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Foods For Health, Part II

by Jacqueline M. Newman

Food as Herbs, Health, and Medicine

Fall Volume: 2019 Issue: 26(3) pages: 34 to 37

Camomile Flowers, closely resemble those of the daisy. The Chinese say these have anti-inflammatory, anti- bacterial, and anti-spasmodic properties; and that when made into a tea, they quiet upset stomachs, stop itches from insect bites, minor burns, and skin rashes. Botanically, these Matricaria chamomilla are gan ju in Chinese. They are also popular when helping people fall asleep, reduce anxiety, and reduce inflammations; and often can induce a miscarriage so pregnant women should not ingest this flower in any way. Cardamom, botanically known as Amomum cardamomum, is called bai dou kou in Chinese and believed warm and acrid. It warms the stomach, disperses food, and keeps one’s qi.

Chinese yam, botanically known as Dioscorea rhizoma, is in Chinese called huai shan yao or shu yu say, and believed naturally sweet. This tuber acts on the spleen, kidneys, and blood vessels, and Chinese practitioners use them to strengthen these organs, also the stomach and blood vessels, and stabilize lungs and kidneys and benefit one’s qi. Chinese angelica, the Chinese call dong quai, and they use this herb for gynecological ailments including menstrual cramps and irregular menses, and they believe it a good blood purifier that manages hypertension, rheumatism, ulcers, anemia, and constipation.

Chinese pear, the Chinese say tastes sour and has a cool nature, and in Chinese is called li zi. Their medical practitioners use it to stimulate saliva, quench thirst, nourish the lungs, stop coughing, and clear body heat. Botanically known as Pyrus pyrifolia, it can be any pear including Russets, sand pears, zodiac or any other pear. One practitioner we spoke to said he can find nothing in the literature about it, and if we do to tell him where.

Chrysanthemums, botanically known as Chrysanthemi morifolium, Chinese call them zhen ju. They consider them cool and sweet, and valuable to relieve headaches and dizziness, also to brighten and reduce eye redness, and problems from ingested toxins.

Cloves, botanically known as Syzygium aromaticum, the Chinese call ding xiang or ding zi. They say these flower buds are warm and acrid, and good for warming the kidneys.

Conch comes from the sea and has a cold nature and sweet taste. The Chinese believe they clear liver problems, nourish the lungs, and benefit many body organs, and increase a person’s qi, and believe anemic folk should have theirs in a soup.

Cordyceps, the Chinese believe are sweet and warm with a neutral nature. They believe they nourish the yin, strengthen the lungs and kidneys, and positively impact the immune system. Many elderly also tell us they reduce the effects of aging, stop bleeding, reduce excess mucus, promote their longevity. treat lethargy, and improve their liver.

Crocus flowers and leaves are botanically known as Crocus sativus. The Chinese call them zang hong hua and consider them sweet, say they quicken the blood, ease feelings of depression, and free minds of negative feelings. Many of their youth told us to consume some and be healthier.

Dates, particularly red ones, the Chinese believe are a blood tonic. No matter their color, their TCM practitioners say they nourish the entire body and everyone should take them often.

Fennel, botanically Foeniculum vulgare, they tell us are warm and acrid, and Chinese call them xiao hui xiang believing they warm the kidneys and rectify qi harmonizing with the stomach. We are not sure what that means but know they recommend them for pain in the lower stomach and the bladder.

Figs, when dried, the Chinese say clear heat and sputum, nourish the lungs, and aid digestion. Botanically known as Ficus carica, the Chinese call them wu hua guo and say these fruits have lots of fibre and sugar, and they clear sputum, and are good for all ages.

Fish maw, is yu piu or yu du in Chinese, and they believe it nourishes yin, benefits blood, strengthens kidneys, and uplifts a person’s spirit. They say they have collagen and proteins that also improve the skin.

Flax are seeds the Chinese believe warm and sweet. Botanically known as Linum tatissimum, when chewed or used as a poultice, they say they relieve itchy skin, ease firm stools, and kill internal worms.

Ginger, the Chinese beleieve is spicy, warm, and somewhat acrid, and is botanically known as Zingiber officianale. They use it to ease nausea and motion sickness, aid the lungs, spleen, stomach, and blood vessels, and say it prevents coldness. Their TCM practitioners say it good for removing drug toxins, warming the stomach, reducing vomiting, preventing colds, and relieving pain from rheumatoid arthritis.

Gingko, botanically known as Gingko biloba, the Chinese believe is sweet with a bitter nature. They know its female trees, in some seasons, smell dreadful, male ones never do, and both have fan-shaped leaves and are among the oldest living trees whose heritage is from thousands of years ago. They use their leaves to reduce vomiting and diarrhea, the seeds often called nuts, to nourish the lungs, relieve asthma, improve the kidneys and blood vessels, reduce mucus, calm anxiety, remove bodily moisture, brighten eyes, reduce dizziness, help weak knees get stronger, treat memory loss, and slow Alzheimer’s disease progression.

Ginger, in Chinese is jiang or yuan qi and said to be spicy, warm, and somewhat acrid. Botanically it is Zingiber officianale, and the Chinese use it to ease nausea and motion sickness, aid the lungs, spleen, stomach, and blood vessels, and prevent coldness. Their TCM practitioners say it removes drug toxins, warms the stomach, reduces vomiting, prevents colds, and relieves rheumatoid arthritic pain.

Ginkgo biloba, the plant’s botanical name, the Chinese say. treats memory loss and slows the Alzheimer disease progression, and it relieves leg cramps.

Ginseng, they believe is slightly warm in nature, sweet and bitter, and it increases saliva, supplements blood vessels, tones the qi, calms the spirit, stops thirst, improves a cough, and reduces vomiting. They use it to make a healthy tea, promote secretions of needed bodily fluids, retard aging, and strengthen the immune system.

Haw, botanically known as Crataegus pinnatifida, the Chinese call shan zha pian. They deem it slightly warm, somewhat sour and sweet, and very useful when dried. Their TCM practitioners warn it can cause the uterus to contract and tell pregnant women to avoid using any, but do advise it does strengthen the heart, lowers blood pressure, calms indigestion, diarrhea, and stomach flatulence, and they can use it for these conditions.

Job’s tears, also known as coix seeds, the Chinese call ren mi. Botanically known as Coicis semen, they believe them cold, sweet, and bland and fortify the spleen and supplement the lungs.

Jujubes, red or black, are botanically known as Zizyphus jujuba ater. Red ones known as Zizyphi frictus rubrus and both are warm and have a sweet nature, both supplement the spleen, reinforce qi, and reduce problems from most drug-related toxins.

Lily bulbs, botanically called Liliu brownii, in Chinese are bai bai he. They say their nature is cold, sweet, and a bit bitter; TCM practitioners advise they moisten lungs, suppress coughs, clear irritations in the heart, and quiet one’s spirit.

Longan, long yan rou in Chinese, are botanically known as Euphoria longana. They believe them warm and sweet, and consumed to reduce heart palpitations, improve forgetfulness and insomnia, nourish heart and spleen, reduce most tensions, and supplement qi, and reduce racing hearts.

Lotus, botanically known as Nelumbo nucifera, is in Chinese called lian, their seeds called lian zi. One of two extant species of this aquatic plant known as Nelumbonaceae, its seeds are often called ‘lotus nuts’ which they say are sweet and neutral by nature, calm the spirit, benefit the kidneys, strengthen the spleen, protect the intestines, stop nocturnal emissions, and reduce chronic diarrhea. The roots, they say, cool the blood, nourish the digestive system, and when cooked stimulate the appetite.

Matsutake are tricholumataceae fungi, the most expensive mushrooms in Japan, and are pine mushrooms that are also known as Hime matsutake, and botanically known as Morus that if white are Morus alba. Chinese say they benefit the stomach, stimulate appetites, lower cholesterol, and prevent cancers and diabetes. They were discussed in an article we called ‘Mushrooms are Magnificent’ with many others.

Mugwort, botanically known as Artemisia argyi, the Chinese call ai hao. They say its nature is warm, bitter, and acrid and its leaves expel dampness, warm the channels, quiet the fetus, relieve pain, and unclog vaginal discharge.

Mulberries, the Chinese call sang and say are naturally sweet and cold, benefit flow of all liquids in the body, eliminate swelling, clear the eyes and ears of infection, calm the spirit, increase saliva, and reduce thirst.

Mustard seeds, no matter their color, include forty species called jie cai zi in Chinese. Their nature they say is warm and acrid, most black ones called Brassica nigra, brown ones called B. Juncea, white ones are B. Blanca, and all are known as Semen sinapsis or Semen arvensis. These seeds dissipate cold and reduce abdomenal pain, and they were discussed in Volume 12(2) of this magazine.

Olives, botanically known as Olea europaea do taste bitter when fresh. The Chinese consider them neutral, say they stimulate saliva, detoxify blood, and aid digestion; and they call them gan lan shu and like them in soups where they do reduce swelling in the throat.

Peppers, black and white, are hot and acrid, and botanically known as Piperus fructus. Black peppers are not mature, and both disperse phlegm, impact qi, resolve many toxins, and in Chinese are iao yan.

Perilla, botanically known as Perilla frutescnes, are zi su ye in Chinese. This leaf is said to be warm and acrid, can reduce colds, rectify ones qi, and harmonize nutrients in the body. In Chinese called ba jiao hui xiang, their dried berries reduce abdominal pain, dissipate cold, and rectify qi.

Pine nuts, botanically known as Pinus koraiensis, the Chinese call song zi and say their nature is warm and sweet. TCM practitioners tell us they moisten heart and lungs, lubricate intestines, and ease constipation if ingested with congee that includes walnuts, and honey.

Radishes, the Chinese call xiao udbo, and say their nature is sweet and cool, they detoxify and clear heat in the lungs and stomach, and goof for all who work close to hot stoves.

Sesame seeds, if black, the Chinese call hei zhi ma. They like both white and black ones for their sweet nature, both botanically known as Sesamum indicum. They say they supplement the liver and kidneys, moisten the five viscera, promote lactation; if steamed with wine expel wind and reduce premature graying.

Sichuan peppercorns are botanically known as Xanthoxylum bungeanun, and are piquant, acrid, and have a warm nature. These berries relieve pain in the stomach and heart, kill worms, and reduce most fish toxins.

Tangerine peel, the Chinese tell us, is spicy, bitter, warm, and acrid, and called chen pi. They say to eating some prevents coldness, promotes qi, expels sputum, and aids digesting foods, and that they increase appetite, reduce stomach flatulence, vomiting, diarrhea, and coughing.

Water chestnuts, Chinese believe sweet and warm in nature, and these corms uplift the spirit, clear dryness, and nourish all body organs. In Chinese, called bi jo qi, they and botanically known as Eleocharis dulcis and these aquatic vegetables grow best in marshes, They are not water caltrops though many think call them that.

Watercress, Chinese believe, is sweet and cold in nature. They call them shui tian jie and TCM practitioners say eating some cools the body, clears its heat, and detoxifies its lungs. Botanically known as Nasturtium officialale, they are in the cress family and are an aquatic plant.

White fungus, related to black cloud and wood ear mushrooms. the Chinese say have sweet and neutral natures. Mo-er fungi in Chinese, they benefit the spleen, strengthen the stomach, expel dryness, calm the spirit, reduce insomnia, and are good for all, particularly those resisting eating foods deemed beneficial.

Wolfberries, once known as goji berries, are botanically known as Lycium chinese. They moisten lungs, aid liver, kidneys, and blood vessels, strengthen body and bones, clear the eyes, reduce coughing, increase qi, and help people feel young.

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