Monthly Archives: June 2012

Dr. Satya Ambrose introduces the Chitari Foundation

***NEWS FLASH***

An incredible development is brewing in the hearts and minds of Portland’s health care practitioners, and its name is The Chitari Foundation. Their first project is the Chitari Center of Collaborative Medicine, a non-profit, in-patient skilled nursing facility where practitioners from all medical disciplines can work collaboratively to help severely ill patients who need a broad spectrum approach to healing. Their combined expertise, highly coordinated to treat life-threatening and intractable conditions, bridges the gap between an outpatient integrative clinic and a large Western hospital.

The Chitari Center will join the ranks of such innovative, integrative medical institutions as the Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Stanford Center for Integrative Medicine, Osher Center of Integrative Medicine at Harvard, Duke Integrative Medicine, and the Center of Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland. Of course, as this new center will be located just outside of Portland, they will be building a strong sustainability, community, and educational component into their physical space and their long-term vision. They plan to collaborate with local organic community farms to bring fresh food to patients, and they will use teaching gardens to offer on-site preventive medicine education for inpatients and visitors. The Chitari Center promises to be much more than an excellent medical center: they will offer transformative education retreats, collaborative research teams, and integrative models of mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health and wellness. Yes, they know that this is a tall order, but it gets even taller.

The Chitari Foundation’s vision is to create a global model of wellness where all people have access to collaborative medicine. Chitari means “meeting place” in Nepalese: the meeting of medical disciplines, the true meeting of the doctor and patient in a place of respect and support, and the meeting and fostering of community. Remember, the term ‘hospital’ developed from the phrase ‘place of hospitality.’ The Chitari Foundation’s vision embodies this original intent, while encouraging everyone to help create the world in which we would like to live.

The Chitari Foundation is the brainchild of Dr. Satya Ambrose, who in 1983 co-founded the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM), one of the nation’s leading colleges of Traditional Chinese Medicine and the first college accredited for their Doctorate of Oriental Medicine program [full disclosure: Dr. Ambrose was my teacher during my time at OCOM, and I interned in her teaching clinic]. Dr. Ambrose is heavily involved in both OCOM and the National College of Naturopathic Medicine (NCNM) here in Portland, not only teaching at both locations but also offering her private practice in Damascus as a place for observation and internship in both Naturopathic and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Dr. Ambrose can often be seen treating patients with a cluster of 3 or more students and interns surrounding her and her patient; the observers and interns function in a coordinated, octopus-like manner as an extension of Dr. Ambrose’s vibrant, bubbly presence, filling herbal prescriptions, taking notes, and following her lead in the administration of treatments. One gets the impression that they are devoted to Dr. Ambrose for reasons above and beyond her extensive knowledge, experience, and high rates of success in treating difficult cases that have stumped all other providers; she has a magnetic and joyous quality that lifts the spirits of those around her.

Dr. Ambrose teaching biochemistry. ::song interlude!::

Dr. Ambrose is now funneling her abundant energy towards the creation of the Chitari Center of Collaborative Medicine, an oasis of integrative care in the Willamette Valley. She has gathered a crack team of physicians and administrators to bring this vision to fruition, allowing this center to be built collaboratively from the ground up, with an integrative and holistic approach from all angles of development.

The Chitari Foundation is hosting several fund-raising events throughout the summer. You can donate to them directly HERE.
From the founder:

What stage are we at? We have carefully designed the programs. We have made an offer on a beautiful retreat center with 83 acres of old growth cedar, river frontage, and tremendous healing energy. We are now actively doing fundraising and we need your help.
This summer we will have two fundraising events.

*We will be holding a Benefit Concert on Saturday, July 7th from 1:30 to 5:00 pm in Colton, Oregon. A flier is attached below and more information is available at our website, http://www.chitari.org.

*We will also be hosting a Benefit Dinner Party at Starfire Clinic and Farm near Damascus, Oregon on Sunday, July 29 from 3:00 to 7:00 pm with a tax-deductible $500 per plate minimum donation. To confirm your attendance, call 503-658-7715. For more information on Chitari, go to http://www.chitari.org.

We are creating a revolution in medicine. We have a powerful vision. And we have found a site worthy of the ideals of Chitari. Join us to help make our collaborative vision a reality!
Thank you,
Satya Ambrose
Dr. Satya Ambrose, N.D., L.Ac

I interviewed Dr. Ambrose as she was first bringing this team together; this interview took place in June 2011, and small additions have been added with Dr. Ambrose’s participation since that time.

BG: What inspired the idea of Chitari?
SA: I had the idea when I was in Junior High. I thought, “We need a place we can go that is clean and safe, has clean food, and where people can heal.” Because my mom was sick, I was really into health food, and recycling, and all kinds of stuff. We can’t separate our health from the environment. And it’s a worldwide thing. We have to do it all over the world, we can’t just do it in one spot. That’s why Chitari will be international, and it will be a place that helps clean up.

BG: What are the main components of this vision?
SA: One is a clinic that takes the patients that are the most complex, for example the Lyme [disease] patients or the patients that have illnesses that are not being handled by anyone. For them, natural medicine is not working and conventional medicine is not working, and there’s no place for a lot of the people that I see.

BG: So it’s not just that they’re falling through cracks, it’s rather that there’s not even a crack to fall through.
SA: Yes, there isn’t the support to find the multiple things that are causing the illnesses. So, there are three other components of Chitari. [One is] that people need an inpatient facility. They need to change what they’re doing or they’ll have a heart attack, or they’ve already had a heart attack. There are people that are diabetic and they’re losing their eyesight. There are patients like that: they aren’t on a good diet, and they’re losing their eyesight, and if we put them someplace [where their diet and lifestyle could be managed], they would stop hemorrhaging. So it’s a hospital.

BG: So when they’re in the hospital, what kind of therapies would patients receive?
SA: It would be a whole group of people, a pod of people that see them. They would initially get interviewed by somebody who is a practitioner that is also trained in conventional medicine. From there, a team would be established for them who would devise a treatment plan and help them, together. Then we’d do research on what works.

So research is another component, and the research will investigate diseases such as Lyme Disease. And then there will be research on the culture of health, for example how to clean up a neighborhood, how to make it healthier. That will be integrated into the schools.

BG: That sounds like a radical idea. How do you measure the culture of community health?
SA: Yeah, there’s ways of doing it. We’re actually doing it in our neighborhood [in Damascus] with a group called Civic Ecology and it’s funded by the Obama Administration. They have a systems approach to making sustainable green neighborhoods that are economically and ecologically and livable places. So we [look at how to create] trails, green space, clean water, places for animals, farms, places for agriculture, and community gardens, in order to step that up. That’s what our society should have.

BG: So will Chitari be integrating the community garden aspect as well?
SA: Yes, we would ally with local community-supported organic farms. So, [the aspects of Chitari besides the inpatient hospital facility include:] research, education (since in order to heal people need to be educated and to make good choices), a farm to support us, and an association with other farms.

BG: So with Chitari, you have experiential learning, research and education, and ground-up support in the community. So I understand that you are envisioning branches of the Chitari Foundation in several locations across the globe- how do you create a unique facility that reflects the community of which it is striving to be such an integral component?
SA: Every community would need a different part of Chitari, depending on what they’ve already got and what their Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat is. We do the SWAT analysis, see what’s there, and address the problems. In Damascus, Oregon, transportation is a problem. We’re shipping food from other places like California instead of buying local. But we have a pretty nice organic food store, and community farmers markets and stuff like that. So we can help those support the community, and help the community support those.

BG: By creating the correct structure for that?
SA: Yeah, so we’re making a community center that will teach people how to cook well, how to grow foods with training in agricultural stuff, how to recycle, and things like how do you do something like clean up your yard without burning it? Cause out there everybody burns, which is really bad. So there’s other ways of doing things. We’re forming neighborhood associations where people get together and talk about issues like that.

So, we will support [community health education projects] and then provide medical and health prevention, treatment, and recovery approaches within the clinic and hospital. The hospital will have an acute care unit, and also a place where people who are chronically ill can go to get assessed and revamped.

BG: So the people who would be patients at the hospital would fall into a couple of different categories: the acute patients and the chronic illness patients for the inpatient clinic. Would people be able to just pop in for checkups too?
SA: Yeah, they could come too, [in order to relax, recharge, and learn]. Every year Daniel and I try to go to a clinic in California, the True North Clinic, where we just rest. They have exercise programs and a really wonderful diet, and [while we’re there Daniel and I] reconnect to each other, to who we are, and to what our beliefs are. We learn new things, we lose a little weight, and we come back [to Oregon] kind of charged up and think, “Oh yeah, we can do this!” So really, in a similar way, Chitari is a center for cultural change.

BG: Who should get involved, and do you have anything to add?
SA: What I’m hoping is that everybody will be involved; that it will be a community event. We have to change the world. And so ideally everybody will plant trees, and plant a garden, and recycle. And have a guest at their table, essentially, where you put money in to feed somebody who is not there, in order to contribute something to help bring good food to people throughout the world. And the food at the table will be edible, and the water will be clear.

[Projects like the Chitari Foundation] will impact everybody, and I know that people really want this in their lives if they have access to it. So we just have to encourage them to have the self-esteem and the support to embrace it and go after it, because it’s not MY project, it’s everybody’s. So it has to be a cultural phenomenon to make this change happen.

We have a choice of either really going downhill right now or uphill. Or having rainbows (laugh). We have technology and the ability to really create an incredible sustainable culture. And so it’s kind of a choice, but it’s not really a choice if you want to survive and have quality.

BG: Thank You!

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The Chitari Center of Collaborative Medicine will advance Portland’s already international reputation for integrative health care. Portland is home to prestigious schools of Nursing, Naturopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chiropractic, and Massage Therapy, so it’s no surprise that Portland boasts numerous integrative clinics, such as the Providence Integrative Medicine Program, The Quest Center for Integrative Health, and Oregon Health and Sciences University’s (OHSU) Women’s Primary Care and Integrative Medicine Center for Women’s Health. It therefore comes as no surprise that last month, Portland hosted the Consortium of Academic Health Centers for Integrative Medicine‘s third International Research Congress on Integrative Medicine and Health.

Integrative medicine functions at the cutting edge of health care; it represents a national (and long-overdue) medical re-strategization of priorities. Integrative centers create a medical team to fit the needs of the patient, rather than focusing on how the patient can fit into medical systems or disparate medical departments. A February 2012 report by the Bravewell Collaborative nonprofit defines integrative medicine as “an approach to care that puts the patient at the center and addresses the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and environmental influences that affect a person’s health. Employing a personalized strategy that considers the patient’s unique conditions, needs, and circumstances, it uses the most appropriate interventions from an array of scientific disciplines to heal illness and disease and help people regain and maintain optimum health.”

Bravewell Collaborative’s 2012 report Integrative Medicine In America: How Integrative Medicine Is Being Practiced in Clinical Centers Across the United States examines data from 29 integrative medical centers across the US. Fifteen of these provide in-patient services, including the University of Maryland Center for Integrative Medicine and Duke Integrative Medicine. These medical centers are not only at the forefront of patient care modeling, but 86% of those studied are participating in clinical trials or outcome-based research as well as offering provider education, acting as important hubs of communication within and between fields of medicine. The report concludes that “integrative medicine is now an established part of healthcare in the United States,” evidenced by “the strong affiliations to hospitals, healthcare systems, and medical and nursing schools as well as the centers’ collaborative work with, and growing referrals from, their own health systems.” The American public and medical professionals are increasingly accepting this model of health care as their patient base expands. The Chitari Center of Collaborative Medicine will join the ranks of these important institutions in order to continue the advancement of patient-centered health care.

Sang Ma Wan: Stress Relief in a Tasty Ball. Good for the Liver and Kidney too!

Introducing: Sang Ma Wan, a simple yet effective Chinese Herbal formula in the form of a honey-based ball of goodness. To determine whether you are eligible for its use, watch the following video (as ever, from The Mighty Boosh series) and see if you, too, need more time with the kitten Phillip:

If you feel the need to allow your anger to recede like an ocean, you have qualified for this treatment. You also qualify if you are too tired to argue but still feel stressed out. Rather than listening to Naboo or carrying kittens with you for stress relief, you can work on a more permanent solution vy nourishing the body in order to relax the mind. Our goal is to balance the Liver and Kidney systems and to create adrenal health, using a base formula of ground black sesame seeds, honey, and powdered mulberry leaf to form a tonifying snack. This combination of herbs targets many common ailments which comprise a pattern of depletion and tension: stress, blurry vision or tired eyes, headaches and muscular tension, constipation, and even greying hair. These herbal balls are basically tailor-made for the modern office worker.

Problem:

Ricky Gervais in BBC’s ‘The Office’

Solution:

Delicious Sang Ma Wan Jia Wei Balls.

(plus:)

courtesy christianholmer.com

The beauty of this formula lies in its simple, gentle nature (much like a kitten!). It is meant to be consumed every morning and evening (unlike a kitten), and its food-grade nature lends itself to becoming a really easy addition to the daily routine. Not to mention, it is tasty and filling- really a perfect afternoon doldrums pick-me-up in place of caffeine, especially with the addition of raw cocoa powder!

The infamous Springtime: time of change, cleansing, rapid progress, and/or intense frustration. In Chinese Medicine, springtime is associated with the Wood element, whose emotion is Anger or Aggression. We may feel cooped up, boxed in, or pulled in many directions during this time of year, so I have found a tasty aid to stress relief which will nourish your body and mind.

I recently tried it out on the staff of Bambu Clinic, my wonderful place of employment, and received some great reviews! See below for the recipe, instructions, and photo-montage. At the end I give a detailed description of the ingredients from the TCM perspective. Happy herballing!

I have modified the original recipe to make it more palatable and to specialize it for the Portland temperament.

Original recipe:

Powdered Sang Ye 300g

Ground Hei Zhi Ma 150g

Honey (Feng Mi) 300g

Gently heat and mix together honey and Hei Zhi Ma. Combine with Sang Ye powder to form balls of 10g each. Eat one in morning, and one in evening with a glass of warm water.

My recipe:

 1. Powdered Sang Ye 200g

 2. Ground Hei Zhi Ma 170?g (estimate)

 3. Raw Honey 300g

 4. Raw Cocoa Powder 4 Tbsp, plus 3 Tbsp for rolling.

 5. Orange Blossom Water 3-4 tsp

 6. Good quality Cabernet Sauvignon two generous splashes

 7. Gui Zhi (high quality, true cinnamon) grated by hand, 2-3 tsp; OR pre-powdered cinnamon, 1-2 tsp

 8. Kosher salt, 2 Tbsp (for rolling balls)- preferred brand is Diamond Crystal.

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Grind black sesame seeds, so they are super freshly ground and contain all of their amazing oils!

I used a regular blender; coffee grinders or food processors work as well.

2. Pour honey (preferably raw honey) into a saucepan and heat on low. Add the ground sesame seeds and stir to form a thick paste.

Yummy! Pretty yellow honey and dark nourishing seeds!

Keep the heat on LOW. Use a flexible spatula!

3. Slowly add the Sang Ye (Mulberry Leaf) powder to the warm paste. Keeping the heat on low will help with stirring. It should become very thick; you will be surprised at how much powder can be absorbed by the mixture!

Sang Ye powder can be ordered from your nearest Chinese Herbal Dispensary- just request them to grind it really finely.

4. Add the Orange Blossom Water to the mixture; keep stirring.

This brand had alcohol in it, which I think helped with its absorption and integration into the honey mixture. Non-alcohol brands are fine as well, but you may need to adjust the amount up or down… keep tasting the mixture as you go.

5.  Add the Gui Zhi (cinnamon!) to the mixture. Freshly grated is preferred!

6. Now alternate adding the 4 Tbsp raw cocoa powder with adding a few splashes of Cabernet Sauvignon or similarly rich-flavored wine.  The paste should become easy to lift from the bottom of the pan, and the cocoa powder helps smooth the consistency.

In the immortal words of Julia Child, “I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food I’m cooking.”

7. Turn off heat; move the saucepan to your workspace.

8. Prepare a clean surface for creating the Sang Ma Wan balls, such as a large wooden cutting board. Sprinkle the 3 Tbsp raw cocoa powder and 2 Tbsp kosher salt across the board, creating a rolling field.

The ‘flake’ of this brand of salt is unparalleled and allows for the best ball-rolling experience. Recommended by Cook’s Illustrated and everything.

You may need to adjust the salt level down, or cocoa level up; the choice is yours!

9. Use your hand to pinch a tablespoon-sized portion of the paste and roll it into a ball between your hands. Proceed to roll the ball in the cocoa and salt mixture. If you’d like to weigh it, place on a plate on a scale that has been tared: 10 grams is the goal.

The following pictures were from my first experiment, rolling the balls in the Sang Ye powder… that didn’t go over very well in the taste department. Once I started rolling with the cocoa and salt mixture I got too excited and forgot to take pictures- so yours should be brown, not green!

Cute. yours should be a different color 🙂

Weighing. I only weighed the first few to get an idea of what 10g looks like.

10. Now distribute to your friends and family, knowing that you are giving them a very healthy and long-life-promoting treat! Remember the dose: One herbal ball every morning and evening, with a glass of warm water.

Note: Refrigerated, they will retain their full flavor for at least 4 days. They are delicious chilled, but make sure to have a glass of warm water or tea handy since the honey can make things pretty sticky on the way down!

Now for the true test: do people eat it?

Amber’s trial:

they look promising, that is chocolate powder after all

suspense..

Interesting mixture of flavors… not bad…

Two minutes later she grabbed another one! I take that as the best testimonial.

Here Tucker gives it a try:

haha, a look of surprise that it’s so tasty! really!

Tucker also approved, and brought one home for his wife and young son to try. Not a terrible way to ingest an herbal supplement! I left a bunch in our clinic refrigerator and ordered everyone to eat two per day, with tea.

DIRECTIVE: EAT YOUR HERBS

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For those who would like the facts and Chinese Medical theory behind this mixture of herbs, I have elaborated below.

An interesting note about the effect of the Wood element on humans, from Chapter 69 of The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine (Huang Di Nei Jing):

“When a wood phase year is excess, there will be strong wind. The spleen, or earth element, will suffer damage. In this situation people often suffer indigestion, diarrhea, loss of appetite, heavy limbs, lethargy, repressed emotions, borborygmus, and distension and fullness of the abdomen. This is because the wood energy is too strong. You will observe that the corresponding planet in our solar system is very bright. This planet, Sui/Jupiter, indicates that the wood energy is excessive. [NOTE: Jupiter is visible in the Pleiades constellation now, and will be visible until May 2013. (Retriveved 6/10/2012 from http://www.nakedeyeplanets.com/jupiter.htm)%5D That is why the ancient Taoists looked to the heavens for answers; it allowed them to determine what was going to happen to people or society. The excess wood also affects human beings by causing anger, dizziness, vertigo, and diseases of the head. This describes earth energy being weakened by the wood energy. It is like the clouds in teh sky racing past; a frantic movement of the myriad things on earth, vegetation shaking and trees falling. Patients display hypochondriac pain and ceaseless vomiting…In the heavens, we wee another star that brightens, Tai Bu/Venus, the metal planet. This signifies that as the wood is excess, metal energy has begun to rise, in an attempt to control it. [NOTE: Venus just transited the Sun in a rare phenomenon.] (Ni 1995, pg 249)”

The base formula, Sang Ma Wan (Mulberry Leaf and Sesame Seed Pill), was originally sourced in Yi Fang Ji Jie (Analytical Collection of Medical Formulas) by Wang Ang in 1682 (Chen & Chen 2009, pg 656). The formula in general nourishes the wood element by supplementing Liver and Kidney Yin, clearing the head, and brightening the eyes (Chen & Chen 2009, pg. 656).

I have added a few ingredients to the base formula, mainly to enhance the flavor. However they also have important therapeutic effects: cinnamon and red wine help to open the channels of the body and to relax the muscles, while the orange flower water has a mild sedative effect and soothes the gastrointestinal muscles with its anti-spasmodic effect. The raw cacao powder increases patient compliance and adds the benefit of theobromine which has a myocardial stimulant as well as a vasodilating and slightly diuretic effect, which combine to lower high blood pressure. The overall formula is sweet, neutral, and slightly bitter. This formula enters the following channels: Spleen, Lung, Liver, Large Intestine, Heart, Urinary Bladder, and Kidney. The focus, however, is on the Liver and Kidney channels.

The bitter flavor of Sang Ye (and raw cacao powder) helps to clear heat and will help to prevent and treat minor colds and flus that affect the lungs and eyes. Bitter helps to cool fire and prevent it from damaging the “metal” organs, the Lung and Large Intestines, as well as to prevent fire from flaring upward and scorching the eyes and head. In short, bitter aids in treating inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and head, as well as the lower GI tract in some cases. In this case, the bitter flavor works mainly on the Lung, while the sweet flavor helps to lubricate the intestines.

The sweet flavor not only lubricates the intestines, but it also allows the Liver to “soften,” or begin the process of becoming less excessive. This Liver-softening action helps to regulate the flow of Blood and Qi in the body and aids in the nourishment of tendons, sinews, and the eyes.

When the Liver system is “tense” (experiencing Qi stagnation), one may feel the urge to sigh frequently, to ruminate on things that create anger or irritability, to feel tension or distension in the abdomen or ribcage, or may experience a piercing or dull headache at the vertex or temples of the head. You may feel muscles cramping or tendons lacking their usual flexibility, expressing in increased postural pain or a greater tendency to injury during exercise. In extreme cases, one may have alternating constipation and diarrhea, with abdominal discomfort. As the Huang Di Nei Jing indicated, even “ceaseless vomiting” may occur. A simple fix for this is to soften the Liver while nourishing the Spleen, or earth element.

The overall neutral nature of this formula allows it to have a gentle effect on the body, so the tonifying changes are slowly made and integrated into the body seamlessly. This formula should help stimulate and regulate appetite, create harmony in the spring and nourish the essence of the body throughout the entire year.

INDIVIDUAL HERBS:

1. Feng Mi (Honey): Apis cerana Fabricius: Mel

Honey is neutral and sweet. It enters the Spleen, Lung, and Large Intestine channels. By strengthening the Spleen and Stomach, it relieves pain, increases energy, and improves appetite. By tonifying and moistening the Lung, honey treats chronic cases of Lung deficiency with cough. It also helps to lubricate the bowels, relieving constipation caused by dryness and lack of fluids (Chen & Chen 2004, pg. 875).

Honey has a further amazing ability to eliminate toxins, both topically and internally (Chen & Chen 2004, pg. 876). This meshes well with the fact that the sweet property of honey helps to harmonize the Liver, making honey a great tool for aiding cleansing. According to Paul Pitchford, “honey’s sweet and antitoxic properties are used to break the cycle of alcoholism (alcohol is a sugar); give honey by the spoonful during a hangover when more alcohol is craved. Honey’s harmonizing effect is also beneficial when a person is overworked, having menstrual problems, or is exhausted from salty and rich foods.(Pitchford 2002, pg. 191)”

So not only does honey accomplish an amazing nutritional and systemic feat in its own right, but it also serves to bring together the actions of the other herbs which it physically binds into a ball or pill. Chen elaborates: “Feng Mi has two main functions when used to make herbal pills. It helps to bind the herbal powder together, and it acts as a reservoir to slowly release all the herbs into the gastrointestinal tract for extended absorption and therapeutic effect of the herbs. Use of Feng Mi in herbal pills improves patient compliance by reducing the frequency of dosing from three or four times daily to one or two doses daily. (Chen & Chen 2004, pg. 876)” RAD!

2. Sang Ye: Mulberry Leaf powder: Morus alba: Folium Mori

Enters the Liver and Lung channels according to TCM herbal classification. Its properties are bitter, sweet, and cold. According to Chen, its four main qualities are: Dispelling wind-heat (cough, fever, sore throat); Clearing Lung Heat and Moistening Dryness (cough, dry mouth and throat); Calming the Liver and Brightening the Eyes (dizziness, vertigo, headache, red/itchy/painful eyes, blurred vision); and Cooling the Blood and Stopping Bleeding (hematemesis or vomiting blood) (Chen & Chen 2004, pg. 74). It is also said to stimulate hair growth. Caution should be used with patients who have constitutional coldness or deficiency.

3. Hei Zhi Ma (Black Sesame Seed): Sesamum indicum L.: Semen Sesami Nigrum

Hei Zhi Ma goes to the Liver and Kidney channels, and its properties are sweet and neutral. It is said to nourish the Yin of the five organs (Pitchford 2002, pg. 532). The Black Sesame Seed tonifies Blood and Jing, or “essence,” which refers to the most basic energy upon which bodies rely (in a general sense) and can be taken to include the adrenal system from an allopathic perspective. Hei Zhi Ma has the advantage of being mildly tonifying in a way that is not too cloying or stagnating, so one can take it daily to treat or prevent premature graying, dizziness, and blurred vision. It also increases breast milk production and is excellent as a post-partum tonic. Hei Zhi Ma is rich in oil, and it moistens dryness and lubricates the intestines to alleviate constipation from lack of blood and body fluids (Chen & Chen 2004, pg. 969). Use with caution in patients who have diarrhea or toothache caused by rising fire (Chen & Chen 2004, pg. 970).

Nutritional Data for Sesame Seeds: High in Phytosterols; Fiber and Protein; Omega-6 and small amt Omega-3 fatty acids; significant amounts of Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Copper, Manganese, Thiamin, B6.  (Retrieved 6/8/2012 from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/nut-and-seed-products/3070/2)

4. Gui Zhi (Cinnamon Twigs): Cinnamomum cassia Presl.: Ramulus Cinnamomi

Gui Zhi is acrid, sweet, and warm; it enters the Heart, Lung, and Urinary Bladder Channels. Gui Zhi has many beneficial properties, and it is one of the most commonly used herbs in Chinese Medicine. Its main functions are as follows: Releases the Exterior through Diaphoresis; Warms and Opens the Channels and Collaterals; Warms Yang to Eliminate Water or Phlegm Stagnation; Warms Yang in the Chest; and Warms Yang in the Chong and Ren Channels to Restore Normal Menstruation. It is antibacterial, antiviral, mild diuretic, diaphoretic, antipyretic, analgesic, cardiotonic, sedative, hypnotic, and antitussive. Of course, at the tiny dosage we are using in this herbal formula, it will merely have the mild action of helping counteract the heavy, Yin-tonic herbs with its Yang-warming effect. This will help prevent exacerbation of dampness, coldness, or Spleen deficiency when taking this formula (Chen & Chen 2004, pgs. 41-42).

5. Red Wine

Helps the herbs to enter the blood level, and in this case cool blood; opens channels and collaterals to help relax the muscles and tendons.

6. Orange blossom water 

Sedative and Anti-Spasmodic. Great for digestive and nervous system. (Retrieved 6/8/2012 from http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_orange.htm)

7. Raw Cocoa Powder 

Contains: Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Manganese, Copper, and Zinc;  Folate, Choline, Riboflavin, and Niacin. Fats are mostly saturated and monounsaturated. Medium fiber and protein content. Small amount of caffeine, and high amount of theobromine. (Retrieved 6/8/2012 from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/sweets/5471/2)

A few words about theobromine’s action:

“Although theobromine is related to caffeine and exerts similar effects, theobromine does not affect the body through central nervous system stimulation. Instead, it induces muscular relaxation of the smooth muscle tissue. However, the presence of an additional methyl group increases its half-life and slows system clearance – thus making its effects longer lasting.
Perhaps the best known effect of Theobromine is as a vasodilator, and it is regularly prescribed by doctors in order to relieve the symptoms of angina pectoris. It works by acting on the nerves in the veins, and causing them to relax in order to allow more blood to flow. For this reason, combined with its mild stimulating effect, Theobromine offers benefits to endurance athletes, and will allow them to work at a high intensity for much longer than otherwise.” (Retrieved 6/8/2012 from http://www.houseofnutrition.com/theobromine.html)

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References:

Chen, John and Chen, Tina. 2004. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. City of Industry, CA: Art of Medicine Press, Inc.

Chen, John and Chen, Tina. 2009. Chinese Herbal Formulas and Applications: Pharmacological Effects & Clinical Research.City of Industry, CA: Art of Medicine Press, Inc.

Ni, Maoshing. 1995. The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Medicine: A New Translation of the Neijing Suwen with Commentary. Boston: Shambhala Publicaitons, Inc.

Pitchford, Paul. 2002. Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition, 3rd Ed. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.