HERBARIUM

TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE WITH ZOEY GONG

Zoey Gong is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) chef and nutritionist. Born in Shanghai, China, She started her journey as a healer by healing herself, who once had two breast tumours, constant skin rashes, amenorrhea, and joint pain. Living in New York City since 2015, she now holds a B.S. in nutrition as well as public health from New York University, 200-hr yoga instructor certification, Meridian Yoga Therapy certification, a registered dietitian (R.D.) candidate, and is currently pursing her M.S. in Traditional Oriental Medicine at Pacific College of Health and Sciences. Passionate about culture, Zoey has travelled to nearly 30 countries, incorporating various cultural traditions into her cooking and treatments.

“Passionate about culture, Zoey has travelled to nearly 30 countries, incorporating various cultural traditions into her cooking and treatments.”

I had a pleasure of meeting her recently at one of her TCM workshops held at Soho House New York.

The private event was held during Covid with only a few of us who bravely showed up to learn about Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). All 6 guests masked up and seated 2 meters apart; on each table there were little pouches of herbs, seeds and grains. I had no clue what they were.

When Zoey entered the room, to my surprise this ultra modern young Asian woman was the one we were expecting.

She gracefully started explaining TCM, showed us how to cook a mushroom broth with a little teabag containing immune boosting herbs from her new boutique wellness brand that shares and modernizes the knowledge of TCM food therapy through educational content, functional products, and its avant-garde aesthetic.

Zoey inspired me to expand my knowledge of TCM, the similarities to traditional Persian medicine is fascinating.

She has an eye for beauty and cultural heritage, but what Zoey does the best is modernizing Traditional Chinese Medicine, making it a relevant and practical lifestyle for the new generation.

 

“Zoey inspired me to expand my knowledge of TCM, the similarities to traditional Persian medicine is fascinating.”

  • There are a lot of similarities in ancient medicine practices such as Greek Medicine, Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine however in TCM the dynamic equilibrium between opposite yet complementary qualities and forces that called Yin and Yang have been beautifully conceptualised. Tell us more about them and what are the basic steps we can take to create balance.

” When the balance between yin and yang in the body is damaged, it leads to various diseases known as imbalance between yin and yang.”

People in ancient China held that the original state of the universe was “Qi” (chee); and that the motion and variation of “Qi” produced two poles known as “yin” and “yang,” a process of transformation “to divide one into two.” Since all the things in the universe are produced through the motion and variation of Qi, everything and all things can be divided into the aspects of yin and yang, such as the earth and heaven, the night and day, water and fire, lower and upper, cold and heat as well as woman and man, etc. It is said in the Huang di Neijing, “man has a physical shape, which is inseparable from yin and yang.” When the balance between yin and yang in the body is damaged, it leads to various diseases known as “imbalance between yin and yang.” For example, if one is “yin deficient,” this person often experiences agitation, dehydration, dryness, heat; if one is “yang deficient,” then this person often experiences coldness, fatigue, impotence, etc.

 

The first step to balance them, is to figure out if you are more deficient in Yin or Yang or Both or Neither. I recommend seeing a practitioner or take our body constitution quiz here to find out.

  • TCM is also involved with the study of qualitative environmental influences like heat, cold, moisture and dryness on the human body. This is a fascinating topic as we also practice this in traditional Persian medicine. How important are these in managing our wellbeing?

In TCM, these influences are called the Six External Pathogens or the Six Evil. They can invade our body from the exterior, sometimes acute, sometimes chronic, and eventually lead to internal illnesses such as obesity, fatigue, skin problems, and so on. On Five Seasons TCM, we have explained each of these pathogens: heat, cold, dampness, dryness, wind, summer heat.

  • You are a founder of  Five Seasons TCM, a brand that focuses on education around TCM nutrition. Tell us more about the brand and the products.

Five Seasons TCM is a boutique, BIPOC-women-owned wellness brand that shares and modernizes the knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) food therapy through educational content, functional products and its avant-garde aesthetic. Our mission is fourfold:

  1. Promote, educate and inspire a TCM lifestyle.
  2. Provide access to high quality, sustainable, and curated products, inspired by the East Asia.
  3. Showcase the authentic knowledge of using food as medicine.
  4. Amplify the voices of the asian community, practitioners, and talents.
  • As a TCM practitioner and a true wellness advocate how important is hydration to you?

It is no doubt one of the most important aspects of wellness. (Speaking of which…let me go grab my tea…) Dehydration in long term can cause yin deficiency, deficiency of jing and ye (body fluids in tcm), kidney imbalances, stomach fire, and so on. I encourage you to think of your body as a patch of lovely farm land. What will happen when there is drought? Yup. So, make sure that you keep yourself hydrated with various forms liquids, such as water, tea, broth, porridge, and so on.

  • Lastly if you could point out some of the TCM benefits of the botanical & herbs used in “In Bloom Drops” Discovery Collection listed here what would they be?

Rose:harmonizes the Liver and Spleen, I use it for moodiness and poor appetite.

CARDAMOM: Moves qi, resolves dampness, and strengthens the stomach. I use it for abdominal distention, chest oppression, and lack of appetite.

CINNAMON: Warms the middle, strengthens kidney yang, generates qi and blood, warms the spleen and dispels cold. I use it for cold center/limbs, gas, bloating, intestinal discomfort, poor blood circulation.

ORANGE BLOSSOM: soothe the liver, harmonize the stomach and regulate qi. I use it for abdominal pain and distention, chest stuffiness, vomiting.

SAFFRON: Dispels blood stasis to encourage healthy menstruation and stop pain. I use it for amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, postpartum wellness, and pain. Not for pregnancy or heavy periods!

MINT: Relaxes the liver, releases exterior wind-heat. I use it for fever, headache, sore throat, red, liver qi stagnation, irritability, and depression.