Tag Archives: Traditional Chinese Medicine


Great advice for prevention and management of the flu from the perspective of Chinese Medicine. Thanks to the folks from Penny George Institute for Health and Healing for sharing!


by Megan Odell, L.Ac., MS

We’ve all seen the headlines. We’ve heard our doctors, friends and families talking about it – the flu is here and it does indeed appear to be particularly virulent this year.  “We are clearly at a high level of influenza activity in the state,” Minnesota Health Commissioner Edward Ehlinger, MD, said in a recent statement. It is easy to walk through our days with worry, cringing every time someone near us coughs.

And then… the dreaded thing happens: a tickle in your throat. A sneeze.  A sniffle.  And within hours you are in the full-on evil grasp of a cold, or the flu. You are miserable and tempted to throw rational thought out the window, along with your wadded up tissues.

What do you do then? First, stay calm. Seasonal influenza has always been a part of winter, and there are many ways to…

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Need a New “Nightcap”? Try Vervain (Verbena hastata) – Nerve Tonic


As I recently started a full-time venture that has been mentally, physically, and emotionally challenging, I happily reacquainted myself to my dear, old friend, Verbena hastata, otherwise known as Vervain or Blue Vervain. I first met Verbana hastata in my herbology course in graduate school. It was there that I learned Vervain was a remedy for people who are “high-minded,” “who suffer from strong ideals or opinions they wish to thrust upon others” and for people “who feel driven.” Vervain people’s deep connection to their ideals cause them to criticize others, but they are also very self-critical. People who react well to Vervain, are “constantly exhausted, yet constantly striving” and their bodies often cannot keep up energetically with their overactive minds.  Vervain people like to make lists and they could be labeled as “hormonal,” in that they are very affected by hormonal shifts, for example, they may be prone to get the munchies from time to time (not like I’m speaking from personal experience or anything).

According to Chinese medicine, Vervain is a nauseant bitter that can provoke shivering, a mechanism to help the body relax and let go of tension especially in the neck. Vervain can also help provoke secretion; it especially helps open the pores for a good sweat. Overall, Vervain relaxes the nerves and regulates hormones.

So why am I telling you this? If you happen to be a Vervain (herbalists refer to people as their relfective plants), which I am, (if you couldn’t tell)–it might be helpful for you to check out Verveine tea. Now don’t go drinking it every day, because if homeopathy has taught us anything it’s that something that can cure, can also cause, so only take it as needed once before bed. For example, if you worked a long day and feel tight in the neck and you are up late blogging instead of resting, boil some hot water and have a Vervain nightcap to calm and rejuvenate your nerves overnight. It’s all about balance.

With that said, true to my Vervain self, (as I drink the tea and “relax”/blog), I should be going off to bed to enjoy and take in the full effects of one of my favorite plants.

Sources: Lise Wolff, my dear herbalist; Matthew Wood and his book, The Practice of Traditional Westen Herbalism;  My dear and special friend, Irene’s husband, Rachid, for reminding me of this wonderful remedy and gifting me “verveine tea” straight from Morocco. Moroccans, among many other cultures enjoy the benefits of this relaxing plant.