How to get the most out of supplements you take

It seems that a lot of patients have been asking us lately: “How can I get the most out of the supplements and herbs I take?”

A lot of people take supplements and herbs with all kinds of drinks, and oftentimes either those drinks are cold or on ice.

human body temperature at 98.6 degrees
The temperature of the human body is 98.6 degrees

That can go OK, but the most optimum way to take herbs and/or supplements would be with warm water. The reason for this is that the human body’s temperature is at 98.6°F. The body would best absorb  supplements and herbs at close to that temperature, without burning yourself obviously.

Do antidepressants have limitations?

 

antidepressant medicationPatients often times report to us that the antidepressant medications they are taking have limitations.

Western medicine oftentimes looks at problems such as depression as merely a problem related to brain chemistry. While clinically it seems to be accurate the brain chemistry is involved, our experience shows that particular theory simply scratches the surface.

The following seems to be a bit more accurate:

  • A person may have some kind a predisposition, based upon many possible factors including trauma and other previous experiences. Genetics may play some part possibly.
  • There is a potential breakdown and function internally under those stresses which changes liver function, the liver being very important when it comes to a person’s emotional outlook and the ability to deal with the mental and emotional stresses of life, according to ancient and accurate findings of Chinese medicine.
  • When the liver loses function, many symptoms may arise, including depression, irritability, frustration, angering easily and/or impatience.

From everything we have seen, the reason that occurs lies in the liver’s relationship with blood leading to a change in blood chemistry and therefore a reduction in the number of amino acids going to the blood brain barrier (those amino acids would normally convert into chemicals called neurotransmitters in the brain that apparently give one a particular outlook on things).

So, as you can see, it is possible that in certain cases addressing only brain chemistry is simply looking at the tip of a very large iceberg.

Nothing in this document is intended as a substitute for your doctor’s diagnosis and/or treatment. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.

Chai

Winter is a time for chai, which is one of the most wonderfully warming and stimulating and good tasting thing is you can drink in winter that is truly healthy for you.

chai tea

Literally translated, Chai means “tea”, funny enough. As you can see, calling it “chai tea” is a bit redundant.  Funny, no?  This article over at Mental Floss will give you some very interesting chai word history: Don’t “Chai and “Tea” both mean the same thing?

Give the following recipe a try at home in your crock pot. Ingredients are easily found at any health food store including the Outpost, Whole Foods and such. Done right, this is far better and healthier than the often over – sweetened, syrupy versions that you may find it coffee shops in United States.

This is a recipe to be modified to suit your taste.

First, buy the following ingredients from the Outpost store (or other health food store):

  • 4 TB Green Cardamom Pods, crushed
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 10-15 2” cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tsp black pepper corns
  • 6 quarter-sized pieces fresh ginger root
  • 4-6 cups milk alternative (almond milk or cashew milk)
  • Optional: few drops stevia extract as sweetener (stevia can also be bought in a powder form)
  • 2 black tea bags

Directions: Bring 1 ½ gallons of water to a boil in large pot.  Add above herbs.  Lower heat to a simmer & simmer for 60 minutes.  Strain herbs.  If you prefer to add black tea, at this point steep black tea bags for 5-10 minutes (steep: to let tea bags sit in hot  water). The final step is to add milk substitute & stevia & serve warm.  Refrigerate remainder of tea, for later use (re-heat before drinking again).

How Chinese Herbs Work

Many people take Chinese herbs, but there is much confusion as to how they actually work.

Chinese herbs
Fundamentally, Chinese herbal formulas restore circulation and build organ function. The way that a formula is composed includes combining specific herbs to cause a very specific outcome and having those herbs complement each other.

In fact, the original basis of Chinese herb formulation was patterned after the hierarchical governmental system in China:

  • as an example there may be an “emperor” herb that has the most powerful effect,
  • a “general” herb which directs the activities of the formula,
  • and “envoy” herb that carries the herb to the correct location (for example if the person had knee problems this would drive the formula into the knee directly).

A typical Chinese herbal formula could have anywhere from three to twenty-five herbs in it, depending on the person and the complexity of their condition.

Chinese Herbs and YOU

picture of Chinese herbs

People in America often times wonder how Chinese herbal formulation is done. What are Chinese herbs? Why take them? How do you take them? Why can’t I just go to the Vitamin or Health Food Store and take a mixture of supplements?

The answer to all of these questions is simple: each person, and their individual life stresses, is unique. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach when it comes to getting your body healthy. Herbs and supplements are not recommended for everybody. A good practitioner will be able to accurately assess each patient’s state of health and recommend things that will benefit them specifically.

Now, on to answering the questions.

What are Chinese Herbs? How do you take them?

In Oriental Medicine, Chinese herbs have been used for thousands of years to help with many different health concerns. The earliest known literature containing herbal prescriptions, found in a tomb in China, dates back to almost 200 BC.

Modern day herbs are often a mixture of plant and animal parts, prepared in a certain way, and mixed in an exact formula to benefit the patient’s individual health needs. Not all acupuncturists are licensed to  mix herbs; it requires additional education and licensing, depending on which state the acupuncturist is practicing.

patent herbs
Chinese Patent Herbs come pre-made in pill form.

Patent herbs, the type you find most commonly at an acupuncturist’s clinic, come pre-mixed in pellet/pill form. These formulas and generally more standardized and cannot be modified to fit each patient’s individual needs. Many TCM practitioners use this form of herbs because it does not require the rigorous schooling and licensing, but they are able to prescribe them to the patients because they are not physically mixing the herbs themselves, rather ordering the premixed formula from an herb company. (Read more about TCM HERE)

chinese herb granules
Chinese Herbs in granule form- mixed specifically fro each patient.

Chinese herbal extracts, on the other hand, are individual herbs that can be mixed specifically for each unique patient. These extracts are often made into a granular form, which the Chinese herbal practitioner then keeps in their herbal pharmacy to compose formulas specific of the patient. To take these herbs, the patient mixes them with hot water and drinks it like a tea. These formulas are very individualized and highly effective for the patient to whom it was prescribed. (This is the form of herbs we carry in our clinic.)

Why Take Chinese Herbs?

Not all patients take herbs, and on some occasions, herbs are not recommended. If herbs are prescribed, they help reinforce what the acupuncture is doing, and, in the case of patients who cannot do acupuncture, there are many benefits. Herbs can be helpful in the treatment of pain, arthritis, inflammation, digestive trouble (IBS, colitis, diverticulitis, etc.), migraines and headaches, anxiety, depression, weight loss and metabolism deficiency, PMS and menopausal symptoms (cramping, bloating, irregular periods, hot flashes, mood swings), and many other health concerns.

Because they can be mixed based on each unique patient, we can address many health problems with a single formula. 

Why can’t I just go to the Vitamin or Health Food Store and take a mixture of supplements? 

Well, technically you can, but you possibly will end up spending more money on supplements that may not be right ones or the correct dosages for your individual needs. Chinese herbs require additional licensing for a reason: a qualified professional must assess each individual and prescribe them, much like a doctor prescribing a medication (although, with herbs, there are rarely any side effects like you may experience with medication).

 

As usual, if you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.

Nothing in this document is intended as a substitute for your doctor’s diagnosis and/or treatment. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.

Ancient Acupuncturists’ Theory on How to Live 120 Years

smuckers

The ancient physicians of Chinese medicine figured out that the body is actually designed to live to 120 years old. Modern research has verified that the body is designed to live that long, but there definitely seems to be a problem: the average lifespan in America currently is 76 for men and 81 for women.

According to Chinese medical philosophy and modern scientific research, 60 years of age should be “mid life.”

Here’s what the ancients in China figured out: from birth onward a person should do these five things:

  1. Exercise and have a good mental outlook. A modern interpretation of this would mean going to the gym or participating in sports and having some kind of a spiritual practice, going to church, etc.
  2. Eating correctly for what your individual body requires and eating correctly in each season.
  3. Using acupuncture to restore circulation and enhance glandular/organ function.
  4. Using Chinese herbal medicine to restore circulation and enhance glandular/organ function.
  5. Using massage, physical therapy and or joint adjustments to enhance circulation structural function.

 

If you want to get on the national news for living past 100 years old, I would recommend starting these five things immediately.

Tips for finding an Acupuncturist

photo collage of the clinic

How To Choose an Acupuncturist

Did you know that there are actually several different forms of Acupuncture that vary in their effectiveness?

Patients often ask, “I’d like to refer someone I know to an Acupuncturist where they live out-of-state, how do I help them find a good Acupuncturist?” Or “I’m going to be out of state for three months and I want to continue care while I’m away, how can I find a good Acupuncturist in that area?” When first searching for a practitioner, people often ask, “how do I know if an Acupuncturist is any good?”

mao tse-tung
Mao Tse-tung established The People’s Republic of China in 1949.

First of all, do not hesitate to ask us to help you find someone in another area, as we train Acupuncturists all over the U.S. and even Canada.  The basic question to ask a prospective Acupuncturist is: “Do you practice TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine)?” If they say yes, their focus will be on treating symptoms, not treating the underlying cause of a symptom. Unfortunately, in 1949,  Mao Tse Tung made changes to the medicine, causing it to be less effective, and called it “Traditional Chinese Medicine.” Since acupuncture did not gain popularity in the United States until the 1970s, TCM was the only form brought to the United States. Because of this, most practitioners in the U.S. use the TCM version of acupuncture.

Our research into the history of this 3,500-year-old medicine has led us here at Acupuncture and Holistic Health Associates to practice the earlier, more effective, solution-based form of acupuncture, which alleviates symptoms, more rapidly and more permanently.  We DO NOT practice TCM.

“The modern day practice of acupuncture in China that has been imported to the United States is known as Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)… Mao [Tse Tung] established 5 universities… the system of TCM shows the influence of Western Medicine as well as the Communist society from which it springs ….There are aspects to the tradition of acupuncture that pre-date the China of Mao Tse Tung that still survive, especially in the traditions of acupuncture in Japan … in these oldest traditions of acupuncture, the most skilled practitioner was the physician who could, though a careful evaluation of the subtle physical signs and a careful evaluation… detect disease in its earliest stages before the person became gravely ill.”  (source:www.acupunctureworks.organicmd/acu/acufaq.htm)

In summary, TCM practitioners treat symptoms for short-term (if any) gains, or, “Give a man a fish.” Functional-style practitioners increase the body’s function so it can heal itself; “Teach a man to fish.”

Brief Timeline of Chinese Medicine:

1500 BC: first recorded attempt at conceptualizing and treating disease with Chinese medicine; discovered written on the inside of a tortoise shell.

≈200 BC: earliest known medical text, Huangdi Neijing (English : “Yellow Emperor’s Classic”) is written.

113 BC: earliest examples of metal needles believed to be used for medical purposes found in a tomb in China.

1600 AD: Chinese Medicine evolves with a focus on longevity, vitality, virility and fertility.

1671 AD: earliest written record of acupuncture released in the western world.

1949 AD: Mao Tse Tung creates TCM, destroying volumes of material that were based on the original form of Acupuncture.

1972 AD: Journalist James Reston accompanies Richard Nixon to China and reports on Acupuncture being used as anesthetic for minor and major surgery, igniting American interest.

Currently: The vast majority of practitioners in America practice TCM without knowing it, as American interest began AFTER Mao Tse Tung bastardized the medicine. Thankfully, at least a very small percentage of Acupuncturists still utilize the ancient and most effective methods of Acupuncture.

 

Success Story: Anne’s Experience

Acupuncture therapy - alternative medicine. Portrait of a beautiful woman in acupuncture therapy
Acupuncture therapy – alternative medicine.

“Don’t waste any more time shopping around, this is the best place to get acupuncture treatment. This clinic has an excellent approach and is doing the best job I have ever seen of explaining acupuncture to the uninitiated. If you are new to acupuncture or if you have had lots of experience with it like I have, this is the place to choose. For over 20 years, I have been treated by numerous acupuncturists from the heart of Chinatown in San Francisco to the shores of Lake Union in Seattle. Never have I experienced a spa-like environment like this one. The staff and atmosphere is supportive, relaxing and they do an exceptional job of helping patients accustomed to western medical practices understand how acupuncture works, and most importantly, what to expect. They have developed a careful system to quantify symptoms and clearly measure progress to help us through the process and encourage us to stick with the program. I came in with 163 issues to address, one of the top 5% worst cases they’ve seen and in one month I’m already 22% improved, and living with significantly less pain.”

Meet Mindy, Diplomate in Acupuncture

Mindycropped

You may have noticed a new face in the office recently. We would like you to meet Mindy Wilhelm, Diplomate in Acupuncture!

Mindy graduated Summa Cum Laude (4.0 throughout her training) from the Midwest College of Oriental Medicine.  She is part of the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and is licensed in the state of Wisconsin.  Mindy also has a background in massage therapy.  Her  passion is to help improve people’s quality of life naturally so they may live long, vibrant and happy lives.

Next time you’re in, make sure you say hi to Mindy!

Stevia FAQ: Questions and Answers About Stevia Sweeteners.

By Denise Mann
WebMD Feature

What is stevia?
Stevia rebaudiana is a shrub native to South America. Its leaves have been used there for centuries to sweeten beverages. It is also an approved food additive in other countries, including Japan, Brazil, and China.

In the U.S., stevia products were long sold as dietary supplements — but not as a food additives or ingredients — because of safety concerns. In 2008, the FDA stated that the use of a refined stevia preparation called Rebiana is “generally recognized as safe,” and can be used as a food ingredient. Products include, Good & Sweet, PureVia, Reb A, SweetLeaf Stevia Sweetener, Sun Crystals (which combines stevia and sugar), and Truvia.

Fresh stevia leaves can be found at many farmers markets. The FDA now also allows certain refined stevia preparations to be used in food and drinks.

What does it taste like?
Stevia-based sweeteners have zero calories, yet are as much as 200 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar). Some products may have a bitter taste.

Are stevia sweeteners artificial?
“I think that the FDA didn’t require good-enough testing,” Michael F. Jacobson, PhD, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), says in an email to WebMD. “That said, [Rebiana] is probably safe.”

In April 2010, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) announced that studies showed no risk of toxicity from highly purified stevia sweeteners. The CSPI still argues that more testing of these products is warranted.

Can stevia sweeteners be used in baking?
Yes, they can. Many product web sites have conversion charts to help.

How does stevia compare with other sugar substitutes?
Here is an overview of various sugar substitutes, including stevia.

Aspartame
What is it: Two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine; and methanol. Brand names are Equal and NutraSweet.
How it’s used: Equal tabletop sweetener, diet soft drinks such as Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi, some sugar-free desserts, including gelatin desserts, yogurt, and puddings.
Advantages: Tastes similar to sugar. Enhances sweet flavors, especially fruit flavors.
Drawbacks: Should not be consumed by people with phenylketonuria (PKU). Controversy continues about whether aspartame is linked to increased cancer rates. Government agencies say it is safe. A recent study from an Italian cancer institute found more lymphomas and leukemia in rats fed very large amounts of aspartame. The CSPI recommends avoiding it.

Saccharin
What is it: Benzoic sulfinide.
How it’s used: Sweet’N Low tabletop sweetener, Tab diet cola, salad dressings, baked goods, canned fruit.
Advantages: Less expensive than other artificial sweeteners. Stable at high temperatures, so can be used for baking. Passes through the body unaltered.
Drawbacks: After studies in the early 1970s linked saccharin consumption to bladder cancer in rats, all food containing saccharin was required to carry a warning label. But studies in humans showed no consistent evidence that saccharin causes bladder cancer, according to the National Cancer Institute. The warning label is no longer required. The CSPI advises avoiding saccharin because of studies that link it to cancer in rodents.

Acesulfame-K, or Ace-K
What is it: Acetoacetic acid and the mineral potassium.
How it’s used: Usually in gums, confections, cough drops, and carbonated and alcoholic beverages, often in combination with another sweetener. Also sold as Sunett or Sweet One.
Advantages: Extends shelf life of diet drinks. Can be used for cooking and baking. Not metabolized or absorbed by the body.
Drawbacks: Government health agencies say it is safe. The CSPI advises avoiding it and has asked the FDA to require more tests. Can taste bitter on its own; better tasting when blended with other sweeteners.

Sucralose
What is it: A sugar molecule chemically altered by replacing three hydroxyl groups with three atoms of chlorine.
How it’s used: Splenda tabletop sweetener and baking products. Also in yogurt, fruit juices, ice cream, dairy products, some diet beverages, and flavored waters, sometimes combined with Ace-K.
Advantages: Consumer groups have not raised the safety concerns with sucralose that they have with other sweeteners. Can be used in baked goods more readily than other artificial sweeteners. No effect on blood sugar levels.
Drawbacks: Although better suited for baking than other artificial sweeteners, it’s still not a perfect substitute for sugar.

Neotame
What is it: A derivative of a combination of two amino acids: aspartic acid and phenylalanine.
How it’s used: Sweetener and flavor enhancer for other ingredients, such as mint. In some store-brand juices and gums.
Advantages: More stable than aspartame, meaning a better fit for baked goods. Although it shares some ingredients with aspartame, neotame has not prompted the same safety concerns with consumer groups. It does not carry a warning label for people with PKU.
Drawbacks: Rarely used.

Stevia
What is it: Extract from the stevia plant.
How it’s used: Dietary supplement and tabletop sweetener.
Advantages: Less is more. Stevia is much sweeter than sugar, so less is needed. It is an option for people with diabetes as it does not affect blood sugar levels.
Drawbacks: Some extracts have a bitter taste. It is billed as “natural,” but technically is processed.

Nothing in this document is intended as a substitute for your doctor’s diagnosis and/or treatment. This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA.