The Legends of Valentine’s Day

chvdValentine’s Day in China

Chinese Valentine’s Day occurs on the seventh day of the seventh month on the Chinese Lunar calendar.  There are two legends surrounding the origins of Chinese Valentine’s Day. Both involve the position of the stars on the seventh day of the seventh month in the Chinese lunar calendar (August 2nd in 2014).

The first legend is a romantic fable about two lovers: the seventh daughter of the Goddess of Heaven and a simple cowherd. It was taboo for them to marry, but they did anyway and after a few years of marriage the mother goddess ordered her daughter back to heaven, but out of love she allowed the couple to meet up once a year on the seventh day of the seventh month.

In the second story, Niu Lang and Zhi Nu were fairies living on opposite sides of the Milky Way. Feeling sorry for the two lonely sprites, the Jade Emperor of Heaven actively tried to bring them together. Unfortunately, he succeeded too well – Niu Lang and Zhi Nu became so enraptured with each other that they neglected their work. Annoyed, the Jade Emperor decreed that from that point on, the couple could only meet once a year – on the seventh night of the seventh moon.

In modern times, people in China celebrate Valentine’s Day by releasing hung ming lanterns like in the picture below, and make good wishes of faithful love between them.1283077522499_hz-myalibaba-temp12_7896


Bo He aka Field Mint

Bo He aka Field Mint
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Alternate Names
Pharmaceutical: Herba Menthae Haplocalycis
Botanical: Mentha Haplocalyx Briq.
Japanese: hakka
Korean: bakha
Common: Field mint, menthe

Also known as mentha, mint is considered to be acrid, cool, and aromatic in nature and greatly affects the lung and liver meridians. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the liver meridian filters all of the emotions and specifically deals with anger, frustration and stress. When we experience more stress than our liver meridian can process our qi becomes stagnant and, in the Liver meridian, this can lead to depression. Mint enters the Liver meridian and helps to get the qi moving again in a healthy way, helping to alleviate depression.

Continue reading below to learn what Acupuncture Today says about mint:
Mint is an herb belonging to the labiatae family, specifically mentha haplocalyx Briq. It consists of a squarish stem and elliptical, scaled leaves. Both the leaves and stem are covered with tiny white hairs. The plant has an aromatic odor and an acrid taste. Both the leaves and stem are used in herbal preparations, as is mint oil.

Mint oil contains dozens of chemicals, acids and compounds, including leucine, menthol and aspartic acid. Together, these substances are responsible for many of mint’s healing properties. Studies have shown that mint can inhibit bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus, staphylococcus albus and streptococcus, and viruses such as herpes simplex and vaccinia. Other research shows that it facilitates the flow of mucus in the trachea, and can improve the absorption rates of salicylic acid (the main ingredient in aspirin).

In traditional Chinese medicine, mint is considered to have pungent, aromatic and cool properties. It is associated with the Lung and Liver meridians, and is used to expel wind heat, clear the head and eyes, clear up rashes, and remove liver qi stagnation. Taken orally, mint is used to treat diarrhea and painful menstruation, promote perspiration and dissipate body heat. It is also taken as a means of stimulating the nervous system. In addition, the German Commission E has approved the internal use of mint oil for a variety of conditions, including flatulence, gastrointestinal and gallbladder disorders, and catarrhs of the upper respiratory tract, and external use for myalgia and neuralgia.

Sheng Jiang aka Fresh Ginger

Sheng Jiangrf-2015
Fresh Ginger

Alternate Names:
Pharmaceutical: Rhizoma Zingiberis Officinalis Recens
Botanical: Zingibar Officinale Rosc.
Japanese: shokyo
Korean: saenggang
Common: fresh ginger rhizome

You may have heard that ginger is great for digestion but do you know that recent studies have shown that it may also reduce inflammation in the body? Ginger has been shown to have similar effects as COX-2 inhibitor medications used to treat arthritis. Also, research at Johns Hopkins has shown that ginger has the potential to slow the progression of brain cell loss in Alzheimer’s disease or any dementia.

Continue reading below to learn what Robert Pendergrast, MD has to say about this amazing herb. The following is an excerpt from his article, Health Benefits of Ginger:
Powerful Ally Against Inflammation.

“As an anti-inflammatory, the benefits of ginger are unquestioned. In history, the traditional medicines of both India and China have valued ginger against arthritis and rheumatic complaints. From modern medical research, we know that laboratory studies show that ginger blocks the formation of inflammatory compounds such as leukotrienes and prostaglandins (very much like the COX-2 inhibitors which are conventional arthritis medications ). And as you might expect from this, there are some case reports in human medical literature of reduced pain and swelling in arthritis (both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis).

That anti-inflammatory property of ginger is significant from the standpoint of preventing brain disease. Here’s why. We know that Alzheimer’s dementia is associated with increased inflammatory markers in the brain, and that specifically a compound called TNF-alpha increases its activity in the brain in Alzheimer’s. A 2004 article in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (authored by some researchers from my alma mater, Johns Hopkins) showed that a ginger extract has the potential to slow the progression of brain cell loss in Alzheimer’s disease. So while we have no clinical studies in humans showing that ginger can impact Alzheimer’s or any dementia, the data suggest that a ginger extract could prevent some of the damage to brain cells that marks the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.”

Looking for a way to add some ginger to your upcoming Thanksgiving meal? See my facebook page,

Gui Zhi aka Cinnamon

Gui Zhi


Alternate names:                                                                              
Pharmaceutical: Ramulus Cinnamomi Cassiae
Botanical: Cinnamomum Cassia
Japanese: keishi
Korean: kyeji
Common:  cinnamon twig

The practice of Traditional Chinese medicine incorporates the use of many herbs and plants.  Gui Zhi, also known as cinnamon, is used frequently in Chinese herbal medicine. It is pungent and sweet in flavor and warm in nature.   It may be used for some types of cold or flu, arthritis, and digestive issues.  Also, it is often used for menstrual irregularities and cramps, water retention and poor circulation.  Read more in an article from Acupuncture Today.