Chinese have used herbal medicine for centuries. Here are six of the most common and widely used herbs that might actually be in your kitchen right now.
Its nature is warm, sweet and acrid. It warms the body, relaxes muscles and even make you sweat a little (in a healthy way). It also has an added benefit of regulating blood sugar. Add some cinnamon to your hot morning cereal or add a dash or two in your daily tea. Surprising to most of us, cinnamon can actually be used in a lot of savory dishes like in curry dishes or Middle Eastern raisin rice recipes. It’s so good!
Everyone knows that ginger is great to aid digestion and curb nausea. It can also be used to reduce the toxicity of other herbs and for seafood poisoning. Its warm nature also induces a little sweat which is useful when you feel like you might be catching a cold. You can enjoy a few slices in a tea or incorporate it in many recipes. I don’t recommend Ginger ale because of the added sugars and carbonation. Ginger tea with a tiny hint of honey–all the way!
Cool and collected Peppermint is also a digestive aid. It cools down any irritation or inflamed areas of the digestive tract. It has a very calming effect too. It also helps to vent out heat from the body so it’s particularly helpful in early stages of skin irritations. Tea made with peppermint is especially delicious and goes down really easy. Fresh mint can easily be added to many dishes. My favorite way to eat fresh mint is to wrap some up in Vietnamese style spring rolls.
Don’t throw out the peels! Save them for a delicious tea. Make sure to keep as much of the white pith intact while peeling. Then, naturally air dry. These peels can be kept for several months in an air tight container stored in the cabinet with the rest of your teas. Not only is this tea delicious but it has several benefits that may spark your interest. It helps to clear up congestion for stuffy noses. It also helps to alleviate indigestion from heavy meals. Because of its aromatic qualities, it has an amazing ability to ease nausea, especially for pregnancy related nausea. (For a total nausea buster combine it with ginger!)
I’m a huge garlic fan. We are never without it in our household. It’s a staple in Korean cuisine. My family always had a small dish of raw garlic on the table to consume with our meals. Sounds crazy, right? In Chinese medicine, garlic is considered to be antifungal, anti-parasitic and anti-viral. It can be used in the early stages of an abscess to reduce swelling. It helps with indigestion caused by overeating as well as help ease dysenteric diarrhea. It’s also a key ingredient in what’s called Fire Cider that helps to boost your immunity during the flu/cold season. There is also a lot of research that supports its benefit to the cardiovascular system.
Also known as spring onions, Chinese green onions or chives. This herb warms the lungs and stomach. It’s really useful during the very early stages of a cold. A really common remedy for this is to have a cup of warm miso soup with scallions during the first signs of a cold. It really helps! It also helps ease abdominal pain that’s caused by coldness or parasites. There’s a really yummy Korean vegetable pancake recipe that incorporates scallions/Chinese chives. Don’t forget to make the sauce! (It’s all about the sauce ☺)
So how many do you have in your kitchen? Please share any success you’ve had with using these herbs as medicine. Or let us know YOUR favorite kitchen medicinals.
Written by Kris Gonzalez
Chick Food Acupunturist and Herbalist
AHWD Blog Writer