February 17, 2014

You are the Garden

Posted in brisbane, health, life tagged , , , , , , at 9:55 pm by Margi Macdonald

20140217-214339.jpg

Just like us, when our gardens are stressed from poor nutrition, dehydration or damp sogginess, over-crowding or temperature extremes, invading bugs will come and take over, creating an acute health problem.

Did you know that in Traditional Chinese Medicine, we see the mind-body-spirit as a landscape or garden?

Our job is to help you become your own gardener and show you how to cultivate great health and vitality.

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Cautions and Care If you’re unwell, or worried about your health, please make an appointment to see a health professional. The information on these pages is not a substitute for the care and attention of appropriately qualified practitioners.

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September 22, 2013

… loosen the hair and have a relaxed bearing

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

ChinaPinks

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

四气调神大论篇第

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

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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.

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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

September 6, 2010

Bears in there? We’re Wildlife Aware

Posted in brisbane, health, life tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 3:17 pm by Margi Macdonald

Brown Bear having fun. Beverly and Pack

From the Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd

You may have seen last night’s Channel 7 Sunday Night feature on “Something About Mary” which informed viewers of Mary Hutton’s story. Mary is the founder of the ‘Free the Bears Fund Inc’ (www.freethebears.org.au) and has made it her mission to protect various species of bears in Asia from being captivated and used for entertainment and medicinal purposes. The use of bear bile was a focus in the feature with reporter Alex Cullen bringing attention to the practices of some restaurants in South East Asia whose patrons “have lunch, see bears and buy their bile”.

The Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association Ltd (AACMA) is opposed to the medical, cosmetic or other use of bear bile and other illegal products derived from endangered species. There are many herbal alternatives to the use of bear bile and therefore there is no justification for bear farming. AACMA is committed to raising the level of awareness, education and compliance with the legal requirements associated with the international wildlife trade through the Australian government funded Endangered Species Certification Scheme (www.acupuncture.org.au/escs.cfm) and does not support the use of Chinese medicines containing illegally traded wildlife ingredients.

AACMA CEO, Judy James, said “Traditional Chinese Medicine is one of the great global medical systems with an uninterrupted history of use and development spanning 1000s of years. The Traditional Chinese Medicine profession does not need to cage, farm, kill or use bears in order to provide effective and natural healthcare. The international trade in products containing bear parts is illegal and AACMA opposes their use for any medical or cosmetic purposes.”

To read the AACMA’s full media release please visit http://www.acupuncture.org.au/media.cfm

To view the transcript visit http://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunday-night/transcripts/article/-/article/7284436/something-about-mary-transcript/

To view the video visit http://au.tv.yahoo.com/sunday-night/video/#fop

A member of this Association, I fully support and conform to AACMA’s ethical standards and codes of professional conduct, and similarly oppose the use of illegal products – in particular animal products – in our medicines.

Only herbal medicines are prescribed in my practice.

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Image: by Beverly and Pack on Flickr. Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

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.

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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.

November 28, 2009

My on-going professional development is good for you

Posted in brisbane, health, life tagged , , , , , , , , , at 2:06 pm by Margi Macdonald

Like all health professionals, natural medicine practitioners must dedicate themselves to a life-time of observation, study, and inquiry.

The benefits to our patients and clients are innumerable.

This year I spent a semester tutoring 2nd year acupuncture students. Imparting one’s knowledge, and needing to be ten steps ahead of our students kept me on my toes, and honest!

I regularly participate in an international discussion group of scholars and practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

This year we’ve explored – amongst other things – difficult and tricky cases, H1N1 flu prevention and management, health reform, and the history of our medicine. I am in esteemed company there, and am regularly in awe of the accumulated knowledge, wisdom and experience of many contributors.

The year’s activities enabled me to reflect upon my style of practice, and the individualised care and attention I offer to people.

I’m confident the ability to understand and respect natural and traditional medicine without disregarding the discoveries of bio-medicine is not only safe and effective, it is the medicine of the future.

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The image

A 19th century representation of the great Tang dynasty physician, scholar, doctor and medical ethicist – Sun Simiao. He’s the one sitting on the tiger.

He was the supreme physician. Read some more about him here, if you like.

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