Still Mountain Acupuncture - Healthful Happenings

Still Mountain Acupuncture - Healthful Happenings

5 Reasons Why You Would Take The Time To Cook AND Drink A Raw Herbal Formula

by Sarah Sostrin, L.Ac. on 02/26/13

For many people, taking a raw herbal formula, can be a daunting task.  "You mean I actually have to cook these herbs on the stove, and drink that awful tea?"  "Don't you have some pills I could take instead?"  Believe me, I get it.  We're all busy, and it's true, herbs really don't taste great.  So, why should you do it? 

1.  An Individually Tailored Presription. 

     Taking a raw herbal formula means that you are taking a formula that an herbalist actually sat down and wrote specifically for YOU and the intricacies of your condition, versus choosing the closet fit from stock or prepared formulas.  You get all of what you need, and none of what you don't.  No person perfectly matches the pattern diagnosis associated with prepared formulas, which is why all master herbalists write their own prescriptions, and always have.

2.  A Time Tested Method.

     Herbal Medicine has been the backbone of Chinese Medicine for thousands of years.  In fact, in China, herbalists have been considered doctors, whereas non-herbalist acupuncturists have been considered more of a technicion.  I don't know that I'd totally agree with this distinction, as there are certainly many highly qualified non-herbalist acupunturist providing "doctor" quality work, but it does highlight the importance of herbs in Chinese Medicine.  In fact, there are many condtions that simply cannot be effectively treated with acupuncture alone.  Chinese herbal doctors have been sending patients home to cook their custom herbal formulas for thousands of years.  This is truly the most time-tested method.  As a side note, in recent years, many clinics and hospitals in China and Korea are now using high pressure extraction machines to prepare custom formulas into tea for their patients.  This is clearly more convienient for patients and also yeilds higher extraction percentages as compared to stove-top cooking.  This machinery is coming soon to Still Mountain Acupuncture.  Until then, find comfort in your home preparations, knowing that you are stepping into one of the greatest time-tested traditions of Chinese Medicine.     

3.  Quality Assurance.

     Most practitioners practicing herbal medicine go to great lengths to make sure their products are coming from companies that provide the highest in quality control.  That being said, the importance of the practitioner's eye as a final step in quality control should not be underestimated.  Practitioners are not able to preform this final step of quality control on herbs that are ground up into powders or made into tinctures or pills, as visualy inspection is impossible.

4.  The Sum Is Greater Than Its Parts.

     Decoctions made from herbs that are cooked and extracted together often contain chemical compounds that are not found by extracting the herbs individually and then adding them together.  Also, research has shown that decoctions of herbs cooked together may result in lower toxicity. 

5.  It's Effective.

     Taking a custom herbal formula of high quality herbs that are cooked together is the most fast acting and effective way that you can use Chinese Herbal Medicine.


Still not convinced?  Prepared formulas are available, but come on, give it a try!  You will thank yourself!

Food For Fall: Pumpkin and Water Chestnut Risotto

by Sarah Sostrin, L.Ac. on 10/10/11

If the onset of Autumn has brought with it coughs, wheezes, and low energy, or just a craving for some delicious, nourishing food, try this great recipe! 

Pumpkin and Water Chestnut Risotto

Serves 4

Remove the skin and seeds from one small pumpkin and cut the flesh into small chunks.  Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a frying pan and saute the pumpkin for about 15 minutes or until soft.

Heat 1 and 3/4 pints of vegetable stock in a separate saucepan so that it is gently simmering. 

Melt 2oz of unsalted butter in a large risotto pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and saute 1 thinly sliced leek until it is soft.  Add 2 cloves crushed garlic and 10oz risotto rice and cook for 2 minutes, stirring, until the rice is sticky and coated with the oil and butter mixture.

Gradually add the hot vegetable stock, a ladleful at a time, while constantly stirring the simmering rice mixture.  Keep the stock hot.

After 15 minutes, add the cooked pumpkin chunks to the risotto and continue cooking until the rice is al dente and all the stock is absorbed.  Add an 8oz can of drained and halved water chestnuts for the final 6 minutes of cooking, and heat through.

Serve sprinkled with 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme.


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