.Vacay Poisoning. Food Profile: Mint & Ginger.
It must have been the questionable tiritas - raw fish strips marinated in lime juice - or maybe it was something on the limes themselves that we shoved into all those cervezas. They were delicious going down, not so much coming up! Violent stomach churning, extreme fever & chills, and a few other graphic details I'm sure you can imagine on your own, were the highlight of yesterday evening. Butttt today, when the violence of the poisoning was over, Chinese medicine for the win! If you've read the post on black sesame seeds then you know a bit about Chinese medicine's energetic system - I'll re-iterate a few key points here as a refresher:
1) everything in existence can be classified into different energetic categories: cold, hot, moist, dry, sticky, heavy, light, slow, fast, etc. These are descriptive terms that differentiate one thing - food, weather, internal organ, etc - from the next
2) for something to maintain it's stature and function, it must maintain it's energetics; ie. if ice doesn't stay cold, it becomes water. Or if your blood becomes to hot, your enzyme systems rev up and start breaking down cell structures.
3) each organ systems energetics are affected by food, drinks, weather, and emotions to name a few
When you experience illness, certain signs and symptoms are indicating a dysfunction in an organ system - aka, some of the energetics are thrown out of whack! In this case, vomiting and pain indicate that the stomach is rebelling and what normally goes down to be digested through the intestines, is coming up violently! The twisted, stabbing pains from the contraction of the abdominal muscles, combined with physical dehydration, are also a result of the normal energetics being off. To re-establish health you can use the Chinese medicine template to regain harmony of the internal energetics.
Using Chinese Medicine philosophy in the aftermath in this case is most effective - mostly because compliance of the individual with food poisoning DURING the poisoning will be quite low... They can't keep anything down! (If you have stronger Chinese herbs on hand however, then those will be effective if you know how to use them).
My man was the only one to be poisoned from yesterdays meal on the beach. He made it through the night and woke up today with an empty stomach but sensation of being full, constant churning inside his abdomen, and stabbing pains that would come and go.
The stomach and intestines were clearly affected and re-establishing their harmonious energetics was in order!
Any time there is stabbing pain you know that something just isn't flowing properly. In this case, his stomach and intestinal energy was not flowing smoothly and the stagnation was causing distension, stabbing contracted pains, and cyclical unceasing churning.
Think about what happened - the stomach was spasming to get rid of toxic food, this leads to tension and contraction. What relieves contraction typically? Warmth and gently moving, soothing activities or medicines.
So what's in the cupboard? We found fresh market mint and ginger so I made a mix of the two, poured hot water over top, added a pinch of sea salt and steeped it for 10-15 minutes.
MINT: moving, dispersing, slightly cooling; anti-spasmodic, antimicrobial
Mint is such an easy herb to work with. It contains many essential oils that have potent anti-microbial action in the body as well as anti-spasmodic properties. Mint is used regularly for intestinal spasming and cramping, and is known to be very effective in cases of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). In this case of food poisoning, we used it to stop the abdominal cramping, to disperse the bloating and stagnation from the abdomen, and as an antimicrobial agent to help clear any remaining toxins from the digestive system.
GINGER: warming, soothing, invigorating to the circulatory system; anti-spasmodic, anti-toxin, antimicrobial, anti-nausea.
This is one of the most helpful kitchen medicines! It's warming and circulation promoting energetics render it useful in most cases of cramping and stagnation due to prolonged tension, lack of circulation, and cold food/drinks/weather affecting the body. As a remedy in this case we used it to circulate the blood and energy through the abdomen, reduce nausea and bloating, calm any spasms, and like mint, it has added benefit of being a potent antimicrobial agent.
SEA SALT: soothing, softening, downward energy, counteracts toxins, mineralizer
A pinch of sea salt was added to the ginger and mint tea blend for a couple of reasons. When you lose a lot of fluid - vomiting, diarrhea, sweat, tears of joy when the vomiting ceases - you also lose minerals. Minerals are considered 'electrolytes' and allow for conduction of signals in the nervous system resulting in proper functioning of all cell functions including muscle contraction and relaxation. After a stint of vomiting, the fluid levels are low as are mineral levels and you may experience more spasms, tension, and dryness. The sea salt addition here provided soothing, softening, and downward moving energetics (instead of up like the backwards energy of vomiting) to help regain harmony in the organ systems.
The herbs or medicine will be different at different stages of illness - the body can shift quickly! That's why understanding energetics can be so helpful. If my man had started to experience acid reflux or burning sensation in the stomach we know the energetics are becoming imbalanced and too hot, so we reduce the dose of ginger and up the dose of mint!
The more you understand yourself, your body and it's symptoms in these energetic terms, the more you'll be able to understand how to keep yourself in harmony and health. It's SO COOL!
Any questions or comments, leave them below!
We're off to downtown Zihuatanejo for margheritas - tequila kills microbes, doesn't it?