Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Herbal Relief; Orange Park HS Grad, with a Degree in Oriental Medicine, Treats Patients with Herbs

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Herbal Relief; Orange Park HS Grad, with a Degree in Oriental Medicine, Treats Patients with Herbs

Article excerpt

Byline: MARY MARAGHY

At her recent workshop, Fleming Island herbalist Sandra Talan gave out zip-lock bags that looked like a fish tank starter kit or maybe a build-your-own balsa wood airplane.

Actually, each bag held barley, dried herbs, roots and bark - ingredients to make a soup to be eaten once a week to strengthen the digestive system, build a stronger immune system, increase energy levels, mental clarity and memory.

"This is old home remedy stuff like your grandmother used. These remedies have been used for hundreds of years, but the western world has moved away from it," said Talan, a 1991 Orange Park High School graduate who has a masters degree in Oriental medicines. "Out west, this stuff is everywhere. I'm on a mission to bring it here."

Several times a year, she holds public workshops in her Fleming Island office where she prescribes soups, tonics and porridges and combinations of the 300 kinds of powdered herbs from her in-house pharmacy for patients with various ailments. Like a chef, she uses a pinch of this herb or that, based on her patient's symptoms. Mostly, she sees women seeking relief from menopause symptoms. She said 80 percent of them have success in one month or less.

According to Chinese medicine, Talan said, seasons of the year affect different emotions and organs. For summer, it's the stomach, the center of the digestion, thus the soup for digestive health. The ingredients in her soup mixes change per the season.

In the summer, people are often overloaded with heat - or yang, Talan said. They feel hot, tired and heavy. Yang is defined as heat, light, energy and activity. While yin is the opposite. Yin means dark, moist, silent and still. The goal is to balance your yin and yang.

Too much yin, Talan said, leads to anxiety, irritability, constipation, dry skin, headaches, high blood pressure, acid reflux and other ailments. To reduce yin, she recommends eating watermelon, drinking water with sliced cucumbers in it, eating barley, which absorbs heat.

Though her concepts are foreign to many, she said business is picking up. Many patients tell her they are tired of struggling with side effects or the high costs of pharmaceutical medicines. …

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