September 22, 2013

… loosen the hair and have a relaxed bearing

Posted in brisbane, health, life tagged , , , , , , , at 2:30 pm by Margi Macdonald


September is such a busy month, with acupuncture and herbal medicine  seminars, peer reviews and renewed focus and energy for ideas and projects.

During a recent online forum, Robin Marchment shared this gem.

It’s a beautiful counterpoint to the busyness of the season.

Great discourse on the four seasons and harmonising the spirit


春三月, The three months of spring

此谓发陈,this is called burgeoning

天地俱生,heaven and earth both give birth

万物以荣。So 10,000 things flourish.

夜卧早起,Lie down at night and rise in the morning,

广步于庭,take long strides in the courtyard,

被发缓形,loosen the hair and have a relaxed bearing,

以使志生。and thus enable the aspiration to live.

生而勿杀,Let live and don’t kill,

予而勿夺,give and don’t take,

赏而勿罚。reward and don’t punish.

此春气之应,This corresponds to the qi of spring,

养生之道也。the right path to cultivate life.

逆之则伤肝,To do opposite will damage the liver,

夏为寒变。and in summer one will feel cold.

奉长者少。With insufficient basis to support growth.

Nei Jing, Chapter 2


Image: © Margi Macdonald

Translation: Awaiting confirmation

Cautions and Care: As ever, all content on this weblog is for general information. If you are concerned about your health or well-being, please see an appropriately qualified health care professional.


August 28, 2013

What does “spring” mean to you?

Posted in brisbane, health, life tagged , , , , , , , , at 8:45 pm by Margi Macdonald

Celeste and Jasmine

What does spring time mean to you?

Newness and all that’s fresh and enlivening?

Quiet times in nature, or pottering in the garden?

Cooking up a storm with abundant fresh produce?

The torments of hay fever or asthma? (and yes, acupuncture and herbal medicine may help with either of these conditions)

Feel free to share the best and worst of your spring time experiences with us.


Cautions & Care: This post and the pages here are for your information, and are not a substitute for the medicines, care and attention of appropriately qualified health professionals.

Image: ©Margi Macdonald

August 25, 2011

It’s been a bit quiet over here…

Posted in brisbane, health, life tagged , , , at 12:59 pm by Margi Macdonald

Here’s why…

I tree-changed out of the inner city, and now more than ever before, notice the seasons and the light, and more stars in the night-sky and native birds in the trees.

I have trouble dragging myself back into the city.

I decided to live without a telly, a tumble dryer and a dishwasher but joined Twitter and discovered iView. I’ve played with another level of flexible and easy information-gathering ever since.

For the winter I took up my favourite cool-weather pastime, and began a knitting project, which soon earned the title ‘Patience Cardigan’.  I learned that the ability to knit complex patterns and manage skeins of wool is a handy pointer to the state of one’s mind.

More to follow on the Patience Cardigan, and scattered information-overloaded-minds in a near-future post. Yes, we will explore mindfulness, technology and social media. Or something like that.

So now, with spring’s arrival heralded by the first jasmines of the season, it’s time to harness the energy gathered and regenerated during winter, think of new things to do, find new ways of doing old things, and mess about with some spring cleaning.

It was a cold-enough winter that the teachings and wise counsel of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine – the foundations of my work – reminded me that the wish to hibernate and avoid salads was of course, simply a basic biological need, even for this busy human first-world primate.

How did you manage winter this year? For our northern friends, I’m curious to know how you approach autumn and the coming winter?

October 4, 2010


Posted in brisbane, cooking, food, health, life tagged , , , , , at 2:19 pm by Margi Macdonald

Who can deny the simple, glorious pleasure of a tiny, perfectly ripe, sweet, juicy strawberry?

Or, indeed a bowl-full?

Why do we love them?

  • their presence at the markets means it’s springtime
  • growers who love to sell them at farmers’ markets are always very proud of these sweet red delights
  • they’re fun, healthful fast-food, containing Vitamin C and silicon, and usually have more iron and potassium than the other berries
  • they dress up and down, with minimal accessorising, and always look good
  • children love them
  • they belong to the same class of plants as roses
  • Eastern medicine considers they have a cooling nature, moisten the Lungs and generate body fluids, and can benefit episodes of sore, dry throat or hoarse voice. Belonging to the spring-phase, they’re an ideal addition to an activating, cleansing diet.

Strawberry nonsense, full of trickery and fakery and things you really shouldn’t swallow, lick, or kiss too often:

  • strawberry-flavoured anything… lipbalms, lipsticks, perfumes. Why? There’s simply no such thing as a ‘natural’ strawberry flavour or aroma. Trust me on this.
  • non-organically grown or mass-produced strawberries. Why? Poor little stawbs… they’re a fruit which is usually doused with all kinds of agricultural chemicals, and is often hybridised to be tough and hardy  { including in your mouth }.  They’re often picked way too soon, which means they never ripen, and arrive in their plastic punnets, all sour, cranky and tart.

How do you enjoy strawberries?


Images: Renoir Strawberries 1905; strawberry illustration sourced at Wikipedia, origin not noted.

Words: © Margi Macdonald

Cautions and Care: This article is for your information, and is not a substitute for medical diagnosis and care. If you have a concern about your health or well-being, or that of another, please see your doctor or other approriately qualified and experienced health professional.

August 30, 2010

Asparagus. A cure for road-rage, rampaging and ranting?

Posted in brisbane, food, health, life tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:42 pm by Margi Macdonald

Thanksgiving Asparagus. Marilyn M King

Spring is upon us in this great land down-under, and springtime means fresh asparagus. Don’t be fooled into thinking this classy vegetable grows naturally all year round. It doesn’t. It’s one of nature’s sublime springtime treats, best when its hidden, subterranean parts had the pleasure of a good, cold winter.

So what about the road-raging and ranting? Is there a natural sedative in the pert spears of an asparagus bunch?

Well, not that I know of, yet in Chinese herbal medicine its underground tuber is described by Paul Pitchford as able to “improve the feminine principle, especially in the aggressive person, and is used to ease menstrual difficulties, promote fertility, and increase one’s receptive and compassionate nature.” He s not just talking about women, by the way!

The ritual of preparing and cooking fresh asparagus to perfection, enjoyed with a strip of smoked salmon and a soft-boiled egg might at least slow us down, and give cause for gratitude to mother nature for her spring bounty. Perhaps compassion follows such a dainty feast?

Here’s what else we know about fresh asparagus – not that sad, soggy stuff in cans:

  • It has a natural diuretic, making it an ideal food to naturally shift a little fluid retention
  • When fresh and seasonal, it has good amounts of vitamin C and A, sulphur, folic acid, and potassium, and is naturally low in kilojoules and sodium.
  • it also contains an amino acid – a protein building block – called asparagine, which gives urine that unusual smell after we’ve eaten asparagus.

We understand that in Chinese medical terms, asparagus nourishes the cooling, calming, restorative nature of Yin energy. No surprises there, for a food which spent the winter slumbering and gestating underground, away from Yang warmth and light.

Did you know that the little tips of asparagus are actually its flowers, and that aged Parmesan is a great friend to asparagus?

If you live in Brisbane  Australia, and would like to learn how to cook slow-roasted Kealford Farm Organic Pork with spring asparagus on a cauliflower and white bean mash, and many other seasonal wonders contact me.

My colleague Jillaine Wheeler – The Pantry Practitioner – is cooking this, and other family friendly fare in a cooking class this September. There’s also an artichoke and aioli starter, a wild salmon rillette, deeply nourishing, creamy green ice cream, and organic, preservative-free rose on the menu. I hope you can join us.

How do you like to serve and enjoy asparagus? Are you lucky enough to live in a place where fat,white asparagus is common? Let us know with a comment.


Image : Thanksgiving Asparagus Oil on gessoed board.© Marilyn M King. Used with kind permission. This and other similarly beautiful oil paintings available at Small Oil Paintings

Words: Margi Macdonald

Cautions: The information here is not a substitute for face-to-face health care provided by a health professional, nor can it be construed as advice for the management of any physical, mental or emotional disorder. Please see your Doctor is you have a health concern.

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