Cooking with Chinese Herbs
Chinese Herbal Medicine includes over 1,000 medicinal substances including plants, animals and minerals. One could easily spend a lifetime studying Chinese Herbal Medicine, it is so intricate and there are so many formulas. Chinese herbs generally focus on balancing the body's yin and yang and the functions of the vital organs. The careful prescription of custom herbal formulas allows me to fine tune the body's functions and helps my patients achieve optimum health. I use herb powders, pills and tinctures that are easy for patients to use effectively. All of my herbs are tested for purity and come from reputable sources.
Just for fun, here is a list of common things you might have at home and their traditional Chinese medicinal uses.
Ginger - sheng jiang (fresh), gan jiang (dried). Fresh ginger is spicy and warm, used to help "sweat out" a common cold, stop nausea, vomiting, cough and treat the overdose of other very strong herbs. Dried ginger is warmer in nature and used for chronic cough with thin, watery, clear sputum. It is also an important herb for "rescuing the devastated yang" where the patient is extremely weak and cold.
Peppermint - bo he. Peppermint is spicy and cool, also used to help "sweat out" a common cold that manifests with sore throat, red eyes and more fever than chills. It helps express the rash of measles or chicken pox, thereby speeding recovery. It is also used in many formulas for gynecological problems.
Cinnamon - gui zhi (twigs), rou gui (bark). Cinnamon twig is also used to help "sweat out" a common cold. It disperses cold from the meridians for that cold achy feeling especially in the shoulders. It's warm dispersing action makes it good for menstrual cramps and palpitations caused by "cold blockage" in the abdomen or chest.
Nutmeg - rou dou kou. Nutmeg is used to "stabilize and bind" chronic diarrhea that occurs at daybreak. This is "cold" diarrhea caused by a deficiency of the kidneys and spleen not the kind you get when you travel to Mexico.
Tangerine peel - chen pi. Dried tangerine peel is used to help the digestion for bloating, fullness, nausea and vomiting. It has a drying nature so it helps dry up excess phlegm that causes a stifling sensation in the chest, abdominal distention, loss of appetite, fatigue and loose stools. A little nibble of tangerine relieves that post-Thanksgiving-why-did-I-eat-so-much bloat.
Turmeric - yu jin. Turmeric moves the blood and breaks up blood stasis. For this reason it is applied topically to traumatic injuries like a sprained ankle or taken internally to speed the healing of chronic sores or ulcers. It is also used in formulas for menstrual pain, anxiety and jaundice.
Corn silk - yu mi xu. Corn silk tea is very soothing for a urinary bladder infection. It promotes urination and treats edema. It has been used to treat jaundice and gall bladder disorders.
Honey - feng me. Honey is used to tonify the qi, meaning it gives energy. It treats abdominal pain, constipation and dry cough. It also can be applied to burns to prevent infection. Many strong herbs are cooked in honey to neutralize their extreme nature.
Rose bud - mei gui hua. Rose buds are said to treat a broken heart. They sooth digestion that is disturbed by emotional distress. It also is good for PMS symptoms and menstrual pain and should not be used during pregnancy because it invigorates (thins and moves) the blood.