Food therapy has been used since ancient times to help the body become more readily able to heal and work more optimally especially when there is disease or disharmony present. Warmer foods, especially cooked broths, vegetables, and rice dishes help to regulate the immune system and nourish the spleen energy of the body. When coldness exists in the body, there can be great pain and stagnation, there are specific foods to help warm coldness. These consist of lamb, mustard leaf, nutmeg, wine, sweet rice, fennel seed, and many others.
Unfortunately, the most essential, bitter tasting parts of whole foods are the ones that are often tossed out. These often end up being placed in nutritional supplements, or refined away, or sadly discarded. These bitter parts contain many essential nutrients such as magnesium, selenium, many essential fatty acids, protein building blocks, and antioxidants. They are not only essential for an optimal immune system but also help with avoiding stress and chronic illness. Denatured foods are refined foods which lack the benefits of real whole foods to sustain our vitality and health. Asian food therapy has been around for centuries and is individualized based on how a patient is presenting and which type of deficiency or excess is present with examination.
To nourish blood, for example, with signs of blood deficiency long before a low hemoglobin is detected, certain foods may be recommended to prevent future issues. These foods include bone marrow broth, parsley, eggs, dandelion greens, dark leafy greens, apricots, microalgae, nettle, and dates to name a few. Clearing heat in the body caused by inflammation or infection can be done with cool and moistening foods before it becomes a bigger issue. Peppermint, elderflower, lemon, mung beans, and millet are some good choices to clear heat.
Essential oils can be utilized for many different reasons. To combat aging, rose otto, yuzu, petitgrain, and neroli are often used to maintain youthful supple skin. Bronchitis sufferers can find relief with eucalyptus, ravensara, and radiata essential oils. Lavender has been shown to be helpful in dermatitis, sunburn, as well as earaches (otitis) and eczema in addition to chamomile. Grapefruit essential oils help energize the body when feeling a lack of overall energy. Both rosemary and basil have also shown to help with memory loss. Both bay and cinnamon bring relief when suffering with influenza.
Using nature to heal the body whether through herbal formulas, food therapies, or essential oils works because nature heals in many different ways. It is always wise to start with the most gentle, safe, yet effective way. To achieve the best results, an integrative approach should be taken including herbs, proper food therapy diet, and lifestyle. One of the basic principles for healing the body is to address the root cause and pattern of disease which is what Eastern Medicine does best. This helps your body self-regulate and heal on its own.
Adaptogenic herbs are known overall to help your body adapt to stress. These work by supporting the production of stress-related hormones and neurotransmitters. They not only help you feel less stressed but also helps to increase our energy levels. Some are more for balancing and calming while others give you pep and energy. More energetic adaptogenic herbs include rhodiola, cordyceps, and ginseng. More calming ones include holy basil, bacopa, ashwagandha, reishi, schizandra, and gotu kola.
Other known benefits of adaptogenic herbs include supporting fertility, longevity (long-life), mood, immune modulation, and overall vitality. More known uses may include improving circulation, digestion, decreasing inflammation, and even protecting the body from toxins. Adaptogenic plants, also food therapy, are defined by their actions. They actually work by affecting the stress response and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis of the nervous-endocrine system. This was first made known by Soviet researcher Nikolai Vasilyevich Lazarev in the mid 1940s.
For insomnia sufferers, nervine and sedative herbs help decrease over stimulation while promoting better sleep. Major food therapy herbs include valerian, passionflower, California poppy, skullcap, and chamomile. While I include these in food therapy, Eastern Medicine treats insomnia with a specific root cause approach which typically involves nourishing both the heart blood and spleen energy for chronic insomnia sufferers but this herbal food therapy approach can bring some relief none the less.
Avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine at least six hours before bedtime is needed. The major foods to avoid are bacon, chocolate, eggplant, sugar, sausage, ham, and potatoes. Any foods as these with tyramine can increase the release of norepinephrine which acts as a brain stimulant. Foods chosen to help promote sleep are almonds, walnuts, cherries, lettuce, fish, kale, and both passion fruit and chamomile tea. Raw honey actually contains the perfect balance of both glucose and fructose which helps the liver produce glycogen and renders a good night sleep.
Many disharmonies in the body can be resolved with proper assessment and guidance with both food therapy and essential oil along with herbal tinctures for more chronic conditions. Call today for your individual assessment. Let’s begin your journey to optimal health! 772-353-1397