March 15, 2012
If you’ve read my other blog Ruston Farm, then you know that we have been struggling with a yard partially overrun with Japanese Knotweed. Its long, brittle roots have spun out across our entire front yard. This non-native weed is tenacious, frustrating and incredibly difficult to get rid of. It is also a Chinese herb.
Well, it’s closely related to a Chinese herb at least. Still, I have had difficulty reconciling my gardener’s disgust for the weed and the wonder I feel towards a very effective herb.
He Shou Wu: Also known as the root of polygonum multiflorum. This is a wonderful herb that can nourish the blood and tonify the essence. Commonly used in formulas to help counteract hair loss or greying hair. Because of the rich nature of He Shou Wu, it can be difficult for some people to digest.
Ye Jiao Teng: Also known as the stem of polygonum multiforum. Tonifies the blood, moves the blood. This is a wonderful herb that helps manage pain by increasing the circulation of blood and qi. It is also commonly used to help with insomnia. I love this herb, perhaps even more the He Shou Wu because it is easier for people to digest and sleep is so important!
So, what do I think you should do if you have invasive knotweed in your yard? Get rid of it! I know, I just espoused all of its virtues, but this is one plant that I think is better off being cultivated in its native environment where it is less likely to take over. Our native plants have unique value too and having them be strangled out by knotweed limits our biodiversity and medicinal options.
If you need help with your knotweed problem, read this great handout from King County. You can also talk to the helpful folks at Pierce County Conservation . I met them a few weeks ago at the South Sound Sustainability Expo and they are very willing to give advice and help with your knotweed project.
April 1, 2011
Welcome to the first blog entry for Hawthorn Natural Health. The goal is to provide some simple Chinese Medicinal health tips that you can easily implement at home. In honor of spring finally arriving to the Northwest, it seems appropriate to share some tips to help your body adjust to the new season.
Spring is a time for excitement and growth! All the seedlings are starting to sprout and form roots in the garden. The weather varies drastically from warm and sunny to rain. Chinese Medicine thinks of spring as full of lots of what we call wood energy. Wood energy is like a new sapling that is still green. When it is healthy, it is flexible and strong. When it is ill, it becomes dry and brittle and is more likely to break.
Some things that you can do to help your body adjust to spring is to take advantage of clear days and go for a walk. It is great way to get your qi (energy) moving and relieve stress. Because there is so much energy in the air during spring, it is easy to feel frustrated and stuck. If walking isn’t your thing, trying meditation, yoga, running or bike riding. Just remember to keep everything in moderation and take it easy if your body has been resting all winter.
To help yourself feel more rooted, trying getting out in the garden and planting a few vegetables. Gardening can help nourish and protect your digestion (earth energy) which is often beat up by an over active wood element. To put this in familiar language, it is common to have indigestion when you are stressed and frantic. Counteract this problem by slowing down for meals and get out and into your garden! Now is a great time to get peas, kale, winter greens, brussels sprouts, collard greens and squash into the ground. If you don’t have a garden or live in an apartment, trying planting a few small tomato plants in your window sill. You can use old egg cartons or disposable coffee cups as containers.
I hope this helps you adjust to the changing seasons. More blog posts to follow!
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