Tea and other herbal preparations have a ton of other health benefits during the festive period, especially when it comes to overindulgence. Many people tend to overeat during Chinese New Year and end up with digestive problems, like bloating, indigestion or even vomiting after scarfing down a big feast. But fear not, some of these discomforts can be soothed with herbal remedies which can be easily prepared at home.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) physician Neo Min Jun – who works at Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic and divides her time among the branches in Chinatown, Tiong Bahru and Simei – offers five remedies for digestive issues that may plague revellers this festive season, while we added five other tea’s that will work wonders on your tummy:
1. FOR OVER-INDULGENCE IN OILY FOODS
WHAT: Hawthorn oolong tea
HOW: Brew 15g of oolong tea in 200ml of water. Boil 3-5g of hawthorn in water for 15 minutes. Mix both and consume warm.
Not suitable for pregnant women. Those with gastric problems should seek TCM advice before consuming.
WHY IT WORKS: Hawthorn aids in the digestion of meat and oily food. Its sour and sweet taste makes it work well in the stomach, spleen and liver meridians or channels through which qi travels.
2. FOR BLOATING
WHAT: Malt tea
HOW: Brew a pot of malt tea with one or two malt tea teabags. Do not add additional sugar or sweetener. Consume warm.
WHY IT WORKS: The natural saltiness of malt works well in the stomach and spleen meridians. In TCM, bloating due to over-eating is often caused by undigested food and stagnant qi in the stomach.
Malt helps to break down carbohydrates and regulate the stagnant qi in the stomach, thus relieving bloatedness.
3. FOR VOMITING
WHAT: Ginger and orange peel tea
HOW: Put two or three slices of fresh ginger with 10g of orange peel in 200ml of hot water. Consume warm.
WHY IT WORKS: The pungent taste of ginger and orange peel makes them work well in the lungs, stomach and spleen meridians.
When the qi in the stomach flows upwards, regurgitation and vomiting occurs.
Ginger and orange peel both help the qi in the stomach flow in the right direction – downwards. The orange peel also boosts the qi of the spleen, which helps digestion.
4. FOR CONSTIPATION
WHAT: White radish soup
HOW: Boil a quarter of white radish (white carrot) with 150g of pork ribs with water. Simmer the soup till the white radish softens. Add soy sauce or salt to taste. Consume the soup with the white radish.
WHY IT WORKS: The sweet and pungent taste of white radish works well in the spleen, stomach and lungs meridians.
Constipation due to over-eating may be due to congested qi in the stomach and large intestines. White radishes can help by clearing the stagnant qi.
5. FOR HANGOVERS
WHAT: Pueraria flower (kudzu flower) tea
HOW: Place 15g of pueraria flower in 200ml of hot water. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Consume warm.
WHY IT WORKS: The pueraria flower has a sweet taste and works well in the spleen and stomach meridians.
It helps to increase the vigour of the stomach, relieve hangover symptoms and quench the thirst caused by excessive alcohol intake.
6. FOR STOMACH ACHES
WHAT: Chamomile tea
HOW: Place 15g of loose leaf chamomile tea in 200ml water. Simmer for 3-5 minutes. Perfect on its own or with a drizzle of honey.
WHY IT WORKS: Chamomile is another herb that is known to help treat digestive problems, mostly because of its anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties it contains.
This tea is also famous for being a calming drink, being able to reduce the stress carried by the body and help refresh the drinker, usually during periods of high anxiety.
7. FOR NAUSEA
WHAT: Fennel seed tea
HOW: Place 15g of loose leaf chamomile tea in 200ml water. Simmer for 3-5 minutes.
WHY IT WORKS: The essential oils found in crushed fennel contains estrogen, which inhibits muscles spasms, allowing you to digest more easily. Fennel seed has also traditionally been used in Ayurvedic treatment to relieve nausea. It’s also anti-flatulence, gets rid of stomach cramps, helps indigestion and bloating.
8. FOR INDIGESTION
WHAT: Burdock root tea
HOW: Place 15g of loose burdock root in 200ml boiling water. Simmer for 5 minutes before drinking. Best to consume ake 15-30 minutes before a meal
WHY IT WORKS: Burdock root contains powerful antioxidants, such as phenolic acids, quercetin and luteolin, which aid digestion and act as a diuretic.
While burdock is a digestive treatment, it does so by increasing intestinal secretions and digestive acid, so it isn’t recommended if you suffer from excess stomach acid, or have ulcers or an irritable bowel. You should also avoid it when you have heartburn or diarrhea, which burdock can even cause, in rare cases. Finally, you shouldn’t take burdock when pregnant.
9. FOR EXCESS GAS
WHAT: Peppermint tea
HOW: If you can find fresh peppermint, steep 10 to 15 leaves in 200ml of hot water for 5-10 minutes. This tea is also readily available in most supermarkets and speciality tea stores.
WHY IT WORKS: Peppermint is one of the best solutions for gas related problems in the stomach, as it helps in expelling gas formed in the stomach while also calming the digestive system, reducing indigestion.
10. FOR DETOXING
WHAT: Senna tea
HOW: Two grams of dried senna leaves are all that’s needed to feel its effect. Allow your tea to steep for 10 minutes and then strain before drinking.
WHY IT WORKS: The stimulant effect of senna tea will help clear out your digestive system and loosen up congestion. That’s because senna contains compounds called anthraquinones, which are powerful laxatives.
A word of caution when drinking this tea, the longer you steep it the stronger the drink becomes, and excess amounts of senna in the body can be unhealthy and even cause cramps.
This article was first published on womensweekly.com.sg