As we wait out the curve of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) I thought I would share two store cupboard ingredients that will always help to keep you healthy. I also share a recipe that puts them all together in the best flu-busting, immune-supporting, inflammation-reducing, spirit-lifting, tasty tea, I know.
The first ingredient is ginger. Traditionally the rhizome (root) is used in complementary medicine all over the world but the flowering plant originated in China and is closely related to turmeric and galangal. Ginger has been used for over 1000’s of years in Chinese Medicine to treat nausea, chest infections, digestive conditions, colds and flu. At the moment in the treatment of COVID-19 wild ginger (Xi Xin) is part of a compound which has been very useful when treating the virus.*1 Wild ginger can only be prescribed by a Chinese Medicine physician as it can be toxic if not used properly. However, there are no such worries with regular ginger. We can all use it in large doses to strengthen the immune system and keep the mucus from settling on the chest.
The pungent flavour in Traditional Chinese medicine supports the immune system with foods such as garlic, ginger, and any of the onion family such as scallions, leeks and regular onions. These ingredients in Chinese medicine disperse phlegm that builds up in the lungs and helps to strengthen the immune system. Which includes our next ingredient turmeric.
In Chinese Medicine, turmeric stops blood stagnating and coagulating thereby reducing pain, swelling and stiffness all over the body. It helps the gallbladder produce bile, aiding the liver’s detoxifying powers, invigorating blood and moving Chi in all areas of the body. In the abdomen, it reduces cramps and the pain of slow-moving menstruation blood and in the lung, it keeps passageways open aiding breathing.
Cinnamon is another fantastic ingredient. With its gentle Christmas spice flavour it warms the lungs and allows flow. With its sweet flavour it also supports the spleen, which according to the simple 5-element theory is the mother of the lung. Out of balance, too much sugar creates internal dampness, which clogs the lungs, making conditions such as pneumonia even more difficult to treat.
So whilst the maple syrup in the tea is a good alternative to refined sugar as it contains minerals and antioxidants it is still a sugar and will cause problems if taken in large amounts.
Immune Boosting, Anti Inflammatory Tea
•1⁄2 a lemon, sliced or rough chopped rind included
•2-inch ginger root, roughly chopped
•1 tsp. freshly grated turmeric
•1 stick cinnamon
•1 tbsp. maple syrup (more or less to taste)
Put all ingredients into a large saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-20 minutes. Strain and serve. Once strained I like to keep this in the fridge, filling half a mug and topping up with boiling water when I want a hot cup. It’s a very pleasant drink to take warm in the winter or cool in the summer. Feel free to change quantities of ingredients depending on your taste or illness.
Ginger and Turmeric can be kept in the fridge or freezer to be grated or chopped when needed.
I hope this insight into how you can use Chinese Medicine to complement your health by simply using food as medicine.
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