8 Chinese Herbs You May Already Have In Your Kitchen

by Cindy Chamberlain on April 14, 2019

Chinese Herbs In Overland Park, KS - Eastern Healing Solutions

To many people Chinese herbs may feel exotic and mystical and very foreign, for a good reason. In treating serious illnesses and complicated conditions with herbs, you need a practitioner who is well-trained in the properties, actions, and nuances of Chinese herbs; someone who knows how to combine them into effective formulas.

Chinese herbs can be complicated because each herb carries with it specific properties. Herbs have a temperature, which means that some herbs can cool your body down and others can warm you up. They also have one or more actions, which is the effect it has on your body. For example, an herb can drain excess fluid, build up your energy, or help to dry out phlegm. Herbs also affect specific organs; some benefit your Lungs, while others may help your Liver. And herbs, when combined with one another, may have a synergistic effect—they may strengthen, balance, or offset the actions of other herbs. For that reason, and for maximum effectiveness, herbs are almost always combined into formulas.

Despite the complexity of dealing with them, you may be surprised to know that you likely have many Chinese herbs in your kitchen right now. That’s because some of these herbs are also foods and common spices. In fact, Chinese herbs are everywhere. Here are 8 examples and how to use them:

  1. Ginger is a warm and spicy herb that has many uses. It can be effective in treating nausea and vomiting, and can be helpful for people undergoing chemotherapy. Ginger is useful in helping you ward off a cold in the early stages. A little known fact: pickled ginger is almost always served with sushi because it can help protect you from seafood poisoning. To use ginger at home, grate or slice it into soups, stir fried dishes, or boil it in hot water for tea.
  2. Scallions are also warm and spicy. They’re warm enough to help drain congested sinuses and help you sweat out a cold. A simple formula for an early cold is to combine chopped scallions and grated ginger in boiling water or broth. Drink it down and go to bed to sweat out your cold. (This is not the right formula if you’re already sweating or running a high fever; instead use cooling herbs like mint).
  3. Cinnamon is also a warm and spicy herb, but its flavor is sweeter than ginger or scallions. Cinnamon can also be used to drive out a cold, however, its warming effects are better if you feel achy with your cold. Cinnamon can also be used for joint pain that’s worse in the cold weather. It can work as a mild antibiotic for low-grade bacterial infections. Ground cinnamon can be used as a sweet spice in baking or mixed with cooked fruit. It’s also found in whole sticks, which can be used in tea, stews, soups, or curried dishes.
  4. Turmeric has gotten a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. It’s warm and bitter and somewhat moving. Turmeric can be used for inflammation, pain, and to increase the circulation of blood. To use it in cooking, peel and chop fresh turmeric root, or used powdered and dried turmeric in soups, vegetable dishes, and stews.
  5. Mint is a cooling herb that is useful for colds and flu in which you’re running a fever. It can help cool you off and alleviate a sore throat, headaches, and a cough. In Chinese medicine, mint is also used to help drive a rash to the surface of your skin to speed up its healing. Mint is best boiled in hot water, mixed with a little honey, and drunk as a tea. Fresh mint may also be added to curries and stews.
  6. While you may only think of walnuts as an ingredient when you’re baking, it is actually considered to be a useful Chinese herb. Walnuts are warming and help to strengthen your overall metabolism, build up your Kidney system, and help to moisten your intestines to relieve constipation. Try them mixed with raisins for a nutritious snack or baked into your favorite cookies or banana/zucchini/pumpkin bread.
  7. Watermelon doesn’t look anything like what you think a Chinese herb might be. However, as an herb watermelon is very cooling, moist, and sweet. It’s used in treating fevers, loss of appetite, fatigue, and inflammation that arise from the hot weather. No preparation is needed; you can just slice it and eat.
  8. White rice is considered to be slightly cool, sweet, and nourishing. It’s used to treat digestive problems, diarrhea, and is a good choice for a sensitive stomach after you’ve had the flu or food poisoning. You can just steam the rice and eat, or mix it one part rice to seven parts water and slow cook it to make a thick, porridge-like soup. Add miso broth and ginger to settle a queasy stomach or cinnamon and dates for breakfast.

In a Chinese herbal pharmacy, most of these herbs are dried. They’re mixed into various formulas, either whole or powdered.  Combining Chinese herbs into formulas can be complicated and should be left to a licensed practitioner of Chinese medicine.  There’s good news though in that many of these same herbs can be eaten as foods, and are as accessible as your nearest grocery store.

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The Cause Of Your Back Pain May Not Be What You Think It Is

by Cindy Chamberlain on March 24, 2019

Back Pain Relief In Overland Park, KS - Eastern Healing Solutions

What Is Piriformis Syndrome?

One of the most commonly underdiagnosed conditions associated with lower back pain is called piriformis syndrome. This condition often mimics many others, including sciatica and disc problems, but it’s actually something very different.

Piriformis syndrome occurs when a flat band of muscle located between the base of your spine and your hip, called the piriformis, acts up and compresses your sciatic nerve. The piriformis works to stabilize your hip, lift and rotate your thigh outward, allow you to walk, and aids in balance. It’s considered to be a core stabilizing muscle that’s in play whenever you move your hips and legs.

Your sciatic nerve is a large nerve that passes under (or sometimes through) the piriformis muscle. The nerve then runs down the back of your leg, with many smaller nerves branching out from it in your lower legs and feet. Piriformis syndrome is caused when the muscle goes into spasm, and compresses the sciatic nerve.

It’s estimated that up to one-third of all cases of lower back pain are the result of piriformis syndrome. In addition, more women than men experience piriformis syndrome. This may be because women tend to have a wider pelvic angle than men, which also contributes to a variety of women’s sports injuries. In most cases, piriformis syndrome occurs on one side of your body, but in some patients it may occur on both.

Symptoms of piriformis syndrome include pain in the buttock on the affected side, along with pain along the trajectory of the sciatic nerve, which includes the back or side of the upper leg, the side of the lower leg and into the foot. Patients also describe pain and discomfort when sitting for more than 20 minutes at a time and weakness and difficulty when walking. Piriformis is often caused by overuse, poor athletic form, running or walking on irregular surfaces, extended time sitting, direct compression such as sitting on a wallet, and even from prolonged exposure to cold.

Because piriformis syndrome acts like so many other conditions associated with the lower back, it’s frequently misdiagnosed or goes undiagnosed. Health care providers familiar with this condition may diagnose it through the patient’s symptoms, specific muscle tests and movements, and in some instances when palpated, the aggravated muscle feels like a thick cord that runs through the mid-buttock. In some cases, an MRI may be used to rule out other causes of the pain and nerve compression. Piriformis syndrome is most commonly confused with sciatica because of the similarity of the symptoms. However, true sciatica is compression of the sciatic nerve from damaged lumbar discs, trauma, or degeneration of the lower spine.

How Can Piriformis Syndrome Be Treated

Conventional treatments include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), prescription muscle relaxants, pain medications, and steroid injections. In severe cases, Botox has been used to relax the muscle, and surgery may be a last resort when all else fails. Physical therapy is usually recommended to help loosen the muscle and relieve compression on the nerve.

In Chinese medicine, piriformis syndrome is considered to be a pattern of stagnation. This simply means that there’s a blockage in the area of the muscle, and circulation, energy, and function has been hampered. Acupuncture can be a good stand-alone or adjunct treatment for piriformis, because it works to increase the circulation of blood and nutrients to the area, decrease inflammation, loosen the muscle, speed up the healing process and increase chemicals in your brain that help relieve pain.

Beyond acupuncture, a practitioner of Chinese medicine may also use heat, a kind of bodywork called Tui Na, stretching, and at home care. Electro-acupuncture can be especially effective in treating piriformis syndrome. During electro acupuncture, standard acupuncture needles are inserted into the area near the muscle, and the needles are then hooked up to a small machine that painlessly delivers an electrical impulse. Electro acupuncture works by helping tight or spastic muscles relax and increases circulation to the area.

Care at home for this condition involves rest and heat. Many health care providers may suggest ice; however when treating a muscle in spasm, heat may be more effective in helping it to relax. While rest is important, avoid sitting for very long periods of time. Stretching the muscle may also be helpful. An easy stretch for your piriformis is to sit in a chair with both feet on the floor and gently lean forward until you feel a stretch in your lower back and butt. To get more of a stretch, place the ankle on the same side as the pain on top of the opposite knee. (E.g. if the pain is on the right, place your right ankle over your left knee, keeping your left foot flat on the floor.) Then very slowly and gently, lean forward until you feel a stretch in your lower back and buttock. Repeat on the other side. If there’s any pain associated with this stretch, stop.

Treating this condition early is important, because over time chronic nerve problems or muscle weakness may persist. The good news is that in most cases piriformis syndrome responds well and fairly quickly to acupuncture treatment.

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7 Simple Tips To Ease Back Pain

February 22, 2019

Back pain is one of the most common health complaints reported by adults of all ages worldwide. Experts estimate that 80 percent of people will suffer back pain at some point in their lives, making it one of the most common reasons that employees miss work. Beyond the physical toll, back pain costs Americans between […]

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Research Shows That Acupuncture Can Be An Effective Tool To Quit Smoking

January 19, 2019

Quitting Smoking? Acupuncture Can Help Many former smokers will tell you that quitting smoking was one of the hardest things that they’ve ever done. Nicotine is incredibly addicting, and whether you smoke cigarettes, cigars, or chew tobacco, quitting is hard. Furthermore, the cravings for tobacco can last for a long time after you quit. For […]

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Control The Symptoms Of Rheumatoid Arthritis With Chinese Medicine

December 18, 2018

Not all arthritis is created equal, and this is especially true when it comes to rheumatoid arthritis, also known as RA. Unlike osteoarthritis, which is the result of age-related wear and tear on your joints, RA is an autoimmune illness. While osteoarthritis is the most common kind of arthritis, it usually affects your weight bearing […]

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Did You Know That Food Therapy Is An Equally Important Healing Tool In Chinese Medicine?

November 7, 2018

There are a number of healing practices that are included in Chinese medicine. You may be familiar with acupuncture and Chinese herbs, but many people are unaware that food therapy is an equally important healing tool in this medicine. The Chinese say that practitioners should first try to heal by prescribing the right foods, and […]

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The Symptoms Associated With Your Headaches Can Be Clues To The State Of Your Overall Health

October 14, 2018

When someone tells you that they have a headache, it’s hard to imagine what they’re feeling. Do they mean that it hurts throughout their head or just over their left eye? Is their pain dull and achy, throbbing, burning, or sharp? The Different Types of Headaches The one true thing about headaches is that they […]

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How Your Pulse Can Tell A Great Deal Of Information About Overall Health

September 19, 2018

When you think about a health practitioner feeling the pulse on your wrist, do you automatically assume they are checking your heart rate? Often this is the case with a Western doctor, but if you’re visiting a practitioner of Chinese medicine, they’re taking your pulse to get far more information beyond the rate at which […]

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Losing Weight with a Little Help from Chinese Medicine

August 17, 2018

If you’ve ever tried to lose weight, you understand how difficult and frustrating it can be. It’s slow and hard and takes a lot of resolve—sometimes without any noticeable results. If this is you, you’re not alone. Every year, people spend billions of dollars on books, supplements, miracle foods, and diet plans, all in the […]

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Do You Ever Wonder What Causes Your Muscle Knots?

July 31, 2018

Muscle knots are a puzzling fact of life for most people. They can occur almost anywhere in your body, but are most commonly found in the muscles of your upper back, neck, and shoulders. They feel like a hard, ropey lump in the belly of the muscle, and can range from being extremely painful to […]

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Eastern Healing Solutions, LLC
10875 Grandview Dr #2250, Overland Park, KS 66210
Phone: (913) 549-4322
 

 

Serving Overland Park, KS and Kansas City, MO.

Zip Codes: 66061, 66062, 66137, 66204, 66208, 66209, 66210,
66211, 66213, 66215, 66219, 66220, 66221
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