This week, let’s learn more about the benefits of white lentils (Chinese name: 白扁豆) from the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective and how we can use them for our health.
White lentils are not as commonly seen as other grains or beans but they have great benefits for the spleen and stomach!
In fact, white lentils are known as 脾之穀也 (the grain for the spleen) from the records of 本草綱目 (one of the most popular classics in TCM). This means that white lentils are a very suitable food for people who have weak spleen.
White lentils can strengthen the spleen as well as remove dampness from it. This property alone is most needed by people with dampness and heat body constitution or phlegm and dampness body constitution.
Besides strengthening the spleen, white lentils also have the following benefits:
Improve appetite – As it strengthens the spleen, it also helps one to have a better appetite once the spleen can function more efficiently.
Improve stool form – White lentils are also used for people with loose stools due to weak spleen. It can help to remove excessive dampness in the spleen and clear the bowels more efficiently.
Relieve excessive leucorrhea – Women with excessive leucorrhea can try consuming white lentils to reduce the leucorrhea output.
Vomiting and diarrhea due to summer heat – People who are suffering from summer heat and have developed vomiting and diarrhea symptoms will also find relief if they eat some white lentils. White lentils can help to clear the summer heat (and dampness) in the body.
Relieve chest tightness – If a person is having chest tightness due to dampness, white lentils can help to remove the dampness too.
The recommended daily dosage is 10 grams to 15 grams.
Do Not Confuse White Beans With White Lentils
Sometimes it can be easy to confuse white lentils with white beans.
The following is an image of white beans. The Chinese name is 白芸豆. These beans do not have the medicinal effects that we have discussed above.
The white lentils (Chinese name: 白扁豆) that we have discussed look like the picture shown below. Notice that there is a white stripe that forms partially around the white lentils. This is the key difference to look out for.
Adding White Lentils to Soups
One of the best ways to consume white lentils is to add them to soups. They are a good source of protein, especially for vegetarians.
White lentils are perfect for soups like Si Shen soup because they have similar effects of strengthening the spleen and removing dampness from the body.
You can refer to this blog post on how to prepare an effective Si Shen soup.