Acupuncturist Field Trip

The 1st Wed of the month is Free admission to UC Berkeley’s Botanical Garden. If you have never been there, it is a great little excursion and it wasn’t crowded at all, for a free admission day. There are paved walking paths, with the option to take little tours through the different Geographic Collections. On our list of sights to see this day was the Redwoods, the Cactii, and the Chinese Medicinal Herb Garden!

They have an entire area dedicated to many plants that we use as Acupuncturists. The signage for each plant includes what conditions it is used for (e.g. painful joints, common cold, etc), and they are grouped by category, so it is an informative and inspiring experience, for anyone.


Pictured to the right, are a few herbs from the category “Surface Relieving Herbs”, which is Acupunturist-speak for anti-virals (or common-cold and flu busters). 

  • Toward the back is Jing Jie (schizonepeta), which can be used for colds that have chills, fevers, or both. It’s in the popular fomula Yin Chiao, which we often prescribe for illnesses that include sore throat and/or fever. Jing Jie (also called Japanese catnip) has a certain smell that I think it really lovely. My cat also goes wild for it, though it’s not a true catnip. When blooming it has little light-purple flowers. You can see them interspersed all around here.
  • In the middle of the photo is Zi Su Ye (perilla). It’s leaves are purplish and it’s also used for chills, fevers, as well as nausea and vomiting. As some may know, perilla is also used in cooking! Zi Su Ye is in a widely-used formula for traveler’s sickness called Huo Xiang Zheng Qi San.
  • Up front is Bo He (field mint). This garden really does smell medicinal! I felt stronger just standing in it. Mint is used to soothe sore throats, and is also in Yin Chiao (for colds and flus). All of these herbs can also be helpful for headaches! I love mint for headaches because it’s ability to relax the mind and muscles.

The fenced-off herb below is Dang Shen (Codonopsis root / Pilose Bellflower Root), which is an energy booster, and often used in place of the more $$$ herb Ren Shen (Ginseng panax). This herb is an Adaptogen, which means that it supports the body’s stress response. I know I could use a little of that!

Have you been to the Botanical Garden in Berkeley? San Francisco has a beautiful one as well. Tell us about your experiences below!

Happy exploring ~


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