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Christmas Spices, Nutrition & Cultural Traditions - Acupuncture Health Minute

Our culture is rich with Cultural traditions that range from the religious lighting of the menorah during Hanukkah or the Christian Advent Crown, the Latin tradition of the three wise men, or the more secular Santa Claus coming to town. Each brings a certain spirit and flare to the holidays. However, there is one Cultural Art tradition that ties Christmas and Spices together is a very beautiful Magical way, The Nutcracker Sweet.

The Sugarplum Fairy is the most iconic character from this beautiful ballet that has been preformed all over the world by major ballet companies that go on tour and small town dance studios. The debut of this ballet written by Pyotr Tchaikovsky was at the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, on December 18, 1892.

Sugarplums are celebrated by the female principal ballerina. This is a Seasonal treat that contains a mixture of dried fruit and nuts, preserves, and other holiday spices. The sugarplum for which this is named is a key ingredient.

Sugarplums are also a Chinese Medicinal Herb, Wu Mei, that is used to stabilize the lung to stop coughing. It also helps the large intestine to bind and stop diarrhea. It can also help expel intestinal parasites and sooths the stomach to stop vomiting's. The actions of this herb are very helpful in the winter months treating seasonal cough and relieving nausea.

The dance of the Spanish Chocolate is a praise to the Spanish Monks who were first to add sugar and spices to the chocolate to make a delicious sweet drink. This dance varies from a principal soloist to a trio depending on the choreographer. My personal favorite is the trio of dancers.

Chocolate is also a Chinese Medicinal Herb, Qiao Ke Li. It acts on the Heart Channel making is a perfect herb for a holiday celebration filled with love and the season of giving of oneself. This herb Strengthens the Heart and Vital Energy (Qi). It Warms Kidney Yang, this is important for men as they age. It Clears Cold in the body which helps to keep the circulatory and lymphatic systems flowing. It can be used to lower blood pressure, strengthen people with chronic diseases, rejuvenation, chest colds, anxiety, and depression. It is important to only use this herb as prescribed for these conditions as too much of a good thing can cause more damage than good.

The dance of the Arabian Coffee has always been my favorite. It shows the divers talents of the dancers demonstrating ballet adagio, acrobatics, and contortion. The coffee did not become a favorite for me until I grew up. Now I start my day with it.

Coffee is not a Chinese Medicinal Herb, however, green coffee beans demonstrate some herbal characteristics and can be used. It is important to state that most people over consume coffee. One four once cup of coffee is good and promotes health. But how many of us use four ounce cups?? And stop after the first cup?? I am guilty here. The gree coffee beans can support, sooth, and stimulate the liver's energy or qi, it breaks up qi (energy) stagnation, opens up the heart portals, and has a purging effect on the gallbladder. When the energy of the liver is restrained and unable to flow properly a person will feel agitated and frustrated. Coffee breaks of the stagnation so we experience a surge of energy with mental and physical acuity. Good things come in small does. Remember that this holiday season when indulging at parties and family gatherings.

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