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Botanical Center

Part 1

Happy Monday friends!We are going to try to bring aspects of GBC into your home this week.  We are starting with a guest blog post written by Donna Bunte of Donna Bunte Whole Health.  Donna teaches Qigong at GBC on Friday Mornings.  Donna has been practicing Chinese medicine, acupuncture and nutrition for twenty years.  She opened her practice in 1995 in New York and moved her practice to Old Greenwich, CT where she has been helping people since 1999.

This week, Donna is offering tips on how to manage your stress (and therefore your overall health!) in this time of great uncertainty. We are working with Donna to offer virtual qigong classes. Stay tuned for details. In the meantime, enjoy the video below of Donna demonstrating qigong basics in the Montgomery Pinetum.


Your friends at GBC.

part 2: manage Stress and anxiety

Hello friends!

It has taken me awhile to collect my thoughts and adapt to life in this new normal. I hope you are well and keeping yourself and your mind engaged. As surreal as these times are, I think it is important to stay positive and use our time wisely. I don’t know about you, but there are so many projects that I have been trying to get to but never seem to have the time. Take those classes, read those books, organize those photos, learn that language! Let’s hope I don’t look back and say “what did I do all those months?” When will we ever get this amount of uninterrupted time again? Hopefully, not anytime soon but at least we can make the best of it.

While adjusting to the ever-changing status quo I am grappling with what I can do to help in these stressful times. Although I am not seeing patients in person right now and I am seeing them medicine can help.

Manage Stress and Anxiety:  One is to help with stress and anxiety by practicing qigong and meditation. For the past year I have been teaching qigong here in Greenwich. This ancient slow-moving exercise, using breathing techniques and mediation has been used for thousands of years in Asia. As a matter of fact, they have been using qigong in hospitals to help patients who are recovering from the coronavirus deal with anxiety and fear. By focusing on being present in our body and breath we can calm the nervous system, lower the heart rate and strengthen the immune system.

In China the medical system has always used the time-tested system of herbal medicine in conjunction with western treatments but now they have been using it aggressively to help people have better outcomes with the covid-19. Many formulas boost the immune system and others fight the virus and relieve symptoms, like clearing the lungs of mucus or lowering fever, for example. They found that patients recovered faster and were less ill during their active phase.

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Part 3: Mindful Eating

Mindful Eating As for diet, I would avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods and limit dairy, alcohol and heavy meats. Cleansing is not a bad idea at this time especially since spring is traditionally the best time to cleanse. When I say cleanse, I don't necessarily mean fasting but rather a lighter, healthy diet and some detoxifying herbs to detox the liver, kidneys and intestines. In Chinese medicine spring is the time of the liver. Bitter greens are available in the spring and they can help the liver get rid of toxins which slow down all of our systems. They inhibit our immune system, slow down the digestion, and make us tired. Our immune system is 70% in our gut, after all. By eating a healthy diet with plenty of greens you will give your body a break and help it to fight off any infection that may come along. Not in all cases, but in many, it seems people who need to be hospitalized for the coronavirus are those with underlying health issues. If we can stay healthy and strong, I believe we can beat this one.Some herbs that boost the immune system are echinacea, ashwaganda, and astragalus, for instance. Examples of herbs found in formulas against viruses and symptoms of infection are Isatis, andrographis,and scutellaria to name a few but are formulated to deal with specific presentations such as fever, mucus, cough, chills etc. Not all herbs are created equal however, so it's best to ask someone who is a trained herbalist.

Part 4 mindful practice

Gardening projects--small or large--are a great way to practice mindfulness. “Caring for your garden can be a great form of mindfulness meditation. By connecting with the earth and with the practice of gardening, you can cultivate a healthy mind and feel calm and connected. Simply planting a seed with intention, or touching soil, can be transformative. Go ahead and get a little dirty.” — Suze Yalof Schwartz, founder of Unplug Meditation. (NYT, April 2019)

Begin a Mindful Practice: Relieve stress with some sort of regular mindfulness activity, exercise, stimulate your mind, get enough sleep, and eat nourishing foods that don’t tax the body so it can do its job well to ward off illness and heal. Writing in a journal would be a very therapeutic exercise to take up now. Sometimes just putting fears and worries down on paper make them seem less scary.

So, to sum it all up, We are starting to get used to this new normal but we will be so amazed to look back on how surreal this is!

--Donna Bunte, Donna Bunte Whole Health


(P.S. Please remember you can always shop the GBC Greenhouse virtually and we will arrange, safe pick up for your purchases.  - GBC)


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