Bitter, beautiful herbs

Hello, my friends, I hope this post finds you well!

About 2 weeks ago I decided to consult with a practitioner of Chinese Herbal Medicine. As I mentioned in my last post, I became intrigued with reading about adaptogenic herbs. I already go to get acupuncture on a semi-regular basis, and I was curious if adding specific herbs to my diet would help my overall health.

My acupuncturist was encouraging when I brought it up, but she advised seeing a specialist who was trained in herbal medicine and who would understand what dose and what combination would be best for me. I’ve tried self diagnosing and self medicating with over the counter herbs before with little luck, so I decided to take her advice.

I was powerfully tempted to just order my adaptogens online, but I managed to spend a little extra effort and money to get a real consultation. Luckily I live in the city and alternative medicine and holistic health options are available.

I made an appointment and met with someone trained in acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine. He took an extensive health history and asked all kind of questions about my health goals, my stress level, my diet, and what I needed the most help with. It was interesting because both my herbalist and my acupuncturist mentioned that it sounded like the source of my problems was in my digestive tract.

While I have tons of evidence like intolerance of certain foods and stress induced heart burn, I never thought of myself as having digestive issues, isn’t that funny? Duh! I’ve been so engaged in my personal narrative of depression and anxiety that I never focused on my gut. And believe me, I have read many times that our immune systems are like 90% based in our digestive tract. Why didn’t I put two and two together? It’s like I missed the forest for the trees.

So that was one of my first “ah-ha” moments. Next I went about taking my herbs on an empty stomach morning and night. They taste bitter, but manageable. The taste association that popped into my head was horehound. Did the school nurse ever give you horehound lozenges when you were a kid? That’s what the brew reminded me of, but less sweet. (By the way, that’s a photo of the herb horehound at the top. And, yes, horehound is known to be good for digestion.)

A side benefit of taking my herbs was diet mindfulness. I had to think about when I took the herbs, since they weren’t supposed to be taken with food. Then, I figured if I was making the effort and paying for custom herbs, I should probably step up my healthy eating game. The experience helped me refocus on my food choices and to pay better attention to my body. Was I actually hungry? Did I want protein or veggies? What was the best option available at the moment? Surprisingly, I ate less and felt better. I haven’t lost any weight yet, but I’m less puffy in the tummy, so that’s a plus!

I will be taking herbs for the next month or so and evaluating if they make me feel better. I already feel like I’m in a clearer head space, and I’m excited to see where this all goes.

I hope you are feeling well and happily working towards your health goals, whatever they may be!

Have you had success with certain food plans or alternative medical treatments? If so, please let me know in the comments or on FB.

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