Winter Melon Benefits In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) 

Today I would like to recommend a food that is suitable for most people to eat during these few months (May to July), which is the winter melon (Chinese name: 冬瓜).

It is pretty common to see winter melon in the supermarket or wet market especially if you live in a tropical country.

Let’s learn more about its properties and how we can consume it for our benefit during this summer period.

The thermal nature of winter melon is cooling. Hence, it is more suitable for people who have heatiness in the body (especially heatiness in the heart and spleen).

The following are the main properties of winter melon:

Remove dampness: Winter melon excels in removing dampness in the body through urination. If you have water retention issues, it is recommended to include winter melon in your diet.

Dissolve phlegm: Winter melon also has the property of dissolving phlegm in the body, especially in the lungs and spleen.

Detoxification: Another lesser-known property of winter melon is that it can help to detoxify poison caused by consumption of fish and/or alcohol.

One dietary caution to take note of is that people with loose stools should limit the consumption of winter melon. If you have loose stools most of the time, it is better to strengthen your spleen first (by consuming Si Shen soup or eating Chinese yam more often).

Winter Melon Soup Recipe

One simple way to consume winter melon is to cook it as a soup.
Ingredients (for 2 pax):
1. Winter Melon (one slice)
2. Chinese Barley (50g)
3. Carrot (one piece)
4. Pork Ribs (300 to 400g) – Can be replaced with mushrooms or corn for vegetarian option

Chinese barley, together with winter melon, have great synergy in removing dampness from the body, thereby helping to relieve water retention issues. In addition, carrot works with winter melon to remove phlegm in the lungs and spleen.
Preparation note 1: Do soak the Chinese barley for about an hour before you cook it as soup. This will make the Chinese barley softer and easier to eat.
Preparation note 2: The longer you cook winter melon, the softer it gets. If you are preparing a meat-based winter melon soup, you may want to add winter melon only during the last 20 to 30 mins of the cooking time (depending of how small you cut it). If you are preparing vegetarian soup, you can cook the winter melon together with all other ingredients.
Hope you find this post useful!

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