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Jul 27

Just a Simple Flower

Ju Hua, pronounced “joo hwa”, is the Chrysanthemum flower. I love having this as a tea – its flowery flavour has a distinct and soothing taste. In a tea, it is often made with the dried flowers but it is also available as a powdered granule combined with cane sugar – highly delicious but they are made with just a little too much sugar!

In Chinese Medicine, Ju Hua is a herb that “releases the exterior”, which essentially means getting rid of viruses and bacteria that cause colds, flu and other common respiratory infections, but in particular, Ju Hua targets conditions with sore throats, fevers and/or headache. As a child, if I started to get a sore throat, my mother would boil some up (of course with a little bit of sugar to help the medicine go down), and my sore throat would be very mild and I’d be back to playing in the street in no time.

This delightful flower also “calms the Liver” and brightens the eyes, which can roughly translate to de-stressing you and reducing headaches, and if you have red eyes, blurry vision or general eye problems, it’s definitely good for you.

So imagine that you are sitting in the office, typing on the computer in front of you, as you have been doing for the past three hours, and your email inbox is refusing to be emptied and your boss has been hounding you all day for that report, a chrysanthemum tea is your solution to a healthier and happier office you. To top it off, if you combine it with goji berries (Gou Qi Zi), you will further benefit your eyes and maybe even bring a sparkle to them as well as adding a lovely sweetness to your tea.

Chrysanthemum and Goji Berries

Chrysanthemum and Goji Berries

Chrysanthemum and goji berry tea

Ingredients (can be bought at any Asian grocery store)

  • Chrysanthemum flowers (approx. 5)
  • Goji berries (approx. 5)

Method

  • Place chrysanthemum and goji berries into a cup or small teapot
  • Fill with hot water
  • Let tea steep for 2-3 minutes
  • Enjoy
Chrysanthemum and Goji Berry Tea

Chrysanthemum and Goji Berry Tea

 

Jul 7

Winter Wonderfoods

Vegetable Soup
In Chinese Medicine, being in tune with nature is important in maintaining health and preventing illness, and a part of this is being able to change with the seasons. Throughout the year, we experience change from the heat of Summer to the dryness of Autumn, to the cold of Winter and the wind of Spring. Each season has particular characteristics and it is with these that we align ourselves.

Winter is a season of utmost Yin, Yin having qualities of the feminine, nurturing, quietness, inwardness and cold. This is a time for us to slow down and conserve energy, stay warm and be more aware and reflective. It helps us to prepare for and have the energy for Spring when growth and change occur.

Food plays a vital part in health maintainance so eating the appropriate foods for the season will keep you nourished.

The Kidney is the organ associated with Winter because it stores our basic and fundamental energy, which is an inward and nurturing function. Salty foods have an inward energy and support this storage function of the Kidney, so a little bit of sea salt and seaweed assists this vital organ. Take care not to have too much as it will then overwork the Kidney. Other foods which support the Kidney are:

  • kidney beans
  • black bean
  • chestnuts
  • walnut
  • lamb
  • chicken
  • dark leafy greens

Also, the types of foods that are more readily available in Winter are beneficial to eat and these include:

  • root vegetables
  • Winter greens such as cabbage, kale and silverbeet
  • nuts, legumes and grains
  • pumpkins
  • pears, apples and citrus fruits

Have these in warm hearty soups with vegetables and nourishing stocks, casseroles and stews because by cooking food for longer and at lower temperatures, the demand on your digestive system is lessened.

There are a lot of delicious and nourishing meals to be eaten in Winter. Be sure to share them with family and friends because though this is a time of introspection, connecting with family and friends will definitely keep you warmer in Winter!