Chinese Medicine considers preventative care as important as treating the disease itself. If we cultivate our health we can prevent illness and injury from occurring and minimize their consequences when 'disease evils' do attack us. Join Kath Bartlett, MS, LAc as she shares thoughts, news articles, recipes & tips derived from a wide variety of source material, as it relates to Chinese medicine and cultivating optimal health for the body, mind and spirit.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Green Tea Improves Effects of Antibiotics

Taking green tea with antibiotics enhances the effect of the drug, according to
Matt Van Benschoten, LAc.

Be certain you have a bacterial infection when taking antibiotics. A lab test will show a bacterial process. Antibiotics are useless for viral infections, and you would be taking the drug needlessly. Antibiotics are over prescribed, resulting in super-bacterias which have become drug resistant. Many TCM practitioners (Traditional Chinese Medicine) feel one should only take antibiotics twice in their life: so chose wisely when you decide to take them.

Chinese medicine can treat many of the infections for which antibiotics are prescribed. Many Chinese herbs have known antibiotic and antiviral properties. The anti-viral herbs can prevent viral replication. Sinusitis, cold & flu patients are generally surprised at the strong effect of Chinese medicine in treating these conditions.

After a cold or flu, one may feel tired for some time, or have less energy for exercise and may feel out of breath sooner after running on a treadmill, hiking or on an exercise bike. This is due to diminished lung function. Chinese medicine rebuilds the weakened body during the post-recovery period.

The 8th leading cause of death in the US is influenza. 50,000 people die each year of the flu. The elderly, children, and those who are weakened from chronic disease are most venerable. Also those on chemotherapy, which weakens the immune system are at high risk for diseases such as flu or pneumonia.

Chinese medicine strengthens immune function and weaknesses so that the body has the reserve energy to win the fight against, rather than being over taken by disease processes. KB

Friday, June 18, 2010

Be Like the Orange Tree: Offer Your Sweet Fruit & Fragrant Blossoms to the World

From Thich Nhat Hanh's "World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology":

"When we look at an orange tree we see that season after season it spends its life producing beautiful green leaves, fragrant blossoms, and sweet oranges. These are the best things an orange tree can create and offer to the world. Human beings also make offerings to the world every moment of our daily lives, in the form of our thoughts, our speech and our actions. We may want to offer the world the best kinds of thought, speech, and action that we can—because they are our continuation, whether we want it to be so or not. We can use our time wisely, generate the energies of love, compassion, and understanding, say beautiful things, inspire, forgive, and act to protect and help the Earth and each other. In this way, we can ensure a beautiful continuation."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dr. Oz: Why He Likes Acupuncture

Dr. Oz is an ardent supporter of acupuncture, and is frequently at the microphone touting the benefits of Chinese medicine and demystifying acupuncture. Here's a short piece Dr.Oz wrote for the Houston Chronicle citing studies that demonstrate acupuncture's benefits for insomnia, pain relief, and mitigating the side effects of chemo and radiation treatment for cancer patients.

Here Dr. Oz answers the question, "Does acupuncture really work?" He recommends it especially for pain and fibromyalgia. KB

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chinese Medicine Helps Cancer Patients

Chemotherapy and radiation are treatments of last resort, but for those with cancer these standard western medical treatments may seem to be the only options. Because western medicine does not have a way to target only the cancer cells, both treatment kill off all cells in the attempt to kill the cancer cells. Chemo side effects include nausea, vomiting and loss of appetite, due to the killing of cells in the G/I tract, hair loss (hair follicles cells affected) anemia and blood cell problems due to damage to blood cells and the immune system, and hot flashes. Radiation causes burns to the affected area and dry mouth and throat.

Chinese medicine is effective in alleviating these side affects of chemo/radiation therapies, decreases pain caused by tumors, increases immune function improves sleep and calms the mind. Chemo patients are at high risk for colds & flu which can easily lead to pneumonia due to immune system damage. In China acupuncture and herbal medicine are included as part of the chemo/radiation protocols.

there are some authoritative web resources showing benefits of Chinese medicine for cancer patients:

HuffingtonPost on Acupuncture for Cancer

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Acupuncture Reduces Hot Flashes for Breast Cancer


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Pregnancy: Be in Peak Performance Condition

A dear friend in San Diego is getting close to birthing. The baby's breech right now and she was looking for options to turn the position. I told her about a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) procedure where we do something called moxa on an acupuncture point on the pinky toe to turn the baby. It must be down by week 37 or the baby gets too large to turn. She went to an acupuncturist in her area to have the procedure done, and got a couple sticks of moxa so she could continue doing it at home.

I got to thinking how she only has a few weeks left of freedom and rest. So I advised her to take advantage of that, go out at the spur of the moment, and sleep in a lot cause she won't be able to do that for the next 10-12 years.

Today's pregnant women are thinking of themselves a bit like athletes: eating well, no alcohol or smoking. but i wonder if they are thinking about getting themselves in peak performance condition for the birthing process and being ready to go sleepless while taking care of a newborn? Pregnancy, birthing and raising a child, particularly a newborn puts much stress on the body, physically, hormonally and emotionally/spiritually. so taking care to keep body, mind & spirit in peak performance ability is especially important for mothers. Even beginning prior to conception.

Chinese medicine sees that for conception to take place:
  • qi (energy) & blood must be exuberant - one cannot be run down, stressed and tired
  • the body must be operating in harmony - no reproductive system problems or Chinese patterns of disharmony can be present
  • one's mind must be calm
Actually, whenever one is under stress, taking care to keep one's body, mind & spirit operating at peak level is critical because stress is so damaging to the body's processes. In order to manage the stress, the body, mind, spirit must be strong. If one is weak and rundown it further weakens the body,mind, spirit's ability to cope.

So take care of yourself. Eat well, get proper rest, exercise, incorporate stress management techniques and practices such as meditation, tai qi and yoga.

Chinese Medicine is also able to help you stay at peak performance level and to manage stress. TCM treats all 3 levels - body, mind & spirit. TCM works on keeping the body, mind, spirit in balance or harmony. When we are under stress we are in a state of disharmony. Acupuncture and herbs smooth the tension, calm the mind. It hits the reset button. This can be quite valuable during the stressful times we now find ourselves. KB

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Alzheimer's: Avoid Red Meat, Rich, High-Fat Foods

Eating a low fat diet with lots fresh fruits and veggies is basic for building a healthy body. A familiar '70's mantra is "You are what you eat". The body requires fresh, vitamin rich foods to build strong blood. The nutrition from blood is used to create your body's energy: Qi in Chinese medicine speak. Strong qi and blood are needed for the cells, organs and systems such as immune function, digestion, brain, lungs, cardiovascular, renal (kidney) and so on to be healthy and preform all its vital functions.

So it is not surprising that the NY Times reported in April about a recent study showing seniors with a diet rich in fresh vegetables, nuts, light meats such as fish and poultry are at lower risk for Alzheimer's disease than those eating high fat, dairy & red meats. The brain is dependent on blood: nutrient rich blood is vital for it's function.

In Chinese medicine, we see that health later in life is a result of how one has led one's life. The western 'go, go, go' lifestyle, poor diet, high stress, inadequate sleep all lead to problems later in life when the body begins to age and degrade. One may be able to get by in younger years while abusing one's body with a fast paced, stressful lifestyle, but the price will be paid later on. Therefore, we advocate moderation in all respects of diet & lifestyle.

In this blog i emphasize correct diet and quiet lifestyle and provide direction in achieving this aim. it is difficult in modern times to get off the rat wheel. motivation plays a large role. when evaluating one's life, health is paramount, yet generally taken for granted. One must cultivate the gift of health, take care of the vessel, the body that was given at birth, because without it one cannot enjoy one's life nor achieve one's goals. KB

Monday, June 7, 2010


When happiness is equally dear to others and myself,
Then what is so special about me that I strive after happiness alone?
When fear and suffering are equally abhorrent to others and myself,
Then what is so special about me that I protect myself but not others?


Friday, June 4, 2010

UN Urges Global Move to Meat and Dairy-Free Diet

I don't get asked so much any more, but there were 4 main influences in my decision in becoming a vegan:

  1. Earthsave was putting up graphic photos of mistreated livestock in the windows of my local health food store. Got me thinking.
  2. Diet For A Small Planet by Francis Moore Lappe which laid out the advantages of a planet based diet verses a meat based diet in terms of environmental impact and the challenges of feeding the growing world human population.
  3. I'm a native CA who came of age there during the 70's. Vegetarian diet seemed more healthy and at the time i was making a 180 degree life change from ice cream for dinner and a smoking habit to holistic health.
  4. Spiritually, i do not believe that it's ok to kill other living beings. I feel our first priority should be the welfare, health, peace and prosperity of all living beings.
In 1994 I switched to a vegan diet. Yesterday I received a news article that the UN is calling for a Global Move to a vegan diet, beginning with a once a week meat-free day in an effort to contain climate change and to grapple with the challenge of feeding the billions of mouths in the world. KB

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Getting Through the End of the School Year Stress

The SlowFamilyOnline blog on wordpress is written by a sorority sister of mine from UCLA, Suz Sachs-Lipman. Like many college friends, we live in different states and have gotten out of touch. However a few years back we have reconnected, and I have learned a lot about the woman Suz has become through her blog.

A while back, she and her family decided to get off the rat wheel and slow down. She's been chronicling the journey on her blog. A professional writer, her blog is interesting, well written and fun.

This week's post discusses ways parents can slow down during the end of the school year and enjoy the process, rather than being so stressed. I believe her suggestions will benefit her many readers, and i encourage you to take a look. KB

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Red Cabbage Salad: Another Summer Fav

Here's another summer favorite of mine: Red Cabbage Salad with Toasted Walnuts & Raisins. I'm posting this at the request of a dear patient of mine who seeking some variety in her diet.

When I was in acupuncture college at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine in San Diego (PCOM), one of my fellow interns was a macrobiotic chef and supported herself and her son through a take out business of macrobiotic meals which she delivered to the school twice a week. these were delicious, wholesome meals cooked with love and thoughtfulness, and were greatly appreciated by the students, for whom she provided extra large servings so that we would have leftovers for lunch. How i loved these meals, but getting the recipes from Nancy was quite difficult. It wasn't that i think she was being protective, it seemed to be more that she had a lot on her plate, and they probably weren't typed up or maybe not even written down. how i would have loved to have gotten some of the recipes for the sauces, which she drizzled over portions of creamy homemade polenta (nothing like store bought) whole grains (i loved the barley: jobs tears) and other tasty treats.

I did manage to wrestle this recipe for a red cabbage salad, which i still enjoy every summer. As usual, i have made my own modifications to the original recipe. KB

Red Cabbage Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Raisins

You will need organic:
1 head purple cabbage: slice 1/2": jullianne
umeboshi or cider vinegar
1C raisins 1C Walnuts, broken into 1/4" pieces
3-4 green onions, sliced
Dijon mustard
flax or Sesame Oil (i use sesame)
fennel seeds

Put raisins in the bottom of a pots with 1/2" + of filtered water. place the cabbage in a steamer on top and steam litely, just until the color turns bright. remove from heat and rinse in cold water to stop the cooking process.

Remove the raisins and reduce the juices to a glaze.
Meanwhile, toast the walnuts and fennel in a fry pan with a little oil.
Toss all with oil. Add Dijon mustard to taste. stir in sliced green onions. save a few walnut halves and green onions for garnish on the top.