Blog by Melissa and David Sokulski, L.Acs.

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Pumpkin Seeds Expel Parasites

Ancient Wisdom for Modern Health

Pumpkin Seeds Expel Parasites....my newest article on Natural News:

(NaturalNews) In ancient China, people used an herb called Nan Gua Zi - pumpkin seeds - to expel parasites, especially tapeworm and roundworm. Today parasites may be more of a problem than commonly thought. In Healing With Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford writes, "Various parasites infect a major percentage of the population." (1). He mentions that pinworms, roundworms, and tapeworms can proliferate in a weak digestive tract. ...read the rest of the article

I've now had nearly 20 articles published on Natural News! Make sure to check them out!

Thanks so much,

Melissa Sokulski, L.Ac.
Licensed Acupuncturist
The Birch Center for Health
(412) 381-0116

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We have raw recipes, information about Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and overall wellness information. Sign up today and receive your free gift: 10 Ways to Improve Your Health Right Now. We'd love to stay in touch. Thank you!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Boost Health and Vitality with Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Juices

With fresh fruit and vegetable juices, you are able to start the new year rejuvenated and full of energy. Making juices yourself at home enables you to concentrate vitamins and minerals from heaps of produce into a refreshing drink.

While fiber is excellent for your health in general,juicing actually removes the fiber, allowing the vitamins and minerals to enter your bloodstream fast. The sugars enter quickly, too. I like to water down all my juices (which are usually a combination of fruits and vegetables) so they are not too sweet.

The Center for Disease Control recently updated it's recommendation of "Five Fruits and Vegetable Servings a Day" in recognition that we all have different body types and needs. However, fresh fruits and vegetables are vital in all of our diets, and the CDC now often recommends more than five, based on age, gender, and level of activity. Juicing is a great addition to any diet, allowing you to easily get your servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

Some people even embark on juice fasts (or juice feasts), in which they drink only fresh fruit and vegetable juice for a given time: I've completed one for 42 days! When only drinking juices for a long period of time, it's important to drink a lot of vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, which contain a lot of minerals and protein. Having celery in juice is important, too, as it contains natural sodium which allows your nervous system and brain to continue to function at it's best.

Juices can be made at home in a variety of ways. First, you can purchase a juicer such as a Jack Lelane or the more expensive Champion or Green Star. Or you can use a blender and then strain it to remove the pulp (fiber). The ingredients should be very well blended, I usually add a bit of water to help things blend better. Then strain through a jelly bag, cheese cloth, or even a paint straining bag, which can be picked up at a hardware store for just a couple dollars.

Here are a few of my favorite juice recipes which have come from my juice feast and beyond:

Winter Warmer


  • 3 Apples
  • 5 Carrots
  • 1 cup fresh Cranberries
  • 1 inch knob of Ginger

Wild Earthy Juice

I love to harvest wild edible plants, and the following juice contains burdock root, which can be harvested anytime the ground isn't frozen, as long as the plant leaves are green and hasn't shot up a flower stalk (or is dead and brown with burrs.) But it's also sold at health food stores
and Asian markets (where it is sometimes known by it's Japanese name, Gobo)

  • 3 inch piece of burdock root
  • 3 apples
  • half lemon, (with peel if organic)
  • 1 inch ginger

Tabouli Juice


When I was on my long term juice feast, I craved savory juices, and so made juices based on my favorite dishes, which is how I came up with this one:

  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 4 stalks Celery
  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • handful fresh mint leaves
  • handful Parsley
  • 1/2 Lemon (with peel if organic)

Love,
Melissa and David Sokulski
Licensed Acupuncturists
The Birch Center for Health
(412) 381-0116

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We have raw recipes, information about Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and overall wellness information. Sign up today and receive your free gift: 10 Ways to Improve Your Health Right Now. We'd love to stay in touch. Thank you!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Winter and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Winter is the time of year which corresponds to our Kidneys and Bladder. It is the Water element, the color is black (or blue), and the emotion is fear.

Symptoms which may be associated with the Water element include

  • bladder and/or kidney infections
  • low back pain
  • knee pain
  • cavities in teeth
  • weak or broken bones
  • infertility
  • premature gray hair or hair loss
  • ringing in the ears
  • increase of phobias or fears

To strengthen the Water energy and keep the body in balance, it's important to keep yourself warm. Wear scarves around your neck and extra layers or scarves around your mid-section (in Japan, this is called a haramaki, or belly warmer: a tube of material which can be quite fashionable, which goes around your midsection to keep your abdomen and kidneys warm.)

If you are on a high raw or 100% raw food diet, you can add spices such as ginger to your juices and cinnamon to your foods. You can gently warm soups, and make sure to eat plenty of well blended food, as these meals are easier to digest. Fresh cranberries also make a nice addition to juices or purees this time of year, and help protect the bladder and kidneys from infection as well (especially if you are prone to this type of infection.)

Here is one of my favorite winter juice recipes:

Juice the following:

  • 5 carrots
  • 3 apples
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 inch knob fresh ginger

I usually add water to the juice, especially because this one is so sweet.

Warm miso soup is also a wonderful meal: heat the water and let it cool back down to ninety or one hundred degrees (warm to the touch.) Add scallions, sliced mushrooms, wakame (a sea vegetable), grated ginger and carrots, and miso, which is best first made into a paste with warm water and then added to the soup. Enjoy this soup warm.

In macrobiotic cooking, aduki beans and black beans are beneficial for the kidneys (these would be cooked beans; the macrobiotic tradition cooks the food.) Millet and winter squash are also good choices for balancing energy this time of year.

Herbs which benefit the kidneys are nettles, he shou wu (also known as Foti root), and the formula Liu Wei Di Huang Wan, or Rehmannia Six.

Now is a wonderful time of year to get acupuncture, especially if you notice any of the above symptoms. Points such as K3 and K6 on the ankle are helpful to boost the Kidney energy, as well as bladder points along the spine on the back. Moxibustion is wonderful this time of year to help add heat to the body via the acu-points, abdomen and meridians.

As always, we are happy to answer your questions. Please comment below, email us at BirchCenter@gmail.com or give us a call (412) 381-0116.

Thanks so much!

Love,
Melissa and David Sokulski
Licensed Acupuncturists
The Birch Center for Health
(412) 381-0116

Please sign up for our monthly newsletter! We have raw recipes, information about Acupuncture and Chinese medicine, and overall wellness information. Sign up today and receive your free gift: 10 Ways to Improve Your Health Right Now. We'd love to stay in touch. Thank you!