Turn Off the News . . .

“And Build a Garden with Me” ~ Lukas Nelson

I am sitting in my backyard in the healing sunshine, embracing seasonal living while watching nature do its colorful dance. The winter weather brings a different look to the acupuncture cabin — the grass is a rich dark green, the flowers are gone and the red oak is hanging onto its last few leaves. The Acupuncture Cabin is cozy and warm, sunlight filters into the room and shines on the table, and on crisp dry days I slide open the cabin doors. You can hear the birds go about gathering the seeds I’ve put out for them…

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), our Lung organ system is where we want to send our self-love this winter.

Ancient Chinese Secrets for Health in Winter

In TCM, the lungs and large intestine organs are linked by the same meridian system — this means cold, dry or damp winter air penetrates easily from the most superficial organ – the lungs, to one of the deepest organs – the large intestine. So to remain healthy we must support the lungs to be a strong barrier to weather extremes–this helps avoid cough, common colds and other viruses. In TCM we believe you don’t just “catch” a virus or contagion — you become ill with a virus when your body systems including the innate immune system are not well tended to. The foundation of Tibetan medicine is that mind and body are closely related. Therefore, Tibetan physicians have always considered a sound mind as a prerequisite for a healthy body. To keep the mind healthy, meditation is important to stay balanced and out of fear patterns that break down our bodies resilience. The Dali Lama promotes that as we move forward to make new discoveries, we must preserve and promote our ancient wisdom –and the innate wisdom of our own bodies.

The Cedar bloom is here, so let’s support the immune system to stay balanced and out of overreaction during this prolific show!

Keeping our lungs moist in dry weather is a good for the immune system. My favorite food for moistening the lungs is pears. Eat them in abundance. I love them steamed. Pears are in season now, because what our body needs grows in the season and location we live within. Nourish and strengthen your body with the abundant deep root vegetables, dark hearty greens and healing herbs that grow in the winter. We need them for energy stores, strength and stamina — nature is so smart!

Check out the seasonal foods that grow in the Austin region here. And shop your local farmers market – it’s charged with healing energy, kindhearted people, and amazing local farmers and food!

Modern Tips for Immunity Boosting

  • Sugar is a #1 immune system dis-regulator –Get your sugar naturally – in fruits, sweet herbs and veggies like carrots, beets and dates.
  • Zinc is helpful — Oysters, chickpeas, cashews and almonds are a great sources.
  • Vitamin D — Eat mushrooms; they lower risk of infection.
  • Probiotics — Eat fermented veggies and yogurt without added sugar. Many foods contain healthy prebiotics to assist your body in producing probiotics.
  • Eat antiviral and antibacterial foods — Chew a clove of garlic a day. Try Young Living’s Vitality Line Oregano – one or two drops is plenty. These both pack a punch, so don’t overdo it. Yowza!
  • If needed for an infection, concentrated plant supplements like Mediherb’s Andographis and Boswellia are good. And Astragalus can be helpful pre and post imfection. I can help you find the perfect supplements for your body at your next appointment, or via an online herbal consult. Reach out at cls@seasonsheatlh.com.
  • Get plenty of sleep — Sleep helps with cytokine production. These signal the immune system to do its job by affecting the growth of all blood cells and other cells to help the body’s immune and inflammatory responses.
  • Avoid excess EMF’s in your home — Check out some well-tested and documented remedies here at Aulterra. Spending many hours on and around electronics can lower your immunity.
  • Nurture your nature by managing your stress – You’ll enjoy the benefits of reduced cortisol. This also lowers fight or flight patterns and anxiety, depression and overwhelm. Try calming music and meditation; I love Joe Despensa’s YouTube videos. Try lying on the earth and connecting with its healing heartbeat — taking in nature quickly calms the spirit.
  • Keep your body moving — Keep your rivers of innate wisdom flowing with movement.
  • Acupuncture for optimum health — Acupuncture supports and balances your whole body and immune system through your energetic pathways!

You might also further pursue the paradigm shift that’s happening in the medical field – towards modalities that empower our body and its innate wisdom, instead of compromising it. Along those lines, I want to share with you a new favorite place of mine. Try the sauna and cold plunge! . . . Kuya

I also like Dr. Zach Bush’s YouTube videos and symposium on the “Innate Immune System” and how it functions optimally.

An essential oil remedy to soothe sore throats and tame coughs

Honey-Thyme Cough Alleviator

Mix in small bowl:

1/3 cup honey (use Manuka honey to increase the antiviral effects of this remedy)
6 drops thyme essential oil (To be sure the thyme essential oil you select is suitable for internal use, try Young Living’s vitality line.)

Store in small jar and use 1/2 to 1 tsp as needed or add to Traditional Medicinal’s Breathe Easy Tea.

Acupuncture Cabin and Seasons Health News

  • My patients will now have access to my new online pharmacy with a 25% discount on all supplements ordered there. I will get you set up at your next appointment.
  • I am collaborating with Marci Warren, LPC, a holistic trauma therapist with over 15 years of experience healing self and others. You will love her! In early May we will co-facilitate a women’s healing group in nature for women who care for others. This foundational support is vital for recovery, healing and post-traumatic growth — especially for women who carry so much. I am excited to share ancient healing remedies with the group — including healing with plants, Qi Gong exercises to support and cleanse our energy and many Ancient Chinese Secrets! More information to come!

I encourage you to come enjoy the warm, cozy Acupuncture Cabin soon – it’s a special place each season of the year. Slow down, breathe, nurture yourself abundantly. Stop doing and just BE in silence with your beautiful self — that is where the waves of calm and connection to your wisdom are found.

I wish you all a New Year full of joy and confidence that you and your loved ones are safe, sound and healthy. Whether you are new to Seasons Health or a long-time friend, I am grateful for you. I would love for you to share this post with anyone you feel would be happy to receive it. Many thanks.

“People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering.” ~ St. Augustine

With Love,

Charlotte
Seasons Health

Austin Cedar Fever

Cedar Fever Meet Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine!

The wind-pollinated cedar (mountain juniper) trees are about to be in full bloom compromising many of our respiratory systems this time of year.   The amount of cedar pollen in the air is a factor in whether cedar fever symptoms such as  sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, congestion, and difficulty breathing develop and how intense they can become.   Dry, windy days are more likely to have increased amounts of cedar pollen in the air than cold, damp and rainy days when cedar pollen is washed to the ground.  The alternating warm then cold days without long periods of freezing temperatures we often experience in Austin promote cedar pollen to grow and thrive in abundance – then the windy days carry it to our noses.

In Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine we view cedar fever as an overactive immune response due to an unbalanced immune system.  This can happen for several reasons, including poor sleep, stress, poor diet and nutrition, and other unhealthy lifestyle habits which can energetically weaken organ systems.

Cedar tree pollen count is generally highest from December through February and often continues into March when other pollen arrives.  Don’t wait until the cedar winds blow, come early  for weekly preventative treatments and boost your immune system to help avoid symptoms that can compromise your health when cedar pollen is in the air.   If symptoms do arise, bi-weekly acupuncture treatments are extremely helpful to assist your immune system in re-balancing, and maintenance treatments throughout the winter season are ideal to keep your body healthy all winter.

Is Getting a Flu Shot Your Only Option?

This post is a collaborative effort of homemademommy.net and seasonshealth.com. 

I just received the latest monthly email newsletter from my daughter’s (former) pediatrician’s office with a ‘flu season update’. The whole newsletter urges parents to get the flu vaccine in their office. They go on to say that they are almost out of ‘preservative free’ vaccines but that the risks of getting the flu this season were high enough that they recommend parents get their children vaccinated with the vaccine containing preservatives.

I do not think there is any real risk-benefit analysis going on in this pediatrician’s office. Especially when a recent New York Times article states:

Last month, in a step tantamount to heresy in the public health world, scientists at the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota released a report saying that influenza vaccinations provide only modest protection for healthy young and middle-age adults, and little if any protection for those 65 and older, who are most likely to succumb to the illness or its complications. Moreover, the report’s authors concluded, federal vaccination recommendations, which have expanded in recent years, are based on inadequate evidence and poorly executed studies.

“We have over-promoted and overhyped this vaccine,” said Michael T. Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, as well as its Center of Excellence for Influenza Research and Surveillance. “It does not protect as promoted. It’s all a sales job: it’s all public relations.”

Conventional Options

The newsletter proceeds to give tips for avoiding colds and flu this season including:

  • Avoiding close contact with people
  • Staying home
  • Hand washing
  • Getting sleep

As I have said before, all these kinds of newsletters do is breed fear and loss of control. If the only ways to prevent the flu are to get a shot full of preservatives and to live in a proverbial bubble, then we are in a sorry state of affairs.

This is what I was told year after year due to my asthma. My doctor always recommended (well more like strongly insisted) that I get a flu shot and always made me feel as if I was going to die if I got the flu because I had asthma. Most years, I was told there was not enough vaccine for everyone but that I would receive one as top priority because I had asthma. And I did end up in the hospital for four days once with pneumonia so I took these recommendations very seriously.

But a year and a half ago, I started eating real food and building my immune system from the inside out. I have since reversed my asthma and have not had symptoms or had to take any western medicine in over a year. I now believe we can be more empowered to not dread these winter cold and flu seasons. We can help ourselves with proper diet and supplements to ensure our bodies are not breeding grounds for viruses. This helps to avoid getting sick in the first place or to diminish the length and severity of illness we do end up getting. This year I have finally been able to come in contact with someone who was sick and not actually get sick myself. This is a gigantic feat in my book as I used to get sick at the drop of a hat.

‘Not So New’ Tools to Prevent Illness and Shorten Duration and Severity

We employ a whole foods based supplement approach as well as incorporating Traditional Chinese Medicine for its anti-viral support and also management of symptoms. Below is a list of herbs and supplements I use to help myself and my family to stay well and to get well quickly when we do get sick. It is important to remember that having a skilled and qualified practitioner prescribe and guide you through use of these herbs is required.

My excellent acupuncturist and diet and nutrition expert, Charlotte Sobeck, collaborated with me on this post and she notes that the TCM herbs below are powerful medicine.

Some of these herbs are ‘dispersing’, meaning they release the heat, toxin, and viral pathogens out of your body, often thru promoting sweating — you must keep warm, bundled and protect your pores when they are in this process or you can make the pathogen worse. Also any of these remedies taken for long periods of time without guidance could clear too much and leave someone feeling depleted. They are medicine.

I know just how powerful they are in that they have helped me to get over my seasonal allergies including cedar fever and they have enabled my husband and I to finally avoid our seasonal sinus infection treatments with antibiotics – in fact, we never get sinus infections at all anymore.

So, with that disclaimer, on to the supplements and herbs:

Herb CollageCod Liver Oil

Cod liver oil (where to buy cod liver oil) is liquid gold and has so many benefitsincluding being rich in vitamins A and D which have been proven time and again to support a healthy immune system. Fish oil may be high in omega-3s but for A and D, generic fish oil can’t hold a candle to cod liver oil. How many of your parents or grandparents took this as a child? Their generation and all the generations before them were on to something. I take the capsules and give my daughter the liquid variety every day.

Ban Lan Gen

Ba Lan Gen is a heat clearing detoxifying herb, it can be mixed with other herbs to make a formula to treat viruses with fever, sore throat, swollen glands etc. It has anti-viral properties and can be used to prevent virus on occasion. One must be careful not to overuse.

Gan Mao Ling — (Ban Lan Gen is in this formula)

Gan Mao Ling is for viruses with sore throat, swollen glands, fever and chills, sinuses, or swollen lymph. This formula is often used to prevent colds and influenzas when an exposure has taken place. It can be useful also when Yin Qiao (below) doesn’t work. Also useful as a preventative when traveling on airlines or other places where there may be shared air supplies.

Yin Qiao

Yin Qiao is a milder formula with herbs that clear heat for the beginning stages of common cold and flu with sore throat, fever, slight or no chills, HA, cough.

Evergreen’s Herbal ENT

This formula is for infection and inflammation in the upper parts of the body including the ears, nose and throat (ENT). It has an antibiotic effect to treat infection, anti-inflammatory effect to reduce swelling and relieve pain and an antipyretic effect to reduce fever. Great for any ear, nose or throat infections. This formula also includes Ban Lan Gen, along with other herbs that clear heat toxin like Huang Lian, Huang Qin and Lian Qiao.

For Seasonal Allergies like Cedar Fever, Pollen, etc.:

Evergreen’s Magnolia Clear Sinus or Pe Min Kan Wan

Magnolia Clear Sinus contains the herb Xin Yi Hua (magnolia) which unblocks nasal congestion and relieves allergy symptoms of sneezing, nasal discharge, sinus pain and headaches. This herb is great for winter and spring seasonal allergies. This herb truly amazes me, I can be fully congested and I take this and voila – no more congestion in my sinuses. I have no idea how it works but it works!

Evergreen’s Pueraria Clear Sinus or Bi Yan Pian

A more potent sinus clearing formula for impacted sinuses with purulent yellow mucous, pain and sinus infections. This formula includes the sinus clearing magnolia herb as well, but adds other herbs like Bai Zhi, Cang Er Zi, etc. which make it stronger along with herbs that will clear the toxic heat of an infection like Shi Gao and Huang Qin.

Strengthening your Immune System

The most important aspect to all of this is building up a strong immune system by eating immune boosting real food (probiotic fermented foods are a must!) and doing some gut healing. From A TCM standpoint, the Jade Screen formula is also a popular immune booster in the winter months. For a daily preventative, of course try this No Flu Tea recipe as well. I hope all of you stay well this winter!

Solstice Greetings and Winter Wellness Tips

Solstice Greetings!

The longest night of the year is tonight, December 21st, beginning our journey into Winter. Today is a good time to reflect upon the darkness and the amazing things that happen in the night, and then how we can bring light into our being in the New Year. Winter is often a challenging time for our immune and respiratory systems. To stay healthy and vital through the winter months it is important to support and strengthen our body’s natural defense mechanism, the immune system. When the immune system is strong, the body is better prepared to handle the ever changing Texas weather, stress, and the unavoidable pressures of daily life. Probiotics can safeguard your health this winter, keep your digestion working, eliminate harmful microbes from your body protecting it from dangerous bacteria and viruses. They can also heal your intestines from antibiotics and greatly enhance your immune system, helping you avoid seasonal allergies and asthma.  Not any probiotic will do, visit me for the probiotic best matched for your constitutional need and a wealth of other comprehensive care and products available.

Tips for Preventing and Treating the Flu:

  • Eat local and seasonal foods that support your body in winter and avoid foods that deplete your body of the reserves it will need during this season
  • Schedule an appointment for your Winter Wellness Diet Solution
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and avoid touching your own mouth, nose and eyes when away from home and unable to wash your hands
  • Wash your hands well several times daily with a gentle non antibacterial soap
  • Chinese medicine believes that wind invasion can weaken your body and make catching a cold more likely, so protect your body from the wind by donning a scarf, hat and underclothes on your body and your child’s when outdoors this winter, keep your feet warm and dry and if they do get wet, and have delicious cod liver oil available to boost your immunity!
  • Protect your good health this year with the comprehensive range of care and products available from me, including chinese herbal anti-virals and winter tonics

Remember as you watch the colorful leaves fall conserving the tree’s energy for the cold winter’s months, the roots of the tree are reaching deep into the warm earth for protection so it can continue to thrive and grow all winter long.  We are connected to nature and can glean guidance from watching the plants and animals prepare themselves for winter.  Little squirrels are gathering nuts with plenty of healthy fat to keep themselves nourished all winter long. Creatures are burrowing down into the warmth of the earth for a winter’s nap.   This winter visit your local farmer’s markets and load up on deep root vegetables and dark greens that grow this season to nourish your bodies, drink warm rich homemade broths, get plenty of rest, keep warm and cozy and have a prosperous New Year full of all  things that bring you and yours joy and that priceless feeling of good health.

Warmly,

Charlotte Sobeck, MSOM, L.Ac.

Solstice Information