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From a Traditional Chinese Medicine perspective, aloe vera is a cooling medicine for the liver, kidney, and the intestine’s meridian channels. It is also able to dispel heat in the liver, and due to its laxative effect, it can be useful for people suffering from constipation and weight loss.
How to consume it: Make a drink with honey and lemon; slice and serve it as a cold dish with cold noodles.
Take note: People with weak digestive systems should not take too much aloe vera. Pregnant women should avoid it.
Chinese barley is great for our lungs and digestive system, regulating the body’s metabolism of water and reducing fluid retention. It also dispels excess dampness that causes diarrhoea during irritable bowel syndrome. It is also a relief for body aches and strains that are caused by too much dampness in the body.
How to consume it: Have it as a drink, or add some to your porridge.
Take note: Barley needs to be soaked for a few hours before cooking. You should also consume the cooked barley grains (and not just the resultant liquid) to enjoy the full medicinal benefits.
This cooling tea is perfect for Singapore’s warm and sunny climate. It keeps flu at bay, and reliefs symptoms like headaches and coughs by dispelling wind heat from the lungs.
There are numerous varieties of Chrysanthemum on the market, with Indian Chrysanthemum (野菊花 yě jú huā) being the most cooling. It’s used to treat angry sores and bumps, and beneficial to the eyes – in particular for tired eyes or blurred vision.
How to consume it: Brew dried Chrysanthemum into tea; you can also garnish with wolfberries for additional flavor.
In Western nutritional science, green beans are considered to be packed with antioxidants, giving in anti-inflammatory properties. This is also in agreement with TCM’s perspective of green beans as cooling and detoxifying, which helps to alleviate the effects of certain drugs and poisons.
The anti-inflammatory properties also makes it good for easing acne: combine green bean, rhubarb root, peppermint juice and honey and apply topically over red bumps and pimples.
How to consume it: Cook it with barley as a green bean soup dessert. Green bean can also be turned into a paste and layered into cakes and confectionery.
Take note: Those with a weak stomach should not consume too much or it might upset their stomachs.
DRIED LILY BULB
Also known as Bai He, this is the stem of the lily flower. The medicinal properties are beneficial for the lungs, heart and stomach by counteracting excess heat and providing nourishment.
The lily bulb is also soothing for the mind; menopausal women can take it to soothe their emotional fluctuations.
How to consume it: For savoury dishes, stir-fry it with vegetables like celery and nuts like cashews. It can also be paired with gingko nuts and white fungus in desserts.
Zhou Jing is a full-time physician at the NTU Chinese Medicine Clinic.