncture group and a conventional therapy control group. The acupuncture group received standard acupuncture and the control group received triamcinolone acetonide acetate injections and local blocking therapy. The results were assessed 6 months after the completion of all treatments. The acupuncture group achieved a total effective rate of 97% and the drug therapy group had a 76% effective rate.

The aforementioned research is not an isolated finding; Guangzhou Social Welfare House researchers (Tang et al.) performed a meta-analysis of 19 independent plantar fasciitis clinical trials. A total of 16 of the 19 studies made extensive use of Ahshi acupuncture points. Based on the data, the researchers determined that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of plantar fasciitis. The following are some of the studies included in the meta-analysis.

Acupuncture has a proven and lengthy track record for producing significant positive outcomes rates for patients with plantar fasciitis. The data indicates that access to acupuncture, moxibustion, and TCM herbal foot baths is an adequate solution for the vast majority of patients.

Additionally it is worth considering that adverse reactions to acupuncture and trigger point therapy under controlled conditions by a properly accredited practitioner are rare.

References:

Tang, Cuanqi, et al. “Progress of Clinical Research on Acupuncture and Moxibustion for Heel Pain.” World Chinese Medicine 9.1 (2014): 120-123.

Gao F, Zhao B, Fan XH. Thrust acupuncture and injection therapy in treating plantar fasciitis 150 cases [J]. Yunnan TCM Herbs Journal, 2015, 36(6): 80-81.

 

Herbal Foot Soaks, for pain of the feet & ankles.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – try Acupuncture first!

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Herbal Foot Soaks, for pain of the feet & ankles.

Foot/ heel pain relief available in clinic now.

Our feet are the connection between heaven and earth.  It is easy to forget just how important they are to us, in modern day life we wear shoes and forget to re-connect with the earth.  Our feet bear the weight of our entire body,  700 times each for every kilometre we walk.  Each foot contains more than 7000 nerve endings, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles & 26 bones (1/4 of all the bones in the body).  For many people, feet are a low priority when it comes to ongoing care….  And yet, all it takes is the slightest irritation on the smallest toe to give discomfort to our whole being!

Herbal foot soaks are beneficial to most conditions related to pain and overuse of the muscles and tendons of the feet, from diabetic foot neuropathy, plantar fasciitis, heel pain, bone spurs and achilles tendonitis.  Prolonged use of herbal foot baths (> 2 weeks) may also be beneficial to general wellbeing including reduced stress levels, insomnia, migraines, fatigue, IBS and hormonal imbalances.

Western science is slowly catching up to the knowledge of traditional Chinese Medicine.  In a recent study done by Harvard, a simple warm bath before you go to bed at night can significantly increase your sleep. Click here to read the study.

HOW TO:  Initially 3-4 tea bags should be simmered for around 10 minutes.  Next the temperature needs to be equalised when the hot tea is transferred to the bucket, ensuring that the solution is below 45 DEC C to prevent scolding.  Best results are expected after >40 minutes use, a kettle of hot water kept handy can ensure the water is topped up regularly to keep the solution close to the desired 40 DEC C mark.

EVEN BETTER:  Take this time to relax, read a book, meditate or listen to some guided self hypnosis.

Here is a link to a breathing technique I particularly like:

Practical tips for dealing with stress & anxiety

Eastential Chinese Medicine, David Yao Chi Guan, Four Seasons Wellness Centre, Shinma Acupuncture, Acuuncture Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford Medical & Acupuncture Centre, Yuki Murata

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Pain Relief in a convenient adhesive Chinese Medicine plaster.

 

Manufacturer: Guangzhou Medicines & Health Products.

701 Dieda Zhengtong Yaogao medicated plasters provide temporary pain relief from minor aches and pains of muscles and joints, simple backache, arthritis, traumatic injury, strains, bruises and sprains. Also used to temporarily ease pain from bone spurs in areas not covered by thick muscles such as heels and shoulders.

Now available in a convenient pack of 6 plaster sheets, each measuring 10 x 12cm, affordable and super effective to reinforce acupuncture or shiatsu therapy treatments between appointments.

Ingredients include:

  • Borneol 4.0%
  • Camphor 10.0%
  • Eupolyphaga sinensis 8.0%
  • Mentha haplocalyx 5.0%
  • Menthol 5.0%
  • Methyl Salicylate 10.0%
  • Phellodendron chinense 8.0%
  • Polygonum cuspidatum 2.0%
  • Rheum palmatum 8.0%
  • Scutellaria Baicalensis 8.0%
  • Zanthoxylum nitidum 8.0%

Non-medicinal ingredients include:

  • Petrolatum
  • Gum resin
  • Paraffin
  • Paraffinum Liquidum leve
  • Latex

The plasters are based on a traditional Chinese Medicine herbal remedy which shows anecdotal pain relief of muscular tension by stimulating blood circulation.

How to use:  peel off the plastic backing sheet and place the plaster over the sore area.  A  warming effect may be noticed initially, pain relieving effect will normally last for about 24 hours at which point it should be discarded.  It is best to wait a few hours before applying a new patch, many people report a cooling sensation between applying plasters.  When using on the torso it is often better to use bi-laterally even for one sided pain.

This product should never be applied over broken skin and use during pregnancy is contraindicated.

Eastential Chinese Medicine, David Yao Chi Guan, Four Seasons Wellness Centre, Shinma Acupuncture, Acuuncture Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford Medical & Acupuncture Centre, Yuki Murata

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Topical Liniment for pain relief

liniment-for-pain-relief

There are lots of generic liniments on the market, but nothing beats the Dr’s own formula for musculoskeletal pain! The herbs which have been soaked for more than 12 months are chosen for quality & efficacy to speed up recovery, relax muscles and tendons to reduce inflammation, dispels stagnation & promotes circulation. Dit Da Jow has traditionally been used for trauma associated with martial arts, but suitable for strains, sprains, and muscular tightness and everyday aches and pains. For external use only, not suitable for open wounds.

Mark will often use the ‘Dit Da Jow’ in combination for needling of musculoskeletal conditions, sports injury and in conjunction with electronic muscle stimulation.

Eastential Chinese Medicine, David Yao Chi Guan, Four Seasons Wellness Centre, Shinma Acupuncture, Acuuncture Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford Medical & Acupuncture Centre, Yuki Murata

 

Similar Blog articles include:

Have you tried Cupping yet? Detox naturally with Chinese Medicine

Dry Needling Abbotsford

Shiatsu Masa does great SHIATSU Massage Melbourne!!

 

What is acne in Chinese Medicine?

Acne typically occurs for the first time in puberty when hormones are surging, however for many people it can be a life long affliction.  In addition to hormonal imbalances it can stem from diet, skin pathogens, hygiene, excess sebum production and even as a result of stress.

 

In Chinese Medicine the redness associated with pimples and pustular skin conditions is considered to be heat, the pus production is a form of ‘dampness’ and irritation is a type of toxin accumulation.

 

People who suffer from acne have often tried numerous remedies without a great deal of success and some even resort to ‘heavy duty’ pharmaceutical solutions.  For those who would prefer a more natural solution, Dr Mark Davis (TCM) has formulated a patent herbal tincture, which has been well received by acne sufferers.

 

Good results have been reported with whiteheads, cystic acne, as a result of coming off the pill, hormonal and even stubborn acne which has not responded to other treatments.

 

The formula consists of 13 all natural herbs which work from the inside out.  it is super cost effective and easy to take; it reduces the inflammation, calms the redness, and improves circulation to control localised irritation.

 

Each 200ml bottle is a one-month prescription, results are often visible during the first 3-4 weeks, however best results are usually reported by the end of the 2nd month.

Naturally gluten free, 100% animal product free and no testing on animals!

Not recommended to be taken while pregnant or in conjunction with blood thinning herbs.  No side effects should be expected, however this is general advice and you should discuss with your practitioner if you suffer from allergies.

 

Eastential Chinese Medicine, David Yao Chi Guan, Four Seasons Wellness Centre, Shinma Acupuncture, Acuuncture Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford Medical & Acupuncture Centre

 

You might find the following articles also interesting reading:

Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture

Cosmetic Acupuncture

Nukazuke  (糠漬け)

Hello, I’m Shiatsu Masa. I’m a qualified Shiatsu practitionerat Root & Branch Oriental Therapieshere in Abbotsford, Melbourne Australia.

I am trying to improve my diet with fermented foods which are good for your gut flora.

Tsukemono (漬物) means pickles.  Japanese people love pickled vegetables. In my home town Akita, which is at the northern part of main island of Japan. It’s extremely cold in Winter. Vegetable are traditionally preserved to use throughout the winter months.

A few month ago, I was attended a Nukazuke workshop held here in Melbourne. Nuka-zuke  (糠漬け) is a type of Japanese pickles which have been fermented in flavored rice bran. (Nuka means Rice bran) Nutrient rich bran-pickled-vegetables have been supplementing important vitamins and minerals to the Japanese diet for hundreds of years. I used to make Nukazuke many years ago, but I stopped. It can be hard work the Nuka-doko (pickling bed) needs to be kneaded daily for successful fermentation.

That workshop inspire me a lot. So I stared again 🙂

Traditional Nukadoko (pickling bed) is made of equal weight of rice bran and water & Sea salt (13% in weight of rice bran). But it’s hard to get good fresh rice bran.

Today, I will explain how to make easy ‘cheats’ Nukadoko (pickling bed) at home.

My cheat version of nukadoko is made from old bread (preferable Sourdough), Beer & Sea salt (About 10~13% in weight of bread). However, this recipe doesn’t use Nuka (Rice bran) at all, so we can’t call this Nukadoko, Actually  😉

1) Make bread crumb, use food processor or you can cut them into small dices.

2) Mix bread crumb with salt in clean container. And then mix with beer for a hard mud texture. Cover and keep in a cool dark place or in fridge.

3) Once you have prepared the medium, add cleaned left over vegetables (even peel & stems) to introduce lactic acid. (If you want to more flavour add dried red chili peppers or dried kombu or even garlic).

4) For the first 3~4 days, mix the bed with your hand twice a day. After 3~4 days, discard the wilted leftover vegetables and replace with fresh vegetables.

5) About a week later, your cheat bread nukadoko is ready to pickle!  Salt rub with veggies and leave it about 5min, then dry excess moisture with Paper towels. Then put them into the mixture and cover them.

It’s depend how long does it take to pickle. Hard vegetable like carrot or daikon usually It take about 1~2 days. Longer pickle time make it more salty & sour. Check the timing with your taste buds. Preferable store in fridge.

Please remember mix nukadoko everyday or every 2 days.

 

IMG_2204
My Nukadoko (pickling bed) Left:  Nukadoko (Sour dough),  Right: Traditional Nukadoko

 

Usually we pickle fresh crisp veggies like carrots, cucumber, daikon or turnip.

My personal favourite is cucumber (However you should get hard & crisp one otherwise it gets very soggy pickle – Try asian type cucumber) & Stalk of Broccoli.

The workshop lecturer recommended to pickle Okra and dried Shiitake mushrooms. It’s very tasty too, and full of healthy probiotics!

 

IMG_2234
Carrot, Celery, Cucumber & Red Capsicum.

 

IMG_2212
Stalk of Broccoli, Carrot, Red Capsicum, Celery, Dried Shiitake Mushroom & Dried Black Fungi.

 

 

[LINK] ~Found great informations of Nukadzuke from internet

*How to make Nukazuke [hangawara]

Eastential Chinese Medicine, David Yao Chi Guan, Four Seasons Wellness Centre, Shinma Acupuncture, Acuuncture Abbotsford Convent, Abbotsford Medical & Acupuncture Centre, 

*How to Make Nukadoko (Fermented Rice Bran Bed) for Pickling [Garden Betty]

 

*Nukadoko (Pickling Bed to Make Nukazuke) [http://japanese-kitchen.net]

 

 

My own private Miso

Easy Instant miso soup balls

Shiatsu Masa does great SHIATSU Massage Melbourne!!

 

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