*This post was originally published on March 2, 2022 in the Newsette.
She’s kicking us to the herb.
Dr. Anna Gold is an East Asian medicine practitioner specializing in women’s health. But before that, she taught yoga, and also fit “join a German rock band” into her life planner. (So cool, we know.)
Here, the California girl shares how she got into traditional healing, why she still can’t go near needles, and which remedies to use during a PMS attack.
Why did you choose to study Eastern medicine instead of Western medicine?
In some of my undergrad classes, I began questioning the perspective of bioscience. I felt there was something off about defining the body in such an absolute way with little room for other possibilities. As a holistic medical practitioner, I appreciate how valuable Western medicine is for saving lives. However, I felt it diminished many ways in which the body can heal.
What was your earliest experience with Eastern medicine?
I got sick a lot as a kid—frequent infections, headaches, etc., so I spent a lot of time in the hospital. My mother, being an Asian immigrant, took me to the herbalist as much as she took me to the pediatrician. I started getting acupuncture when I was 8 years old. Old Chinese doctors would use these giant, hand-sharpened needles. As an American kid, the experience was traumatic. I still have a needle phobia, even though the ones used today are much sleeker.
What's America's biggest misconception about Eastern healing practices?
That it’s a medicine based on belief or unproven methods. In fact, there are countless peer-reviewed studies proving the efficacy of Eastern medicine, so hopefully it becomes more accepted by mainstream America as a valid branch of medicine.
How does holistic care blend Eastern and Western medical traditions?
Holistic medicine combines modern Western diagnostic tools like blood tests to find diseases, and natural remedies like nutrition, acupuncture, and meditation to move the body to a healthier state. Understanding the concepts of well-being through lifestyle, food, and herbs is a much different approach than asking the doctor for a quick fix.
What are some natural supplements we can take for PMS?
White peony root is an herb that regulates menstrual cycles and relieves pain, and bupleurum root is another plant used in Chinese medicine to promote smooth menstrual cycles, encourage blood circulation, and stabilize emotions. Peppermint has also been proven to lower the duration and intensity of PMS. All of these herbs are ingredients in my BALANCE tincture that moves constrained liver energy, which shows up as moodiness, irritability, and bloating.