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5 TCM herbs to boost your immunity

Chinese physician Cheong Chin Siong recommends these five traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbs with recipes

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Hedy Khoo on 22 Sep 2019

The Straits Times

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1) BEI QI (ASTRAGALUS ROOT)

 

Astragalus root is said to be beneficial to the immune system. Combine it with lingzhi and wolfberries – which are believed to nourish the liver, eyes and kidneys – for this immunity-boosting brew.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 500ml water
  • 6g bei qi
  • 15g red wolfberries
  • 8g lingzhi

 

METHOD

 

1. Place all the ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

 

2. Turn off the heat and allow to cool before drinking.

 

2) LUOHAN GUO

 

Luohan guo is believed in TCM to help in reducing internal heat, moistening the lungs and relieving dryness in the throat. Mr Cheong recommends using it in a brew to be consumed twice to thrice a week. The luohan brew below should be consumed after meals and not on an empty stomach.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 litre of water
  • 1 luohan guo (20g)
  • 6g jing ying hua (honeysuckle flowers)
  • 6g gan cao (licorice root)
  • 10g sang ye (mulberry leaf)

 

METHOD

 

1. Place all the ingredients in a pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.

 

2. Turn off the heat and allow to cool before drinking.

 

3) HEI GOU QI (BLACK WOLFBERRIES)

 

Black wolfberries are said to nourish the liver and kidneys and relieve tired eyes. They should be steeped in warm water, and not boiling hot water, as the heat can destroy their antioxidants, says Mr Cheong, who recommends this black wolfberry brew below.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 250ml water
  • 8g black wolfberries

 

METHOD

 

1. Place the black wolfberries in a mug.

 

2. Pour warm water into the mug and steep for 30 minutes.

 

3. After drinking the brew, you can steep the black wolfberries in another 250ml of warm water.

 

4) JIN XIAN LIAN

 

In TCM, the dried leaves of the Anoectochilus Roxburghii are believed to benefit those with sensitive skin, reduce inflammation of the joints and throat, and protect the liver and kidneys. Here is a recipe for jin xian lian brew.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 250ml of hot water
  • 2g jin xian lian
  • 10g red wolfberries

 

METHOD

 

1. Place the jin xian lian and red wolfberries in a mug.

 

2. Pour hot water into the mug and steep for 30 minutes.

 

3. After drinking the brew, you can steep the ingredients in another 250ml of hot water.

 

5) BA WANG HUA (NIGHT BLOOMING CEREUS)

 

Sold in dried form, ba wang hua (dried night blooming cereus) is a flower that is believed in TCM to help with detoxification, such as reducing heat in the lungs.

 

The flowers are usually used in soups. When boiled, they add a sweet gumminess to the soup.

 

Red dates help nourish the blood and figs are beneficial to the digestive system.

 

Mr Cheong suggests adding nan bei xing (Chinese apricot kernels) as they help moisten the lungs, relieve dryness in the throat and reduce phlegm. He recommends taking this soup once or twice a week.

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.8 litres of water (for blanching)
  • 2 pork bones (500g), cracked into two 500g spare ribs (cut into 7cm by 8cm pieces)
  • 3.8 litres of water
  • 100g ba wang hua , well-rinsed
  • 10 small red dates (17g)
  • 1 honey date (20g)
  • 4 chilled figs (60g)
  • 20g nan bei xing (Chinese apricot kernels)
  • 1 heaped tsp salt

 

METHOD

 

1. Bring 1.8 litres of water to a boil in a pot. Blanch the pork bones and spare ribs until there is no visible blood.

 

2. Discard the water, rinse the pork bones and spare ribs and set aside.

 

3. Bring 3.8 litres of water to a boil in a clean pot.

 

4. Place the blanched pork bones and spare ribs inside.

 

5. Add the ba wang hua, red dates, honey date, chilled figs and nan bei xing.

 

6. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer covered for 11/2 hours.

 

7. Season with salt. Stir well and cover for five minutes.

 

8. Turn off the heat and serve.

 

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.

 

 

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