Herbal Drink Series – Chinese Barley Drink

chinese barley water

This week, let’s learn more about the Chinese Barley (薏苡仁) herbal drink. In Singapore, Chinese Barley is more commonly known as 中国薏米. Whenever I pass by Hock Hua tonic shop, I notice that the Chinese barley drink will typically be sold out on days when the weather is very warm. It seems many people like to consume Chinese barley drink to reduce heatiness in the body! Of all the herbal drinks that are commonly available in the market, Chinese barley is the most effective in removing dampness from our body. Thus, it makes a very suitable drink to consume on days when the weather is warm and rainy (like these few days in Singapore)! When the weather is warm and wet, dampness starts to build up in the body which will weaken our spleen. This will in turn affect digestion and how well your body can absorb nutrients from the food you eat. For people whose bodies are heaty in nature, they may have difficulty expelling the heat especially when the dampness builds up, resulting in them having a dampness and heat body constitution. Inflammation will occur very often in this group of people. The following signs may indicate that your body is starting to have dampness: Sticky stools Water retention issue Poor appetite Very prone to acne outbreaks (Dampness + Heat) Bad breath (Dampness + Heat) Simple Chinese Barley Drink Recipe The following is a simple recipe to prepare an effective barley drink at home. Ingredients (1 pax): Chinese barley (30g) Dried winter melon (15g) Steps:1. Soak the Chinese barley for about 30 to 60 mins (soaking time can be reduced if the environmental temperature is higher).2. Wash and rinse the dried winter melon.3. Put both ingredients into a pot of water and bring it to boil.4. Once it starts to boil, turn the fire to the lowest and let it simmer for 20 to 30 mins.5. Enjoy the barley water! Dietary Caution: Pregnant women must avoid consuming Chinese barley. Side Note: The reason for adding winter melon in this recipe is because winter melon also has the property of removing dampness in our body. Combining it with Chinese barley will give even better results. Fresh winter melon can also be used. Frequency recommendation: Consume Chinese barley water for three consecutive days especially if you’re experiencing dampness symptoms. Extra info: Chinese barley is considered a type of grain which can help to build up your intestinal health as it provides your fiber needs. So if you can, do eat the Chinese barley as well. If you didn’t soak the Chinese barley prior to cooking, you’ll need to double the cooking time so that it will be soft enough to be chewed! Another note: Dampness, as compared to heatiness and cold, is the hardest to be removed from our body, hence it will take time to see results if you rely solely on dietary changes. If you want a faster way to clear dampness from your body, it is best to get some morning sun exposure (7am to 8am) and do some brisk walking or jogging. Sweating is a great way to help remove dampness from your body. Hope you find this information useful! 

Balanced Type – Food and Herbs Recommendation

Congratulations if you are a balanced type! Balanced type (平和体质) is the most healthy body constitutions out of all the nine types. In TCM, we believe a person is healthy when Yin and Yang is balanced. On the other hand, a person will start to have diseases if Yin and Yang is out of balance. If you are balanced type, it means you are generally healthy compared to others. But do not let your guard down because of this. There are several tips below to help you keep your body type as balanced: Eat all food in moderation – No matter how super powerful is a food or fruit, always bear in mind even Vitamin C will become harmful to your body when consumed too much. Fall asleep before 11pm – Sleeping is the best repair service that you can do for your body. Sleeping late will cause ‘heat’ to build up in your body. Stop eating processed food – Processed food is the major reason why people are falling sick nowadays. If you want something for a quick snack, choose things like nuts, fruits, soy milk or other whole food. As our body type will change over time due to aging, diet, activities and lifestyle habits, do revisit the body type calculator one year later and see if your body type changes.

Sensitive Type – Food and Herbs Recommendation

A Sensitive type (特禀体质) person is someone who is allergic to certain food or environment. Once contacted, you will experience sore throat, running / blocked nose, itchy skin etc. As this is based on case by case basis, it is not possible to suggest a list of food without knowing the exact condition. In general, some food / herbs that a sensitive type person can consume more are: Rice (from China, known as 大米, not from Thailand) Chinese yam (山药) Carrot Food / herbs to avoid or consume less are: Spicy food Seafood Cold food Additional Tips for Sensitive Type Person: The best way to stay healthy is to keep away from the allergic source so that you won’t experience the symptoms. In TCM, itchy skin is commonly due to bad wind. So keep yourself protected and don’t exposed to windy environment if possible (especially when you are sleeping).

Blood Stag Type – Food and Herbs Recommendation

A Blood Stag type (血瘀体质) person tends to experience pains on various part of the body more often than others. This is due to the stagnant of blood in certain areas. His/her lips also seems to be darken in color or close to purple color. When a person ages, it is common to find blood stagnate or flowing slower in some part of our body. Through time, this creates pain. So the best way to prevent this is to consume food that has blood-flow properties. One tea you can drink often is Hawthorn (山楂) tea. This herb can be found easily in your local TCM shop. All you need to do is to put the Hawthorn in a teapot and pour hot water and drink it for the day. Some food / herbs that a blood stag type person can consume more are: Corn Black bean Soya bean Mushroom Garlic Onion Carrot Ginger Eggplant Food / herbs to avoid or consume less are: Cold and frozen food Additional Tips for Blood Stag Type Person: You need to keep yourself warm all the time so that your condition will improve. In TCM, there is a phrase 不通则痛, it means when the blood is not flowing smoothly, there will be pain. In addition, blood circulation will slow down if your body is cold. Thus, you should wear extra clothing in cooler environment especially in air conditioned places. You should also avoid sitting down for long period of time. If possible, take a break and walk or stretch a bit every 30 min of sitting. The best way is to do a set of stretching exercises every hour to keep your blood flowing smoothly. Combined with the above food suggestion, you will find your condition improve.