Carolyn Dew RAc
Spring equinox has arrived…a time when day and night are of equal length.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, the season of Spring is dominated by the climate of Wind, the culprit responsible for the contraction of various viruses, bacteria, colds and flus. In the springtime, we also see an increase in other Lung conditions triggered by Wind invasion such as asthma and hay fever.
In current times we are able to understand more precisely what exactly these “wind pathogens” look like. We can test for allergies to specific substances in both the internal and external environment.
External pathogenic Wind is said to invade the body through the pores and specifically through the area of the nape of the neck. When our Wei Qi (immune system) is strong, the pores close in a brisk wind, disallowing the passage of harmful Wind. When it becomes weakened, or if it is a particularly strong Wind pathogen, the pores are left open and susceptible to the invasion of Wind. This is how we contract a cold, begin to wheeze, or get sinus congestion.
TCM treatment of colds and flus as well as weakened immunity includes acupuncture and herbal medicinals. The treatment goal is to boost the immune system and to open the pores to push out this Wind pathogen. These warming therapies create a light sweat, the indicating that the pores have opened and the pathogen has been released.
Both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Asian Folk Medicine recommend Change of Season Soup to support one’s immunity during springtime and fall…a time when we are most vulnerable to wind. This soup will help boost your immunity and fight wind invasions.
Here’s the recipe (below). You may pick up the raw herb ingredients at a Chinese Grocery Store or Dispensary:
• Dang Shen (codonopsis pilosula root): strengthens Qi energy, builds blood, nourishes body fluids, and tonifies spleen and lung.
• Huang Qi (astragalus root): boosts protective defenses, nourishes the spleen, tonifies the blood and lungs, and strengthens immunity.
• Shan Yao (dioscorea/wild yam root): strengthens and balances the lungs and the kidneys.
• Gou Qi Zi (lycii berries): helps to strengthen the liver and the kidneys.
• Combine equal parts (2-3 ounces of each) of each herb
• Fill a large stock pot with water.
• Add the above herbs to the pot and place the lid on.
• Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 to 4 hours. If the water level boils down, add water to refill if necessary.
• Using a slotted spoon, remove the herbs from the pot and allow the soup to cool.
• This recipe makes about 4 litres of soup. It is safe and helpful for the whole family.
You may drink the soup as a broth and sip it throughout the day, or use it as a base for soup recipes. Take the soup for 2 weeks at the change of the season to assist the body and immune system in the change of external environment. For added nutrition, simmer the herbs in chicken stock or vegetable stock instead of water.
For further information regarding Chinese Medicine or Carolyn’s scope of practice, please go to www.carolyndew.ca
Julia Fountain ND
The theory of ‘thrifty genes’ states that periods of food abundance fluctuating with periods of food scarcity are required for optimal metabolic function. When we limit our food consumption to only 8 hours per day, this leaves 16 hours to hydrate, digest, renew, recover and burn fat. In some circles this is known as intermittent fasting and has been shown (in the context of a whole foods diet) to be associated with extending lifespan and reducing the incidence of age-related disorders. Medical studies have shown intermittent fasting to improve insulin resistance, slow brain aging, reduce oxidative stress and increase autophagy.
What is autophagy?
Yo Shinon Ohsumi of Japan won the 2016 Nobel Prize for discovering autophagy – the body’s process of destroying, recycling and renewing dysfunctional cells. He studied this cellular renewal process in yeast but it has wider implications in human health. Autophagy occurs when we’re in a non-fed state, is known to be triggered by intermittent fasting, and is thought to be an explanation for why fasting improving longevity and staves off aging. Defects in autophagy have been linked to diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s to cancer. Drugs targeting autophagy are being developed.
Too much time in a fed state leaves many overfed. Most don’t have enough consistent exercise and activity in the day to justify eating from morning to night. The bottom line: there may be benefit in delaying the first meal of the day and/or eating an early dinner with no snacking in the evening hours. By compressing the number of ‘fed’ hours in the day to 8 hours, even down to 6 hours, we’re allowing the body opportunity to ‘house clean’ and access body fat.
The path to becoming a registered Naturopathic Doctor in Ontario is a 3-step process:
-A Bachelor’s degree at an accredited university including courses in biology, physiology, biochemistry, organic chemistry and psychology.
-Application and acceptance into a post-graduate naturopathic program. There are only 6 accredited naturopathic colleges in North America: 4 schools in the United States and 2 schools in Canada (in Toronto and Vancouver). These schools provide an intensive, on-site, 4 year program including more than 3,000 hours of classroom training and 1,200 hours of clinical internship. There are three major areas of study – biomedical studies, clinical sciences and naturopathic therapeutics (clinical nutrition, physical medicine, botanical medicine, homeopathy, Asian medicine/acupuncture and health/lifestyle counselling).
-After graduating from an accredited naturopathic college, students must pass Board licensing exams before they are eligible to practice. These exams are standardized across North America. Once practicing, Naturopathic Doctors have mandatory continuing education obligations to fulfill to keep their registration active and their knowledge base current.