I'm trained as an acupuncturist and herbalist. Before pursuing my formal acupuncture education, I studied aromatherapy and Reiki, eventually becoming a Reiki Master. While pursuing my Master's Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine, I studied advanced herbal medicine with a Daoist priest in New York City’s Chinatown. After completing my Acupuncture degree, I traveled to China to continue studying in the specialties of Oncology and Gynecology. Returning from China, I interned with a western medical oncologist/ hematologist for several years and have since then been in private practice for over 15 years in NYC.
I have always loved herbs and was fascinated by them even before I knew I would become an herbalist. In my youth, I attended an agricultural high school in Australia where we had classes on farming and growing crops. I have enjoyed gardening, growing plants, vegetables and herbs most of my life.
It’s always been obvious to me that what we put into our bodies makes a significant impact on our immediate and long term experience of life and health, and because of this, I’ve shared herbs, dietary advice and vitamin supplements with my patients from the very beginning of my clinical career. Most of my patients take some form of herbs or vitamin supplements as part of their treatment, and it’s remarkable how the right combinations can have such incredible results for so many different conditions.
I think that herbs represent a safe and effective choice for steering our health in the right direction and for promoting recovery from illness. Herbs function somewhere in the zone between drugs and foods, offering some benefits of both. They can induce many desirable anti-pathogenic and functional improvements, like prescription drugs do, but at the same time, herbs offer a potent nutritional aspect that can help initiate the structural repairs and growth that sustain our physiological improvements.
Why did we create Peekay's herbal products?
1. To consider the complexity of the modern patient through advancements of classic formulas
Although classic formulas are essential for understanding herb combining strategies and for treating clear cut conditions, patients today have considerably more noxious factors promoting and perpetuating their ailments. When we consider the complexity of the modern patient, we can offer so much more because classic ideas can be modified and improved by adding or subtracting ingredients based on our modern scientific knowledge of molecular biology, anatomy, physiology, and pathophysiology. Our modern day afflictions require so much more than just the plants and ideas that are indigenous to Asia which is why we meticulously research all the options Mother Nature has to offer.
2. To bring our customers the most authentic, personalized herbal prescriptions with ease
The traditional way to administer herbs in Chinese medicine is to write a customized herbal prescription for each patient after asking them questions, observing their tongue, and feeling their pulse to understand their condition. This herbal prescription is then compounded by an herbal pharmacy and is often consumed as a thick brewed tea also known as a decoction. The formulas we prescribe are often based on the tried and true classic formulations of ancient Chinese medicine with some modifications to suit the needs of each patient. Not everyone has access to a licensed Chinese Medicine practitioner who can carefully and accurately diagnose them and either write a custom prescription or recommend the correct classic formula. And few people have the time and inclination to collect and brew a decoction that can take several hours and stink out their house. Custom raw herbs from a pharmacy are also relatively expensive, which can be a significant burden when taking herbs for chronic conditions.
3. To ensure our formulations are of the highest quality by sourcing the finest and most potent botanicals from all over the world
There are powerful herbal options available not just from China, but from all over the world that you won't find in a Chinese herbal pharmacy or in their over the counter products. With an understanding of systematic correspondences and the philosophy of individual herb energetics, we can use the knowledge of Chinese medicine to greatly enhance the usefulness of globally sourced herbs.
4. An overwhelming number of positive responses to the herbs
Thousands of patients have come through my clinic, and I offer them some sort of natural healing agent, be it herb or vitamin. A typical response I'll hear is “I’ve already tried that and it didn’t work”. But when I advise that same patient to take a specific high-quality product at the appropriate clinical dosage, the most common feedback I get during a follow-up consultation is how much better they feel and that they can’t believe they've found something that finally works for them!
One of the reasons Chinese medicine works quite well for so many health concerns is that the approach looks at each person’s whole body constitution and how that may be contributing to a given symptom or disease. Chinese medicine tries not to get shoehorned into the dead-end of only caring about a symptom or naming a diagnosis. Instead of getting stuck on just the diagnosis, we also disassemble the patient’s whole body condition by analyzing how all their various body functions and systems may be in disharmony and therefore making a suitable environment for their ailment.
In Chinese medicine, herbs are also described according to their functional energetics, which further refines and defines each herb’s role in the healing process. This is based on how it affects things like the body temperature, which parts of the body it most influences, and how deeply into the body the herb penetrates. Does the herb move resources up in the body or drain them downwards? Does it disperse resources or consolidate them? Does it primarily influence the structural or functional elements of the body? The physical or emotional? etc..
The remarkable thing about Chinese medicine is not just that it employs novel healing modalities (like acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, and herbs) relative to the offerings of western medicine. It’s the unique foundational philosophy and world view that sets them apart. The eastern medicine paradigm of ‘systematic correspondences’ suggests that everything inside our bodies and around us in the world is somehow connected within a universal web of harmony. Applying this concept of interconnectedness to how we understand the body, wellness and disease is unique and gives the Chinese medicine physician an abundance of nuanced opportunities to understand, predict and effectively address all kinds of health concerns.
I’ve seen conditions that are considered challenging, or even supposedly incurable, respond to Chinese medicine, and I think it’s because we are simply approaching these patients differently and offering a balanced and nontoxic treatment option.
Is It Safe and Effective?
In my practice, I’ve seen that even though herbs are generally not as powerful as prescription medication, we can still achieve dramatic and wonderful results with our patients when we become skilled at extracting all the potential positive synergies shared between different ingredients within a formulation. So, for instance, instead of using high doses of just one isolated ingredient, we can use relatively lower (and safer) doses of several ingredients that work together synergistically by piggybacking on top of each other’s benefits. This kind of approach lets us avoid unwanted side effects from using massive doses of single ingredients, and it also helps us provide longer-term benefits as our bodies are less likely to become familiar with and unresponsive to an entourage of ingredients rather than just one ingredient.
Having access to practical, safe, potent, and properly dosed herbal formulas can be an exceptionally powerful revolution for any household. People often worry about the safety of herbs, but there are very few cases of injury from properly consumed herbal products. The few isolated cases are usually the result of people taking massive doses of herbs that are not intended for that kind of use.
Having access to practical, safe, potent, and properly dosed herbal formulas can be an exceptionally powerful revolution for any household.
Comparatively, over 100,000 patients die each year from taking the correct prescription medication for their condition whilst under the proper supervision of a medical doctor. That’s a considerable disparity between safety levels. I’m a massive fan of modern western medicine, but I’ve observed that people can save themselves a lot of unnecessary side effects and toxicities if they had more natural options available for many common symptoms and conditions.
Meanwhile, not all Chinese herbal (or any herbal products for that matter) are created, collected, and processed equally. Most consumers have no idea if their local Chinese herbal pharmacy has the inclination or resources to test for heavy metal and pesticide contamination, confirm species identification, and follow ethical manufacturing practice standards when compounding and producing their herbal products. Peekay's sources only the highest quality herbs from all over the world, and is manufactured in U.S. facilities that enforce strict protocols to maintain their proven records of safety and efficacy.
For more information, please visit our FAQs
The Power of Herbs
When you learn about herbs in Acupuncture school, you memorize hundreds of individual herbs and hundreds of classic Chinese formulas that can contain anywhere from 2 to 20 ingredients. Many individual schools of thought arose throughout Chinese medical history, and they all offer unique perspectives through which to understand the best ways to prescribe herbs in every kind of situation. The herbs are understood not only by their physiological functions, such as if they regulate digestion, relieve pain, or strengthen the tissues, but also by the therapeutic energetics of each herb. These energetics include criteria such as whether the herb has a warming or cooling action within the body. Does the herb work primarily on the interior or exterior tissues? Does the herb move things up or down, consolidate or disperse resources within the body?
..well written herbal formulas can often make a meaningful difference in a patient’s wellbeing.
This approach is especially pertinent when dealing with the various functional disorders that are so prevalent in our stressful contemporary world. For instance, when a regular medical doctor can identify the cause of a disease such as an infection, a tumor, a tear, a deficiency, or a blockage, then there is a clear path forward with treatment. But if there is no definite causative factor, yet the patient still has terrible headaches, poor digestion, horrendous menstrual periods, or is always getting sick, at that point, modern western medicine doesn’t usually have a lot to offer except maybe suppressing or covering up the symptoms.
However, the Chinese medicine physician is not only looking at the obvious symptom of a chief complaint but also, more importantly, at the entire constellation and cooperation (or lack thereof) of all the contributing elements that may be causing the condition. And by applying herbs to balance out any deeper causative irregularities as well as addressing the actual symptoms, well written herbal formulas can often make a meaningful difference in a patient’s wellbeing.
For more information, please visit our FAQs