Category Archives: Chinese Medicine

Three Principal Causes of Disharmony That Brings About Diseases

“What is the cause?” According to Chinese pathology there are three principal causes of disharmony that brings about diseases: external factors, emotions and irregularities in day-to-day living. Of the main five organs (Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lung and Kidney) which one(s) is causing the illness and what is causing the organ(s) to become imbalanced? Each organ has a Yin and Yang element within, and it is the imbalance between them that leads to disease. Through diagnosis the Herbalist hopes to balance the patients system by first cleansing it, then soothing it and finally by building up the patients system and entire condition. However, without the patient’s cooperation in maintaining a proper diet and lifestyle the herbalist and patient will be running a circle.v

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, summer belongs to fire, one of the five elements. The fire dries, and is associated ailments include fever, inflammation, constipation and frequent urination. On the emotions, this often causes irritability, lack of concentration and manic behavior. In children it can sometimes result in hyperactivity. More commonly, summer heat causes heat stroke, exhaustion and dehydration.

To prevent summer illness, you need self-discipline. The self-discipline to drink plenty of clean filtered water with slices of lemon and cucumber throughout the day. The self- discipline to eat light and less greasy diet. Introduce some cool Yin foods into your diet such as watercress, cucumber, and lettuce. Avoid outdoor activities in peak heat from 2pm-4:30 pm around the Pacific Northwest. Rest in midday, take a nap. Last and most important refrain from anger, keep calm and even tempered.

I go for the good, then I celebrate and quickly I fall back to old habits, because it’s a trick of the mind with self-discipline. This season, I encourage you to challenge yourself with these suggestions and see how it changes you!


How to Obtain the Magic Healing Power of Herbs: If Only You Are Willing to Wait

When I was in college, I took a course on child education. We did an experiment with two children to test how patient they can be and what their motivation is when it comes to rewards. Our subjects were twin girls at the age of 5. They didn’t know why they were coming in or what was going to happen. Our experiment began with separating the twins into 2 different rooms. One room had our subject Stacey, and the other had her sister Valerie. They couldn’t see, or hear each other between the room which validated that they won’t copy each other and there are no other influences. This experiment we were testing is called the marshmallow test. By tempting the child with a marshmallow on a plate you explain that if they are willing to wait 10 minutes without eating the marshmallow, you will be rewarded a second marshmallow at the end of the 10 minutes. But if the subject eats the marshmallow before the 10 minutes are up, there will not be a second marshmallow.

The experiment began when the instructors explained the rules to the girls in their separate rooms and the instructors placed the giant, delicious marshmallow in front of them and then left the room. We were able to monitor them through a tinted window but they weren’t able to see us. We watched the instructors leave the room and as they did, the girls’ eyes were locked on the marshmallows. Stacey would try and distract herself, avoiding the temptation by poking the marshmallow, looking at other things, playing with her fingers. 5 minutes have gone by and she is still avoiding the temptation. She would lie on her hands just staring at the marshmallow, until the 10 minute mark hit and the instructor came and congratulated her with praise for being patient and gave her a second marshmallow. Now as for Valerie, the minute the instructor walked out, Valerie was poking and prodding the marshmallow, all her focus was on that marshmallow. She would sit and pick it up lick at it but not eat it, then place it back on the plate. As far as 7 minutes into the experiment the temptation was too much and she was ready to chow down on the delicious treat, which we could see she thoroughly enjoyed. At 10 minutes the instructor came in and asking, “What happened to your marshmallow?” as Valerie shrugged with innocence. And she clearly didn’t get a second marshmallow.

With two opposite results, we found that some kids have the patience to wait to reap the benefits of a greater reward while others want what they want then and now getting the satisfaction when they please. This shows in their personality where Stacey is more introverted, patient, and shy and Valerie more boisterous, extraverted, and is confident in what she wants. Now you may be asking what does this story has to do with herbs?

More and more over the years, patients ask me about our herbal treatments, how it works, what the process is and the most prominent question is, “how long is this going to take?” For years this question asked over and over again and the answer is always, “I don’t know.” So many factors go into the healing process it is impossible to know the exact amount of time it will take for you to get better, and anyone who is in the health care profession that claims to know how long a treatment will take or how long it will take for you to heal then they are obviously lying and fabricating the idea that your problems will go away fast which it doesn’t.

When it comes to health and specifically herbal treatments, time is your enemy or your friend whichever way you want to look at it, but time is a major factor. Everyone expects magic herbs that will all of a sudden heal their ailment in a moment’s notice. But the reality of it is this, whatever time it took you to acquire this ailment or illness is about the same amount of time it will take to cure it or even longer!

Unless you like the concept of western medicine where they will cure your symptoms by giving you magic antibiotic pills that will make things worse in the long run but take care of your current symptoms right away then go for it! There is your “magic” cure. But when it comes to herbal medicine, the herbs work to build your immune system to work with your body, not against it, and after years of mistreating, years of poor eating, and years of bad habits, it will take a long while to build that immunity back.

The herbs start by detoxifying the body. If we have to put a time frame on it, usually 3 months is about when the detoxification process is at its peak, that is if you are eating right, exercising, drinking water, sleeping well, not in stress, and taking the herbs to detox on a regular basis. In 3 months any one of the factors I mentioned can be interfered with so that time gets extended to 5-6 months. Right there you are at 6 months into the healing process.

The second part of the process is building your immune system back up. If you are still continuously making the better, healthy choices then your immunity builds up to heal whatever your health problems are. But if you are still in the detoxification process than it will still take longer for you to build the immunity.

As time drags on you are wondering, will I ever get better? The answer is up to you! It is your choices, your habits, and your willingness to achieve optimal health. You are the one that wants to get better, so work toward it! For examples sake you won’t simply get a marshmallow just because you asked for it! It requires patience.

Patience is a rather difficult virtue to obtain this day and age. Everything is so fast paced, fast food, fast cars, fast commercials, fast schedules who has time to be patient? You’ve got better things to do rather than work with your ailment or illness. But it is that very mindset that gets you in trouble in the first place. Have you ever had a project where you worked through it real fast but the outcome of the project was only half –assed and not as great as it could have been if you were to take time and do it right? The same applies to health. The more you tend to your health and the more time and effort you put into it, the more likely you will get better fully.

It’s easy to fantasize that there is a magic cure that can make things better right away, but with patience, you will find that when you work toward improving yourself, let the herbs take its course, and let time heal your wounds then and only then will you achieve optimal health. The old saying goes, good things will come to those who wait. Just wait…and you will get the marshmallow, maybe even two!

You Are What’s Important To You

Your health is a reflection of how you take care of yourself. When I got married to Kaz, he made a funny joke that, “I better not get fat.” In return, he better not become bald (please don’t tell my husband). I kept mind of it, I love myself, and the chances that I will get fat isn’t a worry. I knew that if I became fat, it was because I didn’t take care of myself, I didn’t eat right. Growing up, we only ate at home. Eating out was unheard of, and having a snack meant eating fruit or vegetables. That was my upbringing and although here and there I do eat out and snack on junk food, it isn’t a bad habit. I learned to stop and do my best to stick with our Bland Diet Sheet. Is food important to you? I think the new sensational food fads are over rated. You will constantly hear of new findings in science about diets, and diet interventions. I don’t believe in special diets like the protein diets or all fruit diets or even juicing. If weight is the problem, stop eating bad and create a balanced meal. Start changing your life style. Science has nothing to do with our eating habits, it is our own discipline. And when you don’t feel well do something about it.

Food is highly important for our own existence. For survival needs, people everywhere could eat the same food, to be measured only in calories, fats, carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins. But people of different backgrounds or cultures eat very differently. You might say that different cultures have different food choices. (The word choice is used here not necessarily in an active sense, granting the possibility that some choices could be imposed rather than selected.) We see how food habits change and seek to explore the reasons and consequences. You are what you eat! What may work well for one may be bad for others.

The Chinese diet has a long, complicated history, based on thousands of years of Chinese medicine. Chinese culture is based on the philosophy of “yin” and “yang”, as well as the “Five Elements.” From medicine, and martial arts, to dance, and cooking Chinese culture is built on a foundation of balance, harmony, contrast, and adapting to change.

Part of that balance can be implemented with food. Each organ is tied to an element and a taste. For example, bitter is tied to the heart and fire. Sweet: spleen/earth, sour: liver/wood, spicy: lungs/metal, salty: kidneys/water.) In building a healthy meal, all five of these tastes should be incorporated. That is said to keep the body in balance, which in turn protects it from disease.


What Else Could Get Rid of a Cold In 3 Days?

Have you been feeling sick beyond belief? Who has time to sit and be miserable with the cold and flu? Seeing that we will be experiencing another three weeks of more freezing cold winter weather, it is a great idea to help prepare yourself with a remedy that can kick that nasty cold and make you feel better in less than three days.

Our tea regimen is guaranteed to help clear a sore throat, ease that stuffy nose feeling, relieve headaches from sinus congestion, and hydrate your body when you are experiencing a fever.
Gum Wall Tea and Lok Wo Cha are the perfect combination of herbs to help with the cold and flu symptoms and leave you feeling so much better.

Follow these instructions to help create this perfect cold fighting tea!

1. Pour 3 cups of water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil and add 1 box of the Gum Wall Tea and 1 box of the Lok Wo Cha

2. Cook on low-medium heat for 15 minutes with the lid on (very crucial part, this makes a difference on how the tea will taste…I know from experience so trust me on this.)

3. After 15 minutes just let the tea steep for an extra 5 minutes

4. Strain into 2 separate cups; drink 1 cup in the morning and 1 cup at night.
5. Add 1 slice of fresh
ginger root if you are feeling any nausea or fever for good measure.

Repeat these steps for 3 days and watch as you start to feel better! Seriously it is so simple and you’ll be glad your tried it.

Stay warm, eat light, and take good care of yourself!

The Chinese New Year 2017

The Chinese New Year is a celebration of family tradition, cultural foods and happiness. My greatest memories of this holiday are of the shared stories behind the tradition. Family tradition is knowledge that has been and continues to be passed down through the generations by visual and oral means, rather than via book learning or google searches. There is no gender divide in the role of passing on this knowledge, although it would be correct to say that it is mostly done by women and grandparents, who adopt the role of care givers in most traditional households.

Every culture in the world has their own folk medicine tradition and various herbal remedies for treating illnesses and diseases. Folk medicine is a compilation of formulae used by the general public to treat certain conditions without reference to a complete system of medicine. In some publications, folk medicines are called “secret formulae.” As a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, many patient complain about the bitter taste of the herbs, but such taste can be acquired or developed. Here in the United States, we are spoiled by our pallets. If it doesn’t taste good, we won’t want to eat it, and we salt before we taste. We have to train our kids early on that bitter is good and that it can bring healing. In addition, many conventional physicians have no knowledge or understanding of Chinese Herbs, Cupping, or Gua Sha, so these treatments are automatically assumed to be ineffective or outright bad. This is in part because TMC isn’t science proven by lab rats or clinical studies, it is proven and experienced by humans.

According to Chinese tradition, one cannot achieve a state of good health without first creating a harmonious relationship with Nature or Tradition. If you feel you’ve lost control of your health or other important parts of your life, Chinese New Year is a wonderful time to regain your balance. In the West, the New Year often brings a renewed focus on diet and exercise. In the East, however, the Chinese New Year brings a renewed perspective of the whole person: body, mind and spirit. In traditional Chinese medicine, we think of health and wellness in terms of balance. Everything — physical, emotional, mental and spiritual — is connected. Your physical well-being impacts your spirit. When I see patients who have been in chronic pain for many years, their quality of life has been severely impaired. This impacts their spirit. Many lose the sparkle in their eyes, and brightness in their voices. Disease is perceived as a disharmony (or imbalance) in the functions of the interaction between the human body and the environment. Therapy is based on which “pattern of disharmony” can be identified. It is also known to be the most difficult aspect of practicing TCM.

Taifu Plus Helps During The Holidays

With the Holidays around the corner, we need to focus on better eating habits, emotional eating and sleeping patterns. During this season, Taifu Plus is often used, as our Holiday Foods are mostly meats, a pound of butter in each dish and plenty of sugar that will definitely lower your Serotonin that contributes to depression and Candida over-load.

Have you ever wondered what Taifu means? Taifu means doctor. My father created the Taifu pills back in the 1950’s. He created them as a Digestive Aid understanding that something from the environment, some kind of toxin was a contributor of diseases. Perhaps more importantly for our current concerns, other than what we eat that causes problems, the bigger concern points to emotional contributions to the development of diseases, the need and the want, simply the “I can’t live without” addiction. CE has been created to balance the Liver and Spleen, the organs that reflect emotions.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we warn that irregular eating habits undermine the digestion and aggravate existing problems. Lack of nourishment can cause dizziness and fatigue called Spleen deficiency. The most common symptom is loss of appetite; some people feel dizzy, weak, get headaches and feel chest pains. Women are more likely to suffer than men.

Every year as we go through the change of season from Autumn to Winter. These winter months attribute to higher chances of flu, as our kids bring it home it continues to spread throughout the whole household. If it’s a virus, cook up the Cold and Flu regimen add a few slices of fresh ginger root and sweat it out. As I was growing up, grandma would perform Gua Sha she calls it a change of season and if our eyes are weak and pale face she’ll apply Kwan Loong oil and use a jade to scrape the illness away.

What is Gua Sha? Gua Sha is used to treat as well as prevent the common cold, flu, bronchitis, asthma, and pain both acute and chronic. It is also used to detoxify the body, and fevers as the scraping brings the excess heat and toxins to the surface of the body to be released. If you have coughing, we quickly combine Gua Sha with Cupping. Cupping can heal your cough and clear your lungs.

We sleep late, eat late, eating foods that is way too rich that we shouldn’t, drink all that we shouldn’t and finally it’s the stress that we put our self and others. For this coming holiday season, my gift to you is to start a new tradition.: focus on yourself, get plenty of sleep by going to bed early, eat less and spend quality time with your family and friends. Money can’t buy health and surround yourself with lots of great moments. Take great care of yourself and you may like it. I love it.

With love,

Traditinoal Chinese Soups That Heal

Fall is here, and so are many sweet treats at holiday parties and school functions. Along with the tasty treats, you start to notice more and more people coming down with the seasonal cold or flu. While having too many sweets is part of the problem, the other part is that we are spending more and more time indoors with lots of people. One of my favorite ways to stay healthy during this season is with soups.

Many cultures have soup recipes that get passed down from generation to generation. And while Americans we often think of Chicken Soup when we get sick, the Traditional Chinese culture has many other soup recipes, specific to different kinds of illnesses. The most common is more like a hot breakfast cereal or hot rice porridge called Congee.

With simple ingredients of water and white rice, Congee is gentle on the stomach during a cold or the flu. Instead of hard crackers, or bland toast, Congee is a bit more comforting since it’s warm and can hold a bit of flavor from a slice of ginger added during the cooking process to a handful of Goji berries. We have the recipe on our website and blog: Congee Recipe

Another wonderful example is Ching Bo Leung Soup. It is made for general well being support and focuses on nourishing the kidneys and lungs. You can access the recipe for it on our blog at Ching Bo Leung Soup

And, Chinese Mustard Green Soup is well known for support when you are battling a cold. Kaz wrote a fun story up about the history of how the recipe became so popular. For that recipe, visit the website too: Chinese Mustard Green Soup/

Yes, some of the ingredients are hard to find, but also fun because you get to go explore and Asian grocery story.

While you enjoy reading our article this month on Candida and the importance of noticing if you’re eating too much sugar and grains, remember that while you may start thinking about how hard an elimination diet is, you can try some new recipes and explore ways to support the body with soup!

Summer Survival: Purines and what they mean

Year after year we look forward to Seattle Summer. Finally the rain has stopped and sun is back. All the summer health problems are back, from the allergies, the mosquito bites and worst of all the inflammation.

Purines are a natural substance found in some foods. When your body digests purine, a waste product called uric acid is produced. When excess uric acid in the bloodstream builds too quickly or can’t be eliminated fast enough, it is deposited as needle-shaped crystals in the tissues of the body, including joints, causing intense pain (experienced as Gout). Increased meat and seafood intake is associated with approximately a 50 percent higher risk. Those in their 40’s or 50’s, when their ability to metabolise purine starts to deteriorate, eating a lot of purine-rich foods – like red meat, organ meat, certain fish and vegetables – over a short period of time increased the risk of a (gout)inflammation attack almost five fold compared to the risk when eating fewer purine-rich foods.

As you are going to all the summer fairs, stay away from the deep fried elephant eyes, burgers, barbecues, hot dogs and the famous deep fried twinkie. That is a recipe for disaster. I can’t wait to see you come in and get the Taifu Plus Pills and DTF Pills.

How about fruits? What about high-fructose fruits? You should avoid apples, cherries, mangoes, watermelon, peaches and pears. You can safely have moderate amounts of low-fructose fruits, such as honeydew melon, cantaloupe, bananas, blueberries, strawberries and oranges, if they are well spaced throughout the day. After 4pm, stop eating an all fruit diet because it is a disaster for raising your blood sugar level. All fruits are not recreated equal.

A few weeks ago I visited Vancouver, BC with my mom and aunt. Mom got so excited to speak to a great friend there that practices Chinese Herbs. Mom runs to him showing him her hands, expressing the pain from the inflammation. The healer looks at me and then with a very serious look towards my mom. Too much high purine level foods, stop the roast pork (compulsive eating, eat on the go), deep fried foods. If you stop eating all the roasted meats, you will lessen the inflammation and crystallization in the joints that creates pain. It’s funny how as I said the same to my mom she ignored me and when Uncle spoke she actually learns the lesson about her bad habit.

All fruit, all protein, no-carb diet, too much for short period of time, only causes the body to over stress the digestive tract. Moderation and know your body type.

Love, Juli

Emergency Heart Pills

Whether it’s finding that special gift for your heart-throbbing love or finding the last receipt for your tax return, we have just the thing to stop the over exertion of your heart:

The Suxiao Jiuxin Wan better known as “Emergency Heart Pills” are an herbal base stress and anxiety reliever. For those who have an increased risk of heart attacks or for those who cardiovascular issues, these pills will help slow the heart rate allowing the over exertion to subside. Pretty impressive.

The Emergency heart pills can also significantly improve heart function and decrease heart palpitations or chest pain. These effects will not only be handy for emergency lifesaving situation but also for every day stress. It is also reported that it contains no toxicity or side effect. Love your heart and save it from unnecessary stress!

Constipation: Traditional Chinese Herbal Cure

Constipation is a common and often distressing problem. Constipation is a symptom with many causes. These causes are of two types: obstructed defecation and colonic slow transit. About 50% of patients evaluated for constipation at hospitals have obstructed defecation. This type of constipation has mechanical and functional causes. Causes of colonic slow transit constipation include diet, hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism, side effects of medications, rarely heavy metal toxicity and those with kidney disease, heart problems, bowel obstructions or inflamed colons.

Women and people over age 65 are especially affected, about 42 million people at a time, or 15% of the population, have constipation. But it’s probably not news to most people that almost everyone suffers from it from time to time. Because constipation is a symptom, not a disease, effective treatment of constipation may require first determining the cause. Treatments include changes in dietary habits, laxatives, enemas, biofeedback, and in particular situations surgery may be required.

Let’s talk about Taifu Pills, the naturally occurring stimulant laxatives that are sufficiently safe and gentle for general use involve one basic category of chemical compounds, known as Anthraquinone. The Anthraquinones often occur in plants in the form of glycosides. These compounds are found in Rhubarb root (the prominent Chinese laxative), Senna leaf and pod (a Middle Eastern laxative), Cascara Sagrada (a North American laxative), Buckthorn (also known as Frangula; a European laxative), and Aloe (known worldwide). The use of laxatives to treat acute constipation has been mentioned throughout the literature of the world’s various herbal traditions. Acute constipation may occur as the result of a disease or a change of diet.  In the history of Chinese medicine, use of Rhubarb for acute constipation is firmly established in relation to the “yangming” phase of a disease; this is where the body fluids become dry as the result of a feverish condition; the intestines become dry, and the person suffers from constipation. Mirabilitum (Ingredient in E15 Pills) is often used along with rhubarb in the Chinese treatments for acute constipation. Emodin is the most widely occurring Anthraquinone in medicinal herbs. Valuable medicinal aspects of Emodin have been proclaimed on the basis of laboratory research, including: potential cancer prevention activity (blocking the growth of newly transformed cells); antiviral activity; antioxidant properties; gastric ulcer protection; liver protection; promoting blood circulation; inhibiting autoimmune attack; and benefiting the kidneys (inhibiting undesired proliferation of cells). Rhubarb root is a dominant herbal therapy in China for treatment of nephritis and prevention of renal failure.

Colonoscopy was developed as a routine diagnostic tool during the 1970s and it was soon found that many people had a black or dark brown intestinal wall; the condition was named Melanosis Coli.

A debate over the significance of Melanosis Coli in relation to Anthraquinone use soon arose, and it persists to this day. On the one side, many doctors have interpreted this condition as one of simple staining of the intestinal wall by Anthraquinone residues, and viewed it as a harmless and reversible condition. Other doctors have seen it as more than just staining, as possibly involving significant damage to the colon wall, and considered that it might be a precursor to more serious intestinal problems, such as colon cancer. The majority of articles written about Melanosis Coli indicate that the condition arises after years of frequent use of Anthraquinone laxatives and is not associated with harm. Our Herbal products are made with the respect geared towards prevention of illnesses and today my goal is to continue to educate my patients with the art of Chinese Traditional Healing. We at Hen Sen Herbs are referred as Healers and the Art of Healing is not lost.

Love, Juli