Rhodiola is one of my favorite botanicals! In fact, it was one of the first Western botanicals that I studied way back in the day (the 90's). One of the reasons I was so intrigued with this herb, was because of its versatility and powerful therapeutic effects. 30 years later, and I'm still in awe of this herb, and recommend it to many of my patients, who after using it, are just as amazed.
The patients I usually recommend this botanical to, have succumbed to the heavy effects of stress; whether it be from work, school, caregiver stress or any other type of stress that takes its toll on the body and mind.
The most common symptoms reported by these patients are:
What is rhodiola?
Rhodiola belongs to a special class of herbs known as adaptogens, which includes other famous herbs like, Siberian Ginseng (Eleuthero) and Astragulus.
The term "adaptogen" was introduced during the 50's by the Russian Toxicologist Nicolai Lazarev, who was studying substances that could prevent fatigue and increase resistance to physical and mental stress.
According to Nicolai Lazarev, “an adaptogen is a pharmacological substance capable of inducing in an organism a non-specific state of increased resistance enabling it to counteract stress signals and adapt to exceptional effort.”
Lazarev's pioneering work was heavily influenced by Hans Selye, the scientist who developed the stress model, “General Adaptation Syndrome”, which describes the effects of stress on the human body. 
When we are faced with "danger" or any type of stressor, our sympathetic nervous system (SNS) goes into over-drive and initiates the "fight" or "flight" response, which gives us that energy boost (adrenaline) to over -come the situation. The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) is supposed to calm us down after the danger / stress has passed. The problem for most people, especially Westerners, is that we are stressed all the time. We have become a chronically over-stimulated society that runs on stress, essentially suppressing the (PNS) and never giving it a chance to do its job and calm us down.
Adaptogens to the rescue! Through the use of an adaptogen like rhodiola, we are able to take the edge off and help even the score between the (SNS) and the (PNS). Rhodiola increases the body’s resistance to stressors, restores balance to the nervous system and allows the body to heal itself.
How does rhodiola work?
Rhodiola rosea L. contains a variety of compounds ranging from antioxidants and organic acids to flavonoids, but the constituents that are responsible for its adaptogenic properties are: Rhodioniside, rhodiolin, rosavin, rosin, rosiridin, salidroside (synonym: rhodioloside and rhodosin) and p-tyrosol.
Based on a vast accumulation of data, rhodiola works primarily through the central nervous system. Much of this activity occurs along the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which moderates the body’s “fight” or “flight” response to acute stress. 
In the brain, rhodiola is able to alter chemicals in the brain by inhibiting monoamine oxidase (MAO) A, which is a gene that contributes to the development of depression. 
Rhodiola can reduce the amount of cardiac damage caused by stress by modulating the release of neurotransmitters like cortisol and cyclic-AMP in the heart. 
By improving cerebral blood circulation and brain metabolism rhodiola can increase concentration and memory , as well as, protect against fatigue / burn-out and increase mental performance through the influence on the HPA axis, moderating certain survival proteins that are activated under stress, and altering levels of nitric oxide, which regulates physiological functions and aids in cellular metabolism. 
The Remarkable Three
The majority of the studies used a dosage of 200mg - 400mg. per day. Manufactures normaly put 100mg in a capsule and recommend that it be taken 2-3 times per day.
The dosage recommended on the manufacturers bottle should be followed, but one thing to keep in mind is that dosages may need to be modified depending on one's weight, age, gender metabolism and whether the stress is acute or chronic.
Always consult with your practitioner before taking a supplement, there can be drug-herb and herb-herb interactions.
Contraindications & Adverse Reactions
Herb - Drug Interactions
This month is a perfect time to change your routine and pick up a handful of nuts instead of the usual bag of chips, and celebrate Heart Health month.
Nuts are an awesome snack that frequently get passed over for a bag of chips or some other type of junk food. I remember growing up and going to my grandmother’s house, where there was always a bowl of fresh assorted nuts (in shell) and a nutcracker next to the bowl on the table. Not only were the nuts delicious, but it was fun getting them open.
Nowadays, nuts fall under the banner of trendy food that gets buzzed from time to time on one of the many social media channels, but many people still tend to ignore this classic healthy snack that’s nutrient dense with healthy fats, fiber, polysterols, vitamin E, and L-arginine[i].
Many studies have concluded that increased nut consumption is associated with lower cardiovascular risk factors[ii] and lower mortality rates[iii]. In fact, specific types of nuts may be better than others when it comes to lowering cardiovascular and coronary heart disease, as one recent study by Guasch-Ferré M, et al. suggests. In their research they concluded that cardiovascular disease could be reduced by 13% - 19% and the risk of coronary heart disease could be diminished as much as 15% - 23% by consuming peanuts and tree nuts (2 or more times/week) and walnuts (1 or more times/week).[iv]
Why nuts you ask?
Nuts happen to be in the category of super-foods. Mostly known for their protein, but they also have a lot of heart healthy nutrients that can assist in heart health and possibly aid in lowering cholesterol.
Here are two nutrients found in nuts that are clearly supported by research in lowering cardiovascular disease:
Essential fatty acids Nuts are a superb source of “healthy fat” from monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), which include Omega 7 and 9. Research has shown MUFAS to be associated with weight loss[v],[vi], lowering total and LDL cholesterol, as well as, influencing insulin levels. The nuts with the highest levels of MUFAS are Hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans and pistachios. Most nuts also contain n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), which are also considered healthy fats in extreme moderation. PUFAs also have a positive effect on decreasing LDL and triglycerides.
Dietary fiber Increased amounts of dietary fiber has been related to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease[vii],[viii], but these studies did not include fiber from nuts. Aside from the lack of specific studies including nut sources of dietary fiber, nuts are still a great source of this necessary nutrient, which make them a healthy bet.
Nuts are an incredible snack, jam packed with healthy nutrients that fill you up and provide cardioprotective benefits, mainly in the form of cholesterol lowering properties. Eaten in moderation nuts are an important addition to your diet so you can enjoy life longer!
A small Virginia University study published in June examined the effects of tai chi on a small group of women at risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The randomized trial included 63 women participants between the ages of 35 and 50.
The intervention lasted 8 weeks and measured behavioral factors associated with CVD risk such as; fatigue, digestive symptoms, perceived stress, mindfulness, spiritual thoughts & behaviors, and self-compassion. Biological measures included: lipids, C-reactive protein, inflammatory markers, fasting glucose and insulin.
At the end of the study it was found that tai chi decreases fatigue and after a two month follow-up, it was found that there was a significant decrease in inflammatory markers associated with CVD, as well as, increases in spiritual thoughts & behaviors, mindfulness and self-compassion.[i]
Even though this study was small, showed an age bias and had an ineffective control, it adds to an already growing number of studies showing the many benefits of tai chi, which are not limited to: increasing lower & upper body muscle strength[ii], improving balance and stability[iii], decreasing the fear of falling[iv] & decreasing falls in older patients[v], decreasing pain[vi], and improving the quality of life in chronically ill patients[vii].
Regardless of what the studies say, tai chi has been around for thousands of years, there’s a reason for this - it’s beneficial to one’s physical & mental health. Tai chi should be combined with other positive lifestyle choices like, eating healthy, exercising, yoga, meditation, etc., etc., in order to improve your health and prevent disease.
This is a great little formula that combines Chinese herbs with a Western Botanical to manage a commonly experienced symptom among women who are going through that uncomfortable time of transition, known as peri-menopause / menopause.
Some of the symptoms associated with menopause are:
In Chinese medicine, this naturally occurring transformation represents a relative change between Yin and Yang energies. In the majority of cases, as a woman enters into menopause the Yang energy becomes more predominate (most common presentation), and signs of heat become more prevalent.
Other factors which determine the severity of menopausal symptoms depends on the woman’s constitution, her lifestyle, and how she deals with stress. The good thing is, that all these symptoms can be easily managed through herbs, acupuncture and lifestyle changes.
Meta-Balance contains 3 well-known and well-researched herbs that have a long history of use in Chinese gynecology, plus an additional Western Botanical used for over a century in Europe for reproductive and gynecology conditions.
1. Dang Gui is sweet, acrid, bitter and warm. Therapeutically, Dang Gui is best known for being a blood tonic that can move blood by improving circulation. It also regulates the menses, alleviates pain, reduces swellings, and for those who suffer from constipation, Dang Gui moves the bowels and moistens the intestines.
2. Shan Yao, also known as Chinese wild yam, is sweet and neutral. Its therapeutic actions focus mainly on tonifying and stabilizing the Qi & Yin of the Spleen, Stomach, Lungs and Kidneys. It also helps generate fluids (moisten dryness), which is great for women going through these symptoms, because heat usually drys up the fluids in the body.
3. Sheng Ma, also known as black cohosh, is sweet, acrid and slightly cold. Its therapeutic actions include: releasing the exterior & venting rashes, clears heat & resolves toxicity and raises Yang.
This herb’s ability to clear heat and vent it through the exterior of the body makes it very useful for hot flashes and night sweats. Also, it helps regulate the body temperature by balancing the neuroendocrine system (raises Yang).
4. Chaste Tree Berry, which has been approved by the German Commission E, has a long history of use throughout Europe for gynecological and reproductive conditions such as, PMS, migraines and menstrual irregularities.
Chaste tree berry is very similar to the Chinese herb Man jing Zi, which is bitter, spicy and cool. Its therapeutic actions include: Clearing heat and dispersing wind, especially in the Liver channel, and draining dampness.
This formula also contains a phyto - chemical called heperidin, which is a bioflavinoid found in large amounts in citrus fruits. Hesperidin is primarily used to strengthen capillaries. *It is also known to stabilize vasomotor activity associated with menopausal hot flashes.*
Please support our website by using our referral code (HCP1071726), this helps keep our site running and gives us the ability to give you up-to-date and evidence - based information. Thank you for your support!
Spice up this Easter with Chinese tea eggs!
Meet Chinese fast food. These hardboiled eggs are flavored with tea & spices making them a tasty and portable snack..
Eggs are one of the best super-foods around and that's why this snack gets an A+ for being nutritious!
Great for breakfast or a snack - to - go!
Tea Egg Recipe #1
Rinse the eggs with water and place them in a pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, then lower the flame and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and place them in a strainer. Run cold water over them and set on the counter until room temperature. Using the back of a spoon, gently tap the outer shell of the eggs, creating uniform cracks around the entire egg, but don’t remove shells. Return the eggs to the pot with the water and add the remaining ingredients. Bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes; stirring occasionally. For a stronger, richer taste, soak the eggs for 4 to 10 hours, and then serve. Left – over eggs may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 -3 days.
Tea Egg Recipe #2
Place eggs in a large pot, cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 8 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and soak in cold water for a couple of minutes. When cool, gently tap eggs with the back of a spoon to crack the shells, but do not remove the shells.
In a large pot, combine tea leaves, salt, sugar, Sichuan pepper, star anise, tangerine peel, cinnamon powder, cooking wine and cumin with water and egg. (about 4-5 cups of water, enough to cover all the eggs). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Remove from heat and let them steep overnight or longer.
*Tips: Before combining the tea leaves with the spice liquid, soak them in warm water for 15 minutes, drain and remove. This can remove the bitter taste.
Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., Dipl.Ac., LAc.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the uterus is called zi bao and is located in the lower dantian (lower abdomen) between the urinary bladder and the anus; and between the acupoints Ren 4 and Ren 6, which are 1 hand-breadth below the umbilicus and 3cm below the umbilicus respectively. In TCM, the uterus incorporates all the woman’s reproductive parts including the Fallopian tubes and ovaries.
The Chinese character for zi bao is made-up of two separate characters. The character on the left is zi, which represents flesh and muscle or connective tissue. On the right we have the image bao that represents the concept of wrapping, in terms of a container, bag or sack; something that can wrap around an embryo so that it is protected and contained within the mother’s womb.
The Uterus as an Extraordinary Organ
retaining, storing, binding and condensing Qi and later letting it rise as a mist to form clouds in the heavens.
In keeping with this metaphor, the body’s tissues are nourished by the same processes, which are performed on Qi, Blood, Jing, Shen, Marrow and Body Fluids by the 6 Extraordinary Organs.
Why is the Uterus extra special
The uterus is extra special, because it functions both as a Yin and a Yang organ. To clarify, Yang organs (fu: Urinary Bladder, Stomach, Lg. and Sm. Intestines, Gallbladder and San Jiao) perform the task of receiving, transforming and transporting substances. Yin organs (zang: Lungs, Liver, Spleen, Heart and Kidneys) store and reserve substances.
In the case of the uterus, its Yin functions consist of storing blood and the embryo / fetus, while its Yang activity includes discharging blood during menstruation and the baby at childbirth.
Physiological functions of the Uterus
Stay tuned for our next installment, which will cover the relationship between the uterus & heart and the uterus & the Kidneys.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin (FSV), and should be taken with a meal that contains a small amount of dietary fat, because it attaches to the fat molecules, which transport it through the body.
Research shows that vitamin D is better absorbed when taken with the evening meal, which tends to be the largest and fattiest meal of the day. This same study also concluded that serum levels of vitamin D (25(OH)D) were increased by as much as 50% when supplemented in this fashion.[i]
The absorption of vitamin D can be inhibited by other FSV, because they use the same metabolic pathways and compete for the same fat molecules[ii]; so it is best to separate dosages by several hours.
Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., Dipl.Ac., LAc.
In a pragmatic randomized controlled trial, Australian researchers recruited women between the ages of 18-44 who had been unsuccessful in their attempts to conceive over the previous 12 months.
56 sub-fertile women were randomly placed into two groups: acupuncture and lifestyle modification and a lifestyle modification only control group.
The first group received acupuncture and additional modalities such as, Teding Diancibo Pu (TDP) infra-red lamp and smokeless moxibustion over a 3 month period.
Results were compiled using questionnaires, and self-reported data collected from the study participants. The final outcome showed that the average time to conception for the women receiving acupuncture was 5.5 weeks compared to 10.67 weeks in the lifestyle only group. The women in the acupuncture group also had an increase in fertility awareness and wellbeing compared to the control group.
Posted by: Scott Stewart, MSAc., Dipl.Ac., LAc.
A group of Australian researchers combed through the Cochran and Medline databases for Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) and meta-analyses of pregnancy rates from Chinese Herbal medicine (CHM) and Western medical (WM) treatments using drug therapies. The women who participated in these trials had infertility due to various reasons such as, PCOS, endometriosis, anovulation, fallopian tube blockage, or unexplained infertility
Their meta-analysis suggested that women with infertility had a 1.74 higher probability of achieving pregnancy with CHM compared to WM alone. The CHM group had a mean pregnancy rate of 60% compared to 33% in the WM group.
The inferences of this systemic review advocate that CHM increased pregnancy 2-fold within a 3-6 month period compared to WM. Additional findings highlight the abilities of CHM to positively influence fertility indicators such as: cervical mucus score, ovulation rates, biphasic basal body temperature, and the thickness of the endometrial lining.[i]
This review coincides with findings of past studies, which also found that pregnancy rates doubled with CHM compared to WM. As a comparison, In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most common intervention, which is an invasive and painful procedure heavily dependent on synthetic drugs to manipulate the reproductive cycle. In general, women have a per cycle success rate of 20 – 35% using IVF alone.[ii] This number declines to 23.6% for women between the ages of 38-39, and drops down to 1.3% for women over the age of 44.[iii] Keep in mind that these percentages are pregnancies, not live births.
Interestingly, China has the world’s lowest infertility rate, and a reported 70% success rate in both men and women’s infertility cases. Reproductive issues have been extensively studies in Chinese medicine for thousands of years, and as a result they have developed sophisticated herbal formulas for specific conditions that prevent successful pregnancies.
See a comparison of Eastern medicine to IVF
Many young women end up suffering from "induced menopause" as a result of conventional breast cancer treatments. "Induced menopause" can lead to severe menopausal symptoms such as, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, irritability, night sweats, various degrees of bone loss, etc.
Yesterday, a study was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, which found electroacupuncture to be more effective, and with fewer side-effects than gabapentin for the treatiment of hot flashes. Ironically, the same study also found "sham acupuncture" (not true acupuncture) to be more effective than gabapentin.
Side Note: Eastern medicine has been effectively treating menopausal symptoms and other gynecological / obstetrical issues for thousands of years, this is well documented.
Eastern medicine treats the root of the problem instead of suppressing the symptoms with drugs, especially drugs that are being used for conditions that they were not designed for; a.k.a. gabapentin (anti-convulsant).
Gabapentin - another drug approved by the FDA (puppet of big pharma), in which they don't know / understand the mechanism of action. If you take this drug, you are the experiment.
Also read Introduction to TCM and Women's Health