Archive for the ‘An Sen Insight’ Category

Bone Broth Soup: Natures Immune Booster

Getting and Staying Healthy This Winter with Bone Broth

If you’ve seen me for an acupuncture treatment lately, I’ve most likely already told you about my love affair with bone broth. I can almost guarantee there’s a slow cooker in my kitchen simmering away with this stuff right now. I recommend it to anyone who is feeling a little run down, is recovering from an illness, gets frequents colds, wants to keep from getting a cold, has joint pain, has digestive problems, is pregnant, wants to get pregnant, or has just had a baby.  So, that pretty much covers everyone.

Bone broth is amazingly easy to assimilate and can help to heal the digestive tract. It boosts up the immune system, decreases inflammation, and promotes healthy bones and joints. Because it’s a powerhouse of minerals, amino acids, chondroitin, and glucosamine, it’s a good way to stay healthy this winter.

Making bone broth might sound a little intimidating at first, but it’s actually really easy. I make the lazy person’s version by starting with an organic roasted chicken that I pick up from a local market. I pull all of the meat off of the bones and use it for another meal or save it to put back into the broth later. Some people like to just sip the broth on it’s own. Other folks like to use it as the base for a soup. I usually just try to get in a cup a day (or more if I’m feeling low on energy) especially during the winter.

1 organic chicken carcass

enough water to cover the chicken bones

1 onion

2 large carrots

3 large celery stalks

2 garlic cloves

2 bay leaves or other spices

1 tsp salt to taste

1 tbsp vinegar

Put the chicken bones in a slow cooker or large stock put. Cut up the vegetables into large pieces and add them to the pot. Add enough water to cover everything. The vinegar might seem like an odd addition, but please don’t leave it out. It’s the thing that helps get all those minerals out of the bones. Then just turn the heat on and let this stuff simmer for 18 to 24 hours. I add the garlic cloves and the bay leaves towards the end of cooking time. You’ll know the broth is done when you pinch the bones and they’re mushy. Run the broth through a fine metal strainer to get all the chunky bits out, and you’re all set. The broth will stay good in the fridge for about five days, or you can put it in the freezer and use it later.

Enjoy and have a healthy winter!

— Jen Bookout, LAc, MTOM

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Herbs to aid digestion of those heavy Holiday Meals

hawthorne-berries-thanksgiving meal


Hawthorne Berry or Shan Zha is an herb that is extremely popular is both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western Medicine alike. In Chinese Medicine we use this herb to alleviate food stagnation by assisting in digesting meats and greasy foods and to nourish the heart and improve circulation. In Western Medicine hawthorne berry is used to lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and help maintain a healthy weight. Since the most gluttonous of all holidays is quickly approaching (Thanksgiving) I thought it would be a great herb to focus on this month.

It was Thanksgiving 23 years ago that I decided to go vegetarian, and then subsequently vegan and more recently gluten free. When I was 12 I had my first pet, Buddy, a parakeet. This little bird really made me think twice about the turkey focused holiday and I decided I could not eat my beloved Buddy’s relative the turkey. So I am thankful for Buddy for laying the groundwork for many positive changes that I have come to make. I am also very thankful for my amazing and supportive family. Okay now back to the topic at hand… hawthorne berries!!!

Since we tend to eat lots of high fat foods during the holidays hawthorne berries are a perfect herb to help us digest our favorite holiday foods. Hawthorne berries are available in tea, tincture, powdered and capsule form. Making tea is a great way to enjoy this herbal medicine and you can have it with your meals to help you digest your food.

Hawthorne Berry Tea

  • 1-2 teaspoons dried berries
  • 1 cup water

Boil water and pour over berries. Let steep covered for 8-10 minutes. Strain out the berries and enjoy! Can also add some sweetener and or lemon juice to taste. A sprinkle of cinnamon is good too.

Formulas for Improving Digestion

There are many great Traditional Chinese Medicine formulas for eliminating food stagnation and helping to aid digestion of our heavy holiday meals.

Bao He Wan- Contains hawthorne and other herbs like Shen Qu* (fermented massa) to digest all types of foods. *Shen Qu is a fermented product, but sometimes contains gluten.

Curing Pills (Kang Ning Wan)- is another great formula for reducing food stagnation, but again contains Shen Qu (gluten).

Mu Xiang Shen Qi Wan- aids in digestion and is even supportive for digestive issues from a stomach flu. Gluten Free!!!

Even though there are great formulas and herbs to improve digestion the best way to feel good over the holidays is to eat healthy foods, eat slowly and chew your food!!!

Here is a great blog for more fun things to do with Hawthorne Berry. Have fun!

 By Genevieve Johnson, L.Ac.

Fight Colds/Flu this Season with delicious miso soup

fall reminds us of soupAs all of you Portlanders know we have had an amazingly beautiful spring, summer and fall! Very dry in fact. At times a little too dry with the surrounding droughts. But alas the rains have finally come and mother nature has indicated that Fall is here.

Fall in Chinese Medicine

In Traditional Chinese Medicine Fall is a time of the Lungs, which belong to the Metal Element. This is traditionally a time when dryness and wind have a factor in our health. The Lungs are associated with the exterior of our body and when we catch a cold (or wind-cold in Chinese Medicine) the Lungs have been compromised. This is evident by the chills, fever, body aches, sniffles, and cough that may be productive or dry.

What can we do in Chinese Medicine to treat a cold/flu?

First and foremost there are many common herbs you probably already have in your kitchen that are great for those beginning stages of a cold; ginger, green onion, mint, garlic.

Make a really strong ginger tea with a 2-3 inches chopped fresh ginger root in 6 cups water. Boil the ginger and let simmer for 15 minutes and add some maple syrup or honey to cut the super pungent flavor (optional). Let the tea cool slightly and drink throughout the day.

Go see your acupuncturist or get one!! At An Sen Clinic we have great formulas on hand like, Yin Qiao San, Gan Mao Ling or Chuan Xin Lian. These are all amazing formulas to have on hand for the cold and flu season, but you want to make sure to get them from a trusted source. Also acupuncture can cut the time you are sick in half and who doesn’t want to feel better now.

How we can strengthen our immune system to prevent getting a cold/flu

The best way to strengthen our immune system is to eat a whole foods diet that has lots of veggies!!! This is probably redundant to many of you who would be reading a health blog. But still eat lots of veggies!!!

In TCM we look at things a little differently, our immune system has a direct link to the Lungs (remember they govern the exterior of the body to protect us).

Some simple foods to support or tonify the lungs are: nourishing soups (recipe below), pears, pumpkin, apple, brown rice, porridges, and mushrooms.

Foods that can help get phlegm out of the lungs are: garlic, fresh ginger, fennel, and seaweeds.

Foods for a dry cough (meaning the Lungs need to be moistened) are: microalgaes, pears, string beans, herbs like lily bulbs, marshmallow root, and licorice tea.

organic vegan ingredients

Time for Fall Soup (Nourishes the Lungs)

2-3 stalks green onions
3 cloves garlic (double with a cold)
1-2 inches fresh ginger (double with a cold)
2 astragalus roots (optional for extra immune boosting)
4-5 mushrooms (I prefer shiitake)
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
1/2 package tempeh
8 cups water
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4-1/3 cup miso
Chop the green onions, mushrooms, carrot, celery, and tempeh (the garlic and ginger can be grated ro finely chopped). Add the 2 astragalus roots whole (so you can remove them before eating the soup). Add all ingredients to the water and boil for 8-10 minutes. After all veggies are tender turn OFF heat and add sesame oil and miso. A tip for the miso is to whisk up with 1/2 cup water before adding to soup so it will be uniform in texture. Also we add miso at the end after heat is turned off to preserve all the healthy probiotics.

This soup has nourishing ingredients (astragalus, carrots, mushrooms, celery, tempeh and miso) to boost the immune system. And it has Lung opening and phlegm reducing herbs (green onions, garlic, and ginger).

Also by boiling the ingredients we preserve the nutritional elements in the soup broth and this method of cooking is seen as very neutral in Chinese Medicine. Meaning that it is great for all constitutions so enjoy!!!

Miso soup to nourish your lungsBy Genevieve Johnson, L.Ac

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Chickenpox (Varicella-Zoster Virus VZV) and Homeopathic nosode vaccine Varicella

Recently, my son may have been exposed to chickenpox (aka varicella virus). Being an Acupuncturist who advocates safer alternatives, in this specific situation, I wanted to give my son something less toxic and intense than a traditional vaccine. I also wanted to give him something that would work to decrease the severity of symptoms should he come down with a potential outbreak.  I turned to homeopathy and Nosodes, and specifically a nosode called Varicella, as it can be used prophylactically (preventatively) and during acute phases; Much like Chinese herbal medicine is used in treatment of viral and bacterial infections.  Nosodes are homeopathic medicines derived from a particular disease. They can be made from tissue containing the actual disease or from the vaccine containing the organisms. To my best knowledge, homeopathic nosodes are safe alternatives to vaccines and contain no live or active bacteria.
Nosodes are extremely hard to find, as most clinics or stores simply do not know much about this homeopathic medicine and just don’t carry it.

If you are in need of varicella, please contact my clinic at 503 236 6633.  After having had such a hard time finding it, I have made it my mission to stock it in my clinic should anyone need it for their children and families.

When should you use varicella nosode?: After exposure to the chickenpox virus, and during the acute phase of the disease, from the papule (first bumps), through blister to scab and post scab. It can help the itching and discomfort that comes along with the virus. Remember that the dosage will be different when using prophylactically vs symptomatically.

Alysia Anderson
Acupuncturist at An Sen Acupuncture and Massage in SE Portland Oregon
107 SE Washington St. Suite #134, 97214
503 236 6633

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Amazing Veggie Fried Rice, Quick, Easy and Super Tasty

Veggie Fried Rice

South East Asian Style

Here is my twist of a great fried rice recipe. I use my travels in South East Asia to give this dish some street fair flair.

1 pack of asian dried mushrooms
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 eggs lightly beaten
2 cups of pre cooked long grain rice.
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 small onion chopped
1/8 tsp five spice powder
1/8 tsp of sugar
1/2 cup of frozen peas thawed
1 cup of raw shelled peanuts.
1/2 Cucumber sliced and peeled
Sambal Olek sauce for the side optional

Soak the mushrooms in a bowl for about 10-15 minutes, remove any woody stems and keep the water for the end. slice mushrooms in to slivers.

Heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in a wok or frying pan on medium heat add the egg and cook into an omelet. When finished cooking roll up the omelet and cut into 1 inch strips.

Put raw shelled peanuts on a baking sheet and into the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes.

In the pan heat the remaining tablespoon of oil on medium and add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Stir in the rice. I like to cook the rice the night before and keep in the fridge. It creates a less sticky version. Next add the mushroom, soy sauce, five spice powder, sugar and peas. Cook for about 5 minutes and add a little mushroom water when it gets too dry.

Too serve scoop the rice into a small bowl and mold a dome and put on the plate. Put egg strips on top and put cucumbers on the side. Finish with roasted peanuts and Sambal Olek sauce or any other sambal you may like.

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Summer Recipes: Fresh Pesto Italian Grandmother Style

Ok here is one my favorite healthy dishes.   I found the receipe online ways back and it has been a top ten family reciepe since.   Its an authentic italian recipe and really has that flavor the old country.

1 large bunch of fresh basil leaves washed
3-4 cloves of garlic medium
Handful of raw pine nuts
3/4 cup of parmesan cheese loose and clumpy
3 tbl spoons of extra virgin olive oil
3 tbl spoons of water

Put everything in the blender except the water and oil.    We have a Vitamix so I selected a very low spin setting, if you do not have a low setting blender you can use a large mezzaluna or even a good chefs knife.   ( if you use the hand chop method , chop it all up until very fine and then add the oil and water to create a good consistancy. )   If you go for the blender method do not over blend and add the 2 tbl spoons oil and water until the consistancy is clumpy.    Add the last tbl spoon of oil once you are finished blending.

Enjoy this one and be sure to let me know how it was.

Alysia Anderson Acupuncturist at An Sen Acupuncture and Massage in Portland Oregon
I do not add salt as the cheese has enough and good salt can always be added later.     I serve this with gluten free Quinoa  spiral pasta.   Any pasta is good with this dish.

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Watermelon Soup Recipe: Summer Soul Food

This was a hit at our family barbaque last week.   I thought I would share it, as I can feel the summer heat slowly and I mean slowly approaching.

4 cups of watermelon cubed and choose the seedless kind
1/3 cup of apple juice
2 tbl spoon fresh lime juice
1 tsp fresh mint chopped
1/3 tsp fresh ground ginger
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1 tbl spoon honey Optional

Put all the ingredients in your blender and blend till smooth.   Regridgerate for 1 hour and serve with a dollop of yogurt.

Enjoy this and please post any of your summer favorites to our facebook page

Alysia Anderson
Licensed Acupuncturist at An Sen Acupuncture and Massage Clinic in Portland OR.

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Valentines Day Massage, Events and Ideas this February 14 in Portland Oregon

An Sen Clinic Window

Avoid the high priced spas and opt for an evening of chocolates, aphrodisiac tea, herbal infused essiental olis, chilled out tunes, and the best deep tissue and swedish massages in the city.   All for only $80 allow 75 minutes to enjoy.  

Couples massages only $160 per hour.   Can’t make it in this year?, why not get a gift certficate for massage, acupuncture or herbal treatment.

Need longer than an hour, we also have 90 min and 2 hour massages.   

Space is limited so reserve your romantic evening now. Time available from 2pm -7 pm.    Later times are going fast

Tips and Ideas this Valentines

This year we thought it might be nice to let you know what we think are fun and healthy things to do this Valentines Day Date Night.

Bouldering at the Circuit NE Sandy Hang out together, get engerized and who knows. Oh yeah its open till 11 pm.

Dinner at the Spahire Hotel on SE Hawthorne, Big portions, Yummy food with an Asian Flare and the history of this being one of portlands seedy joints make this a real winner for a romantic dinner. It gets crowded so plan ahead.

Drinks at the Sauce Box on SW Broadway, nice tunes and great cocktails, make this a good place to kick off an evening of intrigue.

Unromantics can try the Valentines Day Zombie Pub Crawl February 14, 2012 | 6:30pm until 11:30pm Meet @ Lone Fir Cemetery SE Stark & 26th

You can always let us know your favorite romantic spots by posting it on our facebook page. Happy Valentines Day Portland,

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Portland’s Winter of Icky Sicky Colds and Flu!

Oh Boy!  This winter has proved one of the worst that I have ever seen in the clinic.  Although that Portland sun has come out to say hi recently, we are still in the midst  of the season! With all of the numerous symptoms including bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, sinisitus and cold/flu symptoms, myself and my collegues have seen firsthand the power of our medicine work on a clinical level. How?/Read More?

Chinese medicine was based on pathogens entering the body and making their way to different levels.  Every symptom you experience is information which helps us determine how deep or superficial the pathogen has gotten.  The “level” helps us determine our treatment strategy with Acupuncture and Herbal Therapy.  What I have seen this year that the medicine has been able to do is- reduce the intensity or course of the illness, kick out the illness (sometimes even after hardcore antibiotics have failed), prevent illness (when others around you are sick), and even strengthen the bodies “Qi” so the pathogen does not even have a chance to enter!  Children also respond VERY well and usually very quickly to treatment, so if your childs regular pediatrician cannot do much more than prescribe antibiotics and tylenol, my friends YOUVE GOT OPTIONS!  So at the first sign of getting sick or even in the depths of feeling like theres no return, I URGE you to call us.  We can combine acupuncture and herbal therapy or if your in a hurry just prescribe you a herbal formula for your individual needs.  For more information of past blogs on herbal medicine for colds and flus please click here:

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Black Bean Soup with Banana Bread?

Who would have guessed!? A couple of weeks ago, with the fall chills upon us, I wanted warming comfort foods. Just getting back from my acupuncture shift at the clinic, my family was hungry and I didn’t have much in the kitchen to cook for dinner—- except brown bananas and flour… Hmmm, what could I cook as a main dish to go with the banana bread? I first thought of sweeter soups, but decided to google the question “What soups go good with banana bread?” Black bean soup popped up! “Really?!” I thought.. Well let me tell you, when all was said and done in 20 minutes or less, the combination of black beans and bananas was like chocolate and heaven! Click here to see the recipe . I added 1 can of red kidney beans to my soup because I thought it needed a little more thickening, and I always do add the walnuts to my banana bread.  Enjoy!

An Sen Acupuncture & Massage Clinic
107 SE Washington St. Suite #134
Portland, Oregon 97214
Clinic: 503-236-6633
Cell: 503-473-2914
Fax: 503-234-2185
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