> Isabell’s blog > Chinese Herbs ~ Harmony For Optimum Health ~ 30/12/07
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Chinese Herbs ~ Harmony For Optimum Health ~ 30/12/07

Chinese herbs have served as the foundation for 'Traditional Chinese Medicine' for over 2,000 years. The fundamental idea of living in harmony with nature and the environment forms the basis for the use of Chinese herbs as well as the traditional Chinese approach to health. Knowledge of the healing power of Chinese herbs has been passed down from generation to generation,

Chinese medical experts promote a healthful balance of yin and yang  two forces present in all of nature. When yin or yang forces or qi/energy levels are off-balance in the body, health problems arise.

Chinese herbal remedies work in harmony to help realign an individual s yin or yang balance in order to improve overall well-being. Simply put, illness simply cannot exist if the body is in harmony. On the other hand, Chinese herbal theory holds that an unhealthy body requires herbal and dietary treatments to restore and maintain this essential balance.

Chinese herbal formulas include many organic ingredients that produce the desired effects in a person s body. These ingredients are primarily of plant origin, and may include roots, bark, seeds, flowers and leaves.

All forms of life are seen to be animated by the same essential life force, Qi. By breathing, we take in Qi from the air and pass it into the lungs, and by digesting we extract Qi from food and drink and pass it into the body. When these Qis meet in the bloodstream they become what is known as Human Qi, which circulates around the body as vital energy.

The quality, quantity and balance of Qi in each person influences their state of health, and in turn are also affected by factors such as season, climate, lifestyle, diet and air breathed.

The 5 elements are vital to well-being... wood, fire, earth, metal and water, as these relate to all aspects of life, vital organs, emotions, seasons, colours and tastes of foods. Chinese herbalism, says that to maintain good health, the elements need to be in harmony. If out of balance there can be disease. We need to address all factors in health.

We can grow and use herbs in our daily lives, that will help to balance the body by taking note of the 5 flavours and colours of foods...

SWEET TASTING plants and foods give nourishing energy and they are soothing to the stomach, spleen and pancreas. Grow and use: licorice, stevia, cinnamon, sweet tarragon, coconut, sugar cane, wheat, rice, sweet fruits, fennel. coriander seeds, and sprouted seeds like mung beans.

PUNGENT TASTING plants and foods discharge toxins from deep in the body, and stimulate the circulation, relieve mucous congestion, and pain of arthritis and rheumatism. Grow and use: watercress, chives, onion, garlic, chilli, ginger, dill, radish, nasturtiums, cloves and pepper.

SOUR TASTING plants and foods promote digestion, enzyme secretion and liver function. Use sauerkraut, kefir, lemon, grapefruit, acerola cherry, tamarind, purslane, plum, olives, lillypilly, pineapple, sourdough bread, yogurt, rhubarb and sheep sorrel.

SALTY TASTING plants and foods are cooling, and nourish the kidneys, bladder and bones, and help to maintain fluid balance. Use sea salt, celery, mitsuba, miso, tamari, parsley, sea weed and barley.

BITTER TASTING plants and foods are detoxifying and have anti-inflammatory properties and are often antibiotic, anti-parasitic and anti-viral. The bitter taste stimulates the secretion of digestive juices, and the flow of bile, enhancing digestion and absorption, and aiding the elimination of toxins via the bowels. Use king of bitters, dandelion, neem, horehound, fenugreek, motherwort, feverfew, brahmi, gotu kola, wormwood, bitter melon, sesame seeds, and chicory.

Colour of foods stimulate the appetite and creates beauty and balance, making meals more satisfying and enjoyable.

Green is extremely calming and peaceful and should be present at every meal as it also helps build a strong immune system.

Red foods benefit the heart, intestines, circulation and sexual organs.

Orange and yellow foods benefit the digestive system, spleen and pancreas.

White foods assist the respiratory system, and colon.

Blue, purple and black foods strengthen the kidneys and bladder.

Herbs we grow in our gardens and use as food and flavouring can play an important part in optimum health.

Isabell Shipard

Shipards Herb Farm News

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