Barley Water Benefits In TCM

chinese barley water

Barley drink is very common in Singapore but do you know its benefits and not everyone is suitable to drink it? In this post, you will learn what is the benefits of barley drink and how to cook an effective barley drink for you and your family.

First thing first, its Chinese name is called 薏苡仁 or 薏米。Its English name is called coix seeds but we often called it barley here in Singapore. There are two types of coix seeds, one is Chinese barley (they shape bigger and rounder) and the other type is called the Holland barley. The following is a comparison of these two barley:

For the purpose of its healing effects, we will be using Chinese barley in this post as its benefits are more obvious compared to the one from Holland. 

In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Chinese barley has cooling properties, so it can help to reduce heatiness in body. But the main benefits of barley is it helps to reduce water retention, especially in the lower part of your body. Drinking barley water can also helps to lose weigh because it helps to eliminates excess 湿 (dampness) in your body.

Other benefits recorded in TCM for barley is it can also help to relief diarrhea, but this is more of a secondary effect, I don’t suggest to use just barley to treat diarrhea. Barley also has the benefits of detox and prevents cancer cells forming.

In short, it is a wellness drink for most people when the weather is warm or you want an effective and affordable method to lose weigh through eliminating water retention. 

People who are not suitable to drink barley water 

In general, everyone can enjoy the barley water except for women who are pregnant. The reason is because barley also has 滑利 properties (sorry, I can’t find a suitable English translation for this word). 

 

How to prepare an effective barley drink

The following recipe is for one person (two cups). Do adjust the amount accordingly if you are preparing for more people. The ingredients you need are:

  1. Chinese barley (30g).
  2. Winter melon sticks (15 to 30g), depends on your sweetness preference.
  3. Water (750 to 900g), depends on how much the water vaporised when cooking. At the end of the cooking, you should left with two cups (each about 250ml) of water.

The cooking method is very simple. Wash and rinse the barley and winter melon sticks and put them into the water. Turn on the fire and bring the water to boil. Once the water boils, turn the fire to smallest and let it simmer for 20 to 30min. Turn off the fire and enjoy the barley drink!

Winter melon sticks
Winter melon sticks

Adding winter melon sticks here is to enhance the effect of eliminating water retention in body. Most melons, especially winter melon has the effect of getting rid of excess dampness in body. Two common ways to identify dampness in your body is if you have water retention or loose / sticky stools most of the time.

Do note that you need to drink this water for a period of time if you want to see visible results. I suggest you can start from two to three times per week. Also, avoid (if you can’t do it totally, then reduce) fried, oily and spicy food as they encourages dampness in your body.

Let me know if you have any questions, if not, enjoy your barley drink and its healing effects!

chinese barley water
Chinese barley water (you can add some lemon slices to flavor)

Some of our favorite products from iHerb:

Don’t forget to use the coupon code: ZIM276 for $5 OFF (new customer) or 5% discount (existing customer)

 

How to cure acne naturally (food / diet to eat and NOT to eat )

cure acne

Recently, I see more people are troubled by acne and face inflammation issues during this covid period so I decided to share my personal experiences in this blog post hoping it will also benefit you if you are troubled by acne.

I used to have acne problem even when I was in my 20+ when I was working after my graduation.

My acne that time got so bad that I decided to seek for medical attention. 

antibiotics for acneThe medical doctor prescribes anti-biotics for my condition and I was amazed by the results that the anti-biotics really works for me at that time.

After consuming anti-biotics for a while, I found that actually anti-biotics is not good for our health in long term because it will affect our immune system.. 

Furthermore, whenever I stopped the anti-biotics, it seems that my acne problem got worsen.. so I have no choice at that time but to keep taking anti-biotics.

I reached a point where I am sick of taking anti-biotics because I can’t imagine taking it for life and end up with a worsen acne situation if I were to stop someday!

Thus, I went onto a journey to learn what can I do to cure my acne. I read lots of books about skin and diet.

Eventually I got to find out about this term ‘integrative medicine’ and Dr Andrew Weil. From there, I learn a lot about holistic healing and started to look at what are the areas in my lifestyle that causes my acne back then.

It was enlightening that I found out that it was the dairy products (milk and cheese) and the spicy stuff that I was eating that is causing my acne!

If there is one thing that you can take away from this post, I hope let this be the point – to cure any acne problem, there must be a source causing it, and most of the time, it is the food that you are eating!

Avoid eating these foods:

I highly suggest to avoid eating the following foods if you are having acne or face redness inflammation  all the time:

  1. Dairy products like milk, cheese (this is the cause for me!) 
  2. Beverage that contains milk (you will be surprised that there are lots of them!).
  3. Biscuits that contains milk (check the biscuits ingredients too, there are lots of them around).
  4. Oil fried foods.
  5. Spicy foods (If you can’t avoid them, then reduce the times you are eat them).

Just by reducing the above food products, you will sure notice improvements to your skin and acne starts to fade away after a few weeks.

Now, you may have these main concerns:

Now, you may think that if you stop drinking milk and taking dairy products, then where does your source of protein and calcium comes from, right? 

soy milk for acneThe answer is start to take soya bean drink (also known as soy milk), nowadays, there are a lot of choices of soya bean drink in the market. You can even buy those powdered types which are organic too!

Soya bean is a good source of protein and also helps to improve immune system, so it is a good replacement for milk.

As for calcium,  some soya bean drink comes with enriched calcium too.

Besides soya bean drink, you can eat black sesame seeds spread with bread. In traditional chinese medicine, black sesame seeds contains good source of calcium.

yogurt to replace milkSpecial note: Yoghurt is also high in protein and calcium but some people will still develop acne after eating yoghurt. But I think it is the type of yoghurt you choose. Once your acne has became better with the above tips,  you can try taking yoghurt and see if it will cause acne again on you.

Some tips about face washing:

When it comes to face washing, pay no or little attention to TV commercials because most commercial face washing products are too harsh for acne prone face. You will realise that the more you use it, the more irritated your face will be.. 

For acne prone face, you should use gentle cleaning agents. One of the best face cleaning product that is both gentle and affordable is the African black soap, it is recommended to me and I have been using it for many years already! It contains shea butter and aloe vera. You can check out the details here.

One last thing that I would like you to know is about sleeping habits.

Turn in earlier

sleep before 11pm to help cure acneIf you are a teenager or young adult, you will not be happy to hear this – yes, sleeping earlier can help to improve your acne condition.

Ideally, you want to sleep before 11pm because that is when your body starts to detox and help to make your skin looks good.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, sleeping late will cause your body inner heat to rise and hurt your liver too.

So if you really care about your body and skin, start to think about sleeping earlier.

Final note

Acne is triggered because we have done something wrong in our lifestyle and mostly it is due to the food we eat.

You do not need to spend a lot of money seeking treatment. Just look very closely at your lifestyle (starting from eating, sleeping habits) and slowly making adjustments.

I am sure you will be able to cure your acne problem after adjusting your eating and sleeping habits.

It will definitely take some time, but never give up because our body has also been damaged for quite some time due to wrong diet and habits – thus, it will take some time too to help your body recovers.

Best wishes to your health and may you have the wisdom to identify the cause of acne.

Most Effective Vitamin C Source: Acerola Cherry Fruit

acerola cherry fruit

There are many fruits that contains vitamin C but to me, the most effective source comes from Acerola cherry fruits.

The reason why I know this is because whenever I have running nose, a teaspoon of acerola powder will stop this irritating symptom. Of course, there will be times when the flu virus is stronger that vitamin C along can’t deal with.

Regardless, a good source of vitamin C helps me most of the time before running nose turns into flu.

Why vitamin c from acerola?

I used to take the common vitamin c supplements found in general wellness store but personally I hate to swallow pills and also, for those vitamin c to work, you need to take in a large dose of vitamin c because of the source is not from natural fruits.

I get to know of the acerola fruit when one of my friends introduced me to a superior (expensive) vitamin c supplement and I found that one of the main ingredients inside is acerola.

I later went online to do research and happy to find there are cheaper alternatives online where I can purchase for acerola vitamin c.

How I get Acerola fruits here in Singapore

acerola powder vitamin c In Singapore, it is rare to see the actual acerola cherry fruits in the market so a better way is to get the powder form and mix with water when you need it every time.

The online store I go is iHerb. You can click on this link to see the exact acerola powder that I drink. A bottle only costs about SG$10 and lasts quite long.

Things to note taking care of acerola powder (if you choose to purchase)

The default container is not air tight, so after a while the powder will harden. I wrap it inside a ziplock bag to keep it fresh for much longer time.

If you are looking for a good source and effective vitamin c, do give it a try!

Best Chinese Herbal Tea for Sore Throat

In this post, I will be recommending a herbal tea drink that will help you cure your sore throat. Keep reading to find out what is the herb and how to prepare this effective drink.

First, you may want to know that most sore throat is caused by inner heat. Hence, if you feel that you have a sore throat coming your way, please stop taking deep fried, processed and spicy food.

The herb you should consume is 罗汉果, Luo Han Guo (it is also know as Monk Fruit). 

Luo Han Guo has good cooling properties that can sooth your throat and reduce your inner heat. It also has properties to relief constipation. Hence, it can be taken regularly for people who often gets heaty and constipation. 

How to prepare an effective Luo Han Guo drink

First, you can buy a dried Luo Han Guo in most TCM shop. For one serving, just one piece of Luo Han Guo will do. Wash the exterior of the dried fruit and smash it open, Take out the core fruit inside and break it further to smaller pieces (5 to 6 smaller pieces etc).

Second, place the Luo Han Guo (with the shell) into a pot of water (approx. 500ml), you can add rock sugar if you want but you may want to try without added sugar because Luo Han Guo itself is sweet. Bring the water to boil then turn the fire to smallest and simmer for 2 to 3 minute. Turn off the fire and let it sit for another few minute before you drink it, you should have about two cups left.

Do take note that this herbal tea is the most effective if you feel a sore throat is coming your way. I also want to advise everyone to pay close attention to your body at all times so that you will be sensitive to such symptoms when it arise. It is easier to cure the sore throat in the first 1 to 2 days instead of letting it develop into cough after that.. Once you are good at listening to your body, you will be amazed that you can stop most illness by taking natural herbs before it further develops.

How long do you need to drink it in order to see results?

If you drink this remedy in the first two days (when you feel the sore throat sensation), you should feel your sore throat relived after drinking it for continuous two to three days. 

What if I am busy and I can’t find time to cook myself?

If you do not have time to prepare the drink yourself, you can choose to purchase the prepared herbal drink from some TCM shops. Ask them for Luo Han Guo herbal tea. It is better to take those that are cooked on the same day rather than taking those canned herbal drink.

Luo Han Guo is very affordable herb and effective for sore throat so make sure you give it a try especially if you start to feel the sore throat sensation. 

I wish you well and hope this information helps you!