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.
February 17, 2012
I haven’t addressed any specific acupuncture points here yet so I thought I would share one of my favorites, one that I use on many patients. The point is called Heart-7 or shenmen (spirit gate). I should pause to explain that the majority of acupuncture points have a name as well as a channel-number code. The channel-number designation makes it easier to remember where the point is found, but the name gives insight into the full function of the point.
Chinese Medicine views the Heart in some ways similarly to how Western Medicine does, and in some ways very differently. In addition to its function to help circulate blood through our body (as in the Western perspective), it is also heavily involved with the connection between body and mind (significantly less Western, though you could imagine the romantic ‘heart’ here). The Heart can suffer from both excess and deficiency which results in symptoms such as insomnia (ranging from minor trouble falling asleep to extreme insomnia), vivid dreams, anxiety, being easily startled/frightened, heart palpitations, poor memory, talking during sleep, or mania.
So what makes Heart-7 special and one of my favorites? Well, for starters, there’s the location. It is easy to access right next to the pisiform on the underside of the wrist. And its function is relatively straightforward. The spirit in ‘spirit gate’ can be viewed as strongly affecting our mind and personality, making this point one of the most useful to address both mood and sleep. Sleep is so important! For everyone! It’s what rejuvenates our bodies and our minds. Many people are stuck in a cycle of not being able to sleep or having poor quality sleep. Even for those who sleep well, we could all use a little boost to get the most from our rest at night. Getting a good night’s rest can do wonders for our body and mind. And this is the point for that!
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