Wild RosešŸŒ¹: mei gui hua for pain, beauty & pms

Admiring this stunning rose today made me think of the herb mei gui hua or dried rose buds (rosa rugosa) that are used in Chinese medicine often for women’s health, periods and fertility.


The rose is the universal symbol of love has been used for medicine purposes for centuries. It is fragrant, clearing, and mild in nature which makes it ideal for nourishing the liver, moving qi and blood and most importantly clearing stagnation: which in Chinese medicine is a common reason for why we present with pain or illness.

You can make a straight tea or blend the dried rose buds with other herbs such as ginger, peppermint or calendula for men or women.

Benefits of rose tea include it regulating the qi as to calm stress and move tension. When taken regularly it can support good metabolism and weight loss for those with endocrinological disorders: think thyroid. Long-term use of Rose tea clears the complexion and benefits the breasts, you know for that pre-menstrual tension breast pain? Lastly it can ease constipation and help the period flow. Given it performs these functions it would be best taken from 36 weeks onwards in pregnancy.

Drink some special rose tea tonight to your good health!

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Northern suburbs

Chinese medicine during pregnancy: self-care

How to take care of you and your growing babe in utero? During pregnancy increased mineral and nutritional demands are placed on the body. Here are some ways to be healthy naturally during pregnancy and minimise the baby from robbing all the goodies out of you.


Rest as much as possible

Eat fresh food

Have regular acupuncture and moxa treatment, it is truly restorative for both you and baby

Avoid sugar, alcohol and caffeine

Stay fit, walking, swimming, yoga and Pilates are all good providing they are modified

Avoid cold food, ice and drinks – you need your yang energy to make the baby

I recommend a Weston-price inspired diet for pregnancy full of essential fats, protein and minerals.

Chinese herbs and supplements are very nourishing and protective during pregnancy. Speak to your practitioner about what is best for you. I always recommend Blue Ice fermented cod liver oil, it contains essential fatty acids and omega threes for baby’s brain, bones and teeth.

Protect yourself from people who are draining, pregnancy is a time to self-nourish and surround yourself with loving friends and family.

Talk to your baby and celebrate the miracle that your body is, what an amazing feat for it to grow it’s own baby!

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Northern suburbs

Natural teeth care during IVF, pregnancy, post-partum & menopause: part II

Now on to the fun stuff, so what do we do to prevent gum and tooth problems in these changed hormonal states?

First of all, you need a good dentist and hygienist. Having your teeth cleaned and removed of calculus every six months will prevent tooth decay and gum irritation and recession.

Getting adequate rest is vital, especially if you are sleep deprived your body will create more inflammation and calculus.


Regular exercise is important to keep your Qi flowing and immunity up, because poor immunity creates more inflammation in the body.

Ensure you get enough essential fats such as grass-fed tallow, ghee, butter and coconut oil. Lots of veggies. Stick to grains or carbs which are properly processed and cultured such as basmati rice, light rye sour dough and potatoes. Whole grains are high in phytic acid, yes think weet-bix and oats! Phytic acid blocks absorption of minerals and excess can cause cavities. Aim to obtain fibre from vegetables.

Other foods that are high in physics acid are coffee, chocolate and alcohol. Seafood, grass-fed meats and eggs are all excellent sources of protein and fat.

Drink enough filtered water, especially after meals. Green tea is beneficial for oral health.

In terms of oral hygiene, flossing gently and daily is important. Oil pulling with extra-Virgin coconut oil for twenty minutes is healing too, just ensure to rinse with salty water or gently brush teeth afterwards. Use a natural, fluoride-free toothpaste such as homemade tooth powder or earthpaste. A daily gargle of some water with half a teaspoon of sea salt is great for the gums too.

And of course minimise sugar, one study found that plaque, calculus and tartar still form on teeth even if it doesn’t touch them because of the high sugar levels in the blood.

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs are excellent to support your body naturally through these changes in hormonal states, especially if you are feeling unwell or have noticed some health issues arise. Supplements are also important to ensure your body is getting enough Ā minerals, the body is robbed of them during pregnancy and breastfeeding especially.

From a metaphysical perspective gum and tooth problems relate to being wishy washy and indecisiveĀ about life.

Wishing you healthy and happy gum and teeth health.

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Northern suburbs

Anxiety: understanding and managing it with acupuncture

Anxiety is a common experience we all go through. If you have never had it before it can be quite a shocking ordeal; feeling like you are trapped within your body and know that something is wrong but are unaware of what it is.


I really remember the first time I ever felt anxious. I had fallen out with a good friend, and I believe my heart was literally freaking out as I absolutely believed in my mind that we would be lifelong mates forever. As challenging as a heartbreaking experience that was for me, it was a lesson life was teaching me: to surround myself with people I am resonating, growing and evolving with.

Chinese medicine pertains anxiety to the heart energy, which houses the shen or spirit of the body. People who experience anxiety may constitutionally have a weak heart energy or perhaps suffered a lot of emotional trauma and hardship in life. Anxiety can be due to truly being unhappy about a significant aspect of life, so it is very important to reflect and look deeper to what is missing or needs requires changing. The heart energy is in full flight during summer so people can be more sensitive to anxiety during this time of the year. Practising meditation and mindfulness can endure a calming effect on the heart energy.

Acupuncture is very calming and relaxing for the heart, when combined with the right Chinese herbs anxiety can be managed and alleviated. Ultimately the patient will be willing to do the inner work to see if there is a deeper level to their anxiety with these tools and psychology, meditation and goal planning.

Medication should be a last resort, as there can be serious side effects given the cause is not being treated, just the symptom. Louise Hay says that when out body becomes ill or unhappy it speaks to us through signs and symptoms: to pop a pill for every ailment that presents is like telling it to shut up. Be kind to yourself and to the body you live in!

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe

Bun in the oven: keeping the yang warm for fertility and pregnancy acupuncture

Got to love that phrase, bun in the oven! But these sayings often ring true. As we age the yang, or the warming energy of the body declines and can cause health issues such as cold feet, diarrhoea, bloating, dark under the eyes and exhaustion.


A baby needs a warm uterus to grow and thrive, too much cold in the uterus restricts circulation and blood flow, and from a Chinese medicine perspective can even cause miscarriage. This is why drinking warm drinks and eating warm food can be vital for a healthy conception and pregnancy. This is especially important after birth which taxes the body.

With the acupuncture and Chinese medicine treatment I practice in Ivanhoe, Melbourne some of the treatments I incorporate involve moxibustion, involving the waving of heated herbal sticks on specific acupoints of the body, Chinese dietetics, acupuncture, lifestyle advice and herbs.

As the old adage a bun in the oven goes, that oven needs to be warm not freezing cold.

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe

Pregnancy Birth Preparation Acupuncture: Induction

Many women in Melbourne are aware of the benefits of acupuncture during pregnancy, such as preventing miscarriage, keeping mother and baby relaxed and calm along with treating mild side effects that occur throughout. I am always amazed at how cognisant mothers are these days when it comes to birth preparation.


Women who have found pregnancy acupuncture beneficial tell their friends and family and it spreads like wildfire. Often a woman will book in with me at 36 weeks on the dot because she knows that this is the optimal point to start because her best friend told her. Pregnancy birth preparation acupuncture starts 4 weeks before the estimated due date (EDD), Ā rather than trying to get things going at 41 weeks, though it’s never too late!

Given birth is a transformational process, (yes, it’s an absolute miracle that baby is squeezed through the vaginal canal and into the wonderful world!!!) and there is always some form of trauma or loss involved, preparing the body with acupuncture treatment, with the knowledge of an experienced practitioner and the natural tools you can help yourself with can reduce your risk of birth intervention and increase your chances of better recovery. Many highly reputable obstetricians and midwifes in Melbourne refer their patients to have pregnancy birth preparation acupuncture because they see the differences between births that do and don’t have it.

Pregnancy birth preparation can reduce birth anxiety and worries, assist in baby getting into the right position, improve circulation for mother and baby, alleviate aches and pains, soften the cervix, encourage baby to engage and much more. Please share this with a lovely mother who is about to bring their baby into the world.

@Ilana Sowter Acupuncture Melbourne, Ivanhoe