Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)


  Traditional Chinese Medicine or TCM has been an herbal tradition dating back to 200BC. It is based on the concepts of Yin and Yang, the five elements, and how nature (our environment) effects our health. The Chinese believe that everything has Yin and Yang aspects, which are opposites like day or night. They look for patterns of disharmony when assessing one’s health with ill health being a result of a deficiency or excess between Yin or Yang.  Here are some aspects of Yin vs. Yang.

Yin           Feminine, Substance, Material, Conservative, Quiescent, Conserves inner  Vitality, The Earth & Moon, Night,  Water and  Viscera (internal organs)

Yang       Masculine,  Function, Activity,  Aggressive,  Active, Protects Body Strength, The Sky & Sun, Day, Fire and Somatic(structure-muscles, bones)

  The five elements corresponds to the five natural elements and how they relate to the fundamentals of the seasons, emotions, tastes and parts of the body. This five phase or element theory- wood, fire, earth, metal & water- has a central role in TCM representing the continual process of life. The five elements are interrelated in two ways- trophism and suppression. Trophism relates to production and stimulation- Wood produces Fire, Fire produces Earth, Earth produces Metal, Metal produces Water.   Suppression is inhibition- Metal suppresses Wood, Wood suppresses Earth, Earth suppresses Water, Water suppresses Fire and Fire suppresses Metal. Each is suppressed by another and each can suppress another. Their interactions are related and the ideal body health being that all are in proper balance within and among each other.

Element        Wood           Fire              Earth             Metal               Water

Location        East           South           Center            West             North

Season         Spring       Summer       Midsummer      Fall            Winter

Climate         Windy          Hot               Wet, Damp       Dry             Cold

Taste              Acid           Bitter              Sweet          Pungent       Salty

Emotion       Anger          Joy             Reflection        Grief            Fear

Chinese herbs have made their way into our cupboards used for cooking and spices as well as many types of herbal and green tea blends. When choosing a Chinese herb, use it’s actions to your advantage to help balance the five elements and the Yin/Yang within your body.

The following article is for educational purposes and not intended for diagnosis.  Always consult your health practitioner when needed.





Skin Detoxification Part 6 of 6 Total Body Cleanse

Skin Detoxification Part 6 of 6- Total Body Cleanse

It has been said that “the skin is a mirror of what is going on inside of our bodies”. Now take a long look at your skin, what is it telling you?

Our skin is the largest detox organ that releases toxins through sweat, rashes or abscesses. The skin also protects internal organs like the kidneys, liver and heart from overwork due to toxic overload. Skin is made up of two layers- the Epidermis and the Dermis. The Epidermis is the outer protective layer that is only about a millimeter thick. Epidermal cells produce lipids (keeps skin moist), keratin and and vitamin D from sunlight. The Dermis is the inner skin layer composed of connective tissue and the proteins collagen and elastin which give the skin strength & elasticity.

You may need a skin cleanse if you have any of the following:

  • Acne, Age Spots, Sallow or Uneven Skin (poor liver function)
  • Wrinkles, Sagging or Dry Skin (free radical damage)
  • Puffy Eyes, Crusty Eyes, Dark Circles (over load of fluid wastes)
  • Rashes, Bumps and Sores (overload of unexcreted waste)
  • Chronically Chapped, Itchy, Oily, Scaly Skin (toxic overload)

A proper diet with limited processed foods and drinking 8-10 glasses of water daily can improve skin health and overall appearance. Drinking herbal teas can help flush out toxins internally and used externally as a skin wash on problem areas.

There are many herbs that benefit the skin, one of my favorites is PNW native Oregon Grape. There are many species of Oregon Grape- Mahonia aquifolium is the most popularly used and is the state flower of Oregon. They make an attractive landscape plant having evergreen, holly-like leaves and bright, yellow spring flowers followed by purplish-blue berries. Oregon Grape contains Berberine, a bitter chemical also found in Barberry and Goldenseal which gives them their yellow color.

Oregon Grape Root has been used as a treatment for bacterial infections, diarrhea, gastritis and skin problems. It is effective for psoriasis, eczema, acne and allergic rashes as an external skin wash and internally for a short term (up to 3 weeks). Do not use if you are pregnant, diabetic, have excessive heart burn or take anti-anxiety drugs.

Decoction Tea: Pau d’arco, Marshmallow, Dandelion Root, Oregon Grape Root, Burdock Root. You may want to add honey or Stevia to help with the bitterness. Drink 2-3 cups per day for 1-3 weeks depending on your skins condition. You should see a noticeable improvement.

If you would like to know more about Detoxification join me for my free class at Ubiquitous Journey on Tuesday March 13 at 6pm see for more information.

Always consult  your health care professional when needed.  This information is for education purposes, always exercise common sense.


Lung Detox Part 5 of 6

Lung Detoxification Part 5 of 6- Total Body Cleanse

 The lungs are an important part of the respiratory system responsible for extracting oxygen from the air we breathe. Oxygen then combines with hemoglobin in the red blood cells and is then carried to the rest of the body. The lungs have the greatest exposure of any organ to toxins from the environment from the air we breathe.

   There are 3 diseases that effect the bronchial tubes inside the lungs- asthma, bronchitis and emphysema. Asthma consists of  breathing difficulties and bronchitis is inflammation of the bronchial tubes. Both can be triggered by toxins, which can be reversible in their early stages. Emphysema destroys elasticity in the lungs and is irreversible.

   Detoxification for the lungs is an important step in keeping our bodies healthy by removing toxins, cleansing, and rebuilding. Herbal teas can be an essential part of any cleanse utilizing herbs that reduce inflammation & congestion and strengthen the lungs. Teas should be consumed 2-3 times a days for 2-3 weeks, longer if you are or were a smoker. Vitamin E oil has been shown to protect the fluid lining the lungs and can be a benefit to smokers and can be taken during a lung detoxification program.

One of my favorite herbs for the lungs is Mullein, Verbascum thapsus, a hardy, tall biennial with fuzzy leaves and bright yellow flowers. Mullein is a relaxing and antiseptic herb that lubricates and heals lung tissues. It is used for almost any respiratory problem and helps to maintain the acid/alkali balance in the lungs. Use Mullein with other herbs in teas such as Lobelia, Lungwort, White Horehound, Hyssop, Coltsfoot, Elecampane, Vervain, Nettle and Thyme.

Decoction Lung Tea: Licorice root, Bloodroot, Pleurisy root, Pau d’arco, Fenugreek

Infusion Lung Tea: Mullein, White Horehound, Hyssop or Vervain, Lobelia or Coltsfoot and add Mint or Lemon Balm for taste

Add a pinch of Stevia or local honey as a sweetener if desired.

If you would like to learn more about Detoxification, join me at Ubiquitous Journey on Tuesday March 13th at 6pm for a free class on the Total Body Cleanse. Email for additional information and to sign up.

Kerri Bailey is a Certified Herbalist and has been working with herbs since 1989.  She holds a BS in Biology and owns and a water garden store The Pond Pad

Always consult your health care professional when needed.  The information in this article is for educational purposes.


Blood & Lymph Cleanse- 4 of 6 Total Body Cleanse

Blood & Lymph Cleanse part 4 of 6

Red Clover Blossom

The Lymph and the Blood play important roles in detoxification in our bodies. The Lymph system is composed of lymph glands & nodes, the spleen, thymus and tonsils. It carries wastes that the cells excrete into the blood stream where it is detoxified and eliminated. Lymph contains white blood cells and antibodies that combat infections and remove infections. Blood supplies oxygen to all cells in our body, transports hormones and vital nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.) If toxins build up in our blood and lymph, our health suffers and diseases like immune deficiency could result.

An important part of cleansing the blood and lymph are a proper diet-add onions garlic, fresh fruits and vegetables and drink plenty of fresh, clean water. Adding herbal teas & bathes will help flush out toxins & waste into the blood and lymph excreted through the urine. One of my favorite herbs for this is Red Clover, a perennial plant found most everywhere.

Red Clover is a very nutritive herb containing calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine and Vitamin C. It also contains Isoflavones, a chemical that acts like estrogen in the body which has been heavily researched. Findings are that Red Clover’s effects on menopausal women reduces hot flashes, night sweats and other symptoms. They also found that Red Clover helps with cardiovascular system by increasing blood flow, improving arterial flexibility and helps prevent blood clotting. There has been some evidence that Red Clover may help with certain cancers, but should be avoided in estrogen related cancers, like breast cancer. Pregnant or nursing women, and persons taking blood thinning medications should avoid Red Clover. No serious side effects have been reported with using this herb.

Essential Oils for Baths: Lymph- Geranium, Juniper & Black Pepper

Blood- Rosemary, Cypress & Vetiver

Detox Infusion Tea: Elder Flower, Horsetail, Lemon Balm, Oat Straw & Red Clover

Detox Decoction Tea: Burdock Root, Cloves, Hawthorn Berry, Pau’d’Arco, Red Root & Sarsaparilla

Make your own blend or come into Ubiquitous Journey and we can make a blend for you. I will be available on Tuesday’s from 2/28 – 3/27 from 6pm-7pm for Ask the Herbalist and my new Herbal Study Series.


Liver Cleanse 3 of 6- Total Body Cleanse

Wu wei tze or Schizandra; Chinese Tonic used for many purposes.

The liver is the largest gland in the body and the major organ for the elimination of toxic waste. It has many other important functions such as metabolism of nutrients, hormones & waste; production of blood-clotting factors; storage of vitamins & minerals and the formation of urea.   The liver also produces bile that helps emulsify fats and is then stored in the gallbladder.  The gallbladder and liver are interconnected with the health of one affecting the health of the other.  Diets high in refined sugars, fats & cholesterol can promote gallstones and decreased liver function.

Boldo leaf is a South American herb useful as a kidney & liver tonic.

Cleansing the liver is very important to help maintain a healthy liver.  The level of exposure to toxins- from home, workplace and environment- would determine how often cleansing is required.  There are several methods to cleanse the liver like massage, flushes, enemas and herbal therapies.  Most herbs used in herbal liver therapies are cooling & bitter and taken in teas, tincture or encapsulated forms.  The following is a short list of herbs and their affects on the liver.

Burdock, Yellow Dock, Fennel, Goldenseal                  Cleanses & Restores Function

Licorice Root, Oregon Grape, Blessed Thistle               Cleanses & Heals

Black Walnut, Borage Leaf, Fo-Ti

Boldo, Milk Thistle, Rosemary                                      Protects liver against toxins

Siberian Ginseng, Ginseng                                      Detoxifies, protects from drug effects

Turmeric, Dandelion Root                                                         Cleanses, Increases Bile

Baical Scullcap, Bupleurum, Chinese Rhubarb Root                                Liver Tonic

Wood Betony, Boldo, Schizandra Berry

Schizandra Berry is a Chinese general tonic herb with many uses for men and women.  It is sometimes called “junior dong quai” for its hormone balancing and use as a women’s tonic. Schizandra is also used to improve digestion, reduce fatigue, relieves insomnia, increases sexual activity and is  superior for colds/flu. It’s an adaptogen herb which increases the resistance and adaptation to stresses and builds stamina, making it  great for liver support.  Combine Schizandra with Licorice or Fennel and Siberian Ginseng for a great liver cleansing decoction.

If you have questions about liver herbs and cleansing, stop by Ubiquitous Journey on Tuesday from 4pm-6pm for “Ask the Herbalist”.  You may also try one of my Free University herb classes starting in March.



Kidney Cleanse- 2 of 6- Total Body Cleanse

Kidney Cleanse – 2 of 6-Total Body Cleanse Part 2



Joe-Pye Weed great kidney herb

The Kidneys are our body’s principal excretory organ that filters out drugs, toxins & metabolic waste from the blood.  They are also important regulatory organs that help balance ph, calcium & vitamin D metabolism and electrolyte and fluid balance.  Kidneys produce hormones that stimulateRBCproduction, helps regulate blood pressure and receives 25% of our bodies total blood volume. The health of all internal organs are dependant on the proper functioning of the kidneys.

Keeping your kidneys healthy is a matter of hydration, nutrition and proper hygiene. Drink plenty of good quality water helps to detoxify the kidneys by diluting the urine and concentrations of minerals and salts causing less irritations. Foods rich in Vitamin A & C and Zinc such as Asparagus, Brussels Sprouts, Cherry, Cranberry, Garlic, Guava and Sesame seed & oil help support kidney function.  Avoid raw Spinach & Rhubarb if you are prone to kidney stones.  Kidney stones develop when calcium and other minerals crystallize in the ducts and can cause blockages.  Drinking fresh lemon in water can help as it contains Citric Acid that helps inhibit and prevent kidney stones.  Proper hygiene is also crucial to kidney and bladder health as most urinary infections are caused by bacteria from the colon.

Cleansing the kidneys helps to keep them healthy by removing metabolic waste & crystal deposits and to heal or replace damaged cells. When you do a “kidney cleanse” it is crucial to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day.   Also, avoid high acid forming foods, excessive proteins, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol.  Drinking kidney supportive herbal teas and taking bathes with essential oils are great detoxifiers and should be employed during a cleanse period (1-3 weeks).

Herbs for kidneys either support their proper function and/or are diuretics that help cleanse the bladder and kidney ducts.  Burdock Root, Ginger and Licorice help to detoxify the kidneys and Cayenne, Fennel & Yellow Dock promotes proper functioning, while Fo-Ti does both.  Diuretic herbs should also be added to your tea formula such as Boldo Leaf, Bearberry, Bilberry, Birch Leaves, Dandelion Leaves, Gravel Root (Joe-Pye), Horsetail, Hydrangea, Juniper Berries, Nettles, Kava Kava, Sarsaparilla, and Yarrow.

Bathes are also a great way to help detoxify and help to relieve kidney stress.  Add 8-10 drops of any 2 of the following essential oils: Cedarwood, Chamomile, Eucalyptus, Geranium, Lemon, Juniper or Sandlewood.

If you would like to know more about Kidney Cleansing stop by and see me on Tuesdays from4-6pmat Ubiquitous Journey

Herbal Elements Kidney Detox Decoction Tea : Burdock Root, Ginger, Licorice, Sarsaparilla, Juniper Berries

Herbal Elements Kidney Detox Infusion Tea: Bearberry Leaves, Birch Leaves, Nettles or Horsetail, Fo-Ti and Chamomile or Lemon Balm or Mint for taste

Detox for the New Year 2012 – Colon Cleanse-1 of 6

Spring Clean for 2012 Part One Colon Cleanse

Detoxification is a process our bodies go through to eliminate toxins. We build up these toxins from our environment, workplace, home and from what we consume- food, drugs, alcohol, etc.  Our bodies may need to be cleansed on a semi-regular basis with the main goal to minimize exposure from toxins through healthy diets, exercise, reducing stress, drinking plenty of water and balancing our mental, emotion & spiritual states.

Most of us Americans could use a total body cleanse that may help us with symptoms of sluggishness, irritability, sore joints & muscles, skin rashes, headaches, weight gain, constipation / diarrhea and many others.  Cleansing with herbal teas and capsulated formulas are a great addition to the detox process but it should be done slowly, and with one organ system at a time to experience the full benefits.  First, cleanse the colon and the intestinal system, followed by the kidney & urinary systems; liver & gallbladder; blood & lymph; lungs & respiratory system and lastly the skin.  Each detox program should last from 2-4 weeks depending upon your body’s individual needs.

It’s crucial to first focus on colon cleansing, rebuilding and toning to allow a clear passage of eliminated toxins and removal of stored fecal waste.  Aromatic and bitter herbs help to purge the colon (laxatives) then revitalize the intestinal system with toning and strengthening herbs for support (demulcents & bulk increasing).

Laxative herbs cause contraction of the bowels – Strong- Senna, Cascara, Rhubarb root, Buckthorn & Aloe juice – Mild-Triphala, Rose petals, Fennel & Licorice, to name a few. Use laxatives with caution as they may cause cramping and dependence if used too often.

Demulcent herbs like Marshmallow, Slippery Elm, Irish Moss & Aloe Vera juicehelp increase moisture and flow through the intestines and colon.  It is also important to increase the bulk of the stool and help “scrape” the intestines by adding additional fiber to the diet such as rice / wheat bran, flaxseed and psyllium seed.

I am available to create custom encapsulated formulations and tea blends  at Ubis on Tuesdays from 4pm-6pm or email me to arrange another time.

Please refer to the following websites to learn more about the detoxification processes: