Ginger root is a commonly used herb in Chinese Medicine and cooking. It is incredibly versatile and has many different applications. It might be best known however for its ability to calm upset tummies. The properties of ginger in Chinese Medicine are warming, tonifiying and sweet. These characteristics make it an ideal at home remedy for stomach aches, gastritis, nausea, and digestion issues. For quick relief from nausea, boil water and add 6-8 slices of fresh ginger and drink like a tea. Honey or mint are good additions to this home remedy as well – especially if one also has a sore throat or the beginnings of a cold.
Ren 12 or Zhong Wan, which translates to Central Vent in Chinese is an acupuncture point located on the midline of the abdomen – halfway between the belly button and the base of your sternum. It is needled at an acupuncture treatment to help regulate stomach pain or discomfort. It is anatomically close to where the esphogeal sphincter connects to the stomach. Problems with this link in the digestive system are often related to issues of heartburn and acid reflux. Using your fingers to apply pressure and gently massage this point can help relieve bloating, gas, indigestion, heartburn and nausea.
3. Avoid Dairy
Many people know to avoid spicy foods when their stomach is sensitive but they may not realize that dairy products may be playing a role in their discomfort as well. Dairy is a mucus producer and can greatly exacerbate symptoms like nausea, bloating and loose stool.
Food as medicine is a great concept and can help keep your body feeling more balanced on a day to day basis. A lot Chinese herbs are easily incorporated into meals to help with things like stomach discomfort or bowel issues like diarrhea. Rice porridge or Congee as it is called in China, is a simple, easy to digest base food to eat when your body isn’t digesting at its best. It can be really tasty too. Rice is a soothing, neutral grain without a lot of complexity that you’re body has to work at to digest. It’s essentially like giving your upset tummy some TLC and this preparation of the rice makes it very effective at tempering diarrhea and allowing your body to absorb nutrients again. I’ve include two recipes – one sweet and one savory – for you to try.
For both of these recipes stir well and often in the last 20 minutes of cooking and if mixture gets too think, thin with water to reach the desired texture.
1/2 cup rice
5 cups water
1/4 cup raisins or dates
1 tsp grated ginger root
1 tsp honey
Add rice and water to a pot and heat to boiling. Cover and turn heat down to simmer for 40-50 minutes or until rice is soft. Add dried fruit and ginger and continue to simmer until the mixture has a consistency similar to watery cream of wheat or oatmeal and the fruit is plumped – approx. another 10-15 minutes. Stir in honey and dish into bowls.
1/2 cup rice
5 cups water or chicken broth or combination
1 egg beaten
2-3 scallions chopped
Add rice and water to a pot and heat to boiling. Cover and simmer for 50-60 minutes or until rice is soft and blended with water. Add beaten egg and scallions and continue to simmer until the mixture has a consistency similar to watery cream of wheat or oatmeal and the egg has been cooked through – approx. 5-8 minutes. Salt and pepper to taste and enjoy!