I had the good fortune to try a new herb this week, dried Codonopsis root. It has an affect similar to the herb ginseng, but it is less hot and less strong. It’s considered better than ginseng for women and during hot weather, too, when you don’t want quite so hot and strong an effect (Imbalancing with herbs can be a bad idea. Hot + hot = too hot)
History of Dried Codonopsis Root:
You may not have heard of this herbal medicine – I never had before I attended herbal medicine school in Boulder. The official name is Codonopsis pilosula or Dang Shen in Chinese herbal medicine.* (Beware, there seem to be multiple herbs with a similar-sounding Chinese name.) This herb grows in northeastern China, and is part of the Traditional Chinese medicine (called TCM).
Herbal Properties of Dried Codonopsis Root:
It is supposed to have these properties: It’s warming, slightly stimulating, increases energy similar (but weaker) than coffee, and “helps the body adapt to stress.”* This is called an adaptogenic herb. It’s taken for weak digestion, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing issues (asthma, mucus), general fatigue, and more. It has a shorter affect on the body than ginseng.
Chinese nursing moms take it to increase milk supply, as well as help their own health be stronger. This may be true, as lab tests showed that it increased red blood cells.
How to Prepare:
Because it is a root herb (i.e. hard) it is prepared through a decoction method, which means slow simmering instead of a tea method (called infusions). This root is not as hard as others; it can be squished a little. It feels spongy, and looks brown.
Seven to twenty grams of the root herb is added to 2 cups of water in a pot. Then the mixture is brought just below a simmer, and kept there for 40 minutes. After that, strain out the solids, and drink the liquid. The dose is half a cup per day.
When simmering, Codonopsis smells like warm bark and sweet, similar to another herb called Astragalus root.
Taste Test: What is Codonopsis Like?
The first taste is very sweet with a mild lemon flavor or sourness to the end note. It’s sweetness reminds me of Eastern spices like cinnamon.
Bodily Affects of Codonopsis:
After having some, I didn’t feel like my energy was being pushed, like I would with coffee and caffeine. (On coffee, I sometimes feel like my heart is outside my chest, in front of it, pounding there.) I just woke up a bit more, and got my work done in a gentle way. Before that I was falling asleep, probably because I also needed some more food just before lunchtime.
I stopped drinking it by 1:30pm in the afternoon. Some adaptogens can cause insomnia later in the evening, especially if taken too close to bedtime, or even afternoon, sometimes. I was able to fall asleep, and stay asleep, with no problems.
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I’m proud to announce a new social media channel for those of us who like colorful herbal teas, Paleo recipes, and “food porn photos” of homemade chocolate: Instagram!The account is called “transform_health_co” – please click on this link to follow us today on Instagram social media.
My film major really comes in hand when crafting social media photos of delicious meals and herbal tea mixtures! And can’t tell you how great it is to be able to have so much versatility with today’s phone cameras, and adjusting all the colors, contrast, etc.
Here’s a sample of what is my Transform Health Instagram page right now ~ It’s so new, I better go add some more fun photos! Click Follow to keep up with my latest works of art.
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Great News! My Transform Health blog is now publishing through the Apple News app, which is available on iPhone, iPad, and Mac computers! This blog specializes in educating the public about functional nutrition, alternative & herbal medicine, common nutritional deficiencies, the Paleo Diet, special digestive diets like GAPS & SCD, and using holistic health knowledge to combat the spread of common diseases, and incidence of chronic diseases.
Why is this health education work important? Here’s a quote from Dr. Perlmutter, author of Grain Brain:
We spend nearly 20 percent of our gross domestic product on health care [in the US]… although we are presently ranked first in the world in health-care spending, we are ranked thirty-seventh in overall health-system performance, according to the World Health Organization. [bold added]
And another quote, from the same source:
We live in an exciting time in medicine…But we also live in a time when the number of people dying from chronic disease (including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria), maternal and perinatal conditions, and nutritional deficiencies combined.
The Transform Health blog is written by me, Diana Sproul, a health coach based in northern Colorado, who helps clients nationally. Besides free health articles and recipes on the Paleo, GAPS and SCD diets; articles comparing the nutrition between wild and farmed salmon, and info about the importance of the Omega 3 to 6 balance (nutrition geeks – you know who you are!), I have these free resources:
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Chronic inflammation is involved in many different chronic conditions and diseases. Learn strategies and methods for lowering inflammation in the human body through the use of herbal medicine, healthy foods, nutrition, and better lifestyle habits. These anti-inflammatory tips may be helpful for a variety of chronic conditions and illnesses, without actually treating the condition itself.
WARNING: If you would like to start taking fish oil, and you are already on heart medication, blood pressure medication, or blood thinning medication, it’s VERY important to talk with your doctor FIRST, as fish oil has blood thinning properties.
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Try this new concept in fast food casual restaurants from Las Vegas: fresh sushi! Who would’ve thought it?! Dishes are served as bowls over rice, or as a Japanese-style burrito, wrapped in seaweed rolls.
Customers order at a counter, similar to Subway, Chipotle, and Garbanzos.
The menu is organized like this: first you choose whether you’d like a burrito (with a wrapper of soy paper, wheat tortilla, or seaweed) or a bowl with brown or white rice, or vegetables. Next you choose your raw sushi meat or cooked chicken, and vegetable toppings. There’s a variety of sauces as well like chipotle mayo, nacho cheese, poke sauce, kimchi aioli (hot cabbage & garlic mayo), sweet chili, ponzu (sweet), creamy cilantro and more.
You can make your own combination from scratch, which would be very helpful for anyone with food issues, or you can chew some of the pre-designed favorites. There are about 10 designed meals.
Look at the choices of sides just above– there’s guacamole, avocado, red onion, green onion, spinach, fresh or pickled jalapeños, cabbage, kimchi (Korean spicy cabbage), cucumber, corn and a lot more.
The food prices start around $7.50 for an adult bowl or burrito meal, with some of the pre-designed meals around $10.50.
The food was really good – fresh and healthy. It was really easy for me to eat, in spite of having multiple food allergies. People who eat Paleo can opt for the vegetable bowl, or a no-rice burrito. Vegetarians can do egg over brown rice or an all-vegetable option. People who can’t handle raw fish can do cooked chicken with nacho sauce over rice or vegetables.
Meat choices included yellow tail, salmon, spicy tuna (ground fine), crab, chicken, omelette or tofu.
This concept came from a professional chef, John Chien Lee, who worked his way up to executive chef at Social House in Las Vegas, but then decided open his own restaurant. This fast food sushi option is just the latest. He has three locations in Las Vegas, and I dined at the 2600 West Sahara Avenue location. The main website is www.SohoSushiBurrito.com.
So next time you’re doing a convention in Las Vegas or visiting for some sun, check out this delicious fast food restaurant.
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Have you ever heard of Doc Susie? If you had visited Fraser, Colorado, deep in the Rocky Mountains from 1910 to 1945, you probably would have heard of her. Famed actress Ethel Barrymore wanted to make a biopic about her, but was refused. Although Doc Susie came to Fraser to live out her last days from a longterm case of tuberculosis, instead she thrived in the cold, dry air!! She was a longtime resident and one of only a few country doctors serving a very wide country area. This article will talk about medical school, sexism in the medical profession, early treatment methods, and Doc Susie’s sterilization methods before antibiotics.
Medical School and Sexism: When Doc Susie attended medical school, it was not considered a good job. The hours were long, the pay was low, and it had little prestige. Doctors were on call night and day. (Some of that hasn’t changed!) However, I was surprised to learn that when she attended the University of Michigan, 25% of the student body were females enrolled with her. Later, when the pay and prestige of doctoring went up, female students’ enrollment declined. I’d like to know more about this, whether it was the schools not admitting them, or some families discouraging their attendance.
As far as treating patients, there was some sexism in her community. At first, she was a newcomer. Some men didn’t want their wives to see her. But the wives did seem to want a female doctor with which to discuss their private issues. Others just came to her to ask free advice for their “friend.” In any case, there were rumors of her being a doctor, and sometimes the one or two male doctors were simply not available. Sometimes they were attending a birth out of town for several days. It happened that her first emergency was for Dave…who turned out to be a horse! She was being called upon for an animal patient! Anyway, she did such a good job that she slowly gained some trust and patients. And – (luckily or unluckily?) she lived in an area with several industries with high amounts of injuries: logging, railroads, coal mining, tunnel digging.
Early Treatment Methods: Pneumonia and Wound Care
She was called late one night to the bedside of a young boy about twelve. He had a bad case of pneumonia, which is a deep lung infection. Doc Susie had already been out all day on another call, having just lain down, exhausted. The case caused her some personal flashes back to her brother, who had died years earlier of this same disease. Luckily, she was called early enough to this patient to do something.
She thought the case was severe already, and the patient might die in a day or two. She decided, in her sleep-deprived state, to try something new. She herself had recovered from TB in the cold, dry air. She had the boy undress, and stand in a warm water basin, wrapped only in a blanket. She then opened all the windows to the cold, winter air. At the same time, she poured hot water over his head and down the blanket. As she did this, she percussed his chest and back to loosen the phlegm, and she told stories to keep the miserable patient on his feet. It sounds like she did this for about twenty minutes. Then the patient was dressed again, and covered only with a flannel blanket, instead of mounds of quilts.
I’m trying to figure out why this worked. Extremes of cold or heat (in this case the cold air) can kill of bacteria. Bacteria can survive in many different extreme environments, but they need time to go into hibernation mode.
Cold can stimulate one’s vital response into high gear. Water therapy, like changing one’s bathing from cold to hot water and back again has a lot of history in the Water Cure movement, and in the book Nature Cure by Dr. Henry Lindlahr (This may be available in the public domain. Try the Gutenburg Project website.)
Her own recovery from tuberculosis involved sleep, sleep and more sleep; a daily cup of fresh raw milk right from a cow and into a cup; and exercise that started slowly and worked up. The fresh, cold, dry air really helped her breathe. I wonder why the damp air exacerbates the disease. After all, we use humidifiers in breathing colds at home.
Sterilization Before Antibiotics
You would not believe the trouble she had to go to in order to sterilize her own hands, instruments, wound dressings (old sheets) and the wounds. At this time, people often did not die of the injury, but from later infection that took over.
The bandages and instruments all went through thorough cleaning in hot water and then were pre-packed for emergencies into cloth kits that were wrapped up. The wound dressings were cleaned in hot water, air dried (outside in winter, then later inside). Then they were heated again with a hot iron. Then they were packed up into small kits. Local residents saved their old white sheets for her to cut up and use for wound dressings.
She started with thoroughly washing her own hands (up to the elbow) and nails in soap and hot water. Her instruments went into hot water.
Wounds were first inspected for any debris, clothing, dirt, grit, hair, etc. It was picked out carefully with tweezers. More hot water was used to thoroughly rinse out the wounds (The horse got this treatment, too.) Then all wounds were treated with iodine, which stings, but sterilizes. Then wounds were dressed with clean bandages.
The case of the horse attracted the whole town as an audience. But the crowd thinned out as the treatment lasted all day long!
It’s too bad she could not use herbs, because there are several with antibiotic properties.
My source for this article is the excellent book by Virginia Cornell, Doc Suzie: The True Story of a Country Physician in the Colorado Rockies. (Manifest Publications, 1991) The story was told in narrative form, and I believe from exhaustive research. The author studied writing, and ended up living about two miles outside of Fraser. It was captivating, and I couldn’t put it down last night.
To read more about Doc Susie Anderson, check out these sources: