Traditional Chicken Bone Broth: A Recipe To Build Qi And Blood For Immune Building, Fertility, And Postpartum
Bone broths are a staple in many cultures, and when done the old-fashioned/traditional way, you really reap the benefits. And, on a Chinese Medicine level, bone broths have been popular for being bigtime Qi & Blood builders. Why?
Traditional bone broths are nutrient-dense, and include calcium, potassium, magnesium, and incorporate the marrow of the animal. Marrow helps our Jing essence…
A great article by my colleague Margarita Alcantara about bone broth. Just a few modifications I would recommend:
- Chop the thigh bones in half with a large cleaver before cooking - this helps release the all important marrow.
- Remove the meat of the breast and legs after it's thoroughly cooked, usually a little more than an hour and a half. If you leave it in for hours and hours it turns to mush and can't be eaten. Of course you should return the bones to the pot to cook for many more hours!
- This type of recipe is infinitely customizable with the use of Chinese herbs. Ask your acupuncturist which herbs are best for you.
Helene M. Langevin (an M.D. with research appointments at Harvard and the University of Vermont) has written an excellent article summing up the current state of research into connective tissue as a possible method of action for acupuncture. She starts with an overview of connective tissue:
It joins your thigh to your calf; your hand to your arm; your breastbone to your clavicle. As you move, it allows your muscles to glide past one another. It acts like a net suspending your organs and a high-tech adhesive holding your cells in place while relaying messages between them. Connective tissue is one of the most integral components of the human machine. Indeed, one could draw a line between any two points of the body via a path of connective tissue.
She continues on with a review of her research and research done by others on the connection between acupuncture meridians and connective tissue. Despite addressing highly technical issues, it’s very readable. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the age-old question, how does acupuncture work? Read the full article on The Scientist website.
I also highly recommend this article by Trevor Aungthan on Dan Djurdjevic’s blog about the internal martial arts. He makes fascinating connections between recent discoveries in anatomy, acupuncture meridians, and internal martial arts such as taijiquan and xingyi. This article is for you if you’ve ever wondered, what the heck IS an acupuncture meridian? Why can’t we see it when we cut open the body? (Maybe it’s been right in front of us the whole time!)
- Sea Turtles Get Acupuncture Treatment In Quincy (boston.cbslocal.com)
- Cuts of Beef (culinaryproduce.wordpress.com)
- Seahorse’s armor and robotics http://t.co/NX9A2NvZzU (phys.org)
From the Albany Police Department:
On April 27 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Albany Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its sixth opportunity in three years to prevent drug abuse and theft by disposing of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs. Bring your medications for disposal to the Albany Senior Center at 846 Masonic. The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.
Albany Senior Center
846 Masonic, Albany, CA 94706
Residents should keep medicine/pharmaceuticals in the original container and leave the drug name intact. Black out personal information, including names, prescription numbers and doctor’s name.
What will be accepted:
- Community members can safely dispose of expired cough syrups, vitamins, unused medications and empty inhalers.
- Sharps (used needles, syringes and lancets) will NOT be accepted.
- Controlled substances (narcotics and those with potential for addiction/abuse) will NOT be accepted.
The drop-off event is strictly from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 27, 2013 only. Medications will not be accepted at any other time. People who cannot attend the event should properly dispose of their expired medicines at the Oakland Household Hazardous Waste facility located at 2100 East 7th Street. It is open Thursday, Friday & Saturdays from 9am to 1pm.
For more information, contact Karina Tindol at 510.528.5755 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Bring Out Your Drugs; April 27 is DEA Prescription Take-Back Day (medicaldaily.com)
- National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Is Saturday (newyork.cbslocal.com)
- Survey Finds Teen Misuse And Abuse Of Prescription Drugs Up 33 Percent Since 2008 (medicalnewstoday.com)
“Sometimes people find that being tender and raw is threatening and seemingly exhausting. Openness seems demanding and energy consuming, so they prefer to cover up their tender heart. Vulnerability can sometimes make you nervous. It is uncomfortable to feel so real, so you want to numb yourself. You look for some kind of anesthetic, anything that will provide you with entertainment. Then you can forget the discomfort of reality. People don’t want to live with their basic rawness for even fifteen minutes. For the warrior, fearlessness is the opposite of that approach. Fearlessness is a question of learning how to be. Be there all along: that is the message. That is quite challenging in what we call the setting-sun world, the world of neurotic comfort where we use everything to fill up the space.”
–Chögyam Trungpa (via Liu Ming’s facebook page)
Many illnesses and diseases are caused by a maladaptive reaction to your surroundings. Be comfortable with yourself, and you won’t get sick so often.
The Bay Area this week has been very windy and warm. For some people, it’s lovely weather. For allergy sufferers, it’s a nightmare. I’ll let you in on a little secret (not so secret if you’ve been into the office in the last few days) – your acupuncturist has always had a deficient Metal element. Metal relates to the Lung, and the Lung governs breathing, the nose and the skin. That’s why allergies, asthma and eczema are often seen together.
If you also have deficient Metal, you likely have been experiencing some combination of sneezing, coughing, red and watery eyes, runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, body aches and headaches since last Sunday, when the wind really picked up. The wind and heat can get lodged in the upper part of your body, and acupuncture and herbs are needed to kick them out. Standard allergy medicines rely on weakening your body’s immune response, which over time can further weaken the Metal element, making you even more reliant on medicines. Chinese medicine kicks out the wind and heat without damaging your Lungs and immune system.
In fact the best way to treat allergies is to treat them ahead of time. I refer you to this tweet from almost exactly one month ago -
If you come in for a series of treatments before allergy season picks up, you can sharply reduce or even eliminate allergy symptoms before they start. This type of treatment is focused on strengthening the Metal element.
Another quick tip for self-treatment if you’re in dire straits: self-massage and acupressure can give great relief if you’re in the middle of an allergy attack. This website shows some good points – use what they call “point 2″ and “point 4″ for quick relief from nasal congestion. And here’s a blog showing how to self-massage acupoint Hegu (the 4th point on the Large Intestine channel), which is great for any headaches and bodyaches. Finally, here is a diagram for finding acupoint Lieque (7th point on the Lung channel), which is great for all allergy symptoms. If you find yourself in an uncontrollable sneezing fit, Lieque is your friend. Press and rub with medium to strong pressure until symptoms subside.
As discussed in the previous post, ice is not a great idea for injuries. Here is good herbal alternative – San Huang San or the “Three Yellows Powder.” I used this batch on a patient’s swollen knee but neglected to get pictures of the application process. Essentially you smear a thin layer on and cover with gauze. It can stay on for several hours or even overnight. The cooling relief is felt immediately and it will continue to work as the hours go on.
Judo twice a week, muay thai three times a week, Brazilian jiujitsu whenever the schedule allows, running four times a week and weightlifting twice a week. I’m in my mid-30′s and I ask a lot of my body, so I usually have a few minor training injuries. But if I take enough time off to completely rest and heal, I’ll lose weeks and weeks of training and get off course from my goals. Additionally muscles will get weak, cardiovascular endurance will go down, and when I return to training it will take yet more weeks to get back to where I was. No matter what sport you train, if you push your body you will face the same dilemma.
What to do? I do a regular acupuncture trade with an acupuncturist friend of mine, Leon Kenin (Leon also happens to be my co-teacher at Oakland Judo!). When Leon isn’t available, I stick myself with needles. Even when I don’t have an acute injury, regular acupuncture is an excellent preventive medicine. If you’re an athlete I recommend getting regular acupuncture from an acupuncturist who specialized in sports injuries and rehabilitation, such as myself (if my office isn’t convenient for you I have other recommendations in the area).
There are also a number of things you can do for self-care. For all athletes (but especially if you do contact or combat sports) I recommend the following:
Eat clean, protect your sleep, stay hydrated – This is the holy trinity for athletes, the pyramid base on which you build your accomplishments. If you’re not sure how to eat clean, start by cutting out all junk food and fast food and upping your intake of green leafy vegetables. I’ve written a lot on this blog about this subject, try clicking on the Healthy Eating category. Sleep is also key – this is when your body rests and repairs itself. Try and get an average of 7-8 hours per night. Some nights I can only get five hours due to my schedule, but in the next few days I catch up with 8-9 hours when I can. Hydration is another no-brainer. When you work out hard, you lose fluid. Unless you’re running a marathon, plain water is fine for rehydration. If you do choose a sports drink, read the label and choose wisely. You don’t want a bunch of artificial colors and sugars clogging up your system. Pedialyte is probably the best thing when you need intense rehydration.
Dit Da Jow – (跌打酒, pronounced diē dǎ jiǔ in Mandarin) Also known as trauma liniment or sometimes just liniment or jow, this is an alcohol-based formula that is excellent for all types of bruises, knocks and falls. I currently use the house brand from Draline Tong Herbs in Oakland. They are located at the corner of 10th and Webster in Oakland’s Chinatown. There are many different formulations out there, and you can also make your own by soaking herbs in vodka. Every night after a shower I massage in dit da jow on my bruised toe, my left leg where it’s been tattooed by kicks, and anywhere else that hurts. It does stain your skin so be careful. Do not use on broken skin and DO NOT INGEST – this is external only.
Dit Da Wan – (跌打丸, diē dǎ wán) This is a pill taken internally that consists of herbs that improve circulation and reduce inflammation. It’s good when you have an active injury, not for prevention. The brand I use is called Jin Gu Die Shang Wan (筋骨跌伤丸, literally “sinew bone injury pill”) by Nuherbs, a local herb company from Oakland. Do not use if you are pregnant or nursing.
Self-Massage – One of the good things about using liniment is that it forces you to massage yourself. You can also get benefit from massaging yourself without liniment. Don’t underestimate the value of simple pressing and rubbing on a sore or injured area. In the future I may do a blog post about specific self massage techniques. If you are my patient I usually give you a regiment of self-massage to follow for quicker recovery.\
Plasters – Plasters are self-adhesive sheets impregnated with herbs and oils that improve circulation, reduce inflammation and speed recovery. Most people know about the Salonpas patch, which is available in most drugstores. But Salonpas only uses methyl salicylate and menthol. I prefer to use other patches that use more Chinese herbs, like the Wu Yang plaster. This is a great one for bumps and bruises. If I need to I like to wear it overnight and remove it in the morning.
AVOID ICE – Ice slows everything down and contracts your sinews and tendons, and can actually prolong injury recovery. If you have a very severe sprain it’s not a bad idea to hold a bag of ice on there while you are on the way to the acupuncturist, but don’t use it after the first few hours of an injury. For more on why you shouldn’t use ice, check this blog post. There are better ways to reduce inflammation and swelling, like San Huang San.
San Huang San – also known as “herbal ice.” San Huang San (三黄散, three yellows powder) consists of Huang Qin (scute), Huang Bai (phellodendron), and Da Huang (rhubarb root). These three herbs, when washed, sliced and dried according to traditional Chinese herb preparation methods, turn a deep dark yellow. They are then powdered, and when needed the powder is mixed with water (sometimes green tea or egg whites for extra healing power) to make a paste and spread on the inflammed and swollen area, then wrapped with gauze. The version I use also has carthamus, gardenia and andrographitis. Try it next time instead of ice – you’ll be amazed at the results.
- Understanding acupuncture through eastern and western medical traditions (irishtimes.com)
- Acupuncture in the News (jonahewell.com)
- Period Pain ? – Chinese Herbs Can Help (wellnessbytes.wordpress.com)
This photo is from a set taken by Dr. Andrew Weil on a visit to the Shanghai Museum of TCM.
On the lower right are acupuncture needles made of bone. In the upper left are “Bian-stones,” specialized sharp-edged stone tools that appeared during China’s Neolithic, or “New Stone” Age. They were used as part of an early form of acupuncture therapy.
Early acupuncture probably involved more intentional bleeding. Nowadays acupuncture needles are made of stainless steel and are sterile, single-use only. They are also very small – take a look at this chart showing size comparison with hypodermic needles.
Just a reminder to examine your ideas about food and your perceptions of health – where do these ideas come from? For instance, cereal with low-fat milk and orange juice for breakfast. Is this a healthy way to start the day? Is nonfat or low-fat milk better for you than whole milk? Why do you think that? What about sugar? Eggs?
Your health is in your hands. Question everything. Look into the farm bill. If your doctor prescribes you a medication, google it. Just see what comes up. You should do the same with herbal supplements. Be responsible for your health. Your doctor has a lot of training, but that doesn’t mean they’re infallible.
But don’t swing to the other extreme and become health-obsessed! The health-obsessed person is constantly trying new extreme diets, taking more than ten different supplements, and may even become withdrawn from friends and family because they feel like they can’t participate in annual rituals or eat what everyone else is eating. This hypothetical person may reflexively trust things they judge to be “alternative” or “anti-establishment” without thinking critically.
Do your research, examine what you’re putting into your body and how you’re interacting with the world, and trust your gut. My gut told me that grass-fed steak was delicious!
Here are some of the best articles about acupuncture and Chinese medicine that I’ve seen over the past week:
- Eastern Practices to Boost Your Western Workout – from Men’s Fitness. They interview a Chicago-based acupuncturist who makes some great points, including: “Acupuncture is like going to the gym. You can’t go once and say ‘I’m in shape’,” says Alvarez. “It requires a commitment and builds over time. The longer you do it, the longer the results will last and the less you’ll need to come in.”
- An Alternative Antihistamine – from Men’s Journal. This article discusses the results of a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine on the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating hayfever and allergies. They “found that hay fever sufferers who received 12 acupuncture treatments over eight weeks had fewer symptoms and needed less antihistamine meds than patients who didn’t do the needles.” The best time to treat seasonal allergies is before they start! If you don’t want to pop pills anymore and are looking for a natural alternative, try acupuncture.
- Acupuncture Reduces Stress Hormones in Rats – from Science Daily. Examines a study from the Journal of Endocrinology which found that acupuncture reduces the amount of stress hormones secreted by rats.
- Military Pokes Holes In Acupuncture Skeptics’ Theory – from NPR. The military is using acupuncture to effectively treat pain.