Nobel prize for herb-based malaria drug

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青蒿 Qing Hao (Artemisia annua)

Many of you likely heard about one of the winners of this year’s Nobel prize in science. Tu Youyou, a Beijing-based researcher, was awarded the prize for her role in extracting the malaria-fighting compound Artemisinin from the traditional Chinese herb, artemisia annua (青蒿 qing hao). It has been interesting being at a TCM university when this announcement was made – every lecturer seems to have an opinion about it. READ MORE

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TCM in mainland China and Taiwan

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At a medicinal herb garden in Taiwan looking at Yin Chen Hao, a famous herb used for certain kinds of jaundice, among other indications

I’m still new to the wide, exciting world of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in mainland China and Taiwan, but am sharing my brief impressions here. One reason is that acupuncture and Chinese herbs are so marginal in Turtle Island (i.e. North America), that many people (myself included) grew up with no idea how long-standing, dynamic and rich this medical tradition continues to be.

The extent to which TCM is applied, researched, and integrated into biomedicine in China is mind-blowing. From home-based village clinics to urban TCM hospital emergency rooms, wild-picked mountain herbs to huge herbal factories, family lineages and heritage sites to world-class universities… READ MORE

“Free and Happy Wanderer”: Traditional herbs for depression and stagnation

2014-04-02 10.12.16Spring is Liver time, according to Chinese medicine. Time of the Wood element, which means sometimes we can get physically and mentally ‘stiffer’ at this time.

The Liver is often out of balance in modern times. If so, we can feel emotionally depressed, stuck, lacking in vision and creativity, or prone to anger, irritability and frustration. We may experience irregular digestion, moods, and menstrual cycles.

Click here for a very traditional way to make a very traditional formula from scratch, for exactly these problems.

Two Anti-Anxiety (vegan, gluten-free) recipes

Vegan soup with mung bean and kaleI’ve chosen and adapted two vegan, gluten-free recipes below, for their anti-anxiety ingredients (based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine analysis of these foods).

Mung Bean and Kale Soup (serves ~6)

  • 1 tablespoon refined organic coconut oil
  • 20-25 small crimini (or white) mushrooms, cubed
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 organic red pepper, cubed
  • 1 bunch organic lacinato kale, deveined, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 organic roma tomatoes
  • 1 small bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 small bunch basil leaves
  • 11/2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons dried seaweed (wakame, dulse, etc)
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional – omit for increased anti-anxiety benefits)
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1 cup small green lentils
  • 1/2 cup mung beans
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  1. Heat the oil in a heavy deep pot or dutch oven, then add and sautee the cubed mushrooms, onions, and red bell peppers with turmeric and cumin until tender, about 7-8 minutes.
  2. Add the lentils, mung beans, crushed pepper, seaweed, salt and about 3-4 cups of water (or broth of choice), and allow them to cook (simmer) covered for about 30-35 minutes (check to make sure they are cooked and tender-you may need to adjust your water, as in, add more).
  3. when the lentils and mung beans are cooked and tender, add the quinoa, cubed tomatoes, finely chopped parsley, kale, and most (3/4) of your coconut milk.
  4. simmer another 10-15 minutes. add your freshly squeezed lemon juice (adjust amount to your taste, or omit). top with chopped basil and your remaining coconut milk. serve hot.

Modified from this recipe

Calming and Balancing Congee (2-3 servings)

  • Job’s Tears / Coix Lacryma-Jobi (yi yi ren) 薏米 – 30 g
  • Longan Fruit (long yan rou) 桂圆 / 龍眼肉 – 30 g
  • Chinese Jujube / red dates (da zao) 大枣 – 4 to 6
  • Lotus Seeds (lian zi) 莲子 – 30 g
  • Dried lily bulb / Bulbus Lilii (bai he) 百合 – 30 g
  • Brown rice (can pre-blend in blender to encourage it to fall apart more) – half cup
  • Raw honey, to taste

1. Soak all herbal ingredients for about 15 minutes and rinse.
2. Rinse rice and put all ingredients in a pot with about 6 to 8 cups of water. Bring to a boil and lower heat to medium to cook for about 70 minutes to about 3 cups of congee.
3. Add some raw honey, if preferred.

Modified from this recipe.

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de-stress to decolonize! (oct 21)

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Want to get a wellness treatment or yoga class for a low, sliding scale price? Maybe check out a new healing approach you’ve never tried (cranio-sacral, Ayurveda, Reiki, or pranic healing)? AND, want to support a great cause at the same time?

Don’t miss DE-STRESS TO DECOLONIZE, a fundraiser in support of a grassroots gathering of indigenous and other racialized peoples. Click here for details!