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Chinese Medicine Folklore

About once a month this section will outline what Chinese history has recorded about the medicinal value of various plants and foods. This Directory shall not be used as a substitute for bona fide medical advice from a licensed physician.

Garlic, Ginger and Mushrooms

In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) garlic, ginger and mushrooms have a very long and intriguing history. If we examine this history closely we will discover that not much has changed over the centuries concerning their use. This fact alone gives credence to its utility and validity over the years. Lets see what they have to offer.

Garlic has been known to many cultures, espeically to the Greeks as a heart remedy, for centuries. However among the Chinese it really comes into its own. It improves circulation, stimulates the appetite and kills bacteria. Should a user of garlic cloves saturate them with water for 3-5 days, add a little salt, then a little sugar it can be consumed regularly and will not cause bad breath.

Ginger, as anyone knows who has ever taken it, will warm the inside of the body. Chinese fisherman have used ginger to counteract the smell of fish, and is roundly served with seafood. An old custom among the Chinese is to cook and mixed brown sugar with ginger to create a soup, and drink it after eating crabs. It is thought this solution will counteract the bacteria carried by crabs. Newborns and their mothers drink a concoction of ginger, dark wine vinegar and pig's knuckles, a month or so after birth. Vinegar interacts with the knuckles to release calcium, a needed requirement for the mother. Also the knuckle sinew assists in healing the mother's body, while the blood is cleansed by the ginger proper.

Mushrooms have an extremely long history as well. Chinese black mushrooms have been used to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. As you may know, mushrooms can be eaten virtually with any meal, so their benefits are experienced continuously. The Chinese mixed mushrooms with chicken feet, to create a soup, and are thought to be a treat. I might also add chicken feet are a fat-free food item and a great source for protein.

The fact that garlic, ginger and mushrooms have a long and distinguished history throughout the world, ought to inform us, that taken in moderation and with a proper understanding of their effects, may prove to improve our over gneral health. The Chinese are known for many facts throughout their illustrious history, however, few knew that eating was as much an act of medical practice as it was nourishment. A point we all need to heed.

Shen Nong tasted 100 herbs to tell their ingredients - hunger allying, health protecting, and disease curing. The basic principle of Chinese medicine is harmonization - a proper mixture of ingredients. The essence of Chinese food is synthesis, the artistics view of the Chinese nation and its philosophy.


Next Time

We'll review the relationship between Chinese Medicine and Jujubes, Barley and Poultry..

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