4 of the best Chinese herbal remedies for restoring your health
Christmas may be over for another year, but the most important date in the Chinese calendar is fast approaching, which means there’s another excuse to carry on the festivities of the party season.
Millions of people will be celebrating Chinese New Year on February 5, with colourful parades, performances and displays taking place across the globe.
In China, you’ll hear it being called ‘chunjie’, or the Spring Festival, as the holiday marks the end of the coldest days. While the chilly weather might be staying put here in the UK, people typically celebrate the date as the start of the spring season and the fresh start it brings.
It’s traditionally marked with fireworks, prayers and big family feasts in China, but there are smaller ways you can pay tribute to the zodiac next month.
We spoke to Dr Sarah Brewer, medical director of Healthspan (healthspan.co.uk), to round up an alternative list of time-proven Chinese herbal tonics, that are used to ease all kinds of everyday ailments.
It’s a delicious topping for a fruity bowl of porridge, but sprinkling cinnamon on your breakfast might have more benefits than just taste. “Cinnamon is a Chinese herbal remedy derived from the bark of several related trees, especially Cinnamomum cassia which is native to China,” explains Brewer.
“It’s used in Chinese medicine to support immunity, promote sweating, improve circulation and to treat a variety of digestive symptoms, infections and pains.”
Studies have also found that it has blood sugar lowering properties, and in Western medicine, cinnamon is often used to improve glucose control in diabetes and to lower blood pressure, thanks to its mild diuretic effect.
If you’re suffering from an unsettled stomach, a slice of raw ginger may be just what the doctor ordered. “Ginger is a spice obtained from the rhizome and stems of a tropical plant native to Southeast Asia,” explains Brewer.
“It contains a variety of unique chemicals such as gingerol, zingerone and essential oils that have a warming action with analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea properties.”
It’s a great multifunctional root that Chinese medical practitioners say can tackle plenty of different health issues. Brewer explains that ginger is used as a warming herb to treat digestive and respiratory symptoms, while in Western herbal medicine, it’s used to improve circulation, relieve nausea and to reduce joint pain.
“Ginseng is one of the oldest known herbal medicines and is believed to have been used as a revitalising and life-enhancing tonic for at least 3,000 years,” says Brewer. This obscure-looking root is among the most popular herbal remedies and is often taken in tea form.
Experts say it’s a good option for anyone who struggles to stay focused at work during the mid-afternoon slump. “Ginseng roots contain substances known as ‘ginsenosides’, some of which are stimulating and some of which are relaxing,” says Brewer. Traditionally, she says, it’s described as restorative and energising tonic, helping to improve strength, stamina, alertness and concentration.
If you’re looking for a natural alternative to painkillers, several studies have suggested that this familiar yellow spice may be of use.
“The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, a powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidant,” explains Brewer. “In traditional Chinese herbal medicine, turmeric is used to alleviate conditions such as painful periods or abdominal and chest pain.
“It’s also sometimes used to reduce inflammation such as muscle and joint pains, boost immunity and stimulate liver function.”
The Press Association
Latest posts by The Press Association (see all)
- Jamie Oliver’s veggie pad thai - August 22, 2019
- The Great British Bake Off: Meet this year’s amateur bakers - August 20, 2019
- Harvesting herbs: How to make 5 easily homegrown herbs last beyond summer - August 19, 2019
- Quiz: How many of these iconic city nicknames do you know? - August 16, 2019
- 4 types of headaches and what they’re trying to tell you - August 14, 2019
Leave a Comment!
Community Terms & Conditions
These content standards apply to any and all material which you contribute to our site (contributions), and to any interactive services associated with it.
You must comply with the spirit of the following standards as well as the letter. The standards apply to each part of any contribution as well as to its whole.
be accurate (where they state facts); be genuinely held (where they state opinions); and comply with applicable law in the UK and in any country from which they are posted.
Contributions must not:
contain any material which is defamatory of any person; or contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory; or promote sexually explicit material; or promote violence; promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation or age; or infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person; or be likely to deceive any person; or be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence; or promote any illegal activity; or be threatening, abuse or invade another’s privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety; or be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person; or be used to impersonate any person, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with any person; or give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case; or advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only) copyright infringement or computer misuse.
Nurturing a safe environment
Our Silversurfers community is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values.
We don't tolerate swearing, and reserve the right to remove any posts which we feel may offend others... let's keep it friendly!