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Acupuncture & Natural Health Solutions Newsletter   Providing Natural Health Care for the Entire Family
Issue #2017-6a
  The Many Dimensions of the Heart

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 
- Oscar Wilde  

The heart is an energetic system we often treat in Traditional Chinese Medicine. According to Chinese Medicine theory, there are many systems of energy within the body. Each of these systems corresponds to certain physiological and psychological functions. When we are speaking about Chinese Medicine organs, we are not talking about the physical organ sitting in your body, but rather the energetic manifestations of a particular system in the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual realms. So when we talk about the heart, the lungs, the liver, it is more than just that organ.

The heart is an incredibly important energy system in Chinese medicine, often said to be the emperor of all the other energy systems. It is related to the fire element, which is the universal energy of summer.
On a physical level, the heart is responsible for pumping blood through our body, just as it is in our Western medicine. It controls the health and vitality of the blood vessels, and also controls sweating, the tongue and speech. But perhaps the most important role of the heart in Chinese medicine is that it houses the Shen, or spirit.
The Shen in Chinese Medicine is referred to as one of the three treasures of the body, and it encompasses consciousness, the emotions, mental acuity and thought, as well as the ability to process incoming sensory information. Each organ system in Chinese medicine is related to one aspect of the spirit (such as intellect, willpower or instinct) - but the Shen is the most important, as it governs all the other aspects. Prolonged emotional upheaval, mental illness, personality disorders, emotional imbalance, processing disorders and sensory disorders all are manifestations of a disturbed, ungrounded or weakened Shen.  
The emotion associated with the heart is joy. This means that joy nourishes the heart, but excessive joy (ie, mania) is a symptom of an imbalance in this system.
The heart is all about the very act of being alive - from the physical heart beating in our chest, to the flow of blood through our veins, to our mental ability to stay present and focused, and our emotional selves being whole and complete. It is the energy of summertime - abundant, hot and lively.
Nourish the Heart through Food
The color associated with the heart is red, and the heart is nourished through red foods, such as cherries, strawberries and kidney beans. Being closely associated with the blood, it is also nourished by blood-tonifying foods such as beef bone broth, organ meats, lean red meat and dark leafy greens. The heart is closely tied to appreciation of beauty and aesthetics, so the heart system is also nourished by food for which care has been given to present artfully, with beauty and grace, and a wide array of colors on one plate. Again, the heart is associated with summertime, so think of the abundance of fruits and vegetables available that time of year, and try to reflect that energy in your food choices.
Nourish the Heart through your habits
 The heart is nourished through activities that bring you cheer and joy. Nourishing the heart is about celebrating that which you love in the world - people, places and ideals. As the heart governs our relationships with other human beings, it is nurtured by feeling connected to those that we love. Reach out to friends and family, forge new bridges and strengthen lasting bonds. The heart is also nourished through beauty - take time to appreciate the beauty of your natural surroundings, as well as music, poetry, art and dance.

Lastly, the heart is nurtured by ritual. This can be a long-standing religious or cultural ritual, or one that you create for yourself. Some examples of heart-healthy rituals include writing down five things you are grateful for each night, incorporating some sort of gentle exercise during each morning, practicing 10 minutes of sitting meditation each day, or grab a coloring book and start coloring!

Foods to Improve Heart Health 
Wonder how you can help your heart stay in balance? Well, what you put into your body goes a long way in determining how balanced you are. Check out some of these foods you should consume in order to promote good heart health.

Red foods have been shown to help the heart biochemically; foods such as hawthorn berries, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, tomatoes, watermelon, peppers and goji berries keep your heart happy with lycopene and anthocyanin, antioxidants and beneficial vitamins. 

Other helpful foods include garlic, cayenne, cilantro, basil, magnesium (found in leafy greens, nuts and soy) and green tea. Also try ginseng, jujube dates, reishi mushrooms, dong quai, seaweed and schizandra berries.

Orange vegetables like carrots have carotenoids and lutein, powerful phytonutrients. And oranges, the fruit, can help decrease your risk of heart disease.
Recipe Corner

Bone Broth

Grass-fed Beef Broth (Vital Essence Elixir)
by Toni Eatros, MS, Dipl.Ac., AP & Cindy Lee Kelly

Makes: 5-6 quarts

Directions for Use:
Drink 8 ounces each day as a supplement or use it as the base for many other recipes.

  1. about 4 pounds grass-fed beef marrow bones and knuckle bone
  2. 1 calves foot, cut into pieces (optional)
  3. 3 pounds meaty rib or neck bones
  4. 1 or more gallons cold filtered water
  5. 1 / 2 cup organic apple cider vinegar 
  6. 3 organic onions roughly chopped
  7. 3 organic carrots roughly chopped
  8. 3 organic celery stalks roughly chopped
  9. 3/4 to 1 ounce fresh organic thyme or 1 Tablespoon dried organic thyme 
  10. 1 teaspoon ground peppercorns
  11. 1 strip Kombu (optional) - found in the seaweed section
  12. 1 bunch organic parsley 
  1. Place the marrow bones in a large stock pot with the vinegar and cover with the gallon of filtered water. Let stand for one hour.
  2. Meanwhile, place the rib bones in a roasting pan and brown at 350 degrees in the oven. When well browned, approximately one hour, add to the stockpot along with the onions, carrots and celery. Pour the fat out of the roasting pan, add cold water to the pan and bring to a boil stirring with a wooden spoon to loosen any sediment. Add this brown liquid to the stockpot.
  3. Add additional water, if necessary, to cover the bones; but the liquid should come no higher than within one inch of the rim of the stockpot. Bring to a boil. A large amount of scum will form on the top. It is important to remove this scum with a spoon. Then reduce heat and add the thyme, pepper and Kombu.
  4. Simmer stock for at least 12 but preferably for 72 hours for optimum results. Just before finishing, add the parsley and simmer for ten minutes more.
  5. Allow broth to cool enough for safe handling.
  6. Remove bones with tongs or a slotted spoon. Strain the stock into a large bowl.
  7. Let cool in the refrigerator; remove the congealed fat that rises to the top and put the broth in containers for storage in the freezer.

Author's notes:
** I purchase bones at Whole Foods or Lucky's. They are not 100% grass-fed but they have not received hormones, steroids, antibiotics, GMOs, etc.

It is wise to call the butcher a few days in advance.

Leg bones cut in 3" pieces work well for the marrow bones. You can also add a knuckle bone to the 4 pounds of leg bones, if you can find one.

Beef back ribs must be ordered in advance since they are cut as sold so it usually takes them a couple days to accumulate 3 pounds. Meaty neck bones can also be used but I have not found these yet.

Finding bones locally can take time and be frustrating if the stores are out. I order online from They will ship directly to your house and you can a wider variety of bones when you do this. If you buy enough for two batches, you will save on shipping costs.
Drink 1 cup per day to nourish the heart, build blood, boost kidney jing and improve ability to reproduce. It slows you down, feels nourishing, therapeutic & is really, really good for the heart and blood.

The number of servings depends on the size of your stockpot and the amount of water you use. The minimum size stockpot for this recipe is 8 quarts however I strongly recommend using a 10-12 quart pot. Add water to one inch below the rim. You will have 5-6 quarts, or 20-24 cups, using an 8 quart pot.

The information contained within the  newsletter is only used to educate and inform. This newsletter is  not a substitute for the advice of a licensed and registered health  care provider. Seek prompt attention for emergencies. Consult  a health care provider for specific health concerns, and before  starting a diet, cleanse or exercise routine.
Monthly Acupuncture Column Featured in SW Florida's Health & Wellness Magazine 
Toni Eatros, AP,
Acupuncture Physician, 
is the  featured acupuncture columnist in the popular SW Florida's Health & Wellness Magazine.

Be sure to check out June's issue, about
Healing Chronic Illness with Congee Part II: Supporting Our Blood Through Food

Click the link to view May's Article:  Healing Chronic Illness with Congee: Using Food as Medicine  

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Research Update
Effects of CoQ10 on Morbidity and Mortality Rates in Chronic Heart Failure
Mortensen SA, et al.
The effect of coenzyme Q10 on morbidity and mortality in chronic heart failure. Results from the Q-SYMBIO study. Eur J Heart Fail 2013;15(S1):S20.
Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
A total of 420 patients with chronic heart failure (New York Heart Association class III or IV).
Study Medication and Dosage:
Pantethine (300 mg, twice a day for eight weeks, then 300 mg, three times per day for eight weeks) or 
placebo. ing heart failure, cardiovascular 
death, or heart transplantation).
Key Findings: 
A significantly lower proportion of patients in the CoQ10 group than in the placebo group reached the primary endpoint (14% vs. 25%; p = 0.003). Cardiovascular mortality (p = 0.02), all-cause mortality (9% vs. 17%; p = 0.01), and hospitalizations for heart failure (p = 0.05) were all significantly lower in the CoQ10 group than in the placebo group.
Practice Implications: 
As a component of the electron-transport chain, CoQ10 plays a key role in energy production, and is therefore essential for all energy-dependent processes, including myocardial contraction. Blood levels of CoQ10 have been found to be low in patients with chronic heart failure. In several previous clinical trials, CoQ10 supplementation improved functional status and reduced the number of hospitalizations in patients with heart failure. However, in other trials CoQ10 had no effect on left ventricular ejection fraction, exercise tolerance, or quality of life, when compared with placebo.
The conflicting results in the different CoQ10 studies might be explained in part by differences in patient populations. One of the negative studies was conducted at an inner-city hospital and a Veterans Affairs hospital. The participants in that study may have had a relatively high prevalence of alcoholism (alcoholic heart disease) and dietary inadequacies. Those factors, combined with the use of diuretics, could have led to clinically significant deficiencies of magnesium, thiamine, and other nutrients that are important for cardiac function. The effectiveness of CoQ10 may be diminished if deficiencies of other cardioprotective nutrients are not corrected.
The new study is the first large-scale randomized controlled trial to examine the effect of CoQ10 on mortality in patients with heart failure. The observed 47% reduction in all-cause mortality is profound, and represents an important advance in the treatment of heart failure. Hopefully, this study will stimulate new research and eventually lead to the incorporation of CoQ10 therapy into mainstream medicine.
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