TCM Parasite and Colon Cleanse

Recovering health requires efficiently letting go of what is no longer useful and saying goodbye to unwanted guests. Accomplishing this on a physical level facilitates releasing emotional attachments and regaining clarity. Harboring one type of bacteria or virus or excessive yeast in the system predisposes the individual to invasion by another because the body is already weakened. There is a myth in the U.S. that you have to travel abroad to get parasites, but we have some right here too. The  following are common ways parasites are spread:

  1. having pets
  2. drinking or swimming in water containing parasites
  3. travel
  4. raw and undercooked foods
  5. physical contact, especially amongst children
  6. overuse of antibiotics (kills beneficial flora and leaves intestines more vulnerable)

Chronic constipation, excess mucous (dampness), and Spleen Qi deficiency (weak digestion) also will predispose you to parasites. I do not advocate getting rid of your dogs or not eating sushi. It is important to know the risks involved in certain activities and take the proper precautions. This may mean doing a yearly parasite cleanse, for example. And putting your pets and family members on one as well.

Common symptoms of parasites

  1. constipation, bloating, a belly that never goes away
  2. anemia, malabsorption, food intolerances
  3. fatigue, irritability
  4. chronic fatigue, low immunity
  5. mental fog, teeth grinding
  6. skin itching, acne

It is important to follow a balanced detox program. This means that you don’t want to annihilate your own body while trying to clear it of parasites and excess congestion. For example, excessive and too frequent fasting can weaken your digestion. As can excessive intake of cold, raw foods. What constitutes “excessive” varies according to the individual.

Simple Detox Diet
An effective cleanse can be accomplished simply by avoiding processed foods, sugars, dairy, white breads, and fried foods. (I don’t count quality dairy as an unhealthy food, but it  does contribute to mucous formation). Make half your diet vegetables. Make your only sweets whole fruits. Eat whole grains, healthy oils, real salt, and lean organic meats. drink plenty of water. Coconut and papaya have anti-fungal and anti-parasitic actions.

Parasite and Colon Cleanse
In addition to a clean diet, you will want to take herbs to kill parasites and their eggs and to remove compacted buildup from your colon. There are many herbs that kill parasites. The most commonly used are: clove, the green hulls of black walnut, pumpkin seeds, wormwood, and turkey rhubarb root (Da Huang). There are many formulas on the market and we sell one at our clinic.

A good probiotic or fermented foods are essential to take as they will help to rebalance the intestines. Digestive enzymes are also helpful to strengthen your digestion to avoid future issues.


Transitioning into Autumn; Metal Element

Achieving and maintaining optimal health involves strengthening our bodies in preparation for the seasons. This is a tradition that goes back to the Yellow Emperor some 2,500 years ago or more in the Huang Di Nei Jing.

Autumn belongs to the Metal Element. Energy begins to turn inward and sincerely evaluate what is of value and what needs to be discarded. The organ systems of Metal are the Lungs (representing holding on) and Large Intestine (letting go).

Emotional & Spiritual
Having a healthy lung and large intestine system means you easily keep commitments and stand by your principles. You sense when it’s time to let go of something and allow yourself to fully feel the sadness and grief. Then you let it all go and  move on.

Dysfunctional Metal relates to unresolved sadness and grief. Fall is an ideal time to release unhealthy emotional attachments. This involves taking time each day to go within. It is greatly facilitated by sharing with friends or a counselor. Getting acupuncture and energetic bodywork done greatly speeds up the healing and releasing process. In conjunction, the following dietary guidelines are very helpful.

Cook with lower heat, for longer periods of time. Also use less salt. The intention during the fall is to increase moistening and pungent foods.

moistening foods: seaweed, apples, pears, chard, papaya, pumpkin, and white fungus.

pungent foods: dakon radish, radish, ginger, arugula, watercress, onion, garlic, fenugreek, fennel

Purity is a key Metal concern, on a physical and emotional level. Keeping the Lungs and Large Intestine clear is key for optimal health. In TCM, detox is gone about in a more balanced way so as to avoid weakening the body.

To detox the Lungs a simple formula is to make a tea of Fenugreek and Fennel seeds and drink daily. This helps clear excess mucous as well as clearing impurities.

To detox the Large Intestine we recommend doing a colon/parasite cleanse once a year. We sell an anti-parasite and colon cleansing formula containing pumpkin seeds, black walnut bark (green hulls), clove, wormwood, and other herbs. Rhubarb root (Da Huang) is an excellent herb to detox the intestines when used in minute amounts over a period of time. Excessive use of detoxifying or purgative herbs weakens the Spleen and digestion, which is counterproductive. This also applies to excessive or too frequent fasting, or excessive raw foods when not appropriate.

There is nothing worse for the Lungs and Large Intestines than a sedentary lifestyle. The Metal element requires exertion on a regular basis for proper functioning. Exercise forces you to expand the lungs, facilitates peristalsis, and helps release emotional stress.

Read More on the 5 Elements and Chinese Food Therapy: Healing with Whole Foods by Paull Pitchford

Chinese Face Reading; Fire Element Personality

Fire Element Personality

The balanced Fire person excels at communication and is lively, charismatic, optimistic, sanguine, aware. Tender, empathetic, devoted, enthusiastic, and alert. Theirs is the stereotypical artist’s or performer’s personality. They bring passion and flair to what they do.

Their main issues are scatteredness, mania, and a lack of groundedness. In excess Fire can become erratic and overly excitable. When deficient it can become overly sensitive, infatuated, even suicidal. When addicted they gravitate towards alcohol and psychedelics and succumb to excesses of stimulation, flash, and color. Health problems are generally related to anxiety disorders, functional heart problems like mitrovalve prolapse and other Heart and Small Intestine organ system disorders.

Physical Fire Characteristics

Face: Hear-shaped or oval face. There is a fiery quality to the eyes. Hair is curly or unruly. Red hair or redness in the complexion is a good indicator.

Body: It is soft and willowy, with a tendency towards long legs.

Famous Examples: Nicole Kidman, Lucy Lu, Halle Berry

For more information we suggest our teacher, Patrician McCarthy’s site.

Further Reading:
The Face Reader by Patrician McCarthy
Face Reading in Chinese Medicine by Lillian Bridges
The Power of Face Reading by Rose Rosetree
Between Heaven and Earth by Beinfield and Korngold -simple, straightforward 5 Element explanation

Chinese Face Reading; Wood Element Personality

When you first start looking for 5 elements in people, the easiest one to spot is the unbalanced Wood predominant person. They can often be picked out of a crowd a block away. Unbalanced Wood energy presents as being hypervigilant and defensive of his/her own boundaries and completely oblivious to the boundaries of others. Thus their behavior, when unbalanced, is often the most disruptive to others of any element. They are the violent criminals, the corrupt policeman, and the aggressive lawyers. They are the combative client, abusive spouse, and narcissistic sports star.When balanced, the Wood element is compassionate, entrepreneurial, and is a protective (rather than abusive) force in the world.

Wood Element personality

This is perhaps the easiest of the elements to grasp since we are an extremely wood society. It has also been the male ideal personality, and increasingly for women as well. The balanced Wood personality is confident, assertive, bold, ambitious, competitive, powerful, direct, committed, and decisive. This is certainly our cultural ideal, but often we also find examples of the unbalanced Wood personality which, if excess is the stereotypical Type A personality: aggressive, arrogant, reckless, stressed, antagonistic, tyrannical, and confrontational. Anger is the main issue for Wood types and in the case of Wood deficient types that anger is turned inward in the form of depression. They tend to be entrepreneurs and achievers. In terms of addiction alcohol, opiates, and amphetamines are drugs of choice. Health problems tend towards stress, hormonal imbalance, gallstones, hepatitis, fatty liver, and other Liver and Gallbladder organ system disorders.

Physical Wood Characteristics

Face: Wood characteristics are the traditional ideal of male attractiveness, and increasingly so for women as well. The form of the face is square or a tall rectangle. The most prominent features are strong eyebrows/brow bones and a strong chin. There is often a square jaw. The eyes are very intense and penetrating.

Body: It is sinewy, lean, muscular, supple, with Broad shoulders.

Famous Examples: Brad Pitt, Ben Affleck, Arnold Schwarznegger, Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Garner

For more information we suggest our teacher, Patrician McCarthy’s site.

Further Reading:
The Face Reader by Patrician McCarthy
Face Reading in Chinese Medicine by Lillian Bridges
The Power of Face Reading by Rose Rosetree
Between Heaven and Earth by Beinfield and Korngold -simple, straightforward 5 Element explanation

Basic Chinese Face Reading

At Cinnabar we use TCM face and body reading as part of our diagnostics for acupuncture treatments. Imbalances and disease will often show signs on our face and body before physical symptoms present. Face (and body) reading is the quickest way to find out where someone is at the immediate time in his/her life in terms of challenges and health.

Face and body reading is an ancient practice in China. It was used not only to assess the health of patients, but also to predict the personalities and behaviors of unknown people. The face can be read in a number of ways:

  1. The face can be mapped in terms of age (as pictured above) to determine your past and future. For example a horizontal line on the bridge of the nose indicates a challenging time in the early forties.
  2. Different organ systems are represented on specific zones of the face. For example a certain puffiness under the eyes indicates Gallbladder issues. (This puffiness is not directly under the eye, which indicates Kidney issues, but over the bone under the eye.)
  3. Various markings or characteristics indicate certain personality traits. For example an upturned nose is a sign of naivete. The overall predominant 5 element types can also be seen. Our predominant elemental type(s) can sometimes change over time as a result of certain life experiences. Some people stay consistent throughout their lives, while some seem to really metamorphose.

The last manner to read the face is often the most interesting to lay people. It is important to remember that each element and characteristic has its own gift and challenge. It is easy to misuse face reading as a tool to judge people.

When first beginning face reading, it is easiest to see the predominant element in a person who presents an extreme, unbalanced version of an element. Balanced people are more challenging to discern. In future blogs I will visit each Element.

For more information we suggest our teacher, Patrician McCarthy’s site.

Further Reading:
The Face Reader by Patrician McCarthy
Face Reading in Chinese Medicine by Lillian Bridges
The Power of Face Reading by Rose Rosetree

TCM 5 Elements Table

Fire Earth Metal Water
Small Intestine
Large Intestine
Urinary Bladder
Body Hair, Skin
Head Hair
Sense Organ
Rules Over
Ligaments, Tendons, Sinews
Blood & Vessels
Skin, Mucous Membranes
Bones, Teeth, Marrow, Nerves
Opens into
Nose, Tongue
Tongue, Mouth
Cheeks & Nostils
Laughter & Talkative
Weep, Wailing
Groan, Complaining
Rancid, Goatish
Scorched (Burnt)
Rotten, Rank
Putrid (Urine)
Anger, Jealousy
Anxiety, Pensiveness
Sorrow, Grief
Fear, Depression
Late Summer, Indian Summer
Strained By
Lying Down

Rejuvelac; the Cheap Probiotic

Rejuvelac is a simple and inexpensive way to introduce probiotics into your diet. It also contains a high level of enzymes which aid in digestion

As with all ferments, make sure to use sterile equipment.

2 cups whole wheat berries, rye, spelt, kamut, or quinoa
1 qt of water

1. You have 2 options. You can simply soak the grains, or you sprout them if you have a sprouter.
a. If you don’t have a sprouter: Cover the grains with water and let soak for 24 hours.   Drain and rinse.
b. If you have a sprouter: Cover grains with water and let soak for 8 hours. Drain and rinse and allow to sprout until the grains develop a “tail.” Rinse every 8 hours during this process. When the grains are sprouted do a final rinse.

2. Place grains in an open mouth jar. Fill with 1 qt of water. Cover jar with cloth or sprout screen.

3. Let stand for 1-2 days. When the water becomes cloudy and starts to bubble it is ready. Pour out the rejuvelac and refrigerate.

4. Refill the jar with another 1 qt of water. Repeat the process.

5. When second batch of rejuvelac is ready, pour out and refrigerate. Compost the grains.

Drink a small amount with meals. Excessive intake will cause loose stools.

Further Reading:
Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods, by Sandor Ellix Katz
Healing with Whole Foods, by Paul Pitchford