Chinese Immune Herb Chicken Soup

In China it is common to throw tonic herbs in soup to enhance immunity, longevity, and general good health. The root herbs Astragalus, Codonopsis and Dioscorea are general Qi tonics, benefitting digestion, nutrient absorption, cardiac function and enhanced energy. Lycium and Longan are blood tonics and enhance calming. Wood Ear alleviates dryness and benefits circulation. Lotus Seed is a mild tonic and sedative. Polygonatum is a yin tonic and restores moisture to dry membranes. Sargassum is a yin tonic and relieves swelling.


  • 2 lbs Chicken, skinless with bones  -OR-  1 lb Tofu, added with the vegetables
  • 1 packet Chinese Immune Herbs – available at the Natural Remedy Store
  • 2 cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 2 slices fresh Ginger
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • Fresh vegetables as desired: Carrots, Celery, Green Onion, Leafy Greens, Squash
  • 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce/Tamari  -OR-  3 Tbsp Miso Paste
  • 1 Tsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 Tsp Wine or mild Vinegar

Makes 4 hearty servings.

To make the soup, place Chicken in a medium sized pot and add enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and remove any residue that floats to the top at that time.

Add the whole package of herbs, crushed Garlic, fresh Ginger, and Salt. The amount of each can be adjusted to your own taste – the amounts given provide a mild flavor. Bring back to a slow boil, cover and simmer for 50 minutes or longer. You can also use a Crockpot, Instant Pot, or any slow cooker on the slow cook setting.

Add sliced fresh vegetables such as Carrots and Celery (for a more warming effect, use Green Onions), Leafy Greens, and Squash; if substituting Chicken with Tofu, add it now. Simmer again for 10-15 minutes to soften, then add Soy Sauce/Tamari or Miso Paste, Sesame Oil, and Wine or mild Vinegar. Remove from heat and serve.

All the herbal material is edible except Astragalus, the thinly sliced flat herb which will remain firm with a woody appearance. For individuals recovering from a debilitating illness or experience, the soup can be taken daily for about a week to help restore strength. Others may enjoy a bowl a week for nourishing the blood and getting a boost of energy.

Traditional Chinese Concepts of Soup Ingredients

The mention of organs or Blood, Qi, etc. are traditional Chinese descriptions as translated from Chinese, not the Western definition or purpose in a Western sense of that organ. Spleen does not refer to making white blood cells, but is instead often tied to aspects of digestion. Main organs are paired and are associated with a meridian. The meridians are representative of an energy, and are labeled after these organs. Below are some references that can be used to understand the physiology and energetics of the ingredients used in Chinese Medicine.

  • Chicken: Taste is sweet, nature is warm, benefits spleen and stomach. The meat nourishes Qi and blood and tonifies the kidney and essence. It is used therapeutically for blood deficiency, emaciation and persistent illness.
  • Tofu: Cooling, lubricating, and benefits the spleen and stomach.
  • Miso: Sweet and salty, of a neutral nature and benefits the stomach, spleen and kidney.
    • Miso and Tofu are used to treat disharmony of the stomach, with loss of appetite, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort.
  • Garlic: Pungent and sweet, warm, and benefits spleen, stomach and lungs. Promotes digestion (especially of meats) and is helpful in treating coughing due to lung infections.
  • Carrot: Sweet and neutral. Benefits spleen, liver and lung. Used for indigestion, vision and cough with fever.
  • Squash: Sweet and cooling, benefits spleen, stomach, lung and is used for coughing and promoting urination.
  • Celery: Pungent and sweet, cooling in nature. Benefits liver, stomach and bladder. Used for fever, agitation and loss of appetite. 
  • Greens: Slightly astringent, cool and benefit spleen and liver.
  • Green Onion: Pungent and warm. Benefits stomach and lungs. Used for dispersing chill, relieving congestion and relaxing muscle tension.

Herbal Ingredients

  • Astragalus: Taste is sweet, nature is mildly warm, and it benefits the spleen and lung. It is used for all kinds of Qi deficiency syndromes, especially when there is excessive sweating.
  • Codonopsis: Taste is sweet, nature is mildly warm, and it benefits the lung and spleen. It is used for all types of Qi deficiency syndromes, especially when there is weak digestion. It is commonly used by Chinese herbalists as a substitute for Ginseng.
  • Dioscorea (Chinese Yam): Taste is sweet, nature is mildly warm, and it benefits the spleen, lung, and kidney. It is used for treatment of diarrhea and frequent urination.
  • Lycium (Goji Berry): Taste is sweet, nature is neutral, and it benefits the liver and kidney. It is used for weakness due to overwork and aging, for weak vision, and for chronic cough.
  • Longan: Taste is sweet, nature is warm, and it benefits the heart and spleen. It is used for deficiency of blood, with poor memory, heart palpitations, and weakness.
  • Wood Ear (Black Fungus): Taste is sweet, nature is neutral, and it benefits the lung, stomach, and liver. It is used for dry cough, dry throat and mouth, and for other symptoms of dryness.
  • Lotus Seed: Taste is sweet and astringent, nature is neutral, and it benefits the spleen, kidney, and heart. It is used for loss of appetite and diarrhea due to weak digestion, for frequent urination, and for restlessness.
  • Polygonatum (Solomon’s Seal): Taste is sweet, nature is mildly cold, and it benefits the lung and stomach. It is used for any kind of yin-deficiency syndrome, typically manifesting as fidgeting, dry mouth and throat, and dry cough.
  • Sargassum (Seaweed): Taste is salty, nature is cold, and it benefits the stomach, liver, and kidney. It is used to dissolve phlegm and relieve swelling.

Download the Chinese Immune Herb Chicken Soup Recipe as a PDF

Adapted from Jintu – Chinese Herbal Chicken Soup ITM

Healing with Whole Foods: Oriental Traditions and Modern Nutrition, Paul Pitchford

Allergy Relief – Staving Off the Sneezes

With the changing of the seasons and the rain finally coming to a close, the flowers come out with a vengeance. With the beauty that they lend the world, comes massive amounts of pollen. Allergy season often coincides with Spring and Fall, but, depending on your allergies, you can suffer year long. Brain fog, itchy eyes, sneezing, and feeling fatigued are not pleasant things you’d like to deal with on a daily basis. But, when you take the over the counter medications, the extra layer of brain fog and fatigue make it downright unbearable. So, you feel left between a rock and a hard place. There are many natural solutions such as IV vitamin therapy that can help to ease the pain of allergies, both lifestyle modifications and supplements that don’t give the brain fog or medication hangover, but still provide potent relief.

1. Air Purifier

Getting an air purifier in your home can help to decrease the allergens residing there. By making your house a clean zone, you can vastly decrease the amount of allergens you are subjected to. This gives your system a rest, especially at night, so your body can heal and rest itself from the onslaught of allergens outside. This also helps to filter out the harmful particles like mold, which can cause a low level of inflammation, especially in the respiratory tracts.

2. Use Natural Cleaners

We all clean when we start to feel the allergies coming on. Common household cleaners can often emit vapors that inflame and harm the skin and respiratory tract. Always wear gloves and use natural cleaners to decrease the chances of further inflaming your respiratory tract.

3. Vitamin C

Our cells react to allergens by releasing histamine. It’s the histamine that causes many of our allergy symptoms, like sneezing, itchy eyes, and skin rashes. Vitamin C helps to stabilize the cells to decrease their ability to release histamine. By taking appropriate amounts, this stabilizes the cell’s membranes and keeps histamine IN the cell, rather than outside it.

4. Vitamin B5/ Pantothenic Acid

Vitamin B5 is a super safe addition to your allergy regimen. B5 can help to control nasal congestion and dry up secretions. B5 can also reduce eosinophils, which are the main white blood cells (immune cells) responsible for allergies. This also helps to quickly decrease histamine levels in the body, which can help to alleviate symptoms.

5. Stinging Nettles

This herb is a great addition to your allergy arsenal. It helps to decrease the frequency and severity of allergy symptoms, such as runny nose and sneezing. If taken with enough time before allergy season, it can even help to prevent an allergic response. Its best to dose this herb frequently and early in the season to allow it to take full effect.

6. Gingko Biloba

This herb is normally associated with mood and cognitive function, but it also can play a small role in helping allergy symptoms. It can chemically mediate the inflammatory and allergy response due to some of its constituents. It’s got plenty of antioxidant properties that help to decrease inflammation and improve cognition. Lastly, it can help with asthma, as it decreases the bronchoconstriction!

7. NAC

This compound combats allergies in multiple ways. It is the precursor to glutathione, which is a major antioxidant, liver protector, and immune supportive nutrient. While strengthening the immune system, it also helps to thin mucus and phlegm, allowing you to breathe easier. Just drink plenty of water, as it can easily leave you feeling extra dry.

There are many other ways to alleviate allergies – avoiding food sensitivities and trans fats, practicing good hygiene in the home and on yourself, and avoiding exposure to extra chemicals and scents during times of sensitivity. If you are looking for an IV vitamin therapy in Sonoma County then, make an appointment and we can discuss the best methods for you to combat allergies!


Phrase: IV vitamin therapy Sonoma County

Understanding Perimenopause

Information about Perimenpause

Perimenopause is the window of time before menopause, which can be as long as a decade or more of changes prior to having a last period. The symptoms of perimenopause are often totally unrecognized by the general medical community, even though it is a time when women are seeking the most medical care. The hormonal fluctuations during this time influence change in our physical, mental, and emotional health that can significantly alter a woman’s sense of well-being as well as her relationships.

Many women are quite familiar with the symptoms of perimenopause: changes in her menstrual cycle: either heavier/lighter flow or more irregular than they have been, hot flashes or “warm rushes”, brain fog, difficulty losing weight, night sweats, joint pain, tendonitis, vaginal discomfort during intercourse, anxiety, depression, fatigue, palpitations, emotional lability, loss of libido, and a whole lot more.

One of the more challenging issues of perimenopause is that our brain can become like a “sieve” where words and tasks are easily lost, making multi-tasking a really difficult course of the day, at one of the busiest times of our lives.

Stress plays a significant role in the early onset and rapid progression of perimenopause. It is common that women will have hormone imbalance due to chronic stress while entering perimenopause, possibly worsening the symptoms and adding momentum to the process, which can have a negative impact on our fertility, and overall health.

Along with the overt symptoms, there are risks to the decline in hormones: bone thinning and osteoporosis, alzheimer’s disease, insulin resistance/diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis. This is an important window of time to examine a personalized “risk reduction” approach to hormone fluctuations such as family history or existing conditions so that the transition toward menopause does not have a cost on the decades of health ahead.

While some women are just moderately inconvenienced by these symptoms, they can be quite severe for other women. Often times the medical messaging is to just “live with it”, but this is pretty dated, and frankly… not sufficient. There are many treatment options that integrative medicine and naturopathic doctors offer to effectively balance hormone fluctuations and minimize symptoms while not interrupting the natural process of perimenopause.

Women have been finding their own medicines to balance their health since the beginning of time, but sometimes we need help when our own approach is not quite enough, or uncertain. After a detailed medical interview, if necessary, one of our doctors can help to test your hormones levels, along with thyroid and adrenal hormone levels, or any additional tests that may be important for you. We can then formulate a treatment course that will be personalized to your symptoms, hormone balance, and overall wellness.

Perimenopause and hormone health can be a smooth, safe, and even enjoyable experience with the support of nutrition, herbal medicine, bioidentical hormone therapy, self-care, acupuncture, and an experienced doctor to help find the right course for you. Contact us at 707-861-7300 to reach out to the office staff.

Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine for Cancer Care

Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine for Cancer Care

Acupuncture is a beneficial and very important part of cancer care in all its stages. Chinese medicine, alone or when integrated with conventional care, can amplify the desired benefits of current treatments, prevent recurrence and metastasis of early tumors, promotes foundational health, improves quality of life, and may prolong life even in advanced stages.

Some of the successful alternative cancer care methods in Sonoma County such as acupuncture and other ChineseAcupuncture and Chinese Medicine for Cancer Care -Hill Park Medical Center medicine methods can further optimize conventional treatment outcomes by limiting side effects of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, enhance immune function and extend one’s life. Jennifer’s experience in preventing and lessening side effects such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, alopecia, anxiety, depression, insomnia, mouth ulcers, cystitis, skin rash, diarrhea, cardiac toxicity, hepatic toxicity, immune suppression have brought numerous patients much relief and support along their path toward healing.

Fu Zheng Therapy

Chinese Medicine has been used for the treatment of tumors for over 3,000 years. In regards to cancer care: Fu Zheng therapy is specifically applied in cancer care, which translates as “to strengthen what is correct and to secure the root”. This results in enhancing immune fortitude and preserving the function of the internal organs. This also counters chemotherapy-induced immune suppression or the decrease in red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

Guiding Qi through its channels, acupuncture aims to achieve continuous balance and harmony. Over the course of time, various treatment protocols have been developed to:

  • Reduce tumor size, pain, swelling and inflammation
  • Prevent the initiation, formation and development of cancer
  • Increase the function and activity of the immune system
  • Enhance the regulating function of the endocrine system
  • Enhance and protect the structure and function of the organs
  • Strengthen digestion and absorption of nutrients
  • Improve metabolism
  • Protect bone marrow and generation of new blood cells
  • Increase effectiveness of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy and hormonal therapy
IV Therapy Support

Acupuncture can greatly augment the benefits of IV therapy, especially High Dose Vitamin C treatment. Acupuncture works synergistically with IV therapy in the overall desired effect, as well as allows each individual to relax and fully receive the benefits. Jennifer Monin provides a unique service at Hill Park Medical Center in supporting patients with nurturing and strengthening acupuncture treatments in conjunction with their IV therapy for cancer care.

Pre and Post Surgical Support

Therapeutic and reconstructive surgery often introduce a variety of unwelcome conditions including pain, anesthesia-induced nausea, bruising, anxiety, fatigue, constipation, and scarring that can be relieved with Chinese Medicine. Treatments can increase peripheral blood circulation to increase nutrient supplies, hasten wound healing, assist nerve regeneration, minimize scarring, enhance immunity, and prevent lymphedema.

Hormonal Therapy Support

Chinese medicine can support the side effects of early menopause and night sweats, decreased libido, vaginal dryness, osteoporosis, cardiovascular health.

Individualized Treatment Plans

Treatments are targeted to be effective regardless of the stage a patient is in: immediately upon diagnosis, before or after surgery, in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiation or in the following years as a supportive preventive therapy. Dietary and lifestyle suggestions are provided to promote better general health and improve long-term optimal health.

Jennifer MoninLAc has been practicing acupuncture for the past 20 years. She has extensive experience supporting individuals with cancer – including work at the National Institute of Oncology and Radiology in Havana, Cuba and as a long-time volunteer at Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic in Oakland, CA. She is honored to support patients in all stages of cancer at Hill Park and is also available for treatments pre and post IV therapy.

Small Intestine Bowel Overgrowth

By Dr. Michaela Falkner, ND

Small Intestine Bowel Overgrowth is a common and often overlooked cause to chronic digestive health concerns.

Small Intestine Bowel Overgrowth (referred to as SIBO) is an accumulation of normally occurring bacteria in the small intestine, not necessarily in high numbers, but in a region that they don’t belong. Often mistaken for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), SIBO is the cause of 60% of incorrectly diagnosed cases of IBS. It is generally less responsive to changes in stress and mood than traditional IBS, so while many patients report pretty good results from stress reduction techniques, they still have persistent symptoms.

The research on SIBO is still new, but we know that SIBO tends to result from a few different factors including stagnant bowels and lack of proper movement, lack of sufficient stomach acid, and a few more structural issues. SIBO can also be an indicator or accompany many underlying conditions such as autoimmune diseases, adhesions from surgery, post infections, and many others.

The small intestine is supposed to have relatively few bacteria in it, but due to the above causes, bacteria will set up shop and start digesting our food for us in the small intestine as opposed to the large intestine. This causes an abundance of gas that becomes trappped temporarily in the small intestine until it can move onto the large intestine. This is where many of the symptoms of SIBO originate.

So what does SIBO look like? Common symptoms are bloating (especially after eating healthy foods that are high in fiber and prebiotics), reflux, gas, fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, or combination diarrhea-constipation. This bloating is further exacerbated by carbohydrates and sugar. A keynote symptom I often see in patients is that the “healthier” they eat (salads, veggies, etc), the worse the gas and bloating.

Does this sound like you? Have you tried pro-biotics and your gut issues worsened? Have you attempted to eat a better diet only to feel much worse? Do you commonly go to bed looking a few months pregnant, but wake up with a flat stomach in the morning and feel great fasted? SIBO even interferes with your absorption of vitamins and minerals, leading to hair loss, fatigue, depression, and low iron stores.

The best way we can diagnose SIBO is through a breath test. A special diet and fast is followed, then a patient blows into a little bag to establish a baseline. The patient then drinks a lactulose solution and breaths into the bag multiple times over 2-3 hours. The samples are then sent in and analyzed for methane and hydrogen gas. By looking at how much those gases increase over the 2-3 hour timespan can help your doctor determine if you likely have SIBO or not.

If you have been diagnosed with SIBO, there are various things we at Hill Park Medical Center can do to support you. We can provide nutrient IVs to boost energy and immune function to support you while you are undergoing treatment. SIBO often causes difficulty in absorbing key nutrients like B12, iron, and magnesium, which can leave us feeling depleted, so a quick IV can help add those nutrients back into your body.

We have developed our own Hill Park Medical Center SIBO herbal compound that has been shown to be effective to eradicate the bacteria residing in your gut while supporting healthy movement of the bowels. Some of the herbs we commonly use are garlic, oregano, goldenseal, and caprylic acid. We then accompany these herbs with different factors that help “reteach” the bowels to move appropriately such as B6, 5HTP, ginger, and our bitters formula. There are also various diets to explore, including FODMAP, SCD, and elemental diets. This overall approach serves to correct the root cause of the concern and decrease chances of recurrence.

Our doctors have extensive firsthand experience with SIBO and know that there is no one way to correct it. Let us help you to find your solution to the discomforting symptoms, including embarrassing gas and bloating that you might be experiencing! Make an appointment to get started!