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Apr 27

The Number One Herb for Sore Throats You Can Have at Home

So, my favourite Chinese herbal tea is Chyrsanthemum (Ju Hua). I grew up on that, both in its highly-sweetened packaged form, which was such a treat for a kid, and in it’s more pure form, boiled by my Mum when we were getting “heaty” and getting mouth ulcers or biting the sides of our mouth or tongue.

My second favourite Chinese herbal tea is Honeysuckle (Jin Yin Hua), which was always used for medicinal purposes in our house. Any time someone in the family started to get a sore throat, my Mum would boil it, with a tiny bit of sugar (to help the medicine go down!) and down our hatch it would go. If the sore throat progressed, it never got to a stage where it felt like razor blades in your throat!

jin-yin-hua-herb

Honeysuckle is my immediate go-to now whenever I feel the inklings of a tickly throat. However, I’m less diligent than my Mum was and I’ll steep the flowers for 5 minutes rather than pull out the saucepan and boil them for 10 – 15 minutes. I would recommend boiling where possible but I find drinking 3 – 4 cups of the steeped tea works for me. So, if you’re as passionate about this herb as I am, read on and find out more, otherwise, just go to the Chinese grocery store and buy yourself a packet or three.

jin-yin-hua-tea

Honeysuckle, has a botanical name “Lonicerae Flos” and a Chinese Pinyin name “Jin Yin Hua”, which translates to “Gold Silver Flower”. When the flower first blossoms, they are silver white and then after a few days, they change to a golden yellow colour.

This herb has sweet and cold properties and it’s functions are to disperse heat, resolve toxicity and cool the blood. When you have a sore throat, maybe together with a headache and fever, consuming something cool feels soothing, so this is great news! With some other herb combinations, it’s helpful with hot, painful sores and swelling, particularly in the breast, throat or eyes. Or it can help with diarrhoea with blood or painful urinary dribbling.

From a Western medicine perspective, Jin Yin Hua is:

  • antibacterial
  • antifertility
  • antihyperlipidemic (fat-lowering)
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-pyretic (reduces fevers)
  • antiviral
  • cholagogic (inducing flow of bile)
  • detoxifying
  • haemostatic (stops blood flow)
  • hepatoprotective (protects liver)
  • immunostimulant

It really does have a lot of functions for assisting with imbalances in your body but it doesn’t mean that you can just have this herb and all your health problems are solved. Go and see a Chinese Medicine practitioner for individualised diagnosis of your condition, get treated with some acupuncture and be prescribed some herbs to bring your body back into balance. What can I say? I am biased. But for good reason!

Jul 25

How to Beat your Cold with Food – Chinese Medicine Style

Lemon and Ginger Tea

Colds are often something that we often just deal with and ride out – we continue to push through doing what we do daily and “soldier on”. They usually happen when we are tired, run-down and our immune system is isn’t able to protect ourselves from the viruses and bacteria out there.

In Chinese Medicine, Qi is the energy that flows through our body. There are four levels of Qi in the body and the outermost level is called the Wei Qi, which is the defensive Qi of the body. When we have become run down, overworked, eaten poorly, not exercised and generally just not looking after ourselves, our Wei Qi weakens and we become more susceptible to getting a cold. If you catch colds often, this is a sign that there is an underlying deficiency in your body, which Chinese Medicine can help you with.

A cold generally manifests fairly suddenly in a couple of ways, cold-natured or heat-natured, and there are steps that we can take to get rid of it so we can get back quicker to what doing what we love!

Cold-natured signs and symptoms:
  • feeling more chilled than fever-like
  • phlegm is clear or white
  • aversion to cold
  • no or limited sweating
  • sneezing
  • stiff neck and/or body aches
When you feel some or all of the above signs and symptoms, the foods to have are:
  • ginger
  • onions
  • garlic
  • hot peppers
  • soups
  • ginger tea
In addition, you can also apply sweating therapy by drinking a cup of ginger tea, having a hot shower, putting on lots of clothes and covering yourself with blankets to get yourself to sweat. You don’t need to sweat excessively and do not apply sweating therapy if you are severely weak or dehydrated.

Heat-natured signs and symptoms:

  • feeling more fever-like than chilled
  • phlegm is yellow or green
  • sore throat
  • cough
  • thirst
  • body aches, headaches
Some foods to have when you have the above are:
  • mung beans
  • apples
  • spinach
  • peppermint tea
  • chrysanthemum tea

Overall, if you have either cold or heat signs and symptoms:

  • eat less food
  • drink more warm fluids
  • drink honey (particularly raw honey), which has antibacterial and antiviral properties, with lemon and its Vitamin C to boost your immune system
  • keep your neck covered
  • rest when tired

Above all else, prevention is the best cure and make sure you look after yourself, rest well and do things for yourself that nourish you!