How to Get Rid of Dampness in Body (TCM)

If you would like to get rid of dampness in your body using TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) food therapy, then this post might be useful for your reference. First, what is dampness and how is it formed in our body? In a perfect body, there will be no dampness because every food and fluid we consume will be either 100% absorbed through our spleens or pass out through the intestines and bladder. However, no one has a perfect body, and especially with the weakening of our spleen (when we eat foods that are too oily, sweet, and cold), there will be parts of the fluid and foods that we eat are not 100% absorbed or pass out from our body. These things stay in our body and are known as phlegm or ‘dampness’ generally. While it is fine to have a small bit of dampness in our body, it can cause other health issues after a prolonged period of time. For example, if dampness occurs in the lower part of the body, the result will be water retention (水肿) in the legs. If the dampness were to stay in the middle part of our bodies for some time, it will cause our spleens to further weaken and causes loss of appetite and stomach bloatedness even if you were just drinking water. If dampness were to stay in the upper part of our body, it can affect our lungs and causes issues in respiratory system such as long-term coughing. Thus, it is essential to reduce dampness in our bodies for the sake of long-term health and not neglect it even when it does not bother you so much now. How To Know If I Have Dampness In My Body? You can visit any TCM physician to find out or take my online TCM body constitution test to see if you have the Phlegm and Dampness Body Constitution type, if yes, then you have quite significant dampness in your body. Two Types of Dampness In order to get rid of dampness effectively, you need to first determine if your dampness is due to heat-type (湿热) or cold-type(寒湿). You can use the following as a general guide to find out: You have heat-type dampness if: The tongue coating shows yellowish and thick. Urine is yellowish or feels warm and/or painful when urinating. Sticky stools. Have oily face and acne-prone skin. Your body constitution test is Tropical or Phlegm and Dampness Body Constitution type. You have cold-type dampness if: The tongue coating shows white and thick. Frequent urination (clear color). Have diarrhea easily when eating cold or oily foods. Face skin looks darker and area around the eyes are more swollen. Your body constitution test result is Phlegm and Dampness Body Constitution type. TCM Food Therapy Advice For Heat-Type Dampness For people with heat-type dampness, you need to quit smoking and avoid eating spicy foods. Also, avoid eating mutton meat as it is very heaty in thermal nature. You are highly encouraged to eat bitter gourd, luffa, and winter melon. You should also drink more Chinese barley water as it is an effective drink for getting rid of dampness. TCM Food Therapy Advice For Cold-Type Dampness You should avoid eating cold and raw foods and drinks. You can eat more ginger, chinese yam, red dates, and dried orange peel. You can also drink Chinese barley water but for the barley, you would need to pan-fry (without oil) it until it shows a bit brownish before making it into a drink. I hope that this post is useful in helping you get rid of the dampness in your body!

Green Bean Soup (Water) Benefits in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

green beans

Green beans, also known as mung beans (Chinese name: 绿豆), are a common food that Asian families consume for their cooling benefits. But do you know when is the best time to eat green beans and what are the common mistakes people make when consuming green beans? Read on to find out! Benefits of Consuming Green Bean The thermal nature of green beans is cooling, hence it is not recommended to drink green bean soup or water on a daily basis. The two most obvious properties of green beans are their cooling and detoxing effects. Let’s take a look at each of these properties: Detoxing Properties: Green bean water (I will share the steps to prepare this drink in a later section) is great for detoxing. For instance, if you observe a sudden outbreak of acne after consuming certain types of foods (such as dairy products or foods with a considerable amount of preservatives), drinking green bean water can help your body to detox. The sudden emergence of acne is a sign of toxins (and inflammation) or heatiness in your body. Thus, taking foods and herbs with detoxing properties can help to relieve the acne. Green bean is an excellent food choice in this case. Cooling Properties: Another powerful property of green bean is its cooling effects. Green bean is very useful for clearing body heatiness that is caused by summer heat. For this reason, a lot of people will drink green bean soup during summer or in the warmer months of June, July, and August. If you often feel thirsty during warm days (especially if the more cold drinks you consume, the more thirsty you get), you can give green bean water a try as it will help to cool your body and quench your thirst.  Common Mistakes When Consuming Green Bean Before we cover the steps to prepare an effective green bean water drink, it is important that you take note to avoid the following common mistakes: Do NOT drink chilled green bean water. Do not put your green bean water in the fridge and drink it after that because this will do more harm to your body! Every summer, there are a lot of people who need to be treated at the hospital emergency department because they have drank chilled / cold green bean water when their body is very heaty – this is similar to pouring cold water into a very hot pot! The best is to drink green bean water when it is warm or at room temperature.  Do NOT use an iron pot/wok to cook green bean water.Green bean will react with the iron and drinking this green bean water may cause you stomach discomfort. I recommend that you cook green bean water using pots that are not made of iron, such as stainless steel pots, non-stick pots or claypots. Do NOT drink green bean water every single day.Green bean water is very cooling so it will weaken your stomach and spleen if you drink it too often. If you are very heaty, you can consume green bean water for three consecutive days, then stop and see if it relieves your condition. If it doesn’t, perhaps you need other cooling herbs (to cool other organs as well) rather than just drinking green bean water. An Easy Way To Prepare Effective Green Bean Water Drink The following is an easy way to prepare effective green bean water. Typically, after drinking it consecutively for two to three days, you will notice a great difference in your body heatiness or skin (relief of acute acne). You would need (for 1 pax): Green beans (30g), choose organic ones if possible. Water (about 500ml) Put the washed green beans and water in a pot and let it boil for 5 to 7 minutes. Then turn off the fire, and let it sit for one minute. An effective green bean water drink is ready to be served!  Additional Notes: Green bean water tastes like tea and personally, I like it that way without any sugar added. If you find that the taste is too bland, you can add some sugar based on your liking. Do not let the green bean water sit for too long after it is cooked because that will make the water turn cloudy. It is more effective to drink green bean water in its clear state (like the one shown in the image above). Hope you find this post useful! 

Dried Orange Peel Benefits in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

dried orange peel snack

I believe a lot of people have underestimated the healing effects of the dried orange peel (陈皮). Whenever I leave the house, I will always bring along some dried orange peel because it is one of the foods (snacks) that I have personally benefited a lot from it! In Asia countries, most people are familiar with dried orange peel as a snack, and rarely will people eat it for healing effect, most people just eat it as a snack. The first time I learned about its effect is during my class at Singapore College of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) when the professor shared that dried orange peel is excellent at harmonizing the qi flow in our stomach. Ever since that class, I will carry some dried orange peel with me whenever I know that I will have my meals outside. I am not sure if you have experienced this, but sometimes when I eat some oily food or drink some beverages that contain dairy, I will feel bloatedness in my stomach. This feeling is like my stomach has stopped digesting food and causes me to have no appetite for the next meal. This is the time when the dried orange peel will have a miraculous effect on me. After I eat a few pieces of it, I will later give out a few burps then I will feel better and normal again. This is the reason why I always carry dried orange peel whenever I go. Let’s get down to its effects! The thermal nature of dried orange peel is warm. So this means people who are heaty should avoid eating it. Dried orange peel benefits the spleen and lungs organ and it has the following properties: Harmonize the qi flow in the spleen and stomach: Whenever you feel your stomach bloated (due to oily or dairy stuff you have eaten) or feeling uncomfortable that you might vomit because of a balancing issue caused by the environment (traveling on a boat, ferry, or traveling upwards/downwards on a mountain road), dried orange peel can help to soothe the qi in your stomach and relief the discomfort feeling for you. Dissolve phlegm in the lungs: Dried orange peel can also help to dissolve phlegm in your lungs especially if the phlegm is caused by the cold food (that you eat) or the surrounding sudden change of the air temperature. The daily dosage recommendation is 3 to 10g. People Who Should Avoid Eating Dried Orange Peel Most people will have no issue eating dried orange peel but do make sure that you don’t eat it every day. Also, avoid eating it if you are having a sore throat or fever. Two Types of Dried Orange Peel There are two types (forms) of dried orange peels. The first type is those that you need to cook it. This kind of dried orange peel is best for cooking desserts like red bean soup. The second type of dried orange peel is those that you can buy and eat as a snack. Normally I will choose those skins that look darker because the darker it is, the better is the healing effect. Most Convenient Way to Eat Dried Orange Peel The most convenient way to eat dried orange peel is to buy those that come as a snack. Just make sure you choose those that have skins a bit darker rather than light. Click here for an example of how it looks like on Amazon. Hope you find this post useful!

Astragalus (Root) Benefits in TCM & Who Should Not Eat It!

Astragalus

Astragalus, also known as Astragalus root (黄芪) is a very popular herb in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) known for its Qi boosting effect! In this post, let’s take a look at how you can make the very best out of it and who should eat or avoid eating it. In TCM, we believe the stronger your Qi, the stronger your immunity! Hence, Astragalus has the effect of boosting your immunity since it excels in boosting Qi. The thermal nature of Astragalus is slightly warm so people who are heaty (sore throat, flu symptoms with fever) at the moment should avoid eating it. Astragalus has Qi-boosting effects on the lungs and spleen organ. It has the following main property: Boosting Qi in the lungs. Astragalus is good for people who sweat and fall sick easily. Falling sick easily means that the person’s Qi in the lungs is weaker. Hence, Astragalus is very suitable for improving the immune in such cases.  It is also suitable for people who feel tired easily.  In general, Astragalus is very suitable for people with Yang deficiency or Qi deficiency body constitution types.  Who Should Avoid Eating Astragalus People who are currently having flu symptoms, especially accompanying sore throat and fever, should avoid eating Astragalus at the moment.  If your body constitution is Phlegm and dampness or Yin deficiency types, you are also not suitable to eat Astragalus as a single herb*. *Although it is not suitable to eat Astragalus alone, it is still possible to consume it together with other herbs. It is better to visit a TCM physician for consultation.  Ways to Eat Astragalus If you have those dried Astragalus (shown in the above image), you can cook them with red dates and dried orange peel to make it a drink. The red dates will supplement the Qi boosting effect by improving the absorption rate of your spleen. The dried orange peel will help to soothe the Qi flow in your stomach. This combination will reduce the discomfort of some people who may not be suitable to eat Astragalus and still get the immunity-boosting effect. The ingredients (for 1 pax) are: Astragalus (15 to 30g) Red dates (6 to 15g) Dried orange peel (3g) Water Wash the ingredients briefly and add them to water and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Remember to turn the fire/heat to the smallest once the water starts to boil. If you find that the above drink is too troublesome to prepare, you can also buy Astragalus supplements like this one as it is the most convenient way to consume Astragalus. Just remember to stop the supplement if you have a sore throat or fever/flu.  Hope you find this post useful!