Yin and Yang
Modern physics explains the origin of our universe as an evolution: In the beginning there were gasses that combined to make matter, the energy derived from that action created the Big Bang. Similarly, in Ancient Taoism the beginning was the Void, from which the One was created, that split into two and then exploded into the myriad things. Chinese medical yin-yang theory like Taoism explains the motion and variation of all things in the natural world. In the beginning was Qi life force. Then came yin and yang two opposites in a bi-polar world, like each side of the sun, one sunny the other shady. They exist to complement and aid each other.
Reality is Change
The material world, including humans, conceives, develops and constantly varies under the motion and variation of Qi, that creates the interaction of yin and yang, Metaphorically speaking, yin and yang were explained as the heaven and the earth, day and night, water and fire, upper and lower, cold and heat. Heat rises, cold turns inward and descends.
Inside and Outside
This gives rise to the unique anatomy and physiology of traditional Chinese medicine TCM. The organs, fluids, blood, bones, bone marrow, deep muscle and organ tissue and connective tissue (and “extra” acupuncture meridians) are deeper inside the body. Fluids are relatively dark, cool, nourishing, moist and quiet: They belong to yin. Whereas the skin, muscles, and the functions of organs and internal processes are relatively superficial and active, therefore, yang. Yin and yang are relative to each other. For example, it is comparatively hot in summer and cooler in spring, so summer is more yang and spring more yin. In the northern hemisphere, it is colder in winter and warmer in spring, spring is more yang compared to winter. To stay healthy, we vary diet according to the season. Eating iced foods in winter increases cold.
Balance for Healing
We need both yin and yang. A person with a fever, thirst, insomnia and anxiety has more heat, has more yang; whereas weakness, chills, apathy, possible excess fluids and impotence require more yang, Keeping yin and yang working smoothly to support each other, to avoid excess from either, to avoid damage from outer forces, such as the weather and epidemic disease, as well as adaptogens that protect against fatigue and emotional turmoil is the work of TCM.
Detoxifying herbs that support Qi energy and prevent illness may be yin or yang in nature and effects. Often traditional Chinese herbal combinations use many types of herbs in order to help prevent side effects. Here is an example that is helpful for many people who suffer from pollution and inflammation:
We are bombarded daily by chemicals, pesticides, EMI waves from wifi, microwaves and our phone, also from stress, and germs. A cool ocean breeze is most welcome.
This herbal blend combines cooling, detoxifying herbs that reduce fever and may help prevent headaches and lung infection such as honeysuckle and Chinese chrysanthemum flower, forsythia fruit, schizonepeta, and coptis root which contains berberine. Digestive herbs peppermint and tangerine peel are added to help settle the stomach.
Phragmite rhizome is the stem of a reed that resembles a tall grass that is moistening for dry mouth and quenches thirst. There is an old Chinese saying: “drink reed tea in spring and mung bean soup in summer and you will live a long time.” (Mung is cooling.) The main medicinal parts of this herb are its roots (lu gen) and stems (wei jing), which have similar medicinal properties. The root is good at helping produce saliva and ease thirst while the stem helps clear lung inflammation. Dry mouth can result from weakened body resistance or from pathogens, smoking or cancer chemo therapy. Burdock root is high fiber added to the formula to enhance its liver-cleansing capacity. Peppermint and licorice are soothing for digestion.
Cool Breeze is named for kombu, a seaweed ingredient that is often cooked as dashi when making miso soup. It is highly valued as a food that contains essential minerals that help to tone the thyroid and boost immunity. Regular use of kombu is said to reduce environmental heavy metals from the body. Because of the high concentration of healthy glutamic acids, kombu is filled with umami flavor which has been described as “a pleasant savory broth or meat-like taste.” Kombu is not fishy tasting at all and has a briny, almost mushroom-like flavor.
Cool Breeze has a complex flavor and feels lightly refreshing. It may be used to help allay cold/flu discomfort including thirst, fever, sore throat and headache or may be used along with a sensible detox or slimming diet or during times of stress when we need a seaside vacation.
Honeysuckle flower, forsythia fruit, schizonepeta, great burdock achene, peppermint, licorice root, bamboo leaf, phragmite rhizome, coptis root & rhizome, tangerine peels, chrysanthemum flowers, kombu seaweed
People who are unfamiliar with Chinese herbs may find their smell and taste to be strong. We suggest that you become acquainted with them gradually. You might rinse the herbs with cold water and simmer for no more than 5 minutes. Strain the tea and reuse the herbs as long as the flavor lasts, each time cooking a little longer. Or you might rinse the herbs, add them to a large glass jar and make a sun tea by placing the jar in your window to catch the sunshine. Drink the liquid warm or cold after one day and refresh the water for several more times. Keep the brew in the refrigerator overnight.
For a stronger remedy, empty the package of herbs into – quarts of water and simmer them for 30 minutes. A non-metal pot works best. If you have it use a ceramic coated or glass pot. The same herbs may be used again, the second cooking can be as long as 1 hour. Inhale the steam to help clear sinus congestion and head and throat discomforts. Allow the mixture to cool until it is comfortably warm.
For fever, drink a small tea cup every two hours or as needed. If necessary you might add a little fresh lemon juice or raw honey to improve the flavor. Cold/flu teas and herbs are best used between meals so that they do not interfere with digestion.
If diarrhea occurs after using detoxifying herbs, reduce the dosage. Pregnant women should use laxative and detoxifying herbs only with the guidance of their doctor. If weakness occurs after several day’s use, baring allergy, you might use a tonic herb such as reishi mushroom. Please see Fatigue Fighter in this selection of Herbal Rescue teas.