Soothing the Summer Heat with Herbal Dietary Therapies

Herbal tea brewed with fish mint and mulberry leaves helps to relieve heat in summer. (Photo/Plu Kaow)
Herbal tea brewed with fish mint and mulberry leaves helps to relieve heat in summer. (Photo/Plu Kaow)

【Author Elisa Cohen】

【Photographer Samil Kuo, Taiwan Scene, Plu Kaow, dashu83, fanjianhua】

During the sweltering summer days in Taipei, the hot sun and stuffy air can make one feel restless. In addition to gorging on iced drinks and escaping to air-conditioned rooms to get out of the heat, you can also use herbal dietary therapies to get rid of the humidity and heat in your body, bringing about a sense of calming coolness from the inside out.

TAIPEI paid a visit to Daily Health (德利泰), a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) experience center in historic Dadaocheng, where founder Ching-niu Chen(陳清鈕) introduced us to Chinese herbal ingredients and traditional medicinal materials that can be used to make tea or dishes to help alleviate heat and cool down in summer.

Chen also provided tips on how one can choose herbal ingredients for daily health maintenance and care. He went on to share the various interactive courses offered in the experience center, so that more people can learn about TCM materials, their applications, as well as the heritage and culinary culture behind them.

Getting to Know TCM Materials in Daily Life

Chen, the founder of Daily Health, shares with us how these medicinal materials can be applied on a daily basis.
Chen, the founder of Daily Health, shares with us how these medicinal materials can be applied on a daily basis.
TCM materials such as jujube, Chinese wolfberry, astragalus and lotus seeds are commonly found in TCM stores all over Taiwan. Most people on the island have an image of such shops as dark and outdated places, housed in old and gloomy rooms filled with a dizzying array of smells. However, Daily Health has turned this stereotype around. “We present the ingredients in an unconventional way, hoping to arouse people’s interest,” Chen says.

In Daily Health, you will not only find diverse medicinal materials displayed in a bright and open space, but also learn about TCM ingredients in a very different way. The shop has even set up a hydroponic wall garden where herbs can be picked directly.

In Daily Health, people can learn more about the origins and applications of diverse TCM materials.
In Daily Health, people can learn more about the origins and applications of diverse TCM materials.

Chen notes that TCM covers a wide range of materials. There are plant-based herbs, as well as materials extracted from animals, and even stones and amber, rare materials that can also be used in medicine. He also shares that many of the spices we are familiar with can also be used as medicine, including cinnamon, pepper, chili, star anise and nutmeg.

Chen points out, “Spices are also a part of traditional Chinese medicine, and many of them can promote metabolism or aid digestion.” In Taiwan, spices are often wrapped in cotton cloth and used in meat stews and soups. The boiling broth helps to release the aroma and effects of the spices. Meanwhile, in India, the same ingredients are often mashed and stir-fried to make different kinds of curries.

Extracted from natural ingredients, TCM usually helps to alleviate discomfort.
Extracted from natural ingredients, TCM usually helps to alleviate discomfort.

In fact, Taiwanese home cooking has long incorporated ingredients with health benefits. For example, star anise is used in stews, and angelica can be cooked with soup to not only increase the flavor but also strengthen the body. Based on these practices, Daily Health hopes to remind people how often TCMs are integrated with our daily life, and encourage everyone to gradually become familiar with the application of herbs and spices.

Recipe for Heat Relief

Daily Health provides various blends of different herbal ingredients for tea, according to the needs of modern society.
Daily Health provides various blends of different herbal ingredients for tea, according to the needs of modern society.
“On hot days, everyone likes to drink cold drinks, but this tends to accumulate humidity in the body, so you can eat Sichuan peppers to remove the humidity and relieve the heat,” Chen notes.

Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum simulans), native to the mountains of southwest China, is the main star of Sichuan's renowned spicy cuisine, with a strong, pungent aroma and a refreshing coolness that leaves a tingling sensation in the mouth. Eating Sichuan peppers can help with perspiration, as well as expelling humidity and stuffiness from the body. Sprinkling some pepper powder when frying meat and stir-frying vegetables not only enhances the flavor, but also helps to expel sweat and cool the body.

Mulberry leaves are also a great summertime companion. After drying and kneading, they can be brewed into a tea with a refreshing aroma like matcha, which can relieve dryness and heat and reduce swelling caused by fluid buildup in the body’s tissues. In addition to mulberry tea, Chen also points out that the rest of the mulberry tree is a source of great nutritional value as well. The sweet and sour mulberry fruit is rich in fiber and iron, which can enrich the blood and help metabolism.

Furthermore, Chen also adds that fish mint (Houttuynia cordata) has anti-inflammatory effects, and can also reduce the body’s internal heat and relieve pain. It is most commonly taken as a tea. To increase the cooling effect, mint can also be added, which will help to relieve heat and refresh the mind. Aside from drinking, some people also use fish mint in soups, or even chop it up and fry it with eggs, as the unique herbal flavor can help remove greasiness.

Chen also shares his personal secret to health and wellbeing. “I recommend drinking less bubble tea and more herbal tea!” He reminds us that the next time we are thirsty, we should not forget that there are healthier options besides what is available at drink stands found throughout the streets of Taiwan.

Tips for Choosing Traditional Chinese Medicine

What are the details that people need to pay attention to when buying Chinese herbs? Chen points out several myths that have permeated the public’s perception when it comes to choosing products. “Many consumers go for aesthetics, thinking that the bigger the material the better, or the whiter the material the better, but that's not how TCM medicinal materials should be selected,” he says.

Chen goes on to explain that when it comes to many rhizome herbs such as Chinese angelica (Angelica sinensis), the shape of the native plant is actually very irregular. Especially large pieces may be re- manufactured through dehydration, whereby the significant nutrients will be lost in the process. In addition, natural herbs are almost impossible to be completely white; products that are unnaturally white and red are usually artificially bleached or dyed. For example, the color of natural Sichuan pepper should be dark brownish-red. If the color of the pepper is too bright, it may have been achieved through artificial dyeing.

To further promote the everyday use of herbs, Daily Health also has a section with a variety of herbs of similar appearance so that interested consumers can carefully compare and distinguish the differences. Chen shares his hope and vision that “People will become more familiar with Chinese herbal medicine and pass on the knowledge and traditions that have been passed down from our ancestors.”

Picking Up TCM Knowledge Through Interactive Experiences

Under the counseling of the Taipei City Office of Commerce (台北市商業處), Daily Health has developed a variety of interactive experiences to provide the public with the opportunity to understand Chinese herbal medicine and to give visitors from all over the world the chance to experience the local dietary therapy culture. Here, we’d like to introduce three activities that are fun and accessible for foreigners to grasp some basic understanding of TCM.

MEDICAL ORACLE CULTURE

At Daily Health, there are bamboo fortune stick buckets which are usually found in temples in Taiwan, as well as poem slips with corresponding numbers which serve as a reference for people to find the right remedy for their particular ailment.

Chen explains that in ancient times, when medical resources were not well-developed, people would go to temples to pray to the gods, receive medicinal oracle slips, and ask the gods to prescribe remedies to relieve their discomfort. Most of the remedies on the oracle slips are for ailments that people were prone to catch at the time. For example, people in early agricultural societies would be afflicted by health problems associated with hard labor on the farm, and prescriptions on the oracle slips would be written accordingly. The oracle slips provided by Daily Health are designed to address the contemporary problems of people today, such as problems of modern sedentary lifestyles, staring at the computer and mobile phones for a long time, and irregular eating habits.

FILLING PRESCRIPTIONS

The traditional way of filling a prescription is to use a traditional medicine scale to measure the weight of different herbs, and then wrap the herbs in paper according to the proportion of the recipe. Daily Health retains the early tools so that visitors can experience the traditional way of prescribing and dispensing medicine. For this activity, reservations are strongly encouraged.

DIETARY THERAPY EXPERIENCE SEMINARS

Daily Health invites TCM doctors to events to share their advice for daily health maintenance and how to use TCM materials to prepare corresponding healthy dishes and teas, so as to familiarize the public with the daily applications of traditional Chinese medicine. These activities are held irregularly. Please check Daily Health’s Facebook page for up-to-date information.

DAILY HEALTH

ADD 26, Gangu St., Datong Dist.

HOURS 10:00am - 6:00pm (Closed on Sundays)

延伸閱讀

骨質疏鬆症族群男女有別 醫師曝為何男性發作晚且骨折更易嚴重

3對3/國泰跨季第5站登頂 黃鈴娟成最正MVP

鎖定銀髮族痛點 打造平等樂活

北科大副教授法學博士涉假 學倫會還清白卻點名1疏失

相關新聞

LPレコード転写技師という仕事

デジタル技術が普及し、ストリーミングによる音楽視聴が当たり前になった現代人にとって、蓄音機でLPレコードを再生していた時代は想像がしにくいことでしょう。ここ台北にはLPレコードの普及と転写に生涯を捧げている人物がいます。それがMRT明徳駅近くにある「古殿楽藏」の創設者である王信凱(ワン‧シンカイ)氏です。

Sound Tripping: The Life of a Vinyl Record Transcriptionist

Unbeknownst to many, shellac records existed long before vinyl records. “Actually, shellac was sort of the ‘father’ of vinyl,” Wang tells us. “The technology was just beginning to develop at the time, right around the era of the gramophone during the late 1890s to the mid-1900s.” So, what’s the difference? “When shellac records were born, one song could only be pressed on one record. But due to its material, it was very fragile and could be damaged if played too many times,” Wang shares.

Soothing the Summer Heat with Herbal Dietary Therapies

During the sweltering summer days in Taipei, the hot sun and stuffy air can make one feel restless. In addition to gorging on iced drinks and escaping to air-conditioned rooms to get out of the heat, you can also use herbal dietary therapies to get rid of the humidity and heat in your body, bringing about a sense of calming coolness from the inside out.

夏の暑さを和らげる薬膳療法

うだるように暑い台湾の夏は、ついつい冷たい飲み物をがぶ飲みしてしまったり、クーラーの効いた部屋に閉じこもってしまいがちです。しかし、漢方を使った食事療法を実践すると、体内の水分や熱を取り除き、内側から心地よい涼感を作り出してくれます。

クールなリノベーション: 台北で探す古い建築物

台北の夏は照りつける日差しが厳しく、外を出歩くには不向きな環境です。このような季節は一休みできる涼しい空間が適しています。台北ではここ数年、日本統治時代の古い建物が盛んにリノベーションされています。台北は歴史や文化を学べるだけでなく台湾の変遷を象徴する場所へと変化しているのです。特に注目してほしいのは、今回紹介する「台北記憶倉庫」、「国家撮影文化中心台北館」、台北北警察署が再建した「台湾新文化運動記念館」の3か所。台北の中心部に位置するこれらのスポットは1913年から1937年の間に建てられたもので、いずれも歴史的建造物の鑑賞や無料の展示エリアを見学できるほか、併設されているカフェで一息つくこともできます。

Find Yourself in a Cool Place: Renovated Old Buildings in Taipei

As summer comes to Taipei, you might find yourself trudging down a hot sidewalk, the bright sun in your eyes and sweat on your brow — and face mask, if the COVID-19 pandemic continues. On sizzling subtropical days like this, cool indoor spaces where you can take a breath and find some shade are most welcome.

商品推薦

udn討論區

0 則留言
規範
  • 張貼文章或下標籤,不得有違法或侵害他人權益之言論,違者應自負法律責任。
  • 對於明知不實或過度情緒謾罵之言論,經網友檢舉或本網站發現,聯合新聞網有權逕予刪除文章、停權或解除會員資格。不同意上述規範者,請勿張貼文章。
  • 對於無意義、與本文無關、明知不實、謾罵之標籤,聯合新聞網有權逕予刪除標籤、停權或解除會員資格。不同意上述規範者,請勿下標籤。
  • 凡「暱稱」涉及謾罵、髒話穢言、侵害他人權利,聯合新聞網有權逕予刪除發言文章、停權或解除會員資格。不同意上述規範者,請勿張貼文章。