Hippocrates is said to be the “father of western medicine,” since I practice TCM, I’m not so sure, but what I really do like is his quote, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” I also appreciate the part of the Hippocratic Oath that talks about “first do no harm,” this is the root of the Gerson Therapy, which is probably why Dr. Max Gerson named the very important component of his therapy, Hippocrates soup after him. Hippocrates soup is an integral part of The Gerson Therapy. On this diet it is required to have at least 8oz with lunch and 8oz with dinner every day. This soup is made fresh every other day. The ingredients are really pretty simple and we are lucky that even the local Fred Meyer (mega chain grocery store) carries the most challenging ingredient to find… celery root. We are especially lucky that we live in Portland with so many amazing co-ops that offer so much amazing produce.
I would honestly say that I find this soup pretty bland, but there are some great garnishes to add to make it so tasty. The most simple addition that I find really makes it taste so good is ginger,* just grate some fresh ginger root to taste and yummy!! Another easy addition is a little lemon juice… this is Dan’s favorite way to have the soup. I personally like both and then add a little cilantro or basil… muy delicioso!!!
*Ginger was an ingredient that originally not allowed on the Gerson Therapy, but now it is allowed and of course anyone on the Gerson Therapy should check with their Gerson trained MD to make sure it can be added to their program.
TCM Properties of Hippocrates Soup
Onion and leek are warming and moving, they nourish Lungs and Spleen to help reduce phlegm in the body. Celery and celery root are cooling and cleansing to the body, the salty nature helps to dissolve masses. Tomatoes are strengthening to the Spleen and Stomach; help alleviate thirst by promoting body fluids. Parsley builds blood, is warming and drying, which is great for Spleen and the pungent flavor enters/supports the Lungs. Potatoes are neutral and sweet in flavor which tonifies the Spleen/Stomach. Garlic is very pungent and warming to help dissolve masses, purge toxicity and parasites from the body.
Together all these foods and herbs work together to build the Spleen and Stomach energy to improve digestion and build qi. They also help to dissolve masses in the body to reduce tumors. It is interesting that many of these foods are also high in quercetin which is considered a strong antioxidant that is proven to prevent and breakdown cancer cells.
This is a re-post of Dr. Weil’s article since it has such relevance to my last post and I love his work…
3 Reasons to Eat Turmeric
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a culinary spice that spans cultures – it is a major ingredient in Indian curries, and makes American mustard yellow. But evidence is accumulating that this brightly colored relative of ginger is a promising disease-preventive agent as well, probably due largely to its anti-inflammatory action.
One of the most comprehensive summaries of turmeric studies to date was published by the respected ethnobotanist James A. Duke, Phd., in the October, 2007 issue of Alternative & Complementary Therapies, and summarized in the July, 2008, issue of the American Botanical Council publication HerbClip.
Reviewing some 700 studies, Duke concluded that turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic, debilitating diseases, and does so with virtually no adverse side effects. Here are some of the diseases that turmeric has been found to help prevent or alleviate:
- Alzheimer’s disease: Duke found more than 50 studies on turmeric’s effects in addressing Alzheimer’s disease. The reports indicate that extracts of turmeric contain a number of natural agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function in Alzheimer’s disease.
- Arthritis: Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including sixdifferent COX-2-inhibitors (the COX-2 enzyme promotes pain, swelling and inflammation; inhibitors selectively block that enzyme). By itself, writes Duke, curcumin – the component in turmeric most often cited for its healthful effects – is a multifaceted anti-inflammatory agent, and studies of the efficacy of curcumin have demonstrated positive changes in arthritic symptoms.
- Cancer: Duke found more than 200 citations for turmeric and cancer and more than 700 for curcumin and cancer. He noted that in the handbook Phytochemicals: Mechanisms of Action, curcumin and/or turmeric were effective in animal models in prevention and/or treatment of colon cancer, mammary cancer, prostate cancer, murine hepatocarcinogenesis (liver cancer in rats), esophageal cancer, and oral cancer. Duke said that the effectiveness of the herb against these cancers compared favorably with that reported for pharmaceuticals.
How can you get more turmeric into your diet? One way is via turmeric tea. There are also extracts in tablet and capsule form available in health food stores; look for supercritical extracts in dosages of 400 to 600 mg, and take three times daily or as directed on the product.
And, of course, one can simply indulge in more curried dishes, either in restaurants or at home. However you do it, adding turmeric to your diet is one of the best moves toward optimal health you can make.
Healthy Turmeric Tea
Three Reasons to Eat Turmeric – Dr. Weil.
Anti-Inflammatory Dinner (Mixed Vegetables with Quinoa)
Both ginger and turmeric are powerful anti-inflammatory herbs. They are very versatile since they can be used in flavoring foods or just made into a tea to promote circulation, reduce pain, and improve digestion.
In Chinese Medicine we use ginger to tonify the Stomach and Spleen. Its nature is warming, which aids the digestive fire and its energy is said to be descending. This is helpful when there is digestive upset, nausea, dizziness or even motion sickness. Western Medicine has recently shown support of ginger’s anti-inflammatory nature (see study). There are even studies showing the effectiveness of ginger for motion-sickness and preventing nausea from chemotherapy (see study).
Turmeric is used in Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda to aid digestion, to promote circulation and alleviate pain and to reduce swelling in the body (this is for reducing swelling with trauma and from tumors/cancer). Its nature is also warming since it promotes blood circulation and aids digestion. Western medicine shows much positive research with turmeric for arthritis (both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis), Alzheimer’s and cancer. Dr. Andrew Weil has a great article outlining this (see this article).
Essentially what the research is saying about these herbs is that they have naturally occurring COX-2 inhibitors, which reduce the inflammatory pathways in the body to alleviate pain. What I am saying about these herbs is that they taste good and Traditional Medicine has used them effectively for thousands of years, so eat up!!
Sautéed Vegetables with Fresh Turmeric and Ginger (serves 4)
- 1 small onion
- 1 head of broccoli
- 1/2 head of cabbage
- 2 inches grated fresh ginger root
- 2 inches grated fresh turmeric root
- 1/2 block of tempeh
- 2 garlic cloves
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 TBS liquid aminos (soy or coconut) or salt to taste
- 2-3 TBS nutritional yeast
- 2-3 cups cooked rice or quinoa
Steam saute the onion and cabbage first for a couple minutes (just add a little water to the bottom of the pan to lightly steam while you are cooking… this avoids needing to use oil). Then add broccoli (florets and stalk). Steam saute for another couple minutes and then add remaining vegetables: peas, corn, carrots… whatever you have on hand. Add the ginger, garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and turmeric the last couple minutes of steam sauteing. Make sure to add more water if needed to make a nice broth to pour over cooked rice or quinoa.