Tuesday, July 31, 2018

What does this embarrassing thing tell you?

Ever since I was a child, every time I went to a good TCM practitioner's office, during a check-up the practitioner's usually asked about the condition of my bowel movements. So this is not something embarrassing to me in the medical scenario. This is a very important question to ask during a traditional Chinese medicine consultation. 

In the recent interviews on the initial version of WeCare Holistic's app mock-up, however, I got quite a few laughs or doubts about the sample question put there illustrating the idea of an online assessment. So, there you go, I think it's time to quote some contents on this seemingly embarrassing yet quite important health topic so that people understand why this is an important question even for a crude health assessment. 

Why important 

Chinese medicine considers that stool is an excretion which can help ascertain the body’s health. Through this we can gain knowledge about what internal organs may not be functioning properly through the density, fluidity, smell and color of the stool as well as how frequent bowel movements are. Chinese medicine considers that stool is one of the first signs of illness. Knowing what is not working properly in the body is the foundation of principle treatment.

Your poop is used as a diagnostic tool and is an important indicator of the health of the digestion, particularly the stomach, spleen and intestines. There are a lot of factors to consider when formulating a diagnosis. Below is a list of the most common and most important symptoms so you can determine what your poop is trying to tell you.

What is normal stool

Traditional Chinese medicine considers for an adult, 1 or 2 bowel movements a day is normal. The stool should be formed, not too hard or too soft, it should be easily passed and the colour should be medium brown (not too dark or not too light), the stool should not have any undigested food, nor blood or mucus. The smell of the stool should not be very pungent. Before, during or after bowel movement you should not have any uncomfortable sensations such as; pain or burning around anus.
First, here is a handy chart that tells you exactly what your poop is made of. It does seem a bit alarming that there is that much dead bacteria, a whole 8%. Wow.


There are some different ideas about what is considered normal frequency, but Chinese medicine says that it is once or twice a day. If you poop less that this, it is, in TCM terms considered constipation, and going three or more times a day is considered too frequent.


A normal poop should be well formed, not too loose, not too dry and floating. Poop that is excessively dry indicates either heat in the intestines, blood deficiency or yin deficiency. Loose stools usually point to a deficiency of the spleen. Loose stools can also mean there is kidney deficiency and sometimes a deficiency of both spleen and kidney. Spleen deficiency is definitely the most common cause of chronic diarrhea, and kidney deficiency is the most common cause of diarrhea in the elderly. The energy of the kidneys gradually declines as we age, and this is why many elderly people suffer with symptoms of kidney deficiency, most commonly chronic diarrhea.


If your poops are in small pieces and difficult to pass it indicates that there is a qi stagnation in the liver. This can also present with alternating diarrhea and constipation. A common cause of liver qi stagnation is repressed emotions, especially things like anger and frustration, so be sure to express your emotions freely! Another reason that you can have small bitty poops that are difficult to pass, especially if they are also dry is heat in the intestines. Eating yin foods that moisten the body and intestines will help keep things moving.
Long, thin poop that looks like a pencil indicate a deficiency of spleen qi. It is also good to be aware that this can indicate cancer, so be sure to see your health care practitioner if this persists. Peace of mind is worth a lot!


When I am talking to my patients about their poops, I always ask about colour. The normal colour for poop is light brown. Poops that are dark yellow indicate heat in the large intestine, light yellow deficiency heat of the spleen (empty heat is heat due to a deficiency), dark or black looking stools can mean that there is blood stagnation usually in the large intestine. Pale or white poop usually mean that there is cold in the large intestine. If you have green poop is means that the liver is invading the spleen. Red poop indicates the presence of fresh blood which is usually due to heat in the large intestine. Green or blueish poops usually mean that there is cold in the intestines and is very common in babies as their spleens have not yet fully developed.


How your poop smells is also significant. Strong smells usually indicate heat and absence of smell indicate cold. Here are the details…
A strong, foul smell indicates heat or damp heat in the intestines. A sour smell means that there is an imbalance between the liver and spleen. Lots of gas means liver qi stagnation, gas with a foul smell indicates damp heat and gas with no smell means that there is spleen deficiency.


Loose stools generally mean that there is a deficiency of the spleen, kidneys, or both. Spleen deficiency is definitely the most common reason for chronic diarrhea and kidney deficiency is the most common cause of diarrhea in the elderly. If there is very severe and watery diarrhea it indicates a deficiency of yang, whereas loose stools are due to a spleen deficiency. Diarrhea accompanied by a foul smell indicates heat in the intestines and diarrhea without a smell is either considered normal or points to cold. If there is pain with the diarrhea it means either liver qi stagnation, cold, or damp heat. If there is mucus in the stool it means that there is dampness, whereas if there is blood is points to a spleen deficiency (the spleen holds blood). Undigested food in the stool means that there is a spleen deficiency. If there is a burning in the anus there is damp heat in the intestines. If you notice that there are streaks in the toilet as the poop is sticky, this also points to dampness in the intestines.


Constipation is the most common problem of the bowels, and is more common in women and very common in the elderly. In these cases it is very often due to a blood deficiency or kidney deficiency. Both blood and kidney deficiency would cause the stools to be dry and difficult to pass. Constipation is characterized by infrequent passing of the stools, excessive dryness as well as straining or difficulty in passing the stools. You can, of course, have an attack of acute constipation that comes with heat in the body due to a cold or flu, and will be accompanied by thirst, fever and a red tongue.
Constipation that is relieved by having a bowel movement is due to either retention of food or dampness in the intestines. Constipation with abdominal pain and distension is due to liver qi stagnation. Frequent stools that are not loose is usually due to qi sinking of spleen qi.


Pain is associated with pooping is also common and it is good to know what it means and when to see your acupuncturist to get it sorted out.

Pain before a bowel movement is due to liver qi stagnation. Pain during a bowel movement is due to either dampness in the large intestine, retention of food or cold in the large intestine. Pain due to retention of food will be relieved by pooping and pain due to cold in the large intestine will not be relieved by moving the bowels. If you are having pain after a bowel movement, it is most likely due to spleen qi deficiency. If you are having persistent pain associated with your poops, be sure to go and have it checked out.

Examine Your Stool

Normally, an individual is able to defecate once or twice per day without straining. The stool should neither be too hard nor too soft, and should not have a foul odor. There also should be no pus, blood, mucus or undigested food in it. A TCM physician usually notes the frequency, form and color of the stool as well as the accompanying feelings during defecation. 

Nature of stool
  • An offensive odor of stool pertains to heat accumulation.
  • Dry, dark-brown stool means excessive heat is present in the large intestine.
  • Loose stools with a fishy odor pertain to excessive cold in the intestines.
  • Extremely dry and hard stool is often seen in a deficiency of blood or body fluids.
  • Loose bowels with shapeless stool usually are due to deficiency cold in the spleen and stomach.
  • Initial discharge of a hard stool and then discharge of a loose stool can be seen in dampness accumulation caused by a spleen deficiency.
  • Alternate dry and loose stool in irregular patterns are due to disharmony between the liver and spleen.
  • Stools with partly digested food and a rotten odor are caused by improper food intake, which leads to food retention. Individuals will also pass excessive gas.
  • Stools containing completely undigested food are due to kidney yang exhaustion.
  • Stools with yellow mucus accompanied with tenesmus (rectal heaviness) means damp-heat has accumulated in the large intestine.
  • Pus and bloody stools are seen in dysentery.
  • Sour stools in children are due to food retention without proper digestion.
Improper food intake leads to food retention; individuals may also pass excessive gas.

Constipation refers to infrequency or difficulty in defecation and may be accompanied with dry or hard stool. In TCM, this is usually due to heat accumulating in the intestines or insufficient amounts of body fluids. This leads to the intestines being unable to perform peristalsis (special movements of the intestines by which the contents are moved along the cavity). TCM categorizes the condition into four types:
 Heat type: This is caused by excessive heat consuming the body fluid making the content in the bowel unable to flow freely. Individuals defecate dry or hard stools. Other accompanying symptoms are a flushed face, low-grade fever, thirst, foul breath, abdominal fullness and abdominal distention with pain that does not go away with pressure placed on the abdomen.

On examination, the tongue is red, covered by a yellow dry fur; the pulse is rapid.
Cold type: Individuals have difficulty in defecation with dry or normal stool texture. Other symptoms include abdominal distention with pain that does not go away with pressure placed on the abdomen, a pale complexion, cold limbs, an aversion to cold temperatures and a preference to drink hot beverages.

On examination the tongue is pale, and the pulse is deepand slow. This is a pattern of cold evil invasion that results in depression of the yang qi and obstruction of the bowel's qi.
 Qi type: The individual presents with constipation or difficulty in defecation even though he or she has an urge. The usual associated symptoms are fullness in the chest and rib sides, frequent belching and a poor appetite.

On examination, the tongue is covered by thin and greasy fur; the pulse is taut.
Deficiency type: Individuals have an urge to defecate but it is difficult, and, many persons will try forceful straining to release the stool. In some cases, extremely dry hard stools like sheep feces are discharged. Other usual symptoms are a pale complexion, dizziness and fatigue.

On examination, the tongue is pale; the pulse is fine and hesitant. This is a pattern of insufficiency of the blood and body fluids, or, it is due to deficiency of both qi and yin. It is often seen in chronic disease states, in the elderly and women who have just given birth.

Diarrhea means frequent defecation with loose or watery stools. TCM believes this symptom is mainly caused by an attack of exogenous evils, improper diet or yang deficiency in both the spleen and kidneys, which make water descend and cause dysfunction in the intestines. TCM divides the condition into the following six types:
Damp cold type: Individuals present with diarrhea characterized by loose and watery stools. The stools are pale yellow and have a foul odor. Other accompanying symptoms are a bland taste in the mouth, fullness in the epigastric (the upper middle region of the abdomen), abdominal pain, intestinal rumblings and a poor appetite. There may be alternating chills and fever accompanied by headache, nasal congestion and general soreness.

On examination, the tongue is covered by thick white fur; the pulse is slow and hesitant.
Damp heat type: Individuals usually start with abdominal pain followed by diarrhea, and pass formless and foul odor stools with great frequency. Other symptoms include intestinal rumblings, restlessness, thirst and a burning sensation in the anus.

On examination, the tongue is red and covered by yellow, thick and greasy fur; the pulse is rapid.
The tongue is red and coverd by yellow greasy fur.
Food retention type: Individuals have foul smelling diarrhea with sour and rotten vomit, fullness of the epigastric region, intestinal rumblings, abdominal pain that is diminished after fecal discharge, a poor appetite and fever.

On examination, the tongue fur is thick and greasy; the pulse is rolling. This is often due to eating unhygienic food or an improper diet.
Spleen yang deficiency type: Individuals have diarrhea or may just pass loose and soft stool. There is undigested food in the stool. Other symptoms include poor appetite, increased stooling frequency after eating greasy foods, abdominal distention, a dull pain above the navel, a sallow complexion, fatigue and general weakness.

On examination, the tongue is pale, enlarged and covered by white fur; the pulse is weak.
Poor appetite and abdominal discomfort are associated with a spleen disorder.
Hyperactive liver qi attacking the spleen type : Individuals have abdominal pain and diarrhea following emotional disturbances. The abdominal discomfort will slightly diminish after defecation. Accompanying symptoms include fullness in the chest and rib sides, belching, loss of appetite, a bitter taste in the mouth, acid regurgitation, a sallow complexion and fatigue.

On examination, the tongue is pink with little fur; the pulse is taut.
Kidney yang deficiency type: This is due to the kidney yang failing to warm the spleen. Individuals present with abdominal pain at dawn and then pass a loose stool. The abdominal pain is relieved after defecation. There is also coldness and soreness present in the lumbar area and knees. Distension in the abdominal region and aversion of coldness are typically present.

On examination, the tongue is pale and enlarged; the pulse is deep and fine.
Blood in the stool
  • Stool mixed with fresh blood and foul in odor is often due to an attack of heat evils in the meridians and blood vessels.
  • Dysentery: Both blood and mucus are present in the stool. Other symptoms include abdominal pain, fever, tenesmus (rectal heaviness) and abdominal urgency. This is a result of damp-heat in the large intestine.
  • Black, tar-liked stool is due to blood stasis, which indicates bleeding in the upper portion of the digestive system.
  • Red, bloody stool indicates bleeding in the lower portion of the digestive system..
  • Blood in the stool should always be evaluated by a physician as it can be a symptom of some serious medical conditions.
Fecal incontinence

This occurs when an individual is unable to control defecation and the stool is discharged out spontaneously. It pertains to yang deficiencies in the spleen and kidneys.


Common treatable conditions by traditional Chinese medicine

Given recent feedback from mentors and teammates on my idealization for business under incubation, WeCare Holistic, a consistent question I got was: What conditions can TCM treat? 

In the minds of most people who are not familiar with holistic medicine, in particular  traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), TCM are used only for wellness improvement and rejuvenation, not when you really have diseases. That's certainly not true. Historically, Chinese are pragmatic people, they live with, utilize, and benefit from TCM to treat diseases and save their lives, not just for wellness maintenance and relaxation -- the way we see most spas and beauty products today. The effectiveness for illness, both chronic and acute, was testified already through 3000+ year empirical clinical trials. I'm focusing on chronic conditions more because the limitations of how TCM is practiced here in the US, where conventional medicine take most responsibility and have the capacity for urgent and emergency care. 

The NIH Consensus Statement on Acupuncture

In 1997 the U.S. National Institutes of Health published a Consensus Statement on the use and effectiveness of acupuncture for a variety of conditions.

Conditions Treated

In the hands of a well-trained practitioner, acupuncture has much broader applications beyond pain relief. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes the use of acupuncture in the treatment of a wide range of common illnesses including:
  • Upper Respiratory Tract
    • Acute sinusitis
    • Acute rhinitis
    • Common Cold and Flu
    • Acute tonsillitis
  • Respiratory System
    • Acute bronchitis
    • Bronchial asthma (Most effective in children and uncomplicated conditions.)
  • Eye Disorders
    • Acute conjunctivitis
    • Central Retinitis Myopia (in children)
    • Cataracts (without complications)
  • Mouth Disorders
    • Toothache
    • Post Extraction Pain
    • Gingivitis
    • Acute and Chronic Pharyngitis
  • Gastrointestinal Disorders
    • Spasms of esophagus
    • Hiccough
    • Gastroptosis
    • Acute and Chronic Gastritis
    • Gastric Hyperacidity
    • Chronic Duodenal Ulcer (pain relief)
    • Acute Duodenal Ulcer (without complications)
    • Acute and Chronic Colitis
    • Acute Bacillary Dysentery
    • Constipation
    • Diarrhea
    • Paralytic Ileus
  • Neurologic and Musculoskeletal Disorders
    • Headache and Migraine
    • Trigeminal Neuralgias
    • Facial Palsy (early stage, i.e., within 3-6 months)
    • Pareses Following a Stroke
    • Peripheral Neuropathies
    • Sequelae of Poliomyelitis (early stage, i.e., within 6 months)
    • Meniere's Disease
    • Neurogenic Bladder Dysfunction
    • Nocturnal Enuresis (bedwetting)
    • Intercostal Neuralgia
    • Cervicobrachial Syndrome
    • Frozen Shoulder
    • Tennis Elbow
    • Sciatica
    • Low Back Pain
    • Osteoarthritis
    • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
    • Back and Knee Pain
    • Fibromyalgia
    • Chronic Fatigue
    • Sports Injuries and Pains
  • Reproductive & Gynecological Conditions
    • Premenstrual Syndrome
    • Dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps)
    • Spotting and Excessive Bleeding
    • Amenorrhea (Loss of Menstrual Period)
    • Impotence
    • Infertility
    • Incontinence
    • Prostatis
  • Mental & Emotional Problems
    • Stress
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Insomnia
  • Addictions
    • Eating Disorders
    • Smoking
    • Alcohol
    • Drugs
The World Health Organization Interregional Seminar compiled the above list of illnesses that may benefit from acupuncture treatment. The list is only a partial list and is based on clinical experience, and not necessarily on controlled clinical research. The inclusion of specific diseases are not meant to indicate the extent of acupuncture's efficacy in treatment, since all conditions may vary in severity and response.
Source: World Health Organization. Viewpoint on Acupuncture. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization, 1979.

Women's Health

A woman's body goes through many cycles in the course of a lifetime. From the onset of puberty, to pregnancy, and finally menopause, with years of menstruation in between, a woman's body and hormones are in a constant state of change. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) can restore balance at any stage of a woman's life. TCM has been proven to have a positive effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis, the body's mechanism that is responsible for keeping the female reproductive system in balance.
Women's health issues respond exceptionally well to TCM. Today, traditional protocols are combined with advances in Western medical science to maximize the success of treatments.

Treatable Conditions

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), acupuncture treatment has proven effective in addressing many common health issues. Our alternative medicine provides pain and stress relief. The following is a partial list of conditions often treated according to ACTCM in San Francisco: 
Upper-respiratory:  Common Cold, Cough, Asthma, Bronchitis, Influenza
Uro-Genital /Gynecology:  Pregnancy Support, Fertility, Irregular Menstruation, PMS, Menopause, OBGYN Disorders, Incontinence, Urinary Dysfunction, Prostate Dysfunction
Gastrointestinal:  Diarrhea, Constipation, Ulcers, Acid Reflux, Colitis, Dysentery, Gastritis, Indigestion, IBS, Vomiting, Nausea, Poor Appetite, Gallstones
Cardiovascular:  Heart Disease, Hyper-/Hypotension, Tachycardia
Immune Deficiency:  Allergies, Chronic Fatigue, Lupus, HIV, Chemotherapy Support, Auto-immune Diseases
Mental / Emotional Health:  Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Panic Attacks, Memory Loss, Insomnia, OCD, PTSD, SAD, ADD/ADHD, Stress
Musculo-skeletal:  Neck/back Pain, Headaches, Bursitis, Tendonitis, Fibromyalgia, Frozen Shoulder, Migraine, Tennis Elbow, Work/sports Injury, Arthritis, Sciatica, Sprain/strain, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Endocrine:  Diabetes, Thyroid Disease, Hormonal Imbalances
Eyes, Ear, Nose and Throat:  Tinnitus, Sore Throat, Tonsillitis, Canker Sore, Eye Disorders, Dental Pain, Toothache, Gingivitis
Neurology:  Neuropathy, Bell’s Palsy, Stroke, Numbness, Pain, Paralysis
Addiction:  Smoking Cessation, Chemical Dependency Treatment

One acupuncturist's short answer on What Does Traditional Chinese Medicine Most Commonly Treat at your clinic?  
“Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treats a number of issues and approaches treating ailments from a holistic perspective. A variety of symptoms are treatable such as pain, IBS, colitis, infertility, neuropathy, arthritis, insomnia, stress and depression. TCM can treat chronic and/or acute problems as well.”


Saturday, July 21, 2018

Videos FYE - introduction to TCM & natural healing

Came across a few videos recommended by YouTube during my search of materials for English-speaking consultees and friends who expressed interest in introductory talk of Chinese Medicine. Wish I could be articulate like these doctors:

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The use of turmeric & ginger 姜与姜黄

I had a great time chatting with a healthy and beautiful lady and hers regarding holistic medicine and in particular, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), during a hike yesterday. One question I received is about turmeric, something I have heard a few times, for example: I love eating turmeric with tofu at night, would that be good for my health? 

Oh yeah turmeric, now it is available more than ever in conventional Western supermarkets, from Trader Joe's to Safeway to Costco, just to name a few.  However, there are some subtle things that are not discussed. The short answer is: Turmeric is a good thing, but when it comes to the benefits? It depends. As with any other "good natural thing" in the world, one person's meat can be another's poison. For your optimal well-being, I include a brief review of nature of food from TCM perspective as well as the turmeric specific information here. :) 

Understanding Yin and Yang Foods 

According to Eastern traditions the forces of yin and yang are energetic qualities that shape everything in the universe, including our health. The Chinese symbol for yin is the shady side of a hill, while the symbol for yang is the sunny side. Thus yin qualities include coolness, dampness, and darkness, relative to the yang qualities of warmth, dryness, and light. Winter is yin, while summer is yang, and night is yin while day is yang. Arthritis made worse by cold weather is a yin condition. A red, inflamed rash brought on by heat is a yang condition. A ruddy-faced, irritable man with high blood pressure is relatively yang. An anemic, melancholy woman is relatively yin. 

Yin foods tend to be cooling and/or moistening for the body. Yang foods tend to be warming and drying. This has less to do with the actual temperature or moisture of the food and more to do with its “energetics.” Boiled spinach for example, is cooling and moistening, as is baked tofu. Chilled wine is warming, as is roast beef. Toast, while dry to touch, actually moistens the body. The effects of such food qualities on health have been observed for thousands of years. 

By observing your body and understanding the energetics of food, you can make food and activity choices to speed your body’s healing progress. Imbalance can come from an excess, or deficiency, of yin or yang. Although more complex than this, the following is an overview of yin and yang patterns of imbalance and the food choices that can help restore balance. Your constitution is ever changing, so be sure you adjust with the seasons and your life situation. 
Yin Patterns of Imbalance 

  • Tendency to feel chilled
  • Urine tends to be clear 
  • Dresses warmly, likes heat 
  • Tendency toward loose 
  • Pale complexion stools 
  • Preference for warm food/drinks 
  • Slow metabolism drinks 
  • Soft, fleshy muscles 
  • Rarely thirsty 
  • Often tired, sleeps a lot 
  • Tendency to feel depressed 
  • Health worse in cold pressed weather 
  • Quiet, withdrawn
A cold pattern often occurs in vegetarians or those who eat primarily raw foods, especially when they live in the cold. Cold can also set in with age and may be combined with dampness. Regular, warming aerobic exercise is essential. Healing food choices include warm lamb or beef dishes, dark poultry, meat-based soups and stews, free-range eggs, eel, trout, and wild salmon. Beneficial vegetables include cooked root veggies, baked winter squash, onions, and mustard greens. Nuts and seeds are warming, as are butter, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, turmeric, and pepper. Helpful grains include oatmeal, quinoa, and buckwheat. Food and drinks are best eaten cooked and warm. Salads, raw fruits, frozen desserts, pasta, white flour, and iced beverages should be minimized. 

  • Strong dislike of humidity 
  • Stuffy nose, postnasal drip 
  • Health worsens in dampness 
  • Mentally “foggy” 
  • Abdominal bloating 
  • Retention of fluids 
  • Little thirst or hunger 
  • Overweight, soft fat 
  • Urine tends to be cloudy 
  • Puffy eyes or face 
  • Easily short of breath 
  • Feeling of heaviness especially in lower body
Dampness can be associated with cold or heat and is exacerbated by damp living conditions. Chronic dampness is brought on by eating on the run, excessive worry, or from a diet rich in fried foods, breads, pasta, commercial dairy, ice cream, and other sweets. Too many salads and raw fruits weaken digestion and lead to dampness. Aerobic exercise is essential for balance.

Helpful foods include lightly cooked greens including broccoli, turnip greens, asparagus, and kale. Fish and grilled or roasted meats and poultry are balancing. The best grains for a damp pattern are rye, jasmine, and basmati rice as well as sprouted grains. Radishes, turnips, pumpkin seeds, green tea, and bitter foods and herbs help to dry dampness.

Sweets, dairy, and starchy foods contribute to dampness. Ice cream, lasagna, white bread, and milk should be avoided. 

Yang Patterns of Imbalance 

  • Tendency to feel warm 
  • Tendency to be talkative 
  • Uncomfortable in hot weather 
  • Urine tends to be dark 
  • May suffer fever blisters, canker sores 
  • Dresses in short sleeves 
  • Tends toward ruddy complexion 
  • May suffer headaches, nose bleeds, bleeding 
  • High blood pressure gums 
  • Often thirsty, craves cold drinks 
  • Sleep often restless, disturbing dreams 
  • Tendency toward impatience, irritability or anger 
  • May be constipated 
A heat pattern often shows up in hot weather or with stress. Overwork, alcohol, and sugar heat the body. Meditation, walks in nature, swimming, and/or yoga are ideal for balancing the agitated nature of a heat imbalance. Ideal foods are salads, cucumbers, and lightly cooked green leafy vegetables especially spinach and watercress. Vegetables of all kinds are helpful whereas meats should be limited. 

Other cooling foods include melons, pears, bean dishes, mung beans, sprouts, sushi, non-spicy soups, and lots of water. Alcohol and sugar are best avoided. Mint is a beneficial cooling herb whereas pepper, garlic, ginger, and onions should be reduced. 

  • Dry skin, dandruff 
  • Cravings for sweets 
  • Dry stools, constipation 
  • Preference for warm liquids in small sips 
  • Dry throat or eyes 
  • Night sweats 
  • Menopause 
  • Can easily become both hot or cold 
  • Thin body type 
  • Easily stressed, irritated or frustrated 
  • Rosy cheeks, especially after exercise
A dry pattern is a deficiency of yin, or fluids. Hormones, skin oils, saliva, digestive juices and secretions provide us our yin element. Fluids are akin to a car’s antifreeze; when low you can easily overheat or freeze. We see dryness at menopause, or as we age and skin becomes dry. Although hot flashes feel like heat, they are a sign of diminishing yin, which allows the normal heat of the body to go unchecked. Stress also depletes yin.

Remedies include meditation, yoga, walks in nature and gardening. Beneficial fats are critical. Healthful choices include fatty fish, free-range eggs, grass-fed butter, goat and sheep cheeses, olive and coconut oil, dark poultry meat, pork, nuts, and avocado. Soups and stews rich with grass-fed animal fats are very helpful. Other moistening foods include black beans, green beans, Napa cabbage, winter squash, yams, sea vegetables, millet, whole wheat, fermented soy, and shellfish. 

All types benefit by choosing foods according to the seasons. 

Summer foods such as salads, cucumbers, and melons are ideal for hot weather. Conversely meats, root vegetables, hot soups, and stews are most nourishing in winter. Pay attention to your body and choose the foods that naturally seem balancing.

source: http://johnsonsacupuncture.com/Food_Choices_to_Balance_Yin_and_Yang.html

If you have the patience to read/skim till here, you are amazing in learning for your own well-being than most of people already! Kudos!! Where is turmeric related information? Here it is:

What Are the Benefits of Ginger & Turmeric?
Ginger and turmeric are two powerful spices that have been used widely throughout history for both culinary and medical purposes. Using these spices in recipes provides a way to season a variety of foods without adding sodium or fat. As supplements, ginger has been frequently used in traditional and herbal medicines and turmeric has long been used to treat various physical ailments. 

A lot of people like ginger.  It is considered an important spice and very healthy too.   But do you know if it is eaten improperly, it could harm you instead of helping your body?
Ginger Root
Ginger Root

When to Eat Ginger?

There is a famous Chinese saying:  If ginger is taken is the morning, it’s like drinking ginseng soup;  If ginger is taken in the evening, it’s like eating arsenic (早上吃姜,胜喝参汤;晚上吃姜,如食砒霜).  And the other saying:  If ginger is taken is Spring and Summer, it’s like ginseng soup;  If ginger is taken in Autumn and Winter, it’s like arsenic.  Basically, what it really means is that ginger is good to be taken in the morning and it will boost your body health.  But if you take it in the evening,  it’s very harmful to your health.  It is good to take in Spring and Summer which can boost your health, but if it’s taken in Autumn and Winter,  it will be harmful.  Why is that?
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) theory, Ginger is yang type of herb and good to promote yang dispersing.   So if you catch a cold,  you can drink ginger juice to get some sweat and disperse the cold out of your body.    Yin and Yang is a very important concept in TCM world.  All health problems eventually can be traced to the imbalance of Yin and Yang.    Yin and Yang is relative and can be classified in so many aspects.  For example,  sun is yang, and moon is yin.   Sky is yang and earth is yin.  Fire is yang and water is yin.   Body organs, tissues or substances are yin and the strength in your body is yang.   Spring and Summer are yang , but Autumn and Winter are yin. Morning is yang and evening is yin.  Qi is yang and blood is yin.  Basically anything in the universe can be classified as the two opposite yet interdependent relatives of yin and yang.

Why It’s Advisable to Eat Ginger In the Morning Or in Spring or Summer, but Not in the Evening or in Autumn or Winter?

Ginger Root
Ginger Root
In the morning, Yang in the body is trying to disperse so you have energy to do things.  Ginger, which belongs to Yang type according to its herbal characteristic,  could help boost yang.   So it’s nice to eat ginger in the morning.  While in the evening,  Yang is gradually weakening, and is supposed to be concealed in the Yin so you can sleep.  With ginger or any other type of very spicy or hot nature food, Yang is boosted to disperse instead of conceal itself.   So it’s harmful to your body.
Similar theory applied to the seasonal diet.  In Spring and Summer,  Yang is comparatively strong and outwards.  So ginger could boost its function in that nature.  In Autumn and Winter, Yang is supposed to conceal itself inside of Yin.  So it’s not good to eat ginger in Autumn or Winter.
But even in Winter, there is still morning time.  So moderate consumption of ginger in the morning is still healthy.
Of course, this is the general health and wellness guideline.  As long as ginger or other type of yang food (acrid, dispersing) is not over consumed, it should be fine.  For example, as minor seasoning ingredient.  Unless you have specific health issue that needs yang dispersing function in the evening or Winter time, such as catching cold, it’s not advisable to take it in such time frame.  If this is done long time, it could cause yin and yang imbalance which will lead to certain health issue such as insomnia.

TCM emphasize nourishing your body every day with proper diet habit and not treating your body with medicine every day.  So get some herbal knowledge and pay attention to certain diet.  This will benefit you for long time.
source: http://www.clicktcm.com/one-myth-you-have-to-know-about-ginger-tcm/

The Healing Power of Turmeric

By Emma Suttie, D.Ac, AP

Turmeric in India and Ayurvedic Medicine

Turmeric has been used in India’s diverse cuisine and is one of the main ingredients in curry, giving it that lovely golden yellow colour. Turmeric is also an important herb in India’s native Ayurvedic medicine which has been in existence for thousands of years – as long as Chinese medicine. Its many health benefits are well known in India and have been slowly revealing themselves to the West. Over the past few decades, science has been discovering Turmeric’s many healing properties.

Turmeric in Chinese Medicine

Turmeric has also been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The Chinese herb Yu Jin is the turmeric tuber and is an herb that benefits the spleen and stomach. The herb enters the heart, lung, liver and gallbladder meridians and is used to invigorate blood and remove stagnation from the body. It is spicy, bitter and cold. Yu Jin is used to move blood and qi stagnation and is especially good for pain. It is used for menstrual pain (often from qi and blood stagnation), traumatic injuries, enlarged liver and spleen as well as liver cirrhosis. It is used to clear heat and cool the blood and to treat conditions like bleeding disorders, both internal and external. Yu Jin is also able to treat mental disorders that are due, in Chinese medicine, to disturbances of the heart and Shen like mania, seizures, derangement and epilepsy. Also, because of its ability to treat damp heat, Yu Jin is able to treat jaundice as well as gallstones. It is a hard working and versatile herb!

How to Take Turmeric for Maximum Absorption

Curcuminoids are the compounds within turmeric that are beneficial for health – and curcumin has been studied the most extensively and is the one proven to have the most powerful healing effects thus far. The problem with eating turmeric (and many other medicinal foods) is that the liver inhibits much of its absorption, meaning that we only receive a small percentage of its beneficial effects. The liver is, of course, doing its job of filtering out compounds that may be harmful to us such as medications and toxins that are unhealthy, but some good stuff gets filtered out in the process as well. The good news is that there are a couple of ways in which we can increase the ability of the body to absorb curcumin so that we can receive the maximum benefit from its many healing effects.

Eat Turmeric with Beneficial Fats

Eat turmeric with beneficial fats like coconut oil, olive oil, and avocado to maximize its absorption. Because curcumin is fat soluble, it needs fats to be absorbed by the body properly. Without it, curcumin has a hard time being absorbed into the gut and bloodstream and all of that healing goodness is being flushed out of the body instead of being used to keep you healthy and to ward off disease.

Mix Turmeric with Pepper

The active ingredient in black pepper – piperine – is a compound that normally causes the body to get rid of what it considers to be too much curcumin. Apparently, the absorption of curcumin is increased by %2000 or more with just a small amount of piperine. So adding a bit of black pepper to your turmeric recipe will really boost its healing effects!

Some of Turmeric’s Health Benefits

Turmeric’s active ingredient curcumin is able to treat many diseases from diabetes to cancer. Scientific research is proving that turmeric has an impressive number of medicinal properties that treat a wide range of diseases. In many scientific studies, turmeric has been shown to be as beneficial and sometimes more beneficial in treating diseases than pharmaceutical medications. It also has no side effects, unlike many conventional treatments.Turmeric has also shown strong evidence of being a preventative herb, helping to ward off many diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
Turmeric belongs to the ginger family and is the main ingredient in many curries, and the ingredient used in mustard that gives it its yellow colour. It has been used throughout the centuries as a medicinal herb, a textile dye and is one of the most prized spices in the world. India is the world’s largest producer followed by Indonesia, the Philippines, Taiwan, China, Jamaica, and Haiti. Turmeric is high in manganese (it contains %26 of our recommended daily intake) and iron (%16 of recommended daily intake) and is an excellent source of fiber, vitamin B6, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium.
Below is a list of some of the ailments that turmeric is able to treat and how adding this wonderful spice to your diet can benefit your health and help to prevent disease.

Cancer Treatment and Prevention

Science has now discovered that turmeric’s active ingredient curcumin is effective for fighting just about every type of cancer as it targets cancer cells via many different pathways. It is also non-toxic as it does not target healthy cells and affects only cancer cells. Turmeric also has the most evidence-based literature supporting its cancer-fighting properties compared to other herbs.
Turmeric is also a good spice to include in your diet for cancer prevention because of its excellent anti-inflammatory properties.


Perhaps turmeric’s best known and best-researched healing property is its powerful ability to fight inflammation which many believe to be the root of all disease. Chronic inflammation has been proven to lead to many dangerous diseases, so keeping the body’s inflammation response in check is one of the best ways that you can prevent illness and stay healthy for many years to come.


Because of curcumin’s powerful anti-inflammatory properties and pain killing ability, turmeric has long been used to treat the pain and swelling of arthritis. A study concluded that patients that received curcumin supplements fared much better than those who received conventional medications for arthritis and had no side effects. The side effects from the arthritis drug (diclofenac sodium) is that it increased the likelihood that patients would develop leaky gut and heart disease.


Because of curcumin’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, including turmeric in your diet can prevent type 2 (adult onset) diabetes. In fact, in a 2012 study, curcumin capsules were found to delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in pre-diabetic patients. Over a 9 month period, participants were given either curcumin supplements or a placebo. Just over 16% of the people taking the placebo developed diabetes, while not a single person taking the curcumin developed the disease. Amazing!

Pain Killer

Curcumin’s ability to treat pain has also been widely accepted by the scientific community. A study this past year showed that curcumin activated the opioid response in diabetic rats. This system is typically manipulated by pharmaceutical drugs, but curcumin has been proven to be able to activate this response that serves as the body’s pain-relieving system.

Boosts Memory

Because turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin is known to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation, studies show that turmeric helps to boost memory and attention span in elderly patients. Curcumin also has been shown to act as a neuroprotective agent against diseases that affect the brain like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Liver Health

In Chinese medicine, liver health is so important, and unfortunately, imbalances in the liver are extremely common. Anger and frustration hurt the liver so adding foods to the diet that help to cleanse the liver are always a good idea. Turmeric has shown to rejuvenate and detoxify the liver, as well as treat liver diseases like cirrhosis. Turmeric has long been used to treat liver problems and is a great way to prevent any liver problems in the future.

Scientific Studies About Turmeric’s Health Benefits

source: https://www.chinesemedicineliving.com/health-2/healing-power-of-turmeric/