Monthly Archives: February 2015

Our Environment Is Key

I want to share something very personal with you this month. It’s very controversial, so I often never mention it to my friends. My father is an addict. His father was an alcoholic and so was his father. Knowing this shameful part of my family history has been a weight on my heart, but also a motivator for me to learn all that I can to keep myself and my kids healthy so that we do not fall into the family history of addiction.

When I first learned about my father’s alcoholism and drug use, I assumed he didn’t have a strong will and was weak. After reading all I could on the subject, I became convinced that it wasn’t his character at fault but his brain. Science tells us that addicts become that way because of how their body reacts to certain substances. We now know, for example, that anyone can become addicted to anything, even sugar.

All of that learning has helped me to gain respect and compassion for my father instead of disappointment. As I have learned more at Hen Sen Herbs about natural health care, I think that often people fall into addiction as a way to try and help themselves. They feel better after drinking or smoking marijuana, but that begins a cycle of needing it to feel good and further damaging their body.

But, we all know there are recovery centers for this sort of thing that have been around for over a hundred years. That is true, and yet it doesn’t work for everyone. My father has been to rehab three times. Each time, he goes through the roller-coaster of recovery, and with his head all clear and his body feeling well, he promises to live a healthier lifestyle.

A few months to by and then he’s back to his old habits. I have always wondered why a father could feel better and make promises then break them, over and over again. A recent article about human behavior is helping me understand that we need more than just a recovery center. We need balance in our community to have a healthy life.

Author Johann Hari has written a book called, “Chasing The Scream: The First And Last Days of the War on Drugs” and argues that the cause of drug abuse is not as simple as a biochemical reaction in the brain. She writes about a study of rats done by Professor Alexander, where he created a “Rat Park” – basically an oasis where rats had plenty to do and plenty of good foods and water. They had a build in community and atmosphere that met their needs. They had one water source contaminated with cocaine, and another one without.

The rats tried both water sources, but most of them avoided the drugged water. Only a small number of them used it, but it didn’t cause any of them to become abusers or die. The next phase of his experiment was to turn some of them into addicts by isolating them and giving them only the drugged water for 57 days, and then returning them to the Rat Park. The results were surprising. After returning to their happy community, those rats recovered and went back to having a normal life!

Hari writes more about her research in the article, “The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, And It’s Not What You Think.” She suggests that those who use prescription pain pills after surgery are real life examples of the theory that with a good community, environment and life, most people won’t become drug users. Most people who use pain medicine after surgery recover and no longer take pills, but some do.

Personally, I find Hari’s observations and writing to be very logical, but I also know that health is not just a matter of balance on the outside, but the inside too. From Hen Sen Herbs, I have learned that our bodies are unique. What might cause one person to suffer from allergies, might not affect me. The key is to pay attention to our bodies and try to maintain balance. As I think about my father, I realize that he grew up in a culture and family where you are expected to keep up with your neighbors. That means working hard, partying hard and being happy with material possessions. But, I think we are more than that. We have a spiritual side, and are affected by our environment. That is why I will pay attention to my community, my internal as well as emotional healthy so that I don’t fall into the same pattern of addiction as my father.

I know this topic is a bit heavy, especially during the month of love, chocolates and decadent treats, but it’s really vital to keep loving ourselves and our community – we all matter!

How To Get Through Food Poisoning

It is pretty scary. One minute you could be enjoying your favorite food like juicy scallops, tuna drenched in mayonnaise, or a creamy potato salad. Then, oddly enough, you begin to feel that upset stomach creeping up on you. You get feverish, start to feel weak, uncomfortably and clammy, then all of a sudden you’re over a porcelain bowl, hurling up that once delicious dinner, and feeling absolutely sick. For anyone who has had food poisoning, this is no exaggeration (believe me I’ve been there). Food poisoning is a silent monster due to the fact that it hides in your food or water, containing all kinds of gross bacteria, nasty parasites, disgusting viruses, and toxins that can be odorless and invisible to the human eye.

Did you know that the CDC (Center of Disease Control) found that 1 out of 6 people get food poisoning each year in America? That’s like 48 million people getting sick from their food! Infectious germs can contaminate food at any point of processing or production. Contamination can also occur at home if food is incorrectly handled or cooked. So, when you buy food at the grocery store and bring it home, you’re often gambling on the fact that it’s safe to eat. It’s insane how many different diseases can cause food poisoning. Take a guess at how many different diseases can cause food poisoning. That’s right, 250! Some of the most common diseases that are caused by bacteria are: Salmonella, E. Coli, Listeria, Botulism, and Norovirus. Salmonella specifically sucks, because cookie dough rocks and it is just so tempting!

So, how do you know if you have food poisoning? Oh trust me, you’d know. The most common symptoms that occur while suffering through food poisoning are nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhea, abdominal pain/cramps, and fever. None of that sounds fun. Symptoms can start within hours after eating the contaminated food or they may begin days or even weeks later! The fact that food poisoning can linger in your system for that long is just horrifying, Sometimes if food poisoning is not treated immediately it could cause even worse symptoms – that’s right it could get worse. Imagine frequent episodes of vomiting, bloody vomit or stools, diarrhea for more than three days, extreme pain or severe abdominal cramping and a fever higher than 101.5 F. Never mind, don’t imagine that because that is really gnarly. But can you see how bad it can get?

Lets talk about treatments, as I mentioned before sometimes symptoms of food poisoning are immediate or can be dormant until it sneakily strikes a week later. So what can you do about it? Well luckily Hen Sen Herbs sells an all-natural supplement called Seirogan, which is touted to be effective! So, now you’re probably wondering, “Hmmm, okay, but, what is in it and what makes it so effective?”


The most active ingredient in Seirogan is Beechwood Creosote, which contains medicinal properties as an expectorant, antiseptic, astringent, and an anesthetic. This means that it specifically treats stomach-aches, diarrhea, food poisoning, vomiting, water contamination, soft stool, regulating stomach and intestine conditions, and pulpitis caused by tooth cavity aches. Sounds like just the thing when you are feeling miserable with an unruly stomach.

Let’s look at a bit of history to demonstrate its effectiveness. Believe it or not, this natural remedy dates back to 1902 when Mr. Saichi Nakajima obtained the license for drug sales for Chuyu-Seirogan from The Osaka Prefecture Government. Seirogan originated from Japan and during the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 the Royal Japanese Army was the first to use Seirogan as a gastrointestinal medication due to the contaminated water and other diseases that come with war. For over 100 years, let me say that again, 100 YEARS, Seirogan has been a common gastrointestinal solution for many across Asia and now here. Pretty amazing huh?

So what did we learn? All in all food poisoning is highly unpleasant. Although food can easily be contaminated, it is essential to keep yourself safe from food poisoning.

Some precautions to take while eating or making food are:

1. Always wash your hands before cooking,
2. Wash your food,
3. Check labels for expiration dates,
4. Keep food in the fridge if it needs to stay cold, don’t eat food that smells, looks, or tastes bad (use your senses!),
5. Buy food locally, and be aware of any food warnings and recalls.

Food can be enjoyable, as long as you take the necessary precautions to keeping yourself healthy from food poisoning. Thanks for reading 🙂

– Shaila Suleman

The Art of Gua Sha

When I was little, whenever I would get sick, my Grandma would treat me with Gua Sha. Gua sha is a traditional Chinese medical treatment in which the skin is scraped with a smooth edge coin or jade to produce light bruising, while using a lubricant like Kwan Loong Oil, until the skin becomes red. This helps opens the blood scapular and increase blood circulation and healing, basically to scape the illness away. Even today, I still perform this for my family and patients.

This method works for the common cold. We can try to not catch it, but a cold is the most common infectious disease in humans and accounts for more time lost from work or school than any other disease. It is an acute viral infection that generally causes inflammation of the upper respiratory tract Gua Sha treatment works on the thermal dynamic principal, which is when heat opens and cold closes. As we catch a cold, the pore closes, but Gua Sha stimulates and increase volume and flow of the blood cells. The heat opens and is able to move the stagnant blood.

Gua Sha is also commonly used to treat pain and such conditions as asthma, bronchitis, cold, flu, fever, heat stroke, fibromyalgia, strains and muscle spasms. Gua Sha helps restore the body’s natural biological balance.
As I am writing this I watched a movie called, “The Gua Sha Treatment” that was made in 2001. I believe it is worth watching as it opens your eyes to China’s culture conflicts and experiences in Chinese Families here in America.
Being raised in Seattle Chinatown, my grandma was well known for performing Gua Sha and Cupping, She would always have me take preventive cold/ flu herbal teas as we went through the change of seasons.

In China, it is common for the family medicine cabinet to include preventive herbal teas, and there are even herbal tea shops that precooks the teas, made to go. You can pick up our prevention cold and tea regimen on or simply call us and we can send you what you need.



On February 19 we celebrate Chinese New Year, and I want to wish you:
“Kung Hei Fat Choy!”
It means: May Prosperity Be With You !!! Chinese New Year is a celebration of family, friends and the nature around us, to build strength and kindness. With great respect,
Love, Juli

2015 – This is the year of Sheep
Sheep is the 8th animal in 12 zodiac signs. Characteristics of people born in the year of Sheep are tender, polite, filial, clever, and kind-hearted. They have special sensitivity to art and beauty, faith in a certain religion and a special fondness for quiet living. They are wise, gentle and compassionate and can cope with business cautiously and circumspectly. In their daily life, they try to be economical. Women born in this year are willing to take good care of others, but they should avoid pessimism and hesitation. They are kind in heart and commonly have symmetrical figures and features…..”Baa, baa, baa….”