Welcome! We are proud to be a local resource for
Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, and Massage
in Tacoma, WA

Maternity Leave

Yes, it's true! I'll be taking maternity leave soon. My last day is September 9th. We're expecting twins at the the end of September! I guess twins can be unpredictable with due dates, so it's a little up in the air. We're trying to get as ready as we can for the start of this new adventure!

First off, I'll miss you all! I love my practice and my patients. It'll be hard to take time off.

I'll be gone until January. Stay tuned for more newsletters, blog posts, and updates. I'll be sure to keep you informed and throw in some good seasonal health tips!

If you have questions please don't hesitate to ask me or Rebecca.

Exciting Changes

We are thrilled to introduce our newest practitioner Rebecca Babik, EAMP, LMP to Hawthorn Natural Health!

Rebecca is wonderful practitioner and a highly respected colleague. She and I completed our Acupuncture and Massage training together at Bastyr and the Bellevue School of Massage. Rebecca has completed additional training in 5-Element Acupuncture which is an excellent complement to the techniques and styles that we both utilize in our practice. I've been lucky enough to receive treatments from her and I'm excited to have her back in Tacoma. I can't wait to to book a treatment with her!

What to expect:

Same treatment space - You can still get your treatments in a space that you're familiar with (and already know the parking tricks).

Same Online Scheduling and Phone Number - No need to worry about how to schedule your appointments or get in touch with us. That will remain the same.

Continued insurance coverage and billing - You can pay your usual copay or treatment fee and continue with your treatment plan.

Familiar with your treatments - I'll be talking to Rebecca about your treatment plans to make sure things stay on track and that she knows what works well for you.

Continue to build momentum with your progress - No need to put treatments on hold or wait to come in if a new issue crops up. We'd love to see you!

Similar practice styles - Rebecca and I both use similar techniques and philosophies that drive our practice. We want to make sure that you're comfortable and can relax and enjoy your treatment. We believe that this can help enrich your treatment and your experience. We love the remarkable changes that we see with Acupuncture and East Asian Medicine. We are honored to work with you on your healing journey.

What can Acupuncture treat?

Often we get questions about what conditions Acupuncture can treat. Acupuncture or Traditional Chinese Medicine is a system of medicine that has a very different focus than with what we're familiar with in Western medicine. The goal is to rebalance the body and often seemingly unrelated symptoms are grouped together. The result is that we can treat a huge variety of conditions.

Some of the issues that we see most commonly in the clinic are:

Pain conditions (Low back pain, Neck pain, Elbow pain, etc). These can be the result of injury or more chronic issues like arthritis or tendonitis.

Infertility - We often work with patients that are also pursing Western treatments for infertility and would like to the additional support of Chinese Medicine.

Headaches - Especially headaches related to muscle tension, stress or hormonal shifts.

Women's Health - PMS, Painful periods, irregular cycles or heavy cycles.

Pregnancy Support - We love to support women through their entire pregnancy. Acupuncture can be a great, drug free option to treat morning sickness and other discomforts of pregnancy.

These are probably the most common issues that we address, but certainly not an exhaustive list. If you don't see your health concern on the list, don't despair! Please give us a call. We are happy to answer any questions you might have and see if Acupuncture would be a good fit.

For more about Acupuncture and Chinese Herbs, see our FAQ!

Online Scheduling is Here!

Look for the "book now" button to appear on the schedule page soon. In the meantime, you are welcome to book online by following this link.

Chinese Herbs in the News

Pt Defiance

It always warms my heart to see Chinese herbs getting some well deserved attention. There are such amazing herbs in our medicine that can really make a huge difference in peoples lives. Pretty cool! In other news, I caught a beautiful view last time I was at Point Defiance Park with my dogs. You can just see the Narrows peaking out. Beautiful!

Milk as a source of Omega 3?

I know, crazy right? After reading this NPR article, it doesn't seem that far fetched. I'm always amazed at how the diet of animals can change the nutritional content of their meat or in this case, milk. Pretty cool! If you want to know more about Omega 3 fatty acids, Web MD has a good fact sheet including some dietary recommendations for increasing your Omega 3s. One thing that I learned recently is that most grains are higher in Omega-6 fatty acids, not 3. This includes hemp seed and hemp milk! Omega 3s are what help reduce inflammation, so keep that in mind when grocery shopping.


Looking forward to that big meal on Thursday? Many of us enjoy Thanksgiving a bit too much and overindulge. This is a great article with some tips on how to help your digestion this time of year. One of my personal favorites is to take a walk after a big meal. I had a great teacher that told me a hundred steps should be taken after every meal. It definitely helps! Not only does it help your digestion, but it also helps you shake off that sluggish feeling that comes after eating too much. It can be hard to motivate yourself to get out when our Tacoma weather is so wet and cold, but even a short, brisk walk can help.

Most importantly, remember to enjoy Thanksgiving and take that time to be with family and friends. If you do overeat and your digestion needs some help to recover, my office will be closed from mid-day Wednesday (November 27th) and reopen Monday (December 2nd).

Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!


I don't know if anyone else has this quandary, but I spend way too much time trying to pick out a fish for dinner. I desperately try to remember which is good, which is bad and what is actually terrible. I know some basics: farmed salmon-bad... okay, that's pretty much the extent of it. It definitely takes considerable concentration (and a smartphone) to be steered in the right direction. Here is a new list I found with 12 fish you should avoid along with their explanations. This list is new to me, but looks great. In the past I have always found the Monterey Bay Aquarium to be a good source as well. Now with their handy phone app, maybe I won't have to spend so much time pondering my fish options after all!

Need a reason to try Acupuncture?

Here's 5!

Acupuncture for Surgery

I just read this article on how acupuncture can benefit patients who are either going in for surgery or recovering. I love seeing patients in my Tacoma practice recover quickly with the help of Acupuncture. Pretty neat!

Fall Fruit: Peaches, Apples and Pears

Pears, Apples and Peaches. Oh my!

Fall Fruits

Here in the Pacific Northwest the weather has cooled off and we are all starting to get the impression that Winter is well on its way. However, one of the great things about the Fall is the wonderful bounty of local fruit that we inevitably get.

Fall is characterized by the weather becoming more cool and dry as we move into winter. Our lungs are especially vulnerable in this season, and it is much easier to catch a cold as the weather cools. If you are prone to colds or other lung aliments like asthma or allergies, it is especially important for you to pay attention to your diet during this season. Fall is a great time to strengthen your lungs because, although the weather makes us more vulnerable, there is a large variety of foods available to help us out.

Pears are the traditional fruit to help nourish the lungs. They moisten which can combat those nasty dry coughs that seem to stick around. In China during the fall it is possible to get a hot pear tea with pears, dates and rock sugar. Not only delicious, this is also thought to help protect the lungs from the dry weather. The pears nourish the lungs and the dates and sugar help give the digestion a boost. This helps both build energy in the body and specifically target the digestion. An easy way to prepare pears is baked with some sugar.

Pear Tea

Baked Pears

1-3 Pears

Sprinkling of Sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. Slice the pears into quarters. Be sure to remove the cores. Place them on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with a bit of sugar. Traditionally, rock sugar is used, but regular sugar is fine. You can also experiment with honey! Bake until the pears start to get a bit brown, about 10 minutes. Then eat them warm.

Another great recipe is Pear Tea. We had a variation of this in Xi'an, China. The ingredients have been adapted to make them easier to find with the exception of the Da Zao. These small red dates are sold dried and can be found in most International Districts.

Pear Tea

6 c water

1/4 c da zao (red Chinese dates)

1/4 c sliced almonds

3 sliced asian pears, cored but not peeled

1 tbsp honey

In a medium sized saucepan add the water and the dates. Bring to a boil. After they are boiling, add the pears and almonds. Reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 min. Add the honey and dissolve in the simmering tea. Remove from heat and let cool slightly before serving. Serve with a spoon.

If you aren't a fan of pears, but want some of the benefits, try apples. Fall is a great time to start looking for apples as they start to come into season. They don't have as strong an association with the lungs as pears, but they are a great alternative. Like pears they are cooling in nature and can help clear heat from the lungs. This makes them another great fruit for a dry cough.

Spiced Peaches

I couldn't leave one of my favorite fruits off of this list. Peaches are wonderful and delicious and unlike most fruit that is moistening and cooling, they tend to be a bit more warming. They are thought to be a fruit of longevity in China and often you can see them depicted in paintings. In small amounts peaches help our complexion, aid in digestion and nourish the lungs. However, because of their warmer temperature be careful not to over indulge. Too many peaches can cause the opposite effect, indigestion.

I hope that this helps you see our seasonal fruit in a slightly different way. Enjoy the fall weather!

Jujube and Sleep

Fresh Sour Jujube

Suan Zao Ren, ziziphi spinosae semen, or the Sour Jujube seed is an herb commonly used to treat insomnia. The first thing that you may think of is this delightful movie-theater candy, but that candy is not to blame for you falling asleep during Branagh's Hamlet.

The Jujube seed is a small, brown seed you can sometimes find it in the grocery store, and may have even eaten before in breakfast foods or soups. The whole sour jujube date is even more commonly used in cooking. It looks very similar to the more common, Chinese Red Date or Da Zao when dried, but when fresh (see above picture) it is green and has a taste and texture more similar to an apple then a date.

Sour Jujube is indicated when the person having trouble sleeping has what East Asian Medicine Practitioners refer to as "yin deficient" insomnia symptoms. In this case, instead of settling into a deep sleep, their mind is active at night and they might experience anxiety, palpitations, night sweats and dream-disturbed sleep.

If you want more information on sour jujube then you might want to read this blog post or check out Chinese Herbal Medicine Material Medica by Dan Bensky.

Chinese Herbs in the News

Almost a year ago I was excited to see a Chinese Herb, Qing Hao, mentioned in this New York Times article. In Chinese Medicine, Qing Hao is traditionally used to treat fevers, but it was discovered in China to have properties that are effective against Malaria. These properties are damaged by the traditional method of decoction or boiling of the herb. The compounds have now been isolated into a new strain of malaria drugs. This fun NPR video talks about the history of malaria drugs and their connection with herbs. It's a great, 3 minute video that even explains how a gin and tonic became known as a "tonic".

For more information on Qing Hao you can check out the wikipedia entry.

Cold and Flu

I was reading this article on what happens when your body is infected with the flu. Did you know that echinacea is most effective in the early stages of the flu?

It helps mobilize your body's immune system so it is less helpful when you are already in full fledged symptoms. There are several Chinese Herbal formulas used to help treat colds and flu. Chuan Xin Lian is often used when your predominate symptom is a sore throat. Gan Mao Ling is also a great antiviral formula. If you find that you are experiencing frequent colds or flu, Yu Ping Feng San might be the formula for you! A Chinese herbalist can help you pick the correct formula to get over your symptoms faster. However, the best treatment (as this article suggests) is often fluids and rest. Flush that virus out!


I always get excited when I see Chinese Herbs show up in my NPR newsfeed. It's even more exciting when it is also a Western herb and even better...a common kitchen spice. You probably guessed by the title, but the star of this article is nutmeg! The article mainly focuses on the history of the spice. What really interested me is that nutmeg was thought to treat stomach aches. That's strikingly similar to what it is used for in Chinese Medicine! So, the next time you drink your spiced cider or eat some pumpkin pie, you can think about the tiny amount of nutmeg in it contributing to your health.

Aches and Pains

Most of us experience the occasional lower back twinge, which is unpleasant enough, and I dread having to suffer through the more constant ache of real low back pain. It can be debilitating! And once you have low back pain you realize how much we use our backs for everything. So why is low back pain so common and how can East Asian Medicine contribute to its treatment?

There certainly are many factors accounting for the prevalence of pain in our modern lives. Often the source of the pain is a combination of things, ranging from a history of trauma (such as from a car accident or a bad fall) to more mundane reasons like a sedentary lifestyle, bad form when lifting, or awkward posture while using the computer, while reading, while driving, etc.

East Asian Medicine looks at the back a bit differently from Western Medicine. While our Doctors, Chiropractors and Massage Therapists typically may identify the source of a back problem in the musculoskeletal framework: a pulled muscle or a partially ruptured disk, East Asian Medicine often sees a combination of injury (stagnation) and a constitutional susceptibility to injury (underlying deficiency).

Stagnation, like it sounds, is a lack of circulation. But not just of blood; East Asian Medicine focuses on both blood circulation and the circulation of energy (qi). In fact, sharp, stabbing pain is usually seen as a blood circulation issue rather than qi. “Where there is stagnation, there is pain. Where there is no stagnation, there is no pain.” This a central tenet directing the treatment of pain conditions. If you move the qi and the blood to increase circulation, pain will decrease and the healing process can get underway.

But for most patients it's not just stagnation, there's a deficiency as well. This can be difficult to understand, but the simplest way to describe deficiency is as underlying constitutional factors. This can be anything from a genetic predisposition to bone or tendon problems - to poor diet - to inadequate rest and treatment for a prior injury. Whatever the cause of an initial injury and stagnation, if improperly taken care of, eventually leads to deficiency. As this continues the patient is more predisposed to re-injury.

So how can Chinese Herbs and Acupuncture help you and your back pain? They work wonderfully in concert to address the problem. Acupuncture is great at moving qi and blood to help the initial pain caused by stagnation. Chinese Herbs can help supplement and strengthen your body to attack the underlying deficiency. The two of these together make an approach with lasting effects, and which complements the Western musculoskeletal approach well.



If you've read my other blog Ruston Farm, then you know that we have been struggling with a yard partially overrun with Japanese Knotweed. Its long, brittle roots have spun out across our entire front yard. This non-native weed is tenacious, frustrating and incredibly difficult to get rid of. It is also a Chinese herb.

Well, it's closely related to a Chinese herb at least. Still, I have had difficulty reconciling my gardener's disgust for the weed and the wonder I feel towards a very effective herb.

He Shou Wu: Also known as the root of polygonum multiflorum. This is a wonderful herb that can nourish the blood and tonify the essence. Commonly used in formulas to help counteract hair loss or greying hair. Because of the rich nature of He Shou Wu, it can be difficult for some people to digest.

Ye Jiao Teng: Also known as the stem of polygonum multiforum. Tonifies the blood, moves the blood. This is a wonderful herb that helps manage pain by increasing the circulation of blood and qi. It is also commonly used to help with insomnia. I love this herb, perhaps even more the He Shou Wu because it is easier for people to digest and sleep is so important!

So, what do I think you should do if you have invasive knotweed in your yard? Get rid of it! I know, I just espoused all of its virtues, but this is one plant that I think is better off being cultivated in its native environment where it is less likely to take over. Our native plants have unique value too and having them be strangled out by knotweed limits our biodiversity and medicinal options.

If you need help with your knotweed problem, read this great handout from King County. You can also talk to the helpful folks at Pierce County Conservation . I met them a few weeks ago at the South Sound Sustainability Expo and they are very willing to give advice and help with your knotweed project.

Good luck!


Pulling up knotweed

Food and Qi

Canned Food

We get most of our energy, or qi (that's pronounced 'chee'), from our food. In East Asian Medicine, the main pathways to gain qi are from food and from breathing the air. Although air quality does have a significant impact on our energy (as a quick visit to Beijing or Mexico City will attest) we will focus here on the energy we can get from food since this is an aspect that we have some control over.

There are a couple of things that you should consider when choosing what you eat. The first is the freshness of the food. Did you just pick it from your yard, buy it from a farmers market or has it sat in cold storage for a month before being sold at the grocery store? I have been pouring over my gardening books lately and learned that the vitamin content of older food decreases the longer that it sits out (Markham, p1) . In other words the fresher the better! Processing also damages the qi in food. This means that although an energy bar can have a great amount of protein, calories and vitamins and minerals, because of the processing it has a lower amount of qi than the equivalent caloric/vitamin/etc apples or bananas.

Freezing, drying or canning food can be a good way to preserve the qi of the food. You do lose a bit, but not much. Just be sure to use fresh ingredients and to not let things get too old before you dig in! Freezing and low temperature drying are the best options to preserve the most from your food. Canning can be intense and damaging, but your homemade cans are much better than store bought!

Processing is a separate and more intense process than cooking and should be thought of differently. Cooking your veggies, fruits or grains lightly can help increase their digestibility by starting the digestion process. During the winter season, it is especially good it eat cooked foods because of the cold temperatures outside. You may as well enjoy your food warm!

The second interesting aspect is that wild foods are more potent in their effects than domesticated foods. For example, foraged mushrooms with have more damp draining (you might need this if you have issues like foggy-headedness or sinus problems or even just live in the Pacific Northwest) attributes than their cultivated cousins. This can even be true for the same kind of mushroom, for example wild chanterelles are stronger, more powerful than farmed chanterelles. This is a wonderful attribute that is also seen in Chinese herbs. As with any wild/foraged resource, and especially so because of their powerful characteristics, these plants and animals should be used sparingly. This helps maintain balance in your own body as well as prevents them from becoming an exhausted resource.

Eat up and enjoy!


Markham, Brett L. Mini Farming, Self-Sufficiency on a 1/4 Acre. Skyhorse Publishing: 2010, New York, NY

Cooper watching

That's a good point

I haven't addressed any specific acupuncture points here yet so I thought I would share one of my favorites, one that I use on many patients. The point is called Heart-7 or shenmen (spirit gate). I should pause to explain that the majority of acupuncture points have a name as well as a channel-number code. The channel-number designation makes it easier to remember where the point is found, but the name gives insight into the full function of the point.

Chinese Medicine views the Heart in some ways similarly to how Western Medicine does, and in some ways very differently. In addition to its function to help circulate blood through our body (as in the Western perspective), it is also heavily involved with the connection between body and mind (significantly less Western, though you could imagine the romantic 'heart' here). The Heart can suffer from both excess and deficiency which results in symptoms such as insomnia (ranging from minor trouble falling asleep to extreme insomnia), vivid dreams, anxiety, being easily startled/frightened, heart palpitations, poor memory, talking during sleep, or mania.

So what makes Heart-7 special and one of my favorites? Well, for starters, there's the location. It is easy to access right next to the pisiform on the underside of the wrist. And its function is relatively straightforward. The spirit in 'spirit gate' can be viewed as strongly affecting our mind and personality, making this point one of the most useful to address both mood and sleep. Sleep is so important! For everyone! It's what rejuvenates our bodies and our minds. Many people are stuck in a cycle of not being able to sleep or having poor quality sleep. Even for those who sleep well, we could all use a little boost to get the most from our rest at night. Getting a good night's rest can do wonders for our body and mind. And this is the point for that!


New Venues for Acupuncture

Okay. I admit it. I read a lot of NPR. And I was thrilled today when I saw this gem discussing the new use of Acupuncture within the US Military as a viable treatment for pain. The more people able to treat their chronic pain the better!


Parkinson's and Tai Chi

One of my favorite activities to do every morning while I eat my breakfast is to peruse the NPR webpage. The other day I came upon this great article: Tai Chi May Help Parkinson's Patients Regain Balance.

It discusses an interesting study that split Parkinson's patients into three groups. Each group received a different kind of therapy: stretching, resistance training or Tai Chi. The Tai Chi group was able to see great improvements in strength and balance. This is so exciting! I loved practicing Tai Chi in school and found it relaxing and a big help dealing with stress. This kind of moving meditation can be a powerful thing, and I'm surprised we haven't seen more studies on the subject. My own experience treating Parkinson's with Acupuncture and East Asian Medicine is that these too are powerful techniques that can lead to profound improvements for the patient. I'm glad to have this study to refer my patients to when I recommended that they try Tai Chi in addition to Acupuncture. The more tools they can have to help them deal with illness, the better.

I have heard that there is a Tai Chi school in Tacoma: Tai Chi and Qi Gong Wellness Center. I'll have to go check it out!



Ginger, Clove, Cinnamon and Cardamom

Spices and Chinese Herbs!

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! Now that the Solstice is here we can all look forward to longer days again. Sorry about the long lag between blog entries. Things have been wonderful, yet busy here in Tacoma.

During this cold, winter season most of us regularly consume lots of Chinese (and Western) herbs in the form of spices. I thought that it would be fun to share those spices and their properties. It gives you something to think about the next time you take a sip of that spiced cider or a bite of pumpkin pie. The great thing about these spices is that they are wonderfully warming and help stave off the winter cold.

Ginger (Sheng Jiang)

This is probably one of the most commonly used Chinese herbs. Often it is added to Chinese herbal formulas to help aid digestion. It is a great herb to make a tea out of when you feel like you are fighting a cold where one of the predominate symptoms is achy muscles and/or chills. It is also good at helping treat nausea (like morning sickness) or seafood poisoning. I always wonder if that is how the tradition started of serving pickled ginger with sushi. Yum!

Clove (Ding Xiang)

Cloves help warm the digestion and can help with symptoms such as hiccups. It can also help tonify kidney yang. Kidney yang helps warm the entire body and when you are Kidney yang deficient, often you will notice symptoms such as a tendency to feel cold both in the core of your body and extremities as well as a sore back and weak knees. This warming herb is especially appropriate in the winter when many of us are already bundled up to stave off the wind and rain.

Cinnamon (Rou Gui, Gui Zhi)

There are two kinds of cinnamon used in the Chinese Materia Medica. The first is cinnamon twig. These are the small branches of the cinnamon tree and they are most commonly used to treat colds with a predominance of muscles aches and chills. Cinnamon twig is also a wonderful herb for helping treat pain conditions when used in combination with other herbs. It can help increase circulation to help with reduction of pain and the healing process.

The second kind of cinnamon is the larger bark and what we are more familiar with seeing in its ground form in our spice cupboard. It is great at warming the body internally and is considered a primary to tonify Kidney yang. It is able to address a variety of conditions including back pain, dizziness, lung conditions, lack of libido and impotence.

Cardamom (Bai Dou Kou)

Just like ginger, cardamom is another digestive aid. It helps move and regulate qi in Chinese herbal formulas with a main focus on the stomach. Like ginger it can help with nausea and morning sickness. Cardamom is warming and dissolves dampness. Often dampness is a symptom of poor digestion, an inability to efficiently harvest energy from food. Examples of this can include abdominal fullness, distention, nausea and poor appetite. Studies have show that cardamom is associated with an increase in the secretion of gastric acid in the stomach and decreased vomiting (Chen 373)

Nutmeg (Rou Dou Kou)

Another wonderful digestive herb with a focus on indigestion as a result of Spleen and Kidney yang deficiency. These symptoms include poor appetite, abdominal distention and occasionally vomiting. In some cases, symptoms also include loose stools early in the morning. Like cardamom this herb can also help regulate qi and improve digestion. It is primarily indicated by the indigestion being caused by cold. This is indicated by symptoms and a sensation of cold reported by the patient.

All of these herbs are warming and wonderful for our cold, winter days. Because in Western cooking they are used in small amounts and in Chinese Herbal medicine they are traditionally combined with other herbs in a formula, it is important to keep this in mind and not to overindulge. For example, having a a teaspoon of cinnamon on your oatmeal is great, but a three tablespoons every day could really overdo it (and taste terrible)! I think that simply learning the attributes of these spices makes us think of our traditional winter foods in a different way. Food is medicine! Exciting!

If you want any more information about Chinese Herbs, I highly recommend John and Tina Chen's Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology.

Chen, John and Chen, Tina. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. Art of Medicine Press: 2004, City of Industry, CA.


We are all guilty of running out the door without having breakfast. That extra sleep is so tempting and often we leave ourselves without enough time to eat before we head out to enjoy our day. Chinese Medicine (like Western Medicine) is very pro-breakfast. Your digestion is akin to a stew pot simmering on the stove. By eating in the morning, you start the digestive process and get your body ready to take on the day. Or to continue with the analogy, you need some fuel to start your cookstove. Give your digestion a good kick start! Now, where Chinese Medicine is different from Western Medicine is our advocacy of cooked foods, especially in the morning. Imagine the cook pot again and think of it as just starting to simmer. Small bubbles are rising to the top. Now, if you dump a quart of cold, icy liquid into your pot, it is going to stop boiling. Your body is going to have to work extra hard just to get that water heated up again and digest that food. This is especially strenuous first thing in the morning when there isn't a lot of fuel for the cook pot anyway! By eating warm, cooked foods in the morning we help make it easy for our digestion to get going.

So, what to do? Here are some basic porridge ideas for good breakfast meals.


Oatmeal with Goji Berries

1c oatmeal

1/4 c goji berries or raisins

1 tbsp of crushed walnuts (optional)

1 1/2 c water

1 spoonful of brown sugar (to taste) or honey (even better)

Yogurt, milk or coconut oil

Bring the oatmeal, goji berries (raisins) and water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5-10 min. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat and add sugar (honey) and yogurt (milk etc). If you are allergic to dairy, try adding coconut oil instead. It is important to have some fat in your breakfast or you will end up hungry very early in the day.

Congee for Nausea or Weak Digestion

1 c cooked rice (a good way to use up rice leftovers!)

1 c water

3-4 slices of ginger (can be removed before eating)

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 spoonful of brown sugar or honey

butter or coconut oil to taste

Cook the rice and water together in a pot on the stove. Bring to boil and reduce to a simmer. Add the ginger and cinnamon. Cook for 5 min, stirring occasionally. The longer that you cook the congee, the thicker it will become, just be careful and don't let it burn! You can add more water if it becomes low, it should be slightly soupy in consistency. Remove from heat and add the brown sugar (honey) and butter or coconut oil.

Savory Congee

1 c cooked rice

1 c water

1/4 tsp salt

butter or coconut oil to taste

Top with:

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tbsp soy sauce

Sliced green onion, Seaweed flakes or fresh chives

Toasted sesame seeds (optional)

A few drops of Chili oil or a pinch of chili flakes

Cook the rice, water and salt together in a pot on the stove. Bring to boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for at least 5 minutes and longer if you want the congee to be a little thicker. Remove from heat and add the butter and toppings. It is faster to cook in the morning if you prepare the topping recipe the night before.

Give these a try and your digestion will surely appreciate being treated kindly during its most delicate moment in the morning.


Strawberries are more than just delicious

This article in the Wall Street Journal summarized a study that indicates that eating strawberries can help fight cancer. Yay! Yet another reason to enjoy some delicious strawberries.


Spring is Here!

Beverly the chick

Beverly, one of our spring chickens

Welcome to the first blog entry for Hawthorn Natural Health. The goal is to provide some simple Chinese Medicinal health tips that you can easily implement at home. In honor of spring finally arriving to the Northwest, it seems appropriate to share some tips to help your body adjust to the new season.

Spring is a time for excitement and growth! All the seedlings are starting to sprout and form roots in the garden. The weather varies drastically from warm and sunny to rain. Chinese Medicine thinks of spring as full of lots of what we call wood energy. Wood energy is like a new sapling that is still green. When it is healthy, it is flexible and strong. When it is ill, it becomes dry and brittle and is more likely to break.

tomato sprout

Tomato Seedling

Some things that you can do to help your body adjust to spring is to take advantage of clear days and go for a walk. It is great way to get your qi (energy) moving and relieve stress. Because there is so much energy in the air during spring, it is easy to feel frustrated and stuck. If walking isn't your thing, trying meditation, yoga, running or bike riding. Just remember to keep everything in moderation and take it easy if your body has been resting all winter.

Spring is here!

Egg Carton Planter

To help yourself feel more rooted, trying getting out in the garden and planting a few vegetables. Gardening can help nourish and protect your digestion (earth energy) which is often beat up by an over active wood element. To put this in familiar language, it is common to have indigestion when you are stressed and frantic. Counteract this problem by slowing down for meals and get out and into your garden! Now is a great time to get peas, kale, winter greens, brussels sprouts, collard greens and squash into the ground. If you don't have a garden or live in an apartment, trying planting a few small tomato plants in your window sill. You can use old egg cartons or disposable coffee cups as containers.

First start

The First Tomato Start of the Season

I hope this helps you adjust to the changing seasons. More blog posts to follow!


Ann Murphy
(253) 254-6063

Hawthorn Natural Health
510 6th Ave.
Tacoma, WA 98402

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