What an amazing sight to see a swathe of Snakeshead Fritilleries growing near Cricklade at the edge of the Cotswolds – home to a staggering 80% of this native beauty still growing in the wild.  This is one of the few remaining “Lammas” – a community grown hay-field on a nutrient rich flood plane – most of these sites have long been lost to modern farming methods.


In Chinese Medicine, Fritillary bulbs have a long history.  The “Divine Farmer’s Materia Medica”, thought to have been compiled around 200-300 BCE, listed Fritillary for such diverse sympoms as acute fever, dribbling, phlegm accumulation, insufficient breast-milk, and wounds1.  However, DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME – many fritillaries are poisonous, not to mention rare, and have to be carefully processed before use. Continue reading

Sweet Swede or Nasty Neeps?

Swede (shortened from “Swedish turnips”) is another vegetable suffering from bad press – the forgotten mush with Christmas dinner, or the ‘neeps from “tatties and neeps” to accompany haggis on “Burn’s Night” for our Scottish friends (or rutabaga to our friends over the sea). One of the numerous Cabbage family, it has such prestigious cousins as broccoli and pak-choi, but is more aligned with its step-brother the turnip (Rapifera group1). Continue reading

A Nice Bitter Chicory

Chicory is pleasantly (and unusually) bitter in flavour.  According to Traditional Chinese Medicine this bitter cooling nature both fortifies the Heart Qi and Blood, and helps to clear Damp-Heat from the Liver, perhaps making it the perfect vegetable for countering post-Christmas blues and overindulgence.  High in folate, and several vitamins, its use as a Blood tonic is well deserved.

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A Seedy Business

Seeds are good for a lot more than filling your bird feeder and giving your gerbil a treat. With a little work, these little storehouses of goodness can be tasty too.


According to Chinese Medicine theory, they have a dense, heavy nature – lots of potential in a tiny package – and strengthen our energy (qi) and in some cases our reserves (Jing). This is the energetic equivalent of having money put not only into your current account, but into your Continue reading

Getting The Point – Head Points # 1 – Front of Vertex

scalpScalp points are so useful, and so underused.  At the request of a clinical student at CICM, here is a quick review, starting with the front.

First lets look at that line of points 0.5 cun posterior to the natural hairline.  If you are unsure what 0.5 cun looks like, or there is no hairline, remember that the forehead measures 3 cun, with a ridge at 1 cun.

Du 24 – is at the midline

St 8 – is at the corner of the head Continue reading

Chinese Medicine Heroes #1 “Hua Tou” (140-208)


Hua Tou is best remembered for the acupuncture points named after him (see the description below). He was also a famous surgeon, acupuncturists, herbalist, QiGong practitioner, and teacher.

His rather unusual name (華佗 HuaTou – flowery hunchback?) has led scholars to suggest that his name was Indian, and that some of his teachings were imported from the Ayurvedic traditions. His acupuncture and moxibustion style was simple, with very few points. Continue reading