Chinese Medicine Recommendations for a Better Thanksgiving

by John G. McGarvey |

Chinese Medicine Recommendations for a Better Thanksgiving

As any of the 37,000 acupuncturists in the United States will tell you, health, immunity and your body’s overall wellness starts with strong digestion and a healthy gut.  With Thanksgiving and the holiday season just around and with "bugs" in the air, and people traveling and gathering, the need to maintain proper digestive health is key to your body’s overall wellness: the ancient practice of Chinese Medicine can help - sometimes quite quickly.

“Digestive health is everything in Chinese medicine, and nothing can disrupt that more easily than over-indulging, drinking and eating the wrong types of foods” said DAO’s Chief Chinese Medicine Officer, Dr. Eric Karchmer, Phd, LAc.

“Recognizing that we all like to let our guard down from time to time, Chinese medicine offers some useful practices that can help augment our temporary indulgences.  These can be practiced at home, both before and after the festivities to keep you feeling better and healthier - while helping a very full stomach naturally rebalance itself,” he added.  

Four Chinese Medicine & Acupuncture Recommendations to Practice this Thanksgiving for Better Digestion - and Stronger Immunity
Acupressure to Strengthen the Digestive Process & Minimize Bloating

Not unlike acupuncture, acupressure involves placing “pressure” on certain points on your body to elicit a physiological response (like with acupuncture, you are stimulating energy within your body). 

To aid your body’s natural digestive response, you’ll want to place pressure on and massage “Acupuncture Point Stomach-36” which is described as “four finger widths below the kneecap and one finger width lateral to the edge of the tibia” (see image below.  Note this point is also key to boosting immunity). 

Many might find tenderness in the area when pressure is applied and the area massaged. It’s one of the most widely used points in acupuncture, and helps aid the digestive process and reduce bloating. Massage throughout Thanksgiving day, both before and most certainly after your meal: Gently press and hold.

acupressure point st-36

Herbs for Bloating and an Extended Stomach - Bao He Wan

Chinese herbs are an important component of an acupuncturist’s toolkit, and widely consumed throughout the world.  One particular formula stands out for supporting the digestive process - Bao He Wan.  The eight herbs in this formula help treat the side effects of what’s considered “digestive stagnation” - fullness, distention of the stomach, and other stomach-related gyrations from too much eating.  “In essence, the herbs help your stomach feel less full and help keep digestion moving,” said Dr. Karchmer. 

DAO Labs offers a powerful and popular version of this formula for western consumers, Digestive Harmony, blending it with a tasty orange-chai flavor combination that blends with water.  You'll want to keep these herbs on hand for after meal digestive needs. 

Drink a Glass of Hot Water with Cardamom after the Meal

According to Chinese Medicine Theory, cardamom is considered “warming” and “pungent” and is associated with the “Lung and Stomach” channels.  What does this mean for digestion?  It “removes dampness” and promotes the flow of Qi, helping with an upset stomach and abdominal distention caused by a poor appetite.  

cardamom for bloating


Use Leftovers to Boost Metabolism & Clean Your System the Next Day

Use your leftover greens, turkey and mushrooms on top of a simple congee.  Congee is rice cooked with more water, allowing it to flow more easily through your digestive tract, much like a salve.  From a Chinese medicine perspective, the combination will serve to nourish your digestive system and increase your metabolism.  Here's a recipe to get you stared

John G. McGarvey is a co-founder of DAO Labs and a regular contributor to The Way. A frequent visitor to China and Asia for both business and pleasure, he is an avid consumer of Chinese medicine. He can be reached at

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