The start of spring is marked by a noticeable change in weather, clammy with a bit of chill in the air.
From the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine, the best way to avoid getting sick in springtime is to ensure a good flow of blood and qi, the vital energy, both of which are fundamental and indispensable elements of life.
An adequate flow of qi facilitates the circulation of the blood, which is essential in the supply of nutrients and removal of metabolic wastes from major organs.
As such, an ample flow of blood and qi is necessary for the body to develop a strong immune system.
A person can easily catch a cold or a flu when exposed to a sudden breeze that carries the spring chill.
Spring in Hong Kong is even more problematic as it is extremely humid, making people feel tired and heavy.
According to The Yellow Emperor’s Medicine Classic, people’s diet should put an emphasis on nourishing yang in spring and summer, and nourishing yin in autumn and winter.
While you should always consider your body constitution when thinking of what to eat, it is always good to take food items that could lift the yang and improve your body strength during this time of the year.
These items include buckwheat, coix seeds, black turtle beans, soybeans, apples, sesame seeds, walnuts, chestnuts, peaches, Chinese dates, Japonica rice, Chinese yam, prince ginseng roots, lotus nuts, gordon euryale seeds and white peony roots.
Since your liver could be full of vital energy during the season, it is important to strengthen the stomach and spleen functions by taking food items that are acrid-sweet and have mild heat quality like Chinese yam, lotus nuts, poria, chenpi, millet, black dates, ricebeans, black-eyed peas and peanuts.
However, sour and bitter foods should be avoided.
Here’s a recipe for kudzu root, ricebeans and carp soup that can strengthen your bones and muscles and relieve your tiredness during springtime:
Ingredients: 2 catties kudzu root, 1 catty carp fish, 1 tael nan qi (southern acanthopanax root bark), 30g common clubmoss herb, 2 taels ricebeans, 1 piece of chenpi, 3 pieces of ginger, 3,000 mL water and salt.
1. Remove the skin of kudzu root and dice it into small cubes.
2. Remove the scales and internal organs of the carp fish. Heat the frying pan with oil and ginger and then pan-fry both sides of the fish. Use a kitchen towel to absorb excess oil from the fish.
3. Wash the rest of Chinese medicine ingredients and put them in a muslin bag.
4. Put all ingredients into a pot of water and boil them. Then switch to medium heat and cook for two hours. Season the soup with salt if necessary.
The soup can be taken once or twice a week. It is suitable for people of all body constitutions.
Pregnant women might have to consult a traditional Chinese medicine practitioner beforehand.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 10
Translation by Darlie Yiu
[Chinese version 中文版]
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