Must-Try Traditional Chinese Medicine Ingredients

Dr. Angela Warburton shares some must-try ingredients that are believed by Traditional Chinese Medicine to have a unique ability to help balance out the body and act like medicine for particular conditions. Plus, they're super tasty so they can be added into your regular diet easily!

Lily bulb

1. Lily Bulb (Bai He)

What is it and what is it similar to?

It's the bulb from the lily flower. It looks very similar to garlic but has a light sweet taste and slight crispness to it.

What is it good for?

  • Moistens the lung and helps stop coughing — great for dry cough and sore throat.
  • Clears heat and calms the spirit — great for low fevers, insomnia, restlessness, irritability, and palpitations from Qi and / or Yin deficiency.

How do you cook it?

In soups (or in powdered form to thicken soups), stir fry or as a tea.

Job's tears

2. Job's Tears (Yi Yi Ren)

What is it similar to?

It's a lot like barley and can be used and cooked in a very similar way

What is it good for? 

  • Promotes urination.
  • Strengthens spleen, stops diarrhea.
  • Clears heat, expels pus.
  • Good for dampness in the body (swelling, edema, looser bowels and stiff joints).
  • Anti-cancer properties.

How do you cook it?

Cook it as a grain and use for grain salad or roast, or prepare it as a tea

What is a substitute ingredient?

Barley.

Longan Fruit

3. Longan Fruit (Long Yan Rou)

What is it and what is it similar to?

It's a tree fruit and from the same family as the lychee.

What is it good for?

  • Tonifies heart and spleen.
  • Nourishes blood.
  • Calms the spirit — great insomnia, palpitations, poor memory, dizziness.

How do you cook it?

Add dried longan to oatmeal or cereals, make into tea, or add to fruit crumble/deserts.

What is a substitute ingredient?

Goji berries have similar effect on the body.

Tangerine peel

4. Tangerine Peel (Chen Pi)

What is it and what is it similar to?

It's the rind or peel of the tangerine fruit. Similar to orange peel.

What is it good for?

  • Helps with circulation.
  • Good for phlegmy conditions when coughing.
  • Helps with bloating and nausea (morning sickness).
  • Helps strengthen the digestive system and promote some weight loss.
  • Good to have after a rich meal as it aids digestion.
  • Anti-cancer properties, high in vitamin C.

How do you cook it?

Use in tea or stir fry.

Chrysanthemum

5. Chrysanthemum (Ju Hua)

What is it good for?

  • Headaches.
  • Fever.
  • Clears liver.
  • Clears red, painful, dry eyes or excessive tearing).
  • Yin deficiency of the kidneys and liver with floaters, blurry vision, or dizziness.
  • Great for hot weather to help cool off.

How do you cook it?

Great as a hot tea or iced tea in the summer. You can also cook it with greens.

 

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