During the midst of our self-isolation period, the lilac was in full bloom here in Vancouver. Our herbalist Vennie was lucky to have a lilac tree in her garden, so she carefully collected the fragrant purple and white blossoms to try out various recipes at home. Did you know that lilac flowers were edible? They have a light floral taste with delicate citrus notes that embodies the spring season perfectly! Not to mention, they are so beautiful to look at. In terms of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the lilac flower is a "yin" plant, so it has naturally cooling properties, which works well for us in the warmer spring and summer months.
Vennie put together a few recipes that you can try out at home if you love this flower, or have some growing near you. You will need to wait for next year's lilac season but I promise these recipes are fun and super simple to do!
Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping, sunshine is beaming upon us and filling our days with hope and good vibes. Although we are all now limited in terms of what we can do to enjoy nature due to the current exceptional global situation, we can still celebrate Mother Earth at home, alone, or with our families!
This year is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. These days, we are facing many environmental concerns such as a worldwide pandemic, climate change, pollution, and loss of biodiversity amongst others. These environmental problems will affect every human, animal and nation on this planet. But that doesn't mean we should give up! On an individual level, we can still do our part in making a difference to help combat these issues.
The name gua sha (刮痧)— pronounced gwahshah — comes from the Chinese words for scraping and sand. But you have probably heard of it as "coining" or "spooning" outside of China. According to traditional Chinese medicine, chi is energy that flows through the body, and it must be balanced and flowing freely to ensure health and wellbeing. Chi can sometimes become blocked, causing pain or tension in the muscles and joints; thus, gua sha aims to improve circulation to move this blocked energy to relieve aches, stiffness and to increase blood flow and stimulate the lymphatic system. Practitioners use a stone tool during treatment to rub the skin in long strokes while applying pressure; the pressure may be quite strong for areas of the back but it can also be applied with light pressure for the facial areas. Gua sha has been used as an important, natural therapy for the doctrine of Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 2000 years.
We wanted to share two simple tea recipes in hopes that it can provide a bit of respite and relaxation. For those of us that are working from home or increasing our usage of digital devices during this challenging time, our strained eyes may need a little bit more TLC than usual. Goji berry helps to relieve eye fatigue and improve eye conditions, rose eases anxiety and tension while assisting with better sleep, and chrysanthemum helps to reduce inflammation and to soothe nerves. Try these out if you have these ingredients at home, and use a tea bag or a tea strainer. These tea recipes come from Vennie, our Traditional Chinese Medicine guru and herbalist.
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and one flower reigned supreme. Roses are most commonly associated with love and romance. In TCM, herbs, food and plants that are red in colour are associated with the feelings of joy and happiness and they nourish the heart meridian. TCM teaches that the heart is a mirror and sad, angry or strong emotional moments can cause a stagnant flow of "chi" and blood. We can align this imbalance with red roses that are used in traditional Chinese herbal teas to remove blood stagnation and to allow blood to flow smoothly. Red roses nourish the heart to bring joy and happiness. They are often used in teas to relieve menopause or pre-menstrual problems and to relieve emotional fluctuations. When your physical heart is nourished and blood is circulated throughout the body, the spiritual heart can send joy outwards into the world.