Acupuncture and Herb Clinic
Rise early and take brisk walks.
The Inner Cannon of Chinese Medicine
We can truly “bless the rains here in Oregon!” What an amazing Spring! As the weather begins to warm a bit, we are drawn to spend time out of doors. All Centurians in China engage in daily exercise. I witnessed this in the Spring of 2011 when I traveled to Beijing to study Chinese Medicine. In the early morning, the parks are full of people in groups or on their own doing various types of exercise ranging from T’ai Qi to dance. They were cheerful, friendly people who encouraged tourists to join in the fun!
The Gifts of Gardening
“The benefits of a bee-friendly garden. Bee gardens make people happy! Whether you enjoy a brilliant chorus of saturated color, a tranquil sanctuary from the busy world, or a hardworking edible garden, there is a glorious flower-filled bee garden waiting for you.” from The bee-friendly garden. By Kate Frey and Gretchen LeBuhn. (Winner of the American Horticultural Society Book Awards.) Gardens come in all sizes so you can select the one that works for you. Having bees and other pollinators keeping you company as you garden is a delight which feeds the soul!
In China, people are avid gardeners. Grandma Pei nee Fu of Taiyuan, loves flowers. At 103, her courtyard is filled with her treasured plants. She was known to walk two kilometers to find a new addition to her garden. She would carry the plant back to her home and enjoy the world she created. Grandma Pei has been gardening for over 70 years. In TCM, we understand that the work in the garden as well as the joy of creating a beautiful space contributes to health and longevity.
In the UK gardening is also very popular. A new release from the BBC “My Garden of a Thousand Bees” tells the story of veteran wildlife photographer Martin Dohrn who used his time during the lock down of 2020 to photograph the bees in his London garden. He identified 60 different types of bees visiting his plants!
Gardening with pollinators in mind also helps our planet to heal. At our Saturday market Cathy-Mae specializes in perennials and occasionally very unique annuals which attracts pollinators. Look for Cathy-Mae’s area on the G Street side of the market down from the Post Office and above Rise Up Bakery. I have purchased plants from her that are spectacularly beautiful and welcoming to bees, butterflies and sometimes, hummingbirds! But they also make me happy to see this wonderful dance of life and color.
Caring for bees reveals an interesting fact about flowers and plants. Not all flowers are attractive to pollinators. Bees seek plants for both nectar and pollen. If you watch closely, you will see their “pollen baskets” filling up when that is one of their goals. Nectar is converted into honey. Pollen provides protein for their babies. Because bees come in all sizes, you will see tiny bees on tiny flowers that you might otherwise have overlooked!
This year I purchased bees from organic beekeeper Noah Clipp. Their amazing capacity to harvest nectar, pollen, and resin resulted in an explosion of growth in the hive. Despite the fact that there were thousands of bees busily at work, none were very interested in what I was doing. To learn more about beekeeping and Noah’s honey, stop by the market at their stand. His sister Hanna is often there. Both Hanna and Noah are very friendly and helpful. Noah’s organic honey is delicious!
Gardening is good for the body and the soul. It also helps our Mother Earth to heal. Gardening contributes to longevity. Without bees, 80% of our produce would be gone! We can also help bees by supporting environmental groups which are working to save the bees. Some examples are: Friends of the Earth, The Center for Biological Diversity, World Wildlife Foundation, and The Xerces Society. This is a way you can help bees and other pollinators and ensure a better future for all living beings on our planet, including our children and grandchildren!
Theancient Romans loved to feast! They were the original “couch potatoes;” the wealthy reclining on comfortable sofas while eating. One of the reasons their culture did not survive was because they became physically ill from all their indulgences. In some ways, America, and, sadly, much of the industrial world, lives like the ancient Romans did. Rich food, sedentary jobs, and watching too much TV. We have put entertainment and self indulgence as a priorities in our lives to such an extent that it is making people sick across the planet.
Spring is a time to break old habits which no longer serve us. The beautiful weather and amazing produce at our Grower’s Market invite us to prepare healthy food and spend more time out of doors walking, cycling, swimming, etc.
The fresh vegetables of Spring are sweet and loaded with nutrients. As the weather warms, some greens become bitter because the plants are producing bad tasting alkaloids to deter insects. So now is the best time to feast on green leafy vegetables and other vegetable delights like peas, asparagus, and green beans, to name a few.
My life is happily-busy. Simple, healthful foods which are easy to prepare work best for me. Steaming up some greens and using broth or water to saute onions, garlic, mushrooms and perhaps a little chicken breast provides a simple, healthy, meal. The variety is endless depending upon the ingredients.
Light soups are also nice to make. When you reheat left overs, you can add some peas, asparagus, spinach, etc. and make your meal happy and beautiful. Cleanup is also easy when you eat this way. Some of us need more carbs in their meals. Having some cooked rice, barley, quinoa, or millet on hand is also beneficial, especially if you need more energy. Whole grains also supply minerals which keep our bones and teeth strong.
What none of us need is addictive foods and substances like sugar, tobacco, cannabis, excess beer or alcohol. A modest amount of good quality beer can be good. But if your middle becomes too large, it’s time to increase exercise and reduce the beer. Wine, in moderation, can help circulate Qi and Blood in the body. My favorite company is Karla’s Wild Wines made from medicinal herbs. They are both tasty and healthful. Wine and beer may also be used in cooking.
Some folks vacillate between addiction and fasting. This is very hard on the internal organs which keep us healthy. It’s OK for most people to have an occasional sweet treat. But if you have cancer, diabetes, coronary heart disease, kidney failure, or are obese, better to let that go.
So what do you do when you crave sweets? Well, just around the corner in terms of time, are fresh strawberries. Eating strawberries plain is best. In fact growing them and eating them warm from the garden is a delight. All berries are permissible if you have diabetes, just as long as you eat them plain. In the hot weather, I enjoy a bowl of fresh blueberries and pumpkin seeds with a hot cup of tea. It is quick, easy, delicious and does not over-heat or tire my digestive system.
Enjoy life and take good care of your body. It’s the only one you will have in this life!
An Earth-Friendly Solution
This newsletter was printed on tree-free paper made from sugar cane waste. It was purchased on Amazon Smile, which means that Amazon donated part of their profit to African Wildlife. Therefore, we saved the forests, and helped the elephants, giraffes, rhinos, chimps, lions, painted dogs, cheetahs, and hippos too!
You can change your Amazon account to Amazon smile, donating to the charity of your choice. Most suppliers will include information regarding ordering from them directly as well, should you want to use their products long term.
The care I have received at Ráven's clinic has made an almost unbearable situation bearable and allowed me to hold a job and continue on with my life. She and her staff work with you at any time you need them. They are amazing.