There’s an albizzia tree in my neighbourhood. We use the flowers and bark to loosen up mental and emotional blockage, and the physical conditions that can occur with them. The flowers work more on the emotions and lift mood, the bark acts more on the physical conditions that come from getting hung up about things.
The flowers are gorgeous on the tree, but they go an earthy brown colour when they dry.
Hung up. Does anyone say that these days?


Just bottled a new batch of Ouch Go Goo pain liniment.

This one is superconcentrated and brewed longer.
While it’s very strong I’m bit disappointed at how little Goo I got, and will not make it this way again. Get it while it lasts.
The blurb: ‘Relieves pain, reduces swelling, and aids recovery. For muscle and tendon pain and fatigue, chronic aching joints, and recalcitrant injuries.’

For the inner city audience, the font is ‘Seven Monkey Fury’. Funny huh.

topical treatment for infection

Sometimes ‘old-fashioned remedies’ make more sense, like using a topical treatment for localised infection.
Recently I went to a GP because I had a blind cyst in my ear lobe. Naively I expected that he would lance it, but he said they didn’t do that kind of thing anymore and gave me a prescription for an antibiotic. Don’t get me wrong, antibiotics are an indispensable weapon in the fight against potentially fatal disease, but most people are now aware of both the personal and population wide consequences of unnecessary antibiotic use. And it seems like the nuclear option to use a systemic anti-bacterial to treat a small local area of infection.
I applied a poultice of ground herbs called San Huang Xi Ji and after three days the cyst was gone.
The next time I went to a GP it was because I thought I had an ingrown toenail, and expected to get a referral to a podiatrist. But because the tissue next to the toenail was inflamed an antibiotic was again prescribed. San Huang Xi Ji was not the ideal poultice to use, but I had some ground up so that’s what I went with. Four days of application overnight relieved the inflammation.
The picture isn’t of my ear, and nobody wants to see my toenail.

As if to order, The Guardian is running an article on anti-biotic resistance this weekend, it seems to be a major concern of England’s chief medical officer.

learn cupping and scraping

You can learn cupping and scraping. Join me at the CERES Van Raay Centre to find out how to use these methods to keep yourself, your friends, and family well. We Chinese Medicine practitioners are experts at treating a range of conditions with these methods, but historically they are folk medicine practices used by regular folk. So this workshop is intended to teach people who are not health professionals how to treat pain, stiffness, common colds, and fevers.

Come dressed so that you can expose your shoulders and upper back.

Short notice for this one but I have to hone my presentation skills before I jet off to teach the idle rich at luxury resorts.


  • When: Saturday October 21, 9am til 12pm.
  • Where: CERES Environment Park, Van Raay Meeting Room 3.
  • Price: $50

some chinese medicine explanations

A journalist recently asked me for some explanations of people’s expectations of Chinese Medicine. She had been commissioned to write an article for the LUX* Resort group, and she probably hope for some pithy quotes that she could tie together in a brief wrapup. If only explaining Chinese Medicine were that easy.
The journalist asked me because I’m going there, I’m on their page.

rice grain moxibustion

The Moxa Punk will often show people how they can keep themselves well. Here’s a video showing how to do Japanese rice grain moxibustion. Thanks to Michael Warren.

don’t ride bare-back

Chinese Medicine says that you shouldn’t ride your bicycle with your back exposed, but so did my cycling coach in the 80’s.

Learn how to Cup and Scrape

Join me in the cosy, ecologically friendly warmth of the Van Raay Centre at CERES to learn how to cup and scrape. We Chinese Medicine practitioners use these methods to treat a range of conditions, but historically they are folk medicine practices used by regular folk. So this workshop is intended to teach people who are not health professionals how to use these methods to keep themselves, their friends, and family well.

Come dressed so that you can expose your shoulders and upper back.

Just 16 places for this one, get in quick.


  • When: Saturday July 1, 10am til 1pm.
  • Where: CERES Environment Park, Van Raay Meeting Room 2.
  • Price: $50

germs don’t cause colds and flus, low immunity does

Germs don’t cause colds and flu, low immunity does.
How’s that for a controversial opening? A recent study has shown that only 23% of people infected by a flu virus display symptoms.* So while infection with a virus is necessary for viral illness, it isn’t sufficient alone to cause it. This means that the immune response to the infection is more important in determining whether someone gets sick or not, and makes low immunity more of a cause of illness than infection.
Anyone who travels by public transport, works in an office, or has kids will recognise that it is impossible to avoid exposure to cold and flu viruses, so it makes sense to boost your immunity to prevent illness rather than trying to avoid germs. This can be done by getting enough rest, eating healthy meals regularly, dressing to avoid cold exposure, and exercising sensibly. There’s more on how to do this here: How to stay healthy in winter.

Still more can be done by seeing a Chinese medicine practitioner for acupuncture, moxibustion, and herbal therapy, particularly if you’re feeling a bit run down already or if you tend to catch colds easily. We can use these therapies to improve your immunity and wellbeing – there’s even a 450 year old combination of herbs called Yu Ping Feng San 玉屏風散 or Jade Windscreen Powder designed to stop people catching colds and flus.
You could also try using moxibustion yourself to boost your immunity. Warming a point called Zu San Li with moxa can improve immunity, digestion and endurance, and relieve fatigue. There’s a video on how to do it here: How to do moxibustion.

* Reference: Dr Hayward, AC and 20 others on behalf of the Flu Watch Group. Comparative community burden and severity of seasonal and pandemic influenza: results of the Flu Watch cohort study. The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. 2014; 2: 445-454

Germs are not all bad.

Germs are not all bad. Even H. Pylori that can cause peptic ulcers may be healthy for some.