FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Laraine Crampton L.Ac. - Qi Cultivation
My key summer nutrition tip is a surprise to about 95% of my patients: mostly avoid iced beverages, and don't over do the plunge into salads and summer fruit and ice cream. Our bodies can stay more balanced and cool in hot weather if the skin can open and release perspiration easily.
Q&A with Laraine Crampton
Q: What is your favorite herb or herbal formula? Why - What properties or agents make it so special?
A: Too many to name: seriously, they all compete for top prize! My favorite herbal formula, likely influenced by living in Southern California for so long, is Bai He Gu Jing Wan. A translation of the formula name is 'Lily Bulb Decoction to Preserve the Metal.' Its actions (taken from Chen & Chen's Chinese Herbal Formulas and Applications) are to nourish yin, moisten the Lung, dissolve phlegm and stop coughing. The indications for its use, traditionally and in clinical practice, are pretty striking, and include some serious conditions. However, anyone who has lived in the desert or in Southern California's sometimes desert-y, sometimes smoky, sometimes polluted environment may benefit from taking this formula (when their practitioner recommends it) a few weeks each year, to nourish and clean and strengthen their lungs.
Q: Can you share any summer nutrition tips? What herbs or foods are best in summer?
A: My key summer nutrition tip is a surprise to about 95% of my patients: mostly avoid iced beverages, and don't over do the plunge into salads and summer fruit and ice cream. Our bodies can stay more balanced and cool in hot weather if the skin can open and release perspiration easily. When your metabolism has to work to warm up your stomach and intestines after a siege of cold foods and beverages, you have a lot less energy to relax in summer heat.
Q: Do you cook? If so, what is your favorite dish? Do you incorporate Chinese herbs (or any herbs) in your cooking?
A: I do cook, but most of the time I cook very simply. My favorite recipes require almost no fuss. So, they're not really very exciting to share, compared to the beauties in cookbooks. When I want to enjoy being creative in the kitchen, I'll pull out Lily Chuang and Cathy McNease's 101 Vegetarian Delights. Although I'm not vegetarian, I enjoy vegetables for about 2/3rds of my diet, and it's a great little inspiration.
Q: What advice can you give my prospective students interested in applying to Yo San?
A: Wow, advice to prospective Yo San students? That would be pretty individualized, because everyone comes from such different places, experiences and backgrounds. But, as I've now taught here for 20 years, I can say that the most successful students I've seen here are 'grown up' in their attitudes, whether they are 24 or 54. They are ready to enjoy their fellow students (rather than compete with or fear them), respect and appreciate faculty, and find passion and pleasure in their studies. These individuals take responsibility for themselves and their work, do not blame instructors or family or other students if they have difficulties in a subject area, and do not expect to be treated as if they are 'special' in any way. Something about those attitudes just allow them to embrace the medicine and rise to the challenges with humor and grace, and they make the school better for everyone around them. Not to mention, they emerge as really solid practitioners, and often do very well in practice.