Food Recommendation – Lily Bulb

These few weeks, some people may have difficulty falling asleep, especially if you have Yin deficiency. One of the reasons for this is that during summer months, it is easier for us to accumulate heart fire (心火), thus affecting the quality of our sleep.
The food that I would like to recommend today is lily bulb (百合).
Lily bulb has two main properties – one is 养阴润肺. This means it nourishes Yin and moisturises the lungs.
The other property is 清心安神, which means it clears heatiness in the heart and helps to improve sleep quality.
We will focus on the latter property in this post.
In one of the popular TCM classic《日华子本草》, it says lily bulb can 安心,定胆,益志,养五脏. What this means is, not only does lily bulb have great benefits for improving sleep quality, it can also nourish all five organs (heart, liver, kidneys, spleen and lungs).

Where To Buy And How To Eat Lily Bulb

Lily bulb is sold in both fresh and dried forms. You can purchase dried lily bulb at most TCM shops, or fresh lily bulb at some supermarkets (as shown in the images below).

For dried lily bulb, you’ll need to soak them in warm water for about 30 to 45 minutes before you cook them. Dried lily bulb is typically used in soups.
For fresh lily bulb, you’ll need to clean and wash them thoroughly before cooking as it can be quite dirty because of the soil. What I do is I remove the outermost layer and consume only the inner layers that are whiter in color.
Fresh lily bulb can be consumed in many ways. You can stir fry them with vegetables or add them in your soup or dessert. They do not need to be cooked for long. In fact, they can be eaten raw!
For me, I simply blanch the fresh lily bulb for 2 to 4 mins, then add them to my mixed grains bowl.
Just a note regarding the medicinal effect of lily bulb – the shorter the cooking time, the stronger the benefits (清心安神) for improving sleeping quality.
Special note: Lily bulb is only effective for acute insomnia where you suddenly experience difficulty with sleeping due to summer heat or heavy/irregular heartbeat. For chronic insomnia, it is best to consult a physician to diagnose the cause and use other appropriate herbs.

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