In this issue you will find:
- Important PCOM Dates
- Going Green for the Holidays
- Natural Foot Care
- Anxiety Disorders and Traditional Chinese Medicine
Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day
January 26th: (Monday)
Chinese New Year
January 31st: (Saturday)
New York Chinese New Year Celebration/ Open House 10:00am - 12:00pm
January 31st: (Saturday)
Chicago Chinese New Year Celebration/ Open House 10:00am - 1:00-pm
February 7th: (Saturday)
San Diego Chinese New Year Celebration/ Open House 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Going Green for the Holidays
by Alex A. Kecskes
With the holidays upon us, it's time to think green-in food, decorations & gift-wraps, trees, and anything else that helps sustain our planet for generations of holidays to come.
There are thousands of holiday recipes. And you no doubt have your favorites. But keep in mind that you can create some eco-friendly holiday baked treats and snacks using healthy, earth-conscious ingredients. First off, shop for ingredients that are Certified Organic and Certified Fair Trade chocolate, flour, fruit (fresh and dried), popcorn, and nuts, as well as and wine for those adult beverages and baked goods. For treats that contain meat, dairy, or eggs, consider a vegan alternative. (Studies show that raising livestock may be more detrimental to global climate than driving your car.) Consider using eco-sweeteners like honey, which has vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Sugar has little nutritional value and its production as an agricultural crop can be harmful to the planet.
Concerned about all that wrapping paper and the trees that gave up their lives to bring you those rolls? You no longer have to wrap presents in last week's funnies or cut up a Ralph's grocery bag to be eco-conscious for the holidays. Sustainable alternatives include hemp paper, recycled post-consumer waste products; even discards like old calendars and maps are among this season's feel-good replacements. You can also go fabric-including cotton--which is ideal for gift bags and a creative way to wrap presents with flair.
That said, if you love paper wrap, here's a guide to help you select the right paper this season. First off, just because a paper product claims to be 100% recycled doesn't mean it is eco-friendly. Check the paper's post-consumer waste content (called PCW), which tells you the percentage of actual refuse vs. scraps of new paper are in the mix. To make sure your paper comes from responsibly managed forests, look for FSC and SCI certifications. You should also make sure your paper is processed chlorine-free using green energy (Green-e Certified) and environment-honoring practices (look up the manufacturer on the web and see). Finally, make sure the ink they use is petroleum-free and vegetable- or soy-based-it's easier to recycle. Other paper sustainable steps you can take include cutting up old greeting cards to use as gift tags or place cards, adding fresh double-sided tape or glue to make last year's ribbons and bows sticky again, or framing attractive old greeting cards to hang on your walls as holiday accents.
Now we come to the one thing that makes most eco-conscious holiday observers feel the most guilt pangs-the Christmas tree. Getting a real tree is actually better for our planet (and our homes). Tree farms ensure that millions of trees are planted annually, which supports both farmers and eco-systems. They are a renewable resource. But it's important to remember that as an agricultural product, most are grown with conventional farming methods, although there are a few organic tree farmers out there. Fake trees can't compete on the eco-front, because they aren't biodegradable and most are grown in factories from petroleum-based (and unsustainable) plastic, PVC, aluminum, or other less-than-green materials. Solution? Grow your own. If you have the outdoor space, start a tradition now of planting a new evergreen tree every year. After a few years, you'll be able to decorate them outdoors.
If you choose to bring your Christmas tree indoors, there are a few things you should remember. Cut off about 1-2 inches of the trunk before you place it into a stand. The stand should accommodate one quart of water for each inch of the trunk's diameter. This lets the tree absorb sufficient water to keep it fresh. Check the water level daily; if the water drops below the trunk, the trunk may seal itself and not be able to absorb water (and don't add sugar or a sugary soft drink to the water). Keep your tree away from heat sources, like fireplaces, TVs heaters. Don't overload electrical circuits when you add tree lights. Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord.
Natural Foot Care
by Kathleen Rushall
Winter means many things, some of them not as positive as hot cocoa and holidays. Cold, dry weather can wreak havoc on the skin, and one place often requires special attention is a person's foot. Feet are often neglected when it comes to lotion and other skin care methods that the rest of the body daily receives. In winter, foot eczema is a common occurrence. Eczema is the result of extreme dry skin that forms into a scaly, red, often itchy rash.
Oriental herbs can effectively treat eczema and provide fast relief. Herbs that prove helpful for this condition include Flos Ionicerae (Japanese honeysuckle), Herba Mentae (peppermint), Cortex Moutan (root bark of a peony tree), Atractylodes Rhizome (the underground stem of the Atractylodes herb), and Cortex Phellodendri (Amur cork-tree bark). A licensed practitioner of Oriental medicine can prescribe and concoct a mixture of these five herbs, which can be taken orally (the extracts are placed into a pill capsule) once daily
Bunions are another common foot problem that has a natural solution. A bunion is an inflammation found on a toe that can increase in size and hardness and be painful to the touch. Consistent pressure causes bunions. Wearing shoes that are too short, high, or narrow can inflame the skin area and cause a bunion to form. Chinese medicine recommends treating the bunion internally with homeopathic silica to reduce inflammation and restore the body's balance. Also, drinking chamomile tea and then using the tea bag for external relief by placing it on the bunion can lessen swelling.
Athlete's foot is a highly contagious fungus that thrives in moist areas (heavy socks and shoes worn in winter can make a foot sweat and encourage this fungus). Chinese medicine encourages the use of tea tree oil to combat this irritation. Dilute the tee tree oil in water (50/50 or 25% oil will work), and soak feet in this mixture for five minutes twice a day and the fungus will disappear between one week and one month.
Anxiety Disorders and Traditional Chinese Medicine
by Alex A. Kecskes
Anxiety is a mental disorder that affects literally millions of people. It's an illness that often dovetails with depression and alternates from mild discomfort to almost uncontrollable panic with physical symptoms. While some medications have been known to ease anxiety, they may also suffer from undesirable side effects, suppressing the symptoms while making individuals chemically toxic.
The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approach to anxiety problems is to treat them as disorders of Shan You Si, which are believed to affect the Zang Organs. The Heart Zang stores the Shen or spirit and each Zang Organ is responsible for one's emotions. The Liver Zang is tied to anger, the Spleen Zang to excessive worry, the Kidney to fear, and the Lung with grief and anxiety. A disturbance in one or more of these Zang Organs can cause an imbalanced emotional state.
TCM classifies the cause of a specific mental disorder according to how much each Zang Organ has been disturbed and how its Qi is affected. The flow of Qi, or energy, can be interrupted by several factors, including anxiety, stress, anger, fear or grief. Acupuncture seeks to restore any imbalance between Yin and Yang. By inserting needles into the fine points of energy, the body's own healing process is stimulated to restore its natural balance. Treating depression and related conditions such as seasonal affective disorder or dysthymic disorder (chronic depression) with TCM requires the proper evaluation of the signs and symptoms of these conditions. Specific acupuncture techniques are advised to treat each condition. Changes in lifestyle and the adoption of self-help recommendations are also part of the healing process.
Sometimes, even Tong Ren Therapy may be used. This therapy is designed to internally heal a patient's energy system using the collective unconscious. Patients sit, relax and quietly receive the healing energy. There are no special diet, exercises or religious beliefs required to practice Tong Ren. As more people practice Tong Ren healing, the stronger the healing force becomes. All participants become part of the collective unconscious state and are thus able to benefit from Tong Ren's healing energy.
Supplementing these methods with changes in one's diet can also help. Too much refined sugars, for example, can cause wild fluctuations in blood sugar and insulin levels, which can significantly affect one's mood and mental health. They also deplete B vitamins from the body, which can affect the nervous system. Excessive amounts of caffeine can create "toxic heat" in the liver, causing a rise in anger and anxiety. As an adrenal stimulant, caffeine can ultimately lead to adrenal exhaustion and depression. Substituting refined sugar and caffeine with low glycemic foods and beverages can result in a reduced anxiety.
TCM methods to treat depression and anxiety also involve the use of Chinese herbal medicine. These have slowly been accepted in the West, primarily because of the non-toxic nature of the treatment. Chinese medicines have been used to treat stress and to reduce the effects of the body's aging process. Herbal medicines are combined in creams, gels, ointments, serums, powders, and tonics. The Chinese herb formulations used most often to treat anxiety are:
- Polygonum Root
- Jujube Date,
- Rehmannia Root
- Polyrachis Ant
- Duanwood Reishi
- Licorice Root
- Dang Gui Root
- Cynomorium Herb
Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day
“If you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape a hundred days of sorrow.”
~ The Book of Odes