Herb of the month - January 2019

The 3 flavors of celery that promote better health.

This BITTER + SWEET + COOLING Apium Graveolens herb is packed with all the goodness our modern day human body needs.

As a practitioner of Ttraditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and a certified Functional Nutrition Lifestyle Practitioner (FNLP), I am often combining these concepts to help patients understand how to make positive shifts in their health.

Since this celery thing has become quite the health craze lately, I am going to weave together TCM + Functional Nutrition + Celery and explain why you should maybe give it a try.

This is special for you... you amazing patient of PDX Acupuncture :)

The Medical Medium, Anthony William has really brought its effectiveness to light recently. I won't get into his statements about its effectiveness as you are welcome to read more if you like on his website.

Personally, I am not a huge fan of non-doctors or any doctor that boast one food being a miracle cure for all things. Each and every body has its unique physiology. While celery is powerful and mostly harmless, my advice would be do what is best for your body in particular by consulting with your favorite health care provider whom you trust.

Let's dig into the 3 flavors of celery!

First of all... Celery is "COOL". Heck yeah it is! Have you searched #CeleryJuice on IG? There some amazing testimonials to its general effectiveness.

What does the fact that it's "COOL" really mean according TCM + Functional Nutrition?

In TCM theory, we use cooling foods to cool off a body that is excess in heat. Makes sense right? And it really is that simple. As modern day humans we consume more and more non-food food by the minute and that brews up extra heat in our bodies.

Let me explain. Non-foods like sugar, alcohol, processed foods and other pro-inflammatory foods, all contribute to our body being too hot and this heat. This heat can burn up our useful fluids that keep us hydrated, and keeps our cells plump and able to communicate.

Let's bring in a little Functional Nutrition now.. or physiology rather.

These non-food pro-inflammatory foods are also by default, acidic. Don't get me wrong.. acidity is a good thing.....IN THE STOMACH. It kills bacteria, helps us absorb proteins, and liberates certain minerals like iron for absorption further down in the small intestine, stimulates bile production, activates digestive enzymes. It's awesome!

But when our blood and tissues become acidic due to a poor diet, it can provide a breeding ground for inflammation. And here are just a few micronutrients about the miracle herbs nutritional profile that help cool the excess heat and lower the acidity.

Celery contains antioxidants and polysaccharides that are known to act as anti-inflammatories, especially flavonoid and polyphenol antioxidants. These are big words.. but just know that they support overall health, especially as someone ages, by fighting free radical damage (or oxidative stress or lack of cellular communication) that can lead to inflammation.

Inflammation is often a contributing cause of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, arthritis and many more. Celery to the rescue!

So, celery assists in reducing inflammation because it's cool. Awesome!

In addition to that, is cools our body by lowering acidity. But, how?

Celery is one of the most alkaline forming foods out there in the herb kingdom!

It's juice and stalks eaten whole are extremely hydrating. Meaning it's perfect when our body is lacking moisture due to heat, and inflammation.

Now, let's dig into the "SWEET" flavor of celery.

Celery is not only going to cool off your hot body, it's going to nourish it at the same time!

How you might ask?

Let's start with TCM. TCM theory believes that celery's sweet flavor yields a very nourishing property. Meaning it provides actual nourishing substances for the body. Water being the primary substance.

The sweet flavor also engages the spleen and stomach qi, which according to TCM are your primary digestive organs. That means it revs up your metabolism!

Engaging the spleen energy also helps to ensure that you properly digest your food, and have the ability to absorb them. Without adequate spleen qi, your undigested food can slow down the process and leave room for accumulating fluids we refer to as "dampness". Ewww. I know, TCM theory has such a lovely way of describing things right?

A Functional Nutrition lens would regard celery as nourishing because it is a healthy fiber and carbohydrate food. It is also rich in potassium with some calcium and Vit. C and A (which is interesting as A is a fat soluble vitamin.. very cool in such a watery vegetable.. probably why it's good for the heart too) and it is a little higher in sodium than other veggies.. But's don't worry, there is plenty of water for balance. Mother Nature is quite smart.

Check out it's full nutritional profile Dr. Axe put together.

The last flavor of celery is "BITTER". Through the TCM lens, bitter flavors engages the heart energy, and directs the action of your bodies energy downward.

This is extremely helpful for headaches paired with what TCM practitioners call "heat signs". Meaning your headache presents with a red face, irritability and maybe even a little dizziness or vertigo, and can be long lasting. Basically a nasty migraine.

As a migraine suffered in the last myself, I don't believe celery juice is a silver bullet for an acute migraine. But, drinking celery juice a few times a week can accumulate to less heat over all, reducing the likely hood of heat rising up and causing a headache.

Since bitter directs qi to the heart.. let's talk more about the benefits of celery juice to support a healthy heart.

Now here is the tricky part... marrying together the TCM + Functional Nutrition aspects to show why celery is so good for reducing bad cholesterol.

When the flavor sweet (that stimulates digestion, which leads to less accumulation of "dampness" in the body), is paired with the bitter property (that engages the heart Qi) and it's cooling property that reduces inflammation it's a perfect trifecta of flavors to reduce "damp heat in the heart vessels". That roughly translates from TCM theory to laymen's terms to "it clears inflammation and excess lipid congestion from the vessels in the heart". Thereby reducing excess inflammatory cholesterol. So awesome!

We also know from a Functional Nutrition perspective that it contains a unique compound called 3-n-butylphthalide(BuPh) that has previously been reported to have lipid-lowering action. Again, great to lower cholesterol!

So the three flavors of celery come together in harmony to hydrate, cool, nourish and balance your body and support your heart health. That's fantastic!!

Of course, not everyone needs celery juice every morning like Mr. Medical Medium may say. I think that guy is crazy to say one thing works for everyone.

But I would give it a try at least a few times a week if you are not a good water drinker, have stiff and sore muscles or suffer from muscle cramps, have hot feeling arthritis or gout, have digestive sluggishness or chronic low grade symptoms such as loose stool or abdominal cramping, migraine headaches, fevers in adults and children (esp paired with a little ginger) or high cholesterol.. give it a try! Celery has the nutrients you need to support those symptoms.

In Good Health,

Lara Dilkes LAc. MSAOM FNLP