What You Should Know When Autumn Winds Blow

Autumn, like Spring, is when the weather varies drastically, as the season shifts from one extreme to the other (as in from the hot summer to the cold winter that is to come in the case of Autumn).  At least here in Los Angeles, Fall is when we have some drastic temperature and weather changes during the month of September, from rainy drizzles to whippety-windy days and cooler temps to highs of 100 degrees during an Indian Summer.  What remains consistent, though, is the wind.  It’s windy most days.  That’s Fall for you.  

We say in Chinese Medicine that Autumn is when the Yang and Heat of the summer is slowly dying and the Yin and Coldness energy begins to grow.  This gives rise to the transition of Cold-Dryness and Warm-Dryness (thus the windy days).  Fittingly, it is also the season of the Lung System.  If you have respiratory issues, it's this season that respiratory issues get more aggravated than others, energetically speaking.  When the weather is dry and it's "lung season", people are prone to catching colds and flus.  The lungs detest dryness.  We should thus eat foods that nourish the Yin.  These foods soothe dryness, taste sweet and moist, promote the secretion of body fluid and benefit the lungs, without being greasy or dry.

Some good examples of Fall foods to promote these benefits include: pear, persimmon, banana, sugarcane, lily bulb, white fungus (or bai mu er), and radish.  Soups/consommes/broths are also excellent for moistening internal organs.  I have started to make miso soup every night to drink for dinner and breakfast.  It is lovely to wake up to a nice hot cup of miso soup every morning. 

Another good option in lieu of miso soup is a ginger tea with brown sugar and a very popular healthy Chinese drink made with apricot seed powder (locally in Southern California, this powder can be found in 99 Ranch stores).  Let’s talk Chinese herbology for a moment here.  Although the apricot seed powder is called Hong Kong Style Almond Powder, the “almond” part is actually a mistranslation, and it’s really an apricot seed of the sweet, southern China variety.  Apricot seed, or xing ren, is used extensively in Chinese herbology to treat coughs, asthma and constipation.  The sweet variety is less bitter and non-toxic and is excellent to treat chronic dry coughs and constipation of the dry kind.  Apricot seeds, like other seeds, have oils in them, and thus its capacity to be an emollient to the lungs and a lubricant to the intestines. 

In Chinese Medicine, we say that the Lungs and Large Intestine are correlates of one system.  The lungs open in the mouth through the throat and ends in the anus through the intestines.  Therefore, if one is prone to respiratory issues, in Chinese Medicine, we often say that individual is prone to bowel issues, and vice versa.  If you are clogged on one end (i.e., asthma), you have a tendency to get clogged in the other end (i.e., constipation).  Therefore, if you treat one organ system, you need to treat the other, and this herb, xing ren, does both!  And as I alluded earlier, the Lungs – and thereby the Intestines – detest dryness.  The oils of xing ren provide the emollience and moisture the two organ systems require to function optimally, especially during this drying time of year, and into winter when heaters are on full force. 

Conversely, if you have a phlegmy cough, xing ren would not be suited for you because it’s too cloying.  It would need to be combined with other herbs to break up the phlegm.  It is very rare for a single herb to be used to treat a certain condition in Chinese medicine.  We often combine multiple herbs to formulate a prescription to offset the toxic, warming or cooling nature inherent in certain herbs.  For example, the northern China variety of xing ren would never be prescribed alone because it has some toxicity if taken in large quantities.  This northern variety is prescribed only with other herbs to offset this toxic nature while enhancing the cough-reducing, phlegm-busting, bowel-moving nature of this excellent herb with the other herbs.  

[As a side note, the same warning against using just one herb applies to the Chinese herb, Ephedra, or ma huang, which became a very popular energy stimulant and weight loss pill in the early 2000s when they removed the active chemical component from the herb.  After multiple deaths were confirmed from the usage of this drug, the drug was banned in the United States, along with our profession’s ability to prescribe the drug’s original format, the herb, in our formulations.  Ma huang is a potent herb for sure, and it has been in our material medica for literally thousands of years as a highly effective herb for acute onset of respiratory illness, anaphylactic asthma attacks and acute nephritis.  Ma huang is excellent at stopping in its tracks an acute asthma attack, chronic asthmatic wheezing, as well as banishing a strong cold infection of high fevers, no perspiration, severe headaches with strong chills, and acute nephritis.  The effects of ma huang for these conditions were almost instantaneous.  BUT, ma huang was NEVER prescribed alone because of the potent ephedrine alkaloid function to stimulate metabolism.  It was ALWAYS combined with other herbs to mitigate the powerful effects of this herb, and almost ALWAYS used for respiratory conditions, never for weight loss or to boost stamina and athletic performance, as was the bastardized usage in a non-medical setting in the United States.  It is a real shame that this herb was taken from our professional repertoire because so many asthmatics and highly virulent colds and flus could have continued to be effectively treated with the usage of ma huang in formulations.  Herbs are never to be taken casually, and therefore it is extremely important that when getting herbs, you are getting a prescription from a trained herbalist, whether in the Asian medicine tradition like myself or Western herb tradition.]

An exercise that is wonderful at strengthening the Lung system is the classic yoga pose, Warrior pose.  Take that pose a step further and make it into an Archer pose where you mimic an archer: take one arm as if to pull the arrow back, curving your fingers into almost like a tiger paw and pulling your elbow as far as it can go, and take the opposite arm to push the bow forward straight from your shoulder.  Turn the pushing arm's hand up to a 90 degree angle as if to signal Stop.  This will make your inner arm stretch even more. Repeat this with the other arm, so you're pushing and pulling on both arms alternately.  Repeat this 10 times on each arm.  This dualistic push and pull movement of the two arms forces one to open wide the chest while forcing the core to tighten and steady oneself to balance this expanding movement in the upper torso.  The legs are wide open and steadying your stance as well.  This is a pretty solid stance and makes one feel quite invincible.  And that is how one has to feel during the cold and flu season:  invincible from the onslaught of coughs, colds, flus and other respiratory ailments prevalent this time of year.  From a Chinese medicine perspective, the Lung and Large Intestine channels run along the arms, and by doing the particular archer movements stimulates both channels in the arms and thereby the organ systems.  So not only are you physically expanding and exercising your lungs via the widening of the chest with the arm movements, but the arm movements trigger stimulation in the channels, to make this exercise a deeply strengthening, nourishing and stimulating exercise for both the organ system and channel systems.  And the contraction of the core while standing steady stimulate the Spleen, Stomach, Small Intestines and Large Intestines. 

As the weather continues to cool, taking regular hot baths is also an excellent preventative for colds and flus, to relieve sinus congestions and infections, improve sleep, maintain a well-running digestive system and, of course, is a great stress buster.  

And as I always say, when it's windy, protect your neck, because we say in Chinese Medicine that the Wind is the Carrier of One Hundred Diseases (scroll down the linked blog article on more about Wind), and the neck is most susceptible to wind invading our system and wreaking havoc.  Put up your collar, wear a scarf or hoodie, and keep that neck protected. 

Here and here are other herbal and home remedies for cold and flu prevention and treatment.

Last but not least, come in for acupuncture or herbal consultations to keep your body in tip-top shape!  Click here to book your appointment conveniently online.

Prevention is the best medicine!

Angelina Jolie Resolves Bell's Palsy Completely with Acupuncture

Photographs by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.  Exclusively on Vanity Fair

Photographs by Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott.  Exclusively on Vanity Fair

Angelina Jolie revealed in the upcoming September issue of Vanity Fair (available online now) that she suffered from Bell's Palsy last year.  What helped her recover fully from it was acupuncture.  

Acupuncture is an extremely effective treatment for Bell's Palsy, particularly if treated soon after the onset of the condition. In Asian Medicine, we say Bell's Palsy is often caused due to Wind in the Channels.  What this means is that due to an underlying deficiency in the Liver system the patient already has whether from lifestyle, poor diet, chronic infection or latent infection of some sort, or extreme, prolonged stress, the channels are vacuous like a hollow subway or tunnel.  When such a person is put in an environment with strong winds or drafts, this wind courses through the vacuous tunnel (ie channels) and can cause the muscles and nerves to "freeze" and droop.  What most patients will note upon consultation at an acupuncturist's office is that the Bell's Palsy came on after an evening sleeping under a rotating fan, or they were at the beach on a very windy day, or the A/C was blasting full strength right by their head or face.  Next thing you know, they have Bell's Palsy.  

If such a patient came in to get acupuncture,  moxa, cupping, and herbs - ASAP after this occurrence, the recovery is almost always 100%.  Even if  years have passed, I've had success helping patients recover their muscle strength back in the face.  One patient, who did extensive acupuncture at the onset of Bell's Palsy years ago and got much of it resolved, came to me because his Bell's Palsy started to get pronounced again due to his lifestyle and the natural progression of aging.  I was able to bring back mobility to the muscles again that the drooping was really only perceptible to someone looking intently at the face.  

If you or your loved one is suffering from Bell's Palsy, please seek out a physician of Asian Medicine immediately.  We can help tremendously!!

Tips for a Healthy Winter Season

Even if it isn’t snowy and cold, winter weather affects everyone—including those of us in sunny Los Angeles!  You really can’t fool Mother Nature—or your body clock that ticks along with the seasons. 

During the winter, it is natural to feel a little sleepier, slower and possibly less motivated.  It’s the season of stillness and conservation.  It’s a period of hibernation and our time to rest, slow down and revitalize our reserves.  Winter is a great time of year to reflect on our health, replenish our energy, conserve our strength and heal on a deeper level.

It is always healthy to get some form of exercise daily, but during the winter months it is best to participate in gentler, less exerting exercises, such as, yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, swimming, walking and other low impact sports.  Save the extreme exertion activities for the spring and summer months.

Here are a few easy pointers to support and promote your family’s health this winter:

Sleep.  Early to bed, early to rise, makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise.  Go to bed early and if possible, wake up after the sun appears in the morning.  Extra sleep will also benefit you if feel as though you are coming down with something.  If you do become ill, naps may help you recover faster.

“C” it.  Don’t forget your Vitamin C and other multivitamins.  These can help support your health.

Water, water everywhere.  Drink water.  Every cell of your body requires this liquid gold to keep it lubricated and running smoothly.

Avoid consuming excessively cold foods such as ice cream and iced beverages.  If possible, drink liquids at room temperature.  Too many cold foods, especially during the colder months, can disrupt your digestion.

Take herbs that support immune function.  Astragalus, Osha root, Reishi and Shitake mushrooms are helpful.  These have been used for thousands of years by acupuncturists to keep people healthy and strong.

Come in for acupuncture treatments.  Acupuncture works extremely well when you have a cold, and also as a tune up to stimulate the healing capacity of your body.  If you begin to get the sniffles, body chills, or feel under the weather, give me a call.  I may be able to help!

Click for even more holistic cold and flu remedies and tips for avoiding colds and flu.

3 Ways to Prevent Headaches

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Headaches are no fun!  it can come on at any time of the day.  More woman suffer from headaches than men, and children suffer from them, too.  It is related to energy levels, blood sugar levels, digestive issues, stress, and hormonal fluctuations among others.

Download the headache help handout to learn how you can prevent headaches using acupressure, aromatherapy oils and stretches.

Acupuncture and herbs can also help tremendously at lessening and stopping headaches all together.  Contact me to schedule an appointment so I can help you.

The Yin and Yang of Seasonal Eating



Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine differ greatly in reference to the word “energy” and “energetics” in regards to the nutritional qualities of food. While in Western nutrition and dietetics the word “energy” is typically used to refer to the caloric content of a food, in Chinese nutrition energy is used to refer to the yin and yang qualities of a food.   It's important to understand that discrepancy in terminology when reading this blog post, in order to avoid any confusion. In Chinese Medicine, different foods are assigned different energetic values regardless of caloric or macronutrient (fat, protein, carbohydrate) content.  Cooking in Chinese culture has literally thousands of years of history, and it is through this culinary trial and error for over a milennia that the Chinese came up with specific energetic values of foods and their creation of Food as Medicine.

It's important to understand the energetic values of the foods you eat so that you can make better decisions about how to help your body heal and stay well. When you learn to “unlearn” what you may have been taught in school or through fashion and health magazines about a “healthy” diet   -- and listen to your intuition and your body's unique signals – the yin and yang of what you're eating will actually make a lot of sense without having to refer to a reference manual or chart!

Here's a simple exercise to help you start thinking in the right sense about Chinese Medicine energetics:

First, think of the different kinds of whole foods that seem most enticing during the hot summer months. How about watermelon, gazpacho and other cold soups, pineapple, cucumber salad, white fishes, clam chowder, cow's milk dairy products, smoothies made with frozen bananas and strawberries, tofu, lemonade, green tea, coconut water and young coconut? Each of these foods, whether heated or not, are regarded as “cold” foods in Chinese Medicine. They actually help bring your body temperature down, and if you were to eat these types of foods year-round, as many vegans and vegetarians do, you may actually begin to experience symptoms of “yin excess” which could include a slowed metabolism, cold hands and feet, tiredness, and weight gain.  (This is not a complete list and having any one of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have a yin excess. )

Next, think of the different whole foods you tend to crave during the cold Winter months. How about chicken soup, roasted lamb or beef slow-cooked in the crockpot, wild salmon and other fatty fishes served with cream or butter, hearty stews made with root vegetables, rich and fatty desserts, baked cobblers, scrambled eggs and bacon, and heavier foods in general? These are “warming” foods according to Chinese Medicine, and if you base your diet on these types of foods during the summertime you may become overly yang. Signs and symptoms of excess yang include sweaty or oily skin, foul body odor, red rashes or boils, hyperactivity, insomnia, and hypertension. (This is not a complete list and having any one of these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have a yang excess. )

As a rule of thumb, fruits are usually “cold” foods and animal-derived foods are usually “warm” foods. Some exceptions include durian fruit, lychee berry, and mature coconut, which are warm fruits. If you eat a large quantity of any of these fruits, you may even begin to sweat. Red meats tend to be warmer than white meats, and red or blue-fleshed fishes tend to be warmer than white fishes. There is a tendency for foods with more fat in them (such as durian, mature coconut, lamb, beef, eggs, full-fat dairy) to be warmer than foods with a miniscule fat content (watermelon, apples, chicken breast, coconut water, unseasoned vegetables, tofu). Rice is considered to be a neutral food that imparts neither warming nor cooling effects on the body. It can therefore be consumed at any time of year.

It also just so happens that the foods that are ready for harvest at a particular time of year are the foods that contain the yin and yang qualities that our bodies most need for the climate in which we live. Winter officially begins on the shortest day of the year (the Winter Solstice), which is December 21, and during this time we should not expect to see fresh strawberries, bananas, watermelons, and dandelion greens in the grocery store! (We will inevitably see these cold, summertime foods in grocery stores, but they've been shipped from afar and are probably devoid of important vitamin and mineral content.  Here in Southern California, where I live, you will also see many summer time fruits and vegetables because of our temperate climate, but please remember that we are still entering the winter season and it's best to eat foods that normally grow during the winter season.)   Instead, we should reach for turnips and turnip greens, kale, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, celery root, clementines, kumquats, grapefruit, mandarins, horseradish, leeks, rutabagas, Jerusalem artichokes, and of course plenty of grass-fed, hormone-free and antibiotic-free meats and fatty fishes. While not all of these foods are warming or yang-promoting per se (such as the vegetables, citrus fruits, and sweet potatoes), they are more neutral than summertime foods and provide a good balance when combined with plenty of meats, eggs, and healthy saturated fats. (And no, that's not a typo. I meant saturated fats, which is a topic for another time!)


Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and A Happy 2014!






Pediatric Wellness first visit FAQs

To acquaint yourself with Pediatric Asian Medicine (PAM), please read my quick overview of how Asian Medicine can help your child.

Here are the most Frequently Asked Questions to prepare your child for his/her first visit to Iyashi Wellness.

What can I and my child expect for a pediatric visit at Iyashi Wellness?  Fun times and learning new ways to take care of your bodies!  Acupuncture and Asian Medicine help to heal the body, so everything I will do to your child and prescribe and teach the parents will be to help facilitate or jump start your child's innate healing ability.  

Will my child be nervous about coming to see an acupuncturist?  Most children (and adults) are weary of coming to a healthcare practitioner's office because of their experiences getting poked, prodded, palpated, drilled (at the dentist!) and the dreaded ouchy vaccine shots.  For children with chronic conditions, they may also experience not getting better as soon as they and their parents would like visiting conventional doctor's offices, so they may already be apprehensive.  So if this is your case, please be aware of your own apprehension as well as your child's apprehension.

So what can I as a parent do to ease my child's possible apprehension for their first visit?  Be relaxed yourself.  Your child will read your energy and respond to that.  Please know that your child will not be administered acupuncture in their first visit in most cases.  If the child is old enough to be aware (as opposed to babies who still have no fear), I will gain your child's trust first, and only if I feel they are ready and will benefit from acupuncture, will I give them an acupuncture treatment.  To acquaint them to acupuncture, I will casually show them what acupuncture needles are like and even demonstrate on myself or you of the virtually painless experience of acupuncture.  This will start getting your child used to the visual and idea of acupuncture and that it is something very special done only at my office.  Please do not mention the words "needles," "poke," "pokey," or "pins" to your child for our visit, or ask them if they are afraid.  Instead, if you want to bring up the notion of acupuncture, tell them they'll get to learn about "taps."  I call acupuncture needles "taps" with children toddlers and older so that I can get rid of the fear factor and also because I literally "tap" the needles into a child.  If you want to bypass this part of the conversation all together, you can inform your child that s/he will be asked questions about their health, have their pulses felt on their wrists, and they can even stick their tongues out at me!  How fun is that?!  I will also show them different tools that they can use together with me that will make them feel better and teach them about eating well so that they'll get better soon.  

Should I bring toys and goodies, like to an airplane ride, for our visit?  Yes!  I will spend a considerable time going over your child's forms and current complaint that brought you two in for the initial visit.  Although I will have some toys to keep your child entertained, please bring something special for your child to keep him/her busy during this portion of the appointment.  This is especially the case for children under age 6.

For children who have been dealing with a chronic condition and are extra apprehensive to visit a doctor's office, please bring their lovey, stuffed animal or blanket to give them comfort.  You can even encourage them to play dress up and come in their favorite pretend-play outfit to help them feel more confident - and fun - about visiting my office. 

Do I need to fill out forms? Yes.  Forms will be sent to you in a link once you make your appointment, and can be filled out online . Fill them out ahead of your visit.  Please give yourself some quiet time to fill out the forms, as it will take about 20 minutes to fill out the forms.

If you're not doing acupuncture on my child, what will my child get as a treatment?  As I wrote in Overview of Pediatric Asian Medicine, PAM is ancient, so several non-invasive methods were developed over time to facilitate healing in a child.  In my goody bag of treatment options, we have multiple non-invasive methods available:

  • Shonishin

  • Therapeutic massage: I will teach you specific pediatric massages that you can do at home to incorporate as part of your child's wellness routine. As you incorporate this in your daily routine, you will be surprised how your child will begin asking for the massages, and overall start to get more calm and healthier. Because kids know it's good for them. Really.

  • Acupressure: I will teach you and your child specific acupressure points to press at home to help with the healing process.

  • Pellets: a therapeutic application of small pellets to provide continuous acupressure to points, often in addition to acupuncture, or in lieu of it. It is similar to self-massaging an acupuncture point, but it will be a more targeted approach as the pellet will have a stronger stimulatory effect.

  • Guasha: this therapeutic treatment involves repeated pressure strokes over lubricated skin with a smooth edge, like a ceramic Chinese soup spoon or honed animal bones or well-worn coin to promote blood and energy circulation. This practice of stroking and scraping is seen in other traditional cultures of the world as well.

  • Cupping: also used in other traditional cultures, a therapeutic approach that utilizes round suction cups over a large muscular area such as the back to enhance blood circulation to the designated area.

  • Dietary prescriptions: I will provide you with Food as Medicine recipes and dietary suggestions to help with your child's condition. In most cases, changing a child's diet has a huge impact in the well being of your child.

  • Herbal prescriptions: known as tinctures, I have natural herbal prescriptions in liquid form just for pediatric use. Once they get used to the different flavor of herbs, kids will ask to take it because they know they get better when they take it. Completely, safe, these tinctures are American-made by companies with stringent safety and quality controls and can be taken concurrent with pharmaceutical prescription drugs.

  • Micro-current stimulation: this is a hand held device that emits micro current to an acupuncture point. The micro current stimulates the point and facilitates healing. It is similar to acupressure or the use of pellets/magnet, but this is one step stronger in the stimulatory effect because of the use of a micro current.

  • and lastly, acupuncture: as I wrote above, acupuncture needles will be one of my last resorts with pediatric patients toddlers and older. Babies have no concept of fear and that needles may hurt so when and if I use needles on babies, it is a very smooth experience. Also, the needles I use for pediatric patients are even thinner than the needles used for adults (which are already extra thin to begin with). Unlike with adults where the needles are left in the patient for 20-30 minutes while they rest in the treatment room, with pediatric patients, I will do a quick in and out with the needle for younger children/babies. For older children, I can leave them for 5-10 minutes depending on the child's comfort and stillness level. Acupuncture is very beneficial because it uses the body's own healing response mechanism, unlike micro current or pellets/magnets, which requires an outside source to trigger the healing response. Because it penetrates the skin, it has the strongest stimulatory effect and healing will be faster than the above methods listed.

How long are pediatric wellness visit?  The first visit will last approximately an hour.   Follow up visits will be approximately 15-30 minutes long.

What happens after a treatment?  Depending on the complexity of your child's case and his/her sensitivity, you may see your child more energized after the treatment, sleep very well through the night, have a more stable emotional equilibrium, reduction of inflammatory conditions, more regular bowel movements, improvement in appetite -- or experience a healing crisis where your child may experience, say the eczema they're battling with, flare up and then significantly subside, or their cold symptom get worse, but see significant improvements the following day.  This is called a healing crisis.

How often should we come and see you?  Please consider coming for a minimum of 3 months initially for chronic conditions.  At that point, we will reevaluate the progress of your child's condition and referrals may be provided if other adjunct care will improve your child's condition.  For acute conditions, your child may only need one or couple visits.  For wellness visits, I recommend parents bring their children in the beginning of cold/flu season, when they start school after holiday breaks, and if they are going through environmental changes or emotional upheavals at home.  Holistic pediatric care will help your child transition through the seasonal, environmental, and emotional changes that occur in a child's life.




Overview of Pediatric Asian Medicine (PAM)

Hi Moms and Dads, 

Did you know Pediatric Asian Medicine (PAM), is an excellent adjunct for conventional pediatric care?  Asian Medicine is a complete medical system - which also includes pediatrics - in continuous practice for over 2000 years.  Compared to conventional pediatric medicine, which is only about 150 years old in the way it is practiced today, Chinese Medicine was already talking about unique characteristics of children physiology as early as 400 BC.  There were already significant numbers of pediatric texts by the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) in China.

The practice of pediatrics continues very actively today, with hospitals in China that specialize in Chinese medicine pediatric care, hospitals that combine both conventional and traditional medicine, and private Chinese medicine doctors practicing Chinese pediatric medicine.   In Japan (as in my clinic), there are specialized pediatric acupuncturists that practice only shonishin, a non-needling acupuncture system, in clinics and in their private home offices.

There is a growing number of pioneering acupuncturists here in the States that are getting into pediatrics, including myself, because we know it is a much needed area that can address many aspects of pediatric care that cannot be addressed in conventional medicine.  It is our focus to promote the principles of wellness, health and resolution of illness.  Our strength is in viewing the body as a whole, disease prevention, recovery of health after an illness, and addressing conditions that are chronic and/or subclinical.  This means conditions like colds and flu, eczema, asthma, "picky eating," slow development, tantrums and emotional instability, food sensitivities, lack of concentration, and so forth.  Where western medicine would prescribe antibiotics, psychiatric drugs or steroidal creams – or worse yet, say “nothing can be done”, we Physicians of Asian Medicine prescribe Food as Medicine and dietary modifications, exercises, herbal prescriptions, heat therapy, pediatric massage and acupressure/acupuncture for illness resolution and disease prevention. 

Want to try PAM for your child?  Contact me!  Let's see how I can help you. 


For those who are ready to bring your child in for a holistic pediatric wellness visit at Iyashi Wellness, I have some Pediatric Frequently Asked Questions that will help to facilitate a smooth and stress-free first visit for you and your child.  


More on Pediatric Wellness Care: 

My 8-Part series on Healthy, Happy Eating that the Whole Family Can Enjoy starts here:






Bai Mu Er soup - Cooking with Herbs

Here is my video on how to make my delicious Bai Mu Er ("bigh moo er") soup, a chinese herbal soup that is very beneficial for maintaining youthful skin, strengthening the respiratory system and stopping cough, and calming the nerves.  It's a wonderful sweet soup that you can drink first thing in the morning to open up your appetite, or before you got to bed to help soothe your nerves and melt the stress away.  This video was taken at the Cooking with Herbs event at Bird Pick Tea and Herb, Culver City.  Bird Pick and I are doing a joint collaboration on educating the public on the health benefits of Chinese herbs.  We have our next Cooking with Herbs event scheduled for February 2/17.  For more information, click here .  For more information on this event series, go to Cooking with Herbs.  To sign up to be informed of this series or other Iyashi Wellness events, please go to my homepage.

Cooking instructions are provided on the soup kit I sell, but here are the instructions as per in the video provided above, which uses a crock pot.

  1. Soak Bai Mu Er in hot or cold water.  Hot water will make the mushroom expand faster, but cold water works just fine, too.  Wait until the mushroom expand.  
  2. Once expanded (color of Bai Mu Er will lighten), cut out the core of the mushroom (darker yellow core found underneath the mushroom) and discard.  Tear Bai Mu Er apart into small, bitable sizes, as the mushroom will expand during cooking.  Rinse and put aside.
  3. Rinse the remaining ingredients - longan fruit, go ji berries and Chinese jujube (or dates).
  4. Throw all 4 ingredients into a crock pot, add enough water to cover the pot and natural sweetener to your liking, set crock pot on low heat, and leave overnight (or set in the morning before you leave to work).  Voila!  Now you have a delicious porridge ready for you to eat in the morning, or an evening "snack" ready when you come home from work!  Mmmm!  And with so little effort!
  5. Store in fridge once it cools down, and it will keep for several days.
  6. My soup kit serves 6-8 servings.

Tip: During the cold winter months, add some slices of ginger to the recipe to give it that well-known spicy, warming effect of ginger.  Add grains or legumes to make it a heartier meal, too!

Drink this on a regular basis, and you will feel the long-lasting nourishing, calming, beautifying effects of the soup.   Safe for all ages to consume, including breastfeeding moms as well.

If you would like to purchase the soup kit, they are available through Bird Pick.