Cinnabar Talk – Spring Detox

ImageLiving by the Seasons is key to health and longevity. When move with cycles, we increase our energy, when work against them we lose energy.
Summer – Full Expansion – Heart, Increase Connections and Creativity
Fall – Introspection – Protect Lungs, Build Immunity
Winter – Hibernation – Building Reserves Tonify Kidneys
Spring – Detoxification – Cleanse Liver & Gallbladder, change unwanted patterns

Spring is Best time to:
⦁    Drop excess weight (Dampness), lean down after hibernation
⦁    Cleanse Liver and Gallbladder, even if have no symptoms
⦁    Start a new project or goal
⦁    Let go of what no longer serves you
⦁    Increase movement

Spring Diet
⦁    Higher percentage of raw foods (especially in warmer climates), sprouts, young greens, and a more vegetable-based diet.
⦁    Dandelion, watercress, arugula, mung beans, seaweeds
⦁    Lightest meals and simplest cooking of the year.
⦁    Quickly sauté or steam vegetables so that they are partially raw. Focus on sweet and pungent flavors while limiting salty and heavy foods.

Herbs for Spring
Wu Wei Zi (schizandra berry)
⦁    Safe long-term liver detoxifier and protector.
⦁    Beauty benefits. Plumps up and hydrates the skin.
⦁    Increases sexual fluids and sensitivity.
Milk Thistle
⦁    Safe long-tern liver detoxifier

Liver Cleansing Broth
1 head of cabbage
2 celery sticks
2 carrots
1 onion
2 russet potatoes
Chop and put in a big pot. Cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 min.
Add 1 bunch parsley and 1 clove garlic and simmer an additional 5 min. Strain and serve.

Recommended Treatments and Packages
(discounted prices with Heather’s Program)
⦁    Endermologie ($75), Slimming Package ($99)
⦁    Schizandra (Wu Wei Zi), Shu Gan Wan (Liver detox), Qing Dan Hua Shi Pian (stones), Jiang Dan Gu Chun Pian (cholesterol)
⦁    Slimming Package ($99), Ear Magnets ($15)
⦁     Weightloss Pills
Allay soreness, protect against injuries
⦁    Acupuncture ($70), 60 min massage ($70)
⦁    Yunnan Paiyao
Increase Stamina, build muscle and strength
⦁    Acupuncture ($70)
⦁    Deer Antler Drops, Ant Drops


Daikon Radish; Antidote to the Modern Diet

Mild and tasteless when eaten raw, shockingly stinky when cooked, and delivering a bite when sprouted, the Daikon Radish is something you should consider adding to your diet.

Lai Fu Zi (Daikon Radish seed) is an herb used in TCM to reduce food stagnation particularly from starchy foods. It also resolves Phlegm and descends the Qi for cases of excess cough. It is boiled into a tea or can be cooked with grains.

Daikon Radish is an important medicinal in Chinese Food Therapy for its unique qualities.

Unlike red radishes, Daikon is cooling and mild in taste, yet retains the phlegm resolving quality. The radish can be grated or sliced in a salad, pickled, or cooked in soup. The seeds can be sprouted and are often used in sushi.

Any condition exacerbated or caused by eating rich foods, excess phlegm, or food stagnation benefits from Daikon radish. For example: acne, obesity, diabetes, bloating, diarrhea, cellulite, etc. It is also a great addition to a detox regimen. A therapeutic dose when using food as medicine is to have it at least once daily.

Have You Had Your Pumpkin Today?

Pumpkins are more than pretty reminders of the holiday season. They are a potent medicine. Pumpkins have a cool temperature, are sweet and slightly bitter, and resolve dampness in the body. They are used in Chinese Food therapy to:

  • balance blood sugar
  • tonify the Spleen/Pancreas
  • discharge mucous from the lungs, bronchi, and throat
  • alleviate bronchial asthma
  • alleviate eczema and edema
  • pumpkin seeds reduce prostate inflammation and clear roundworms from the intestines

When using food as a therapy you need to eat it at least once a day. If you have one of the above conditions, have pumpkin daily for as long as they are season. Food therapy is surprisingly powerful to make and keep us healthy. It is also cheap and has no side effects.

How To Heal Yourself From a Cold

Besides paying a visit to your acupuncturist there a few things you can do to speed along a cold.

  • Gan Mao Ling is a patent Chinese Herbal formula. It isn’t strong enough for a full blown cold or flu, but works wonderfully if you take it every 3 hours when you first start coming down with something.
  • Eat chicken soup with ginger, lemongrass, scallions.
  • If there is a lot of heat (fever, sore throat) mint is very helpful.
  • Bundle up and sweat it out.
  • Gets plenty of sleep.
  • If you have someone to do gua sha this move the cold fast. To do gua sha: get a spoon, coin, or popsicle stick. Put oil on upper back and neck. Have the person quickly and roughly scrape back and forth on your skin until it gets bright red. This will leave marks but offers almost immediate relief.

Treating Acne Naturally

Treating acne naturally involves internally addressing the underlying imbalance and externally controlling the symptoms while improving the quality of the skin. This blog is a little about how we address acne at our clinic. Each person’s skin is different and tends to change over time. We recommend coming in for a consultation in order to assess the best regiment.

Clinic Treatments

Acupuncture – Acupuncture treatments address the root cause of acne whether it be stress, hormonal imbalance, etc. Acupuncture on the local area can also speed the healing of acne lesions. View video.

Microdermabrasion –  Microderm is mechanical exfoliation using crystals or a diamond tip. Our machine runs on sodium bicarbonate crystals (baking soda), making it less irritating and completely non-toxic. Microderm feels scratchy on the skin. Many acne cases can be controlled with a series performed every two weeks. View video.

Peels – Peels provide chemical exfoliation of the skin and can include different types of acids. For acne typically a salicylic acid peel works best, like our Purity peel, particularly if the skin is oily.

Face Endermologie – Facial endermologie offers mechanized lymphatic drainage, stimulation to lift sagging skin, and increases microcirculation. This is an ideal treatment for sensitive skin, anti-aging benefits, and puffiness. View video.

Facials/Extractions – Regular facials including steam, enzyme exfoliation, extractions, and high frequency continue to be a key component for a clear skin regiment.

LED Light Therapy – Especially helpful for redness as is the case with inflamed acne or acne complicated by rosacea.

Ultrasound – Ultrasound using a skin scrubber uses vibration to facilitate extractions and relieve congestion in the face.


There is some variability based on age, oiliness, and sensitivity as to specific regiments. As a general rule:

  • Use a retinoid (Vit A) 1-3 times a week. The more congested and oily, the more frequently you can use retinoids. In our clinic we have two retinoids we recommend for home use. The first is Clarity, which contains retinyl acetate. The second is A-Boost, which contains retinol and retinyl palmitate, is more appropriate for sensitive skin or for an anti-aging regiment with no breakouts. Retinoids help the formation of healthy skin cells. It also acts as an exfoliant. Retinoids are useful not only for acne, but also for hyperpigmentation (dark spots), wrinkles, and sagging skin.
  • Use a gentle cleanser. We recommend either the Sensitive Cleanser (more irritated skin), Acne Cleanser (contains sulfur), or Face & Body Bar (anti-bacterial & anti-fungal). Avoid SLS and any cleansers that irritate and dry out the skin. This will only unbalance the skin in the long run and lead to more acne. Remember, it’s not about annihilating the acne and your skin with it. Acne is a sign of imbalance and when you rebalance the skin the acne will clear up.
  • Calm irritation. We have a few products we recommend for this. There are two toners we use Colloidal Silver Mist with Lavender and Calming Mist for use after cleansing and prior to serums and moisturizers. Ointment Rx is an excellent product when there is obvious inflammation, rosacea, or you are recovering from harsh topicals such as Benzoyl Peroxide.
  • Moisturizer. It can be very difficult to find a moisturizer that hydrates without blocking pores and irritating the skin, both of which lead to increased acne. The best all around moisturizer is Healing & Restoring Cream. It was originally developed by the founder of Hylunia for his baby daughter who had exzema. It is excellent as a night cream or under sunscreen. We have found it to shrink the pores, reduce redness and irritation, and reduce lines. Other excellent options are Moisturizing Drops (oil-based) and Recovery Plus Intensive (lotion). Both of these are great for drier skin types.
  • Sunscreen. Use only physical sunblocks and avoid chemical sunblocks. Chemical sunblocks chemically interact with your skin. They often cause irritation and aggravate acne. Chemical sunblocks should not be left in the sun as they will loose their effectiveness. These are listed as long, unpronounceable names in the active ingredients list. Physical sunblocks refer to Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. These sit on the surface of the skin and block both UVA and UVB rays. They actually calm irritation. The most popular sunblock at our clinic is Reflect, a Titanium Dioxide-based sunblock in spray-on form. It’s not greasy nor does it leave you looking chalky.  Other options are Hydrate + (includes moisturizer), Serious Protection (heavier cream), 302 tinted and untinted (leaves mineral powder finish). Mineral makeup is another option. See below.
  • Enzymes. Natural enzymes help to unglue dead cells and gently exfoliate them away. We use Papaya Enzyme Mask. It is safe even for sensitive skin. You can apply and leave on in the shower 3 x a week or leave on overnight leaving the skin beautiful in the morning. Another option is the Acne Mist for those who don’t like using masks. Apply up to 3 x a week after cleansing and leave on.
  • Makeup. Pure mineral makeup is the best option. Unfortunately it will not give you that great coverage of  thick, liquid, chemical-laden, pore-clogging makeup. The wrong makeup can undermine all your efforts to clear your skin. As hard as it is, the best tactic is to find the mineral makeup that works best for you and just accept that you won’t be able to cover your skin as well. Don’t worry. It will be clear soon and you won’t even have to wear makeup. 302 has a super clean mineral powder that comes in 2 shades but it doesn’t camouflage that much for troubled skin. Read our blog on selecting a mineral makeup.

Diet & Herbs

Herbal formulas are specific to the patient as there are different imbalances that cause acne. We recommend seeing an acupuncturist and/or herbalist for a recommendation. There are, however, general dietary recommendations.

  • Drink plenty of water. Half your bodyweight (in lbs) in ounces of water per day is a good guideline. So if you weigh 140 lbs, drink about 70 ounces of water.
  • Keep your blood sugar stable. Avoid simple carbs like: white bread, cookies, sweeteners, and fruit juice. Also avoid greasy or processed foods. Eat whole grains. Get plenty of fiber and good fats in your diet.
  • Eat plenty of vegetables. Ideally close to half your meals should be vegetables. Bitter vegetables such as arugula and watercress are particularly helpful.


Do something to alleviate stress on a regular basis. People who internalize and stuff their emotions have a much higher likelihood to develop skin problems. Also make sure to wash your pillowcase, towels, and anything that touches your face regularly.

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