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Chinese Functional Food

by: Dang Yi; Peng Yong; and Li Wenkui

Beijing China: New World Press 1999, Paperback
ISBN: 7-80005-555-8

Reviewed by: Jacqueline M. Newman
Winter Volume: 2001 Issue: 8(4) page(s): 9

Written by researchers of traditional Chinese medicine, this book offers history, characteristics, theory, and current applications. You will find the history in Chapter One where seven parts detail times pre-Qin (before 207 BCE) through the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911 CE). Elsewhere, learn definitions of functional food and information about evaluation, testing them, and their future prospects. Characteristics and theory are included with how to classify these foods by preparation, main ingredient, function, indication, and according to consumers. The most valuable part of this nearly two hundred page volume discusses sixty-nine food-and-medicine items approved in China. It describes each of them, provides botanical names, pharmacological actions, attributes, indications, dosage, and storage needs.

Forty applications, eight for maintaining health and thirty for supplementary treatments from the common cold to sore throat and two others for prevention are included. So are Chinese, both romanized and as Chinese ideographs, and an English-name-appendix in this volume.

The section titled: Classification According to the Consumers, intrigued. It began by advising that Chinese functional food can be classified into fast or street food and imperial functional food according to different consumers. It went on to define fast food, explore the need of fast-paced life-styles, classify-even-justify fast and street food in Beijing and in other cities. And, it gave a paragraph about fast and street food from foreign countries.

Some thoughts could make the squeamish avoid eating on the street in Beijing or elsewhere. While several items are true, that section and many like it are shallow. Skip them after taking note of the items considered as fast/street food and that a few imperial foods that have street origins. Concentrate on the Chinese-approved food-and-medicine chapter. It is fine factual education. And, do photocopy and keep the table of Chinese/English names handy for whenever you read other Chinese materials. It is a gem of accuracy accompanied by ease of use.

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