Have you ever had the opportunity to experience guasha? This traditional East Asian practice is sometimes used as a complement to massage, acupuncture, herbalism, moxibustion, energy work, lifestyle medicine, and more. Practitioners draw a guasha ban (刮痧板) (guasha tool) over the skin with varying degrees of pressure to elicit different effects on the body.
Although guasha is used to treat complex bodily issues, one wonderful way to experience this age-old art is a gentle facial guasha. We’re excited that our friend, herbalist, and East Asian Medicine practitioner, Jiling Lin, has a new blog with all the information we need to do facial guasha at home!
In June of 2023, we embarked on a journey to meet with one of our farm partners in Wazuka, Japan. After a long and exciting travel day, we arrived in the bustling city of Osaka.
Our old friend, Masashi, welcomed us with excitement and an eagerness to share the 350-year-old tea plantation with us. We loaded into his sedan and headed for the misty hills of Wazuka. We first toured the fields where we learned about the growing, shading, inspecting, and harvesting of the fresh and vibrant green leaves. From there we got a behind-the-scenes look at how these organic tea leaves are turned into the vibrant powder we know and love. After fully experiencing the tea planation and all of the heartfelt work that went into making this fine tea powder, we were invited to take part in a traditional matcha tea ceremony.
Having worked with this farmer for over a decade, it was an honor to connect with him in a way that celebrated his culture and to recognize the people that grow and process this special tea for the world to enjoy.
Enjoy a cup of ceremonial matcha: https://mountainroseherbs.com/matcha-tea
Try matcha with a traditional whisk and spoon: https://mountainroseherbs.com/matcha-set
Dr. Athene Eisenhardt, Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist, found her path in life by way of the plant world. Working professionally as a field botanist for Yosemite National Park led her to begin wildcrafting and using native California plants as medicine, and to study the Taoist 5 elements in nature. She maintains a private practice in Oakland, California, offering 5 Element Acupuncture and Integrative Herbalism. Athene is also on the Herbology faculty at the Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine College in Berkeley, CA.
Athene and Jiling discuss:
The Five Elements of East Asian medicine
How the five flavors relate to the Five Elements
Examples of native California plant and Five Elements’ interrelationships
How climate informs plant intelligence
Ethical harvesting of native plants
Some of Athene’s favorite plant meditations!
Spinach has been providing humans with bountiful nutrition for more than 2,000 years. By the time this cool-season annual reached western Europe in the 11th – 15th centuries, it was already an established crop and widely cultivated in the Middle East and Asia. It has long been considered the “Captain of Leafy Greens,” which is an apt title for this vitamin- and mineral-packed veggie. However, raw spinach contains oxalic acid which, when eaten in large quantities over time, can actually interfere with the absorption of some of the nutrients like calcium and iron for which spinach is famous. Also, because our bodies cannot metabolize spinach quickly, it can produce gas, bloating, and stomach cramps. This is not to say we shouldn’t eat raw spinach; we absolutely should because it’s loaded with all kinds of other essential nutrients like vitamin C, niacin, potassium, etc. that are more available to our bodies when eaten raw. But to capture all of the benefits of spinach, it behooves us to eat it in other ways as well. Dried spinach is a delicious, high-nutrition option!
Oxymels are an herbal extraction of an acid mixed with honey. Usually, when we think about extracting herbal properties with acids, we look to vinegars. But did you know that if you replace the vinegar with a citrus juice like lemon or lime, you still capture the herbal constituents and end up with a drier oxymel that is perfect for summer mocktails?
Our friend Amanda Crooke from the Center for Herbal Studies has kindly shared a simple recipe for a delicious citrus-based lemon-mint oxymel and a lemony, bubbly mocktail that is the perfect refreshing sipper on a hot summer day. We think these are the ideal recipes to get the summer party started!
Toby began studying East Asian medicine in 1997 with Sunim Doam, a Korean monk trained in the Saam tradition. In 2016, he completed a PhD in Classical Chinese Medicine under the guidance of 88th generation Daoist priest Jeffrey Yuen. Toby just published his first book this April, “An Introduction to Chinese Medicine: A Patient’s Guide to Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Nutrition, & More”. It offers a concise overview of the landscape and therapeutic potential of traditional East Asian medicine.
Jiling and Toby discuss Chinese herbal medicine, nourishing life (yang sheng 養生) East Asian medicine seasonal considerations for diet and exercise, yin-yang, and more!
Visit Toby Daly at FlourishMedicine.com and ChineseNutritionApp.com
This adaptogenic moon milk recipe harnesses the benefits of ashwagandha root, chaga mushroom, and warming spices to invoke a sense of well-being. Ashwagandha and chaga have both earned a reputation for helping to quiet the mind and revitalize the bodies of those who find themselves overwhelmed or stretched thin. Welcome this tasty and functional beverage into your evening routine for better sleep and stress support. Take a deep breath, sip, and repeat.
Research compiled by Oregon State University has shown that roughly half of the adult population in the United States doesn’t get enough of the vitamins and minerals that leafy greens supply: 52% don’t get the recommended intake of magnesium, 44% don’t get enough calcium, and 43% don’t get enough vitamin C. Although many of us know that we need two to three cups of leafy greens a day to supply our exquisitely complex bodies with the vitamins and minerals needed to carry out cellular processes and repairs, many of us have trouble eating adequate amounts of those greens.
In this “Tea Talks Roundtable,” Jiling discusses the topic of “Food as Medicine” with herbalists Christa Sinadinos, Rona Leah, Jana Kilgore, and Mary Colvin. With our collective herbal experience as two professional cooks, three book authors, two herb school founders, and five herbalists working with different populations, teaching styles, and botanical expertise– you can expect a fun and delicious conversation!
everyday strategies to integrate Food as Medicine into your average diet and lifestyle
delicious culinary spices
common wild herbs (in different bioregions) to supplement standard kitchen herbs
easy to find foods and herbs that can be used medicinally while traveling
breakfast strategies and considerations
different preparations for common wild herbs
specific recipes like Rona’s Herb Sauce, Demulcent Waters, Christa’s Schug, and Jana’s Morning Chai!
This week on Plant Stories, we’re releasing our interview with Michelle Guerrero Denison. Michelle is an herbalist, formulator, educator, and the founder of The Twig & Feather. Michelle resides in Southern California and talks about how through her family’s own health challenges, she found herbalism and holistic wellness.
Refreshing, engaging, and open-minded, Michelle’s plant stories are human centric. It’s clear her passion resides in listening to and assisting others on their personal wellness paths. Michelle’s life experiences and philosophy transfer over to her approach to herbalism as well as the ways she shares her herbal knowledge. We hope you enjoy this wonderful conversation with our friend Michelle!
Inspired by the needs of her family, Michelle has been studying herbalism for the past decade or so and opened her online shop in 2019. She practices western herbalism, with a holistic focus. She has had the opportunity to study with several wonderful teachers, and readily admits that she will probably be learning for the rest of her life. Her true passions lie in personal consultations, teaching, and writing. All of these are opportunities to get personal and see how herbs can change a life.