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Acupuncture, Massage, Newsletter - February 2006 | Issue 19

In this issue you will find:

Important PCOM Dates

  • March 11 – San Diego Open House
  • March 21 – Chicago Open House
  • March 22 – New York Open House
Upcoming CEU Events in New York
  • March 18-19 - Lianne Audette: Acupuncture for Addictions
  • March 25  - Steve Kaplan: Insurance Billing in the Acupuncturist Office

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Health Benefits of White Tea

Each type of tea from green and black, to oolong or white has a distinct difference about them.  However the differences that exist between them is caused from the oxidation levels that occur after tea leaves are harvested.  Tea leaves immediately begin to dry, after being picked, and in the process, chemical changes occur that affect the tea’s flavor. 

Typically, the longer the leaves are left to dry on their own, the darker they become. 
The leaves are usually rolled to break them down and release juices that will contribute to their flavor and facilitate oxidation. At a certain point, the oxidation process is brought to an abrupt halt by heating (or sometimes steaming) the tea leaves. Green tea is dried for only a day or two, while black tea may be left to oxidize for as long as a month.

White tea is made from immature tea leaves that are picked shortly before the buds have fully opened.  The tea takes its name from the silver fuzz that still covers the buds, which turns white when the tea is dried. Immediately after harvesting, the leaves are steamed after picking and immediately dried which keeps them from oxidizing, and preserves its high antioxidant content. The result is a tea with a very delicate flavor, that lacks the grassy aftertaste associated with green tea, and has none of the tannins associated with black tea.

Leaving tea leaves so close to their natural state means that white tea contains more polyphenols, the powerful anti-oxidant that fights and kills cancer-causing cells, than any other type of tea.  White tea also contains much less caffeine per cup than green, oolong, or black tea.  This is due to the fact the tea leaves are larger; they underwent less processing, and are brewed in a cooler temperature than other teas.

Recent studies at Pace University have shown that white tea extract can kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi in the body, more so than the extract of other teas.  The study focused primarily on the bacteria that causes Staphylococcus infections, Streptococcus infections, pneumonia and dental cases.  The same study concluded that fluoride-rich white tea helps prevent the growth of dental plaque, the chief cause of tooth decay.

"Past studies have shown that green tea stimulates the immune system to fight disease," says Milton Schiffenbauer, Ph.D., a microbiologist and professor in the Department of Biology at Pace University’s Dyson College of Arts & Sciences and primary author of the research. "Our research shows White Tea Extract can actually destroy in vitro the organisms that cause disease. Study after study with tea extract proves that it has many healing properties. This is not an old wives tale, it’s a fact."

Another research study at Oregon State University in Corvallis has found that consumption of white tea may provide protection against colon cancer. The study suggests that white tea can be just about as effective as use of the prescription drug sulindac in preventing colon tumors in a certain type of laboratory mouse that is genetically predisposed to cancer.

A group of these mice that received no treatment each developed about 30 polyps in their colons. Other research has shown that a therapy with sulindac, could cut polyp formation in these mice about in half.

However, consumption of green tea, the scientists found, reduced the number of tumors in the mice from an average of 30 to 17; and consumption of white tea from an average of 30 to 13. Mice given both sulindac and white tea, in combination, saw a tumor reduction of about 80 percent, from 30 tumors to six.

As research continues to show that teas exert significant protective effects, and aids the body’s immune system against a myriad of different diseases, and bacteria, it is important to note that the polyphenols in white tea have also been show to lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure and fight fatigue.  For all the health benefits that white tea provides, it is a great addition to anyone’s preventative health routine.  

To find out more about white tea, or the health benefits of other types of tea, please visit www.royaldynastytea.com

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Chinese Medicine and Nutrition

Oriental medicine places high value on diet and nutrition. However, rather than the popular “you are what you eat” dogma, Oriental medical theory asserts that balanced dietary practices are just one piece of a healthy lifestyle.

“There are four basic foundations of achieving and maintaining good health,” said Bob Flaws, popular author and translator of Chinese medical texts. “These are: diet, exercise, adequate rest and relaxation, and a good mental attitude.”

The Chinese diet of balance is very different than that in the West. In cooperation with a Chinese medicine practitioner and nutritionist, individuals can tailor their diets to incorporate a variety of tastes; foods and herbs that will best serve their health needs. The Chinese diet system is about expanding food options in order to encompass all types of diet and nutrition sources.

Oriental medicine diet and nutrition includes five tastes – spicy, sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Particular tastes tend to have particular properties. For example, bitter foods and herbs tend to be drying and Cold in nature, which makes them ideal for treating Damp Heat conditions. The bland flavor property is considered in addition to the basic five, and tends to aid areas unreachable by other flavors. Foods and herbs can have more than one taste or can incorporate all five.

Certain tastes are drawn to particular organ systems. As a basic and not absolute nutrition guide, salty tends toward the Kidneys and Bladder; sour to the Liver and Gall Bladder; bitter to the Heart and Small Intestine; spicy to the Lungs and Large Intestine; and sweet to the Spleen and Stomach.

The Chinese diet differentiates between six food groups: meats, fruit, dairy, vegetables, grains, and spices and herbs. Miscellaneous foods such as processed sugars, coffee and salt are considered superfluous.

The principles of yin and yang also apply to foods. Meats tend to be yang in energy, while vegetables are yin. As a very general nutrition guide, one can achieve balance by eating yang foods during winter (the most yin time of year) and yin foods in the summer (the most yang time of year). Sometimes it is appropriate to have a diet that is in tune with the season, and each individual requires different properties and energies in their diet.

A diet rich in grains and legumes and poor in fats and refined sugars frees qi so it can move through your system. This flow can cause negative emotions until it has a chance to become established. You should attempt a gradual and comfortable transition. To help the body purify itself, eat Liver-cleansing foods such as beets, carrots and burdock. It is also wise to work in conjunction with other aspects of healing, such as acupuncture and herbs.

When choosing dietary therapy, people with chronic sinusitis, general fatigue or digestive problems should change their diet immediately. For others, the transition should be more gradual in order to ease into a new nutrient system, because sudden changes can shock the body.

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Herb of the Month: Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)

Native Americans made a bitter brew from the yellow root (or rhizome). Used in small doses, Barberry tonic was reputed to be an effective treatment for heartburn, stomach upset, and ulcers. It was also held to stimulate appetite.

Barberry was used in European and American herbal treatments to aid many conditions, especially infections and stomach problems. It has also been used to treat skin conditions.

Active Constituents
Studies have determined that Barberry contains a number of physiologically active alkaloids, the most useful being 'Berberine', 'Berbamine', and 'Oxyacanthine'.

The bitter compounds in Barberry, including the alkaloids mentioned above, stimulate digestive function following meals.

Berberine can stimulate some immune system cells to function better, and has been found to exhibit some antibacterial activity, accounting for its traditional use as an antiseptic when applied to the skin. It can be used to treat diarrhea caused by bacteria such as E. coli.

All parts of the plant can be used. The plant is mainly used today as a tonic to improve the flow of bile and ameliorate conditions such as gallbladder pain, gallstones and jaundice. It should be used with caution.

Berberine has strong anti-microbial and fungicidal properties, aside from being particularly astringent and anti-inflammatory. It is said to make a good eyewash. Inflamed eyelids or conjunctivitis can benefit from the application of a compress.

Barberry is one of the best remedies for correcting liver function and promoting the flow of bile. It is indicated when there is an inflammation of the gall bladder or in the presence of gallstones. When jaundice occurs due to a congested state of the liver, Barberry is also indicated.

As a bitter tonic with mild laxative effects, it is used with weak or debilitated people to strengthen and cleanse the system. It has been used to reduce an enlarged spleen.

Barberry tea is used as a gargle to soothe sore throats.

For digestive conditions, Barberry is often combined with other bitter herbs, such as Gentian, in tincture form. Such mixtures are taken 15 to 20 minutes before a meal, usually 2-5 ml each time.

An ointment made from a 10% extract of Barberry can be applied to the skin three times per day.

A tea/infusion can be prepared using 2 grams of the herb in a cup of boiling water. This can be repeated two to three times daily.

For a decoction, put l teaspoonful of the bark into a cup of cold water and bring to the boil. Leave for l0-l5 minutes. This should be taken three times a day

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Chinese Wisdom: Quote of the Day

“Give those with whom you find yourself every consideration."

Sen no Rikyu