Blog by Melissa and David Sokulski, L.Acs.

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour

I got this email from my friend Trish, and wanted to share:

Tonight at 8:30pm, one billion people in more than 930 cities around the world will come together to make a bold statement about their concern about climate change by doing something simple...turning off their lights for one hour. Every individual every business and every community around the world is encouraged to switch off their lights to save energy. I hope all of you will join us this evening!

Here is Earth Hour's website, and here is info from Wikipedia.

Have fun in the candlelight!

Love,

Melissa

Please sign up for our monthly newsletters! We now have two to choose from (or you can get both):
  • All Points to Health: The newsletter about acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, and all goings-on at the Birch Center, including specials, walks, workshops and talks.
  • Thrive!: our newsletter devoted entirely to Wild Edibles!
Thank you!

www.BirchCenter.com

Nuisance, Nourishment or Natural Healer: Burdock

My article on Burdock is now out on Natural News!

Here's an exerpt:

(NaturalNews) Much maligned for the burrs that cover children's clothing and get caught in dogs' fur, this misunderstood weed is actually a highly valued plant for both food and medicine.

Burdock (Arctium lappa and Arctium minor) is easily recognizable
...

Read the whole article here! (You'll also find a recipe for Fermented Veggies with Burdock at the end of it!)

We will surely see burdock on our south side walk, scheduled for April 26...we hope to see you there! Check out our complete walk schedule, which is now posted on the right hand side of this blog, and also on our website.

We hope to see you soon!

Love to all,

Melissa Sokulski

Please sign up for our monthly newsletters! We now have two to choose from (or you can get both):
  • All Points to Health: The newsletter about acupuncture, Chinese Medicine, and all goings-on at the Birch Center, including specials, walks, workshops and talks.
  • Thrive!: our newsletter devoted entirely to Wild Edibles!
Thank you!

www.BirchCenter.com

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Natural News - East and West, Dandelion is Best

Here is an article I wrote about dandelions, which was published today by Mike Adams in Natural News!

(NaturalNews) It is the time of year to find dandelion greens emerging from the ground. Dandelion leaves are found in basal rosettes, and will stay this way even when it puts up its flower stalk. The leaves are hairless and sharply toothed (the name Dandelion means "tooth of lion.") ...

Read the complete article here.

The wild edibles are really coming up!!!

Our spring walk schedule is now posted on the right hand side of this blog, and also on our website.

We hope to see you soon!

Love to all,

Melissa Sokulski

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We have raw recipes, information about Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and overall wellness information. Thank you!

www.BirchCenter.com

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Treatment Tuesday: Acupuncturist David Sokulski

Many of you already know him, but I thought I'd take the time to introduce you to David Sokulski, acupuncturist at the Birch Center for Health.

David grew up in Plum Boro, PA (near Monroeville), and earned a degree in Chemistry from Duquesne University. He worked as a chemist for a few years before taking a year off to teach English in Osan City, South Korea.

When he returned from Korea, he attended the New England School of Acupuncture, outside of Boston, MA, where David earned his masters degree in acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine.

David returned to Pittsburgh in 2000 and opened The Birch Center for Health with wife (and acupuncturist) Melissa Sokulski. We have been in our current South Side location since 2005.

David sees the majority of patients at The Birch Center, working mainly Monday through Thursday, from 9 am until 9 pm.

Acupuncture is a treatment of the whole person, and David understands this well. He is a very observant practitioner, listening well to his clients, and treating the whole person. He has treated people with a vast array of conditions, from acute and chronic pain to digestive problems to infertility. (Please see our list of conditions that acupuncture has been proven successful for, from the World Health Organization.) He has treated professional actors, musicians and athletes as well as young children with autistic spectrum disorders.

In addition to Traditional Chinese style needling, David often uses adjunct therapies such as cupping, gua sha and moxibution when situations call for it (no extra charge for these treatments.) He will often also teach a parent, partner or friend to do these therapies (such as gua sha or moxa), helping people learn to help themselves and each other.

David also has extensive experience with herbal medicine and nutritional supplements, and when patients request, David is skilled at being able to tweak people's diets in even small ways that show dramatic results in people's health and well-being.

If you do have any questions for David or would like to schedule an appointment, he can be reached by phone at (412) 381-0116 or by email: BirchCenter@gmail.com.

Thanks so much!

Love to all,

Melissa Sokulski

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We have raw recipes, information about Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and overall wellness information. Thank you!

www.BirchCenter.com

Monday, March 16, 2009

Mmm...Monday: Garlic Mustard Pesto

A Tutorial on Garlic Mustard
written by me: Melissa Sokulski, L.Ac and herbalist of The Birch Center for Health

Garlic mustard (Alliaria officinalis or Alliaria petiolata) is one of the first wild edibles...and it's already up in Western Pa! It grows along shaded roadsides, woody paths, and other shady areas. It is actually an invasive weed and is easy to find in most places (more on that later.) Garlic Mustard is a biennial plant in the mustard family (Brassicareae.)

Garlic Mustard leaves first appear as heart-shaped coarsely-toothed and veined leaves close to the ground. They taste and smell (when crushed) strongly of garlic. Soon the second year plants will send up their flower stalk; the leaves will alternate along the flower stalk and become thinner, and white four-petaled flowers will appear at the top.

According to field guides, there are no poisonous look alikes and all parts of this plant are edible.

The leaves become bitter as the weather gets hot, so they are best collected in early spring and summer. They can be collected either from the ground rosettes or from the stalk.

Flowers and chopped leaves can be added to salads for a nice pungeant garlic flavor.

The roots can be collected in early spring and again in late fall, when no flower stalks are present. These are very spicy and taste like horseradish. The root can be chopped and steeped in apple cider vinegar for a spicy condiment.

In the fall the seeds, which have a mustard flavor, can be collected and eaten.

Garlic Mustard was brought to North America in the 1860's as a culinary herb and has become quite invasive, threatening both native plants and animals. Certain butterflies mistake the flowers of garlic mustard for Toothwort flowers, and lay their eggs on the garlic mustard, which is toxic to their larvae. The National Park Service recommends various management techniques such as hand removal to toxic herbicides to fire control. So when you see garlic mustard, now you have another excuse to sample and use this delicious wild edible plant.

Raw Garlic Mustard Pesto


1 1/2 cups garlic mustard leaves
1 1/2 cups spinach leaves
juice of 1/2 - 1 lemon (to taste)
1 clove garlic (or more to taste)
1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts
1/4 cup olive oil
salt or tamari to taste

Blend above ingredients in food processor or blender and enjoy over pasta, zucchini noodles, on a cracker or on zucchini or sweet potato rounds.

Caution: If you are unsure of a wild plant, please do not eat! Many wild plants are poisonous!

Please join us for our first Wild Edible Walk of the Year!

Place: Frick Nature Center - Earth Day Celebration
Day: Saturday, April 18, 2009
Time: 2:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Price: Free! (The city's picking up the tab for this one!)

For more information visit Frick's website, or visit our events page.

Much love,
Melissa Sokulski

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We have raw recipes, information about Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and overall wellness information. Thank you!

www.BirchCenter.com

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Treatment Tuesday...The Wood Element

Our March newsletter: Signs of Spring, is done and will go out any day! If you're not on our mailing list, please sign up here.

In this newsletter I talk about Spring (it's almost here!), and the wood element. The wood element is the element that relates to spring, the color green, the emotion anger, and the organs of the Liver and the Gallbladder.

When this element is out of balance, we may notice symptoms such as:

  • a feeling of stuck-ness in life, not being able to move forward
  • PMS and menstrual pain
  • headaches
  • stiffness and aches in joints
  • insomnia
  • not being well resting in the morning, finding it hard to get going


Along with other suggestions I offer in the newsletter -- such as getting outside, moving/exercising, and drinking dandelion tea (more on harvesting dandelions to make tea, coffee substitute, and tinctures in a future blog!) -- acupuncture and herbal medicine are often helpful.

There is a classic herbal formula called Xiao Yao San, or Rambling Formula, which specifically gets stuck Liver energy moving.

There is also a wonderful point combination: Liver 3 on the foot and Large Instestine 4 on the hand, which when paired are called The Four Gates. This treatment gently yet powerfully allows the energy in the entire body to flow freely.

Spring is an excellent time to come in for acupuncture. Wind is prevalent this time of year (you may have noticed the windy days!), and acupuncture helps keeps us strong and balanced, especially during the change of seasons, when we are most vulnerable to finding ourselves off balance, run down, and coming down with something. If you'd like to schedule an acupuncture treatment, please give us a call at (412) 381-0116.

In fact, I have heard the Stomach Flu is going around again. If you haven't seen it, check out this blog entry: What to Do if the Stomach Bug Gets You, which I wrote this past winter for ways to speed recovery from the stomach bug.

Thanks for reading...happy spring, and we hope to see you soon!

In health and joy,

David and Melissa Sokulski

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We have raw recipes, information about Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and overall wellness information. Thank you!

www.BirchCenter.com