Blog by Melissa and David Sokulski, L.Acs.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hawthorn Berries, Shan Zha

One thing you can do in a kitchen clear of clutter is make medicines for yourself from the many wild plants that grow abundantly all around.


In Chinese medicine hawthorn berries, (Crataegus sp.) or Shan Zha, were used for thousands of years to benefit digestion.  Western herbalists used hawthorn to benefit the heart and circulation. The Chinese recently did their own studies on this and found indeed that hawthorn is very beneficial to the heart. Now the hawthorn is used both ways in the East.

Below is a simple vinegar I am making by steeping hawthorn berries in apple cider vinegar. I will leave it at least 6 weeks. The berries are coming above the vinegar so if they don’t drop into the vinegar in a day or so I may crush the berries to see if that helps. It’s best to have them submerged so they don’t mold. Also, I used a plastic lid…metal corrodes with vinegar.

I also made fermented soda, fruit butter and a shrub, which is a concentrated mixture of vinegar, fruit and sugar. Shrubs are often drunk on seltzer water or alcohol (I prefer the seltzer.)

Visit our sister website Food Under Foot to see the pictures and information on the rest of the ways I put up the Hawthorn berries.

Two other ways to take advantage of the medicinal properties of hawthorn are to make a tincture (soaking the berries in alcohol like vodka) or an apertif, which is a nice way to use hawthorns to help digestion.

And remember, now is an excellent time for an acupuncture tune up or to begin treatments again. Please give us a call today to schedule your appointment: (412) 381-0116.
 
In health,
David and Melissa Sokulski
licensed acupuncturists

The Birch Center for Acupuncture
(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!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Kitchen Feng Shui

Feng Shui is a Chinese principle that pertains to the energy flow of your surroundings - usually your home, office, or any place you spend a lot of time. Literally meaning "wind water" the ease which energy flows through an area is thought to have a direct impact on your health and well being.

Like any ancient art, there is a lot to feng shui - many different schools of thought and interpretations. You can go into fine details of exactly how homes are mapped out or just step into your space and get a sense of how it feels: open or stuffy, cluttered or clear?

This is the season of late summer, which corresponds to the Earth element and digestion. What better place to start with feng shui than our kitchens? Feng Shui practitioners believe that the kitchen impacts not only our health but our luck and abundance. We want our kitchens to be light and bright, clear and clean.

Instead of going into the technical nitty gritty of which corner of our kitchen reflects marriage, which area family life, work, love, luck, health, etc. let's go for overall feel and general energy flow.

How does your kitchen look? Are dirty dishes piled up? Are your counters clear or are there appliances crowded on that you hardly use? How about your fridge? Can you find things easily or does it sort of smell and have unrecognizable containers of leftovers that could pass as science experiments?

How do I know about all these things I wonder...?? Yes, I'm right there with you! This is my ongoing project as well: cleaning the fridge, clearing the counters, filling jars with dried herbs (instead of leaving them in paper bags cluttering counters.)

The goal is to have a clear, light, bright, clutter-free kitchen with lots of space to prepare healthy wonderful meals for yourself and your family. If you feel overwhelmed by the state of your home or health, the kitchen is the place to start.

A great website for help with clutter clearing and cleaning is Fly Lady. In fact, she too starts in the kitchen: cleaning the kitchen sink, which is a great idea of a place to start for this kitchen feng shui project.

Before you do anything else: clean and put away all the dirty dishes. If you have a dish washer load, run and clear it. If you're washing dishes by hand, go ahead and do that now, and don't forget to dry and put them away. Then wash your sink. It's a great place to begin.

Another thing I learned from Flylady is to set a timer for 15 minutes. That is what I do in my kitchen at least twice a day. I set it for 15 minutes and: put the dishes away, clean the counters, deal with leftovers and food left out, put appliances away, sweep floor, whatever needs to be done I do until the timer goes off.

Let's get our kitchens clean and clear and ready for all the great healthful recipes I will be posting soon!!

And remember, now is an excellent time for an acupuncture tune up or to begin treatments again. Please give us a call today to schedule your appointment: (412) 381-0116.

In health,
David and Melissa Sokulski
licensed acupuncturists

The Birch Center for Acupuncture
(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!