Monthly Archives: September 2014

The Power Of Your Sixth Sense

I started very young at age 12, wanting to be a great herbalist like my father. I think the toughest teaching was the mind, how our inner emotion can effect our body and our out come in life. Early on, I was learning to cope with life and death. It is not about the day we are born or the day we pass, it is about how we lived our life and the difference we made that counts. My father taught me when he passed away, he would still there with me and my mission was to create a village to pass on the knowledge that he has left to me. To create great health, it takes lots of discipline and commitment.

There is an old saying that I love:

“If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years, teach the people.”

I may not be the smartest or the fastest learner, but I am a practitioner and healer that is patient. I am dedicated and believe in keeping a reputation to do the best I can. I believe in the mind, the consciousness and knowledge. The door of the mind refers to our thoughts, emotions and mental images. Each experience is received in this way and is colored by a feeling tone, which is either pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. The relation of the mind, consciousness and knowledge helps us maintain our health and be aware of our inner wisdom.

We are gifted with the six senses: our sight, smell, taste, hearing and touch are the five most well know senses, the most important is the sixth sense: is the thought. The sixth sense is also called the sixth consciousness. These correspond to the sixth sense organs: eyes, nose, tongue, ears, body and the mind. This is what I wanted to share with you, the importance of our sixth sense to our health.

Kaz reminds me of the importance of keeping my emotions in balance. I am reminded to take my CE pills, I do get hormonally out of balance and for men either the DTF to support the Kidneys (essence of life) or DL pills for liver yang, liver is the organ of emotions. If it doesn’t serve you , get rid of it and don’t borrow trouble. Stay well and pay attention to your balance through all six senses.

Love, Juli

Why We All Need To Take A Hike

Did you spend any time in nature this summer? We did a lot of hiking, both on small trails in parks around Seattle, and a few out on the North Olympic Peninsula. I was surprised by how much walking and hiking I can do in nature compared to walking around Seattle. And, I felt much more refreshed after our longer hikes than I do walking in my own neighborhood.

So, that got me thinking and wondering if it’s better for the body to walk in nature rather than the city. After some research I found some fascinating studies. The most relevant was this excerpt from PS Magazine’s article, “For Good Health: Take A Hike!” below:

“In fact, they found that taking a hike in the countryside reduces depression, whereas walking in a shopping center increases depression. Results from the 2007 study showed that 71 percent reported decreased levels of depression after hiking, while 22 percent of the participants felt their depression increased after walking through an indoor shopping center. Ninety percent reported their self-esteem increased after the nature hike, while 44 percent reported decreased self-esteem after walking around the shopping center. Eighty-eight percent of people reported improved mood after hiking, while 44.5 percent reported feeling in a worse mood after the shopping-center walk.”

Beach Hike at Tongue Point at Salt Creek.

Beach Hike at Tongue Point at Salt Creek.

Now, I am not an expert, but I have a pretty good idea about why a person might feel better after hiking in nature versus a shopping mall. In nature, there are pleasant sounds of birds singing, the leaves in the wind rustling, and colors that are gentle. It usually provides a quite time where you will notice your breathing and pay attention to where you are walking.

In a shopping center, there are displays competing for your attention, different music playing in each shop and people paid to get your attention at their kiosk stalls. It’s a lot of visual and auditory input, not to mention the mental juggling required to process all of the cues that tell you to buy more. For some, the whole experience may be over-stimulating! But, I do know a few people who love to shop and hunt for bargains like it’s a sport.
When most people talk about hiking, they usually think of it like it’s a sport too. You hear about someone who hiked a mountain or about all of the gear required like special boots, clothing and backpacks.

Forest Hike to Lake Wenatchee.

Forest Hike to Lake Wenatchee.

The truth is that you don’t need expensive gear and great stamina to go and enjoy some light hiking. All you really need is comfortable clothing, shoes or boots and the time to do it. There are hikes just outside the city designed for beginners and people with children. Some of the big hot spots for hiking like Mount Rainier has smaller trails and areas around the interpretive center for light hiking.

City Hike in Seattle along Longfellow Creek.

City Hike in Seattle along Longfellow Creek.

And, there are several parks within the city that has hiking trails or walking trails completely surrounded by nature.

Here are my top 3 tips for taking a hike:

1. Choose a hike that fits your ability. Are you going for the first time? Are you looking for a view to reward your hike? Are you bringing the kids along?
2. Dress appropriately. You don’t need hiking boots for short hikes and trails that are well groomed with gravel or board walks, Tennis shoes will work just fine. But if you are hiking an area with mud, a steep hill or uneven paths, hiking boots are a good idea. Also, dress in layers. It can be chilly in the woods, but you will warm up as your body is moving.
3. Pack supplies: water, a trail map and a snack is always a good idea no matter how long or short your hike is going to be.

Hiking is something I believe anyone can do, and it’s just a matter of finding a hike that’s right for you. Just like running isn’t just for marathon runners, hiking isn’t just for those who climb mountains. It’s the best way to get surrounded by nature!

Despite the cooler weather coming this fall, get out into nature and take a hike. It’s good for the body and mind.

Warmly, Holli Margell, Editor

What Robin Williams Didn’t Know Can Save Your Life

Depression is a serious mental illness that affects millions of people all over the country. Many suffer from an emotional roller coaster that alternates from mild discomfort to almost uncontrollable panic attacks. In order to make life more manageable, many people depend on medications undesirable side effects. Drugs for mental illness are also tremendously profitable business for the pharmaceutical industry. Billions of dollars are spent annually on anti-depressants.

Here at Hen Sen Herbs, we have noticed many of our patients who went to see a doctor for minor illnesses were put on an anti-depressant just because the doctor believes that there is a slight chance that a patient might experience some anxiety in the future, which is completely wrong and totally unnecessary from our point of view. Not only is it unnecessary, it causes more damage to your system and you may actually end up with real mental illness. Then a doctor would have a justifiable excuse to prescribe more anti-depressant to you. Now you are caught in the trap.

It is very hard to get off the drug unless you are tough enough to get off on your own or are fortunate enough to be introduced to natural alternatives to cleanse your system out and bring the total balance and strength back to your internal organs. Ironically, when you suffer mental illness, it is extremely hard to make a right (healthy) decision for yourself. You are at the mercy of a doctor and accepting anything he suggests: usually more of unnecessary drugs, abrasive testing and even surgeries. I am not talking about conspiracy theory here. I am talking about the real patients at Hen Sen Herbs who got into real messy health problems because of what doctors have done to them.

Recently, we had a patient who went to the doctor for minor fatigue. In the period of 3 months, after several tests and multiple drugs including an anti-depressant, he was scheduled to go into dialysis the very next day when he came to see Juli. What they did to him made Juli really mad, because everything they did and all the drugs they prescribe to him were known to cause kidney to malfunction which eventually led to dialysis. All he was experiencing before seeing the doctor was fatigue without any sign of serious kidney issue. Luckily Juli was able to convince him not to go through with dialysis just in time.

Last month, one of the nation’s most beloved actor-comedians, Robin Williams, committed suicide. He had been suffering from depression pretty much since the beginning of his career. He started drinking heavily to cope with the stress and the constant pressure to perform at his best on the daily basis. He became addicted to cocaine and his drug addiction continued until his fellow comedian, John Belushi, died from drug overdose.

Williams had supposedly been off alcohol and illegal drugs for many years (or maybe off and on, who knows what was really going on in his real personal life.). My guess is he had never been able to stay completely free of addictive substances in his entire career. It seems that cocktails of prescription pills including the drug treating the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease contributed to the further deterioration of his mental health. So what can we learn from this? Is it important to know what triggered the decision to end his life? Or do you want to know what causes mental illness in the first place so that you know how to prevent it?

In traditional Chinese medicine, mental disorders such as depression are attributed to an imbalance or blockage in one or more organs and meridians that are associated with them. All the internal organs are interrelated and must work in harmony in order to function at the optimal level. In this sense every organ is responsible for your mental health. Some of the important organs closely associated with emotions are liver, spleen, heart, lungs and kidneys. An experienced herbalist understands that balancing these organ is the key to the mental health. However, helping a patient understand the cause and effect, how to prevent any mental disorder is more important than anything else. The relationship between cause and effect can be a bit complicated though.

Here is an example: Let’s say a patient experienced the loss of family member and went through a nasty divorce at the same time that caused her severe emotional imbalance – sadness, anger or mix of both – which immediately weaken the health of the liver. This stagnant liver caused her to lose sleep, which in turn made her more irritable and angry. During a day at work, her sadness, irritability, anger affected the relationship with co-workers as well as her boss. Not only was she stressed at work – which weakened her liver further – she lost her job because of less than unsatisfactory performance. She suddenly found herself overeating and become increasingly dependent on alcohol to escape from reality, not realizing that bad diet and alcohol was severely damaging her liver and spleen. Not to mention liver heat and a weak spleen caused her digestion system to become very sluggish resulted in sudden weigh gain from constipation. The loss of self-esteem from weigh gain combined with the financial worry from losing job sent her spiral down to constant anxiety and depression.

An anti-depressant along with other medications prescribed by the doctor was the last straw. Toxicity from medications added the fire to already heated liver resulted in much more severe depression followed by heavier drinking and possible abuse of illegal substances just like the actor Robin Williams mentioned above. What’s the next step? More drugs? Or Suicide?

I know this is an extreme illustration, but it is what happens to many people all over the world. So, the point here is not to scare you. I want you to understand the relationship between the health of organs, especially the liver, and the emotions as well as what could happen if it’s not treated at an early stage of anxiety and depression. A trained herbalist can spot and correct imbalance through the use of herbs. But you must remember that the causes of the imbalance derived from the chain of events in your life. They must be either eliminated or adjusted to more manageable level in order to prevent the recurrence of depression and anxiety.

– Kaz Isogai