Category Archives: The World of Chinese


China’s Red Bean
Thursday, March 14, 2013 | BY: ORIANA LUQUETTA (刘安娜)
If you’ve ever had an authentic Chinese moon cake then you have more than likely tried the famous Chinese red bean paste. This red bean paste can also be seen as fillings for bread, sweet cakes, steamed breads, and of course dumplings. As a Hispanic- American, I had always seen the red bean as something you eat with rice and steak, or in a heavy meal. In China, however, it is seen as more of a sweet dessert. Most fall in love with the sweet red bean soon after they taste it.
The Adzuki Bean (Vigna Angularis) is said to be originally from the Himalayan foothills of China and has been grown and used for many centuries. It was introduced to Japan by the Chinese over 1000 years ago and is now its sixth largest crop. In Chinese, the beans are commonly termed hongdou (紅豆; hóngdòu) and chidou (赤豆; chìdòu), both meaning “red bean”. The vining types of the bean are cultivated in China, mainly in the Yangste River Valley. They are also cultivated in southern China. Harvested in November and December, these small, reddish brown beans with a white ridge have a sweet, nutty flavor when cooked. They are very versatile and can be eaten in a variety of ways, including ground to make the sweet cakes.
Health Benefits
Because Adzuki beans are rich in soluble fiber, they help speed up the elimination of waste from the body by promoting regular bowel movements. The soluble fiber further helps reduce the levels of “bad” cholesterol in the blood. They are a good source of magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese and B vitamins. This enables them to prevent the body from absorbing harmful substances and helps reduce blood pressure. The beans act as a natural diuretic and contain the highest protein content with the lowest fat among various types of bean. Furthermore, the presence of phytrogens in the beans are said to help prevent breast cancer. According to Dr. Erika Schwartz, co-other of Natural Energy, these weak estrogens block receptor sites that would otherwise be filled by stronger estrogens, as stated in this article. In women, the phytoestrogens fool the body into believing it is still producing real estrogen.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Claims
The value of the adzuki beans has been acknowledged for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine. According to an ancient Chinese saying, the kidneys govern the emotion of fear. Because the adzuki beans benefit the kidneys, they are said to be considered a source of bravery. By consuming these red beans, you are empowered to meet challenges in a courageous manner. Ancient healers also used them to treat a variety of symptoms, such as colds and edema. They also benefit bladder and reproductive functions, so they are used to treat problems such as urinary dysfunction and bladder infections through traditional Chinese medicine. Read more about their healing powers here.
Different Styles of Cooking
The adzuki bean has been widely used in many types of Chinese soups, salads, gravy dishes, and even some types of tea. The bean itself is normally eaten after it has been sweetened. This is done by boiling it with sugar, resulting in a red bean paste. This red bean paste is then added to the many types of dishes. Sometimes, however, the bean is boiled with salt as well as sugar. This produces a sweet dish known as the red bean porridge. The red bean is also used as a type of flavoring in ice cream, waffles, and other sweet bakeries.
Below are some images of the red bean in its varying guises:
Red Bean Porridge

Red Bean Pancake

Red Bean Dumpling

Red Bean Paste Recipe
It is really simple to make the red bean paste used in so many of the pastries. The first thing you want to do is soak one cup of the beans in water over night, after having washed them first of course. The next day, bring the water to the boil and simmer for about an hour, or until you feel the beans are soft. If necessary, go ahead and add more water. Once you feel the beans are soft, drain them and place the beans in a blender. Make sure to blend until the beans are smooth. After you have removed the paste from the blender, add about 2/3 of a cup of sugar and slowly mix it in. Then take the mixture and fry on medium heat in a frying pan with a bit of oil. You can then cool them and use the paste as a filling to pancakes, sesame balls, or anything else you wish.




First choose an eggplant that has a smooth, glossy skin. Make sure the eggplant is heavy and firm, since lighter eggplants are overripe. Avoid any with blemishes or soft spots, making sure  it has an even, dark color.

The most important step in preparing the eggplant is to make sure to always slice and salt it before cooking. Young plants need no salting, however, larger and older eggplants should sit in colander for about an hour to extract the bitter juices.  Pat the vegetable dry with a paper towel before cooking it.

There are dozens of ways to cook the eggplant. Options include deep-frying, grilling, baking, steaming, sauté,  pickling, etc. Keep in mind that the eggplant soaks up oil like a sponge, especially good olive oil.

Di San Xian (地三鲜 ) 

Eggplant, potato, and green peppers recipe



1 eggplant, cut into cubes
1 green pepper, cut into squares
1 potato, peeled and cut into squares
2 cloves of chopped garlic
1 tbsp of soy sauce
salt, sugar, oil




  1. Deep fry the potatoes and eggplant separately in a deep-frying pan until each golden brown. Remove each and drain.
  2. Stir-fry the green peppers with a tablespoon of oil in a separate pan for a few minutes.
  3. Add the fried eggplant and potatoes to the green peppers, along with the soy sauce, chopped garlic, salt and a bit of sugar.
  4. Continue to stir fry for a few minutes.
  5. Remove off the heat and enjoy!

For another healthy vegetarian recipe, click here




Chinese Tea: 10 of the best

Thursday, November 14, 2013 | By:

Tea, that most elegant of restoratives. Forget coffee and its all caffeinated edginess; it is he who drinks tea that will truly find greatness. As the masterful Chinese writer, Lin Yutang said, “There is something in the nature of tea that leads us into a world of quiet contemplation of life.” And with that in mind, we here at the The World of Chinese bring you 10 of the best, classic teas:

[ Note: According to  fermentation-based qualification there are five types of tea: white, green, yellow, turquoise (oolong), red and black. In this list you will find them all.]


Ti Kuan Yin

(铁观音 – tiě guān yīn)

Iron Goddess. It is perhaps the most famous of oolong teas.  Originating in the 19th century and harvested in North Fujian, the tea has a subtle floral bouquet and is widely known for its significant health benefits; it increases energy levels in the body; it is a  a great antioxidant, serving to boost the immune system, while fighting cancer and heart diseases;  it increases bone mineral density, providing stronger bones; and finally, it provides anti-fungal support, meaning it can re-balance the body after taking antibiotics. If the health benefits aren’t your thing, well, we think it tastes pretty damn fine. The tea should be steeped at a relatively high temperature of 185 – 205 F degrees for 3-5 minutes.


Da Hong Pao

(大红袍 – dàhóng páo)

The Big Red Robe. This is another famous oolong tea from North Fujian. The origins of this tea date back to the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It also has a pleasant floral fragrance and is known for being very costly. The benefits of Da Hong Pao are countless. Assisting with weight loss, strengthening teeth, curing skin disease, improving vitality, increasing brain power and lowering sugar blood levels, to name just a few. The best steeping temperature for this tea is 195 – 205 F degree; it shouldn’t be steeped for more than 3 minutes.


Pu Erh

(普洱茶 – pǔ’ěr chá)

Pu Erh is the most renowned of black teas. Originated in Yunnan province, in a village called, funnily enough, Pu Erh, it has been drunk for at least 1,700 years. It is also made in Sichuan, Hunan and Guangdong. Pu Erh got famous for one particular distinctive feature: like a fine wine it gets better with the age,  for other, more mortal teas, age is an enemy. In total, there are 120 types of Pu Erh Cha, including green and white varieties. The main health benefit of the tea is as a digestion aid. As a result, many use the tea as to help with weight loss; the tea can also significantly lower cholesterol levels and, in the long term, is as effective as many medicines. The tea should be steeped at a temperature of 200 – 210 F degrees for 3-4 minutes.


Molihua Cha

(茉莉花茶 – Mòlìhuā chá)

Jasmine tea is extremely popular both in and outside China. It can be of any kind: white, green and black. The base is formed from almost any type of tea leaves, which are then stored with jasmine leaves to impart that delicate flavor. The best jasmine teas are manufactured in Fujian and Sichuan. And while it is often claimed that Beijingers are the main consumers of jasmine tea, there is little evidence to support this claim. The tea increases body temperature, which is especially good for cold regions and cleanses the body of toxins, which suits people living in polluted areas (is this a clue to its claimed popularity amongst Beijingers?). Apart from that the tea is a great stress reliever and fights cold and cancer. The tea should be brewed at 175 – 190 F degrees for 2-4 minutes.


Bai Hao Yin Zhen

(白毫银针 – bái háo yín zhēn)

Silver Needles. This one is a legendary and most expensive white tea. The manufacturing tea is believed to have started during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The tea is manufactured in Fujian and is believed to assist in preventing cardiovascular disease, cancer, osteoporosis and various infections. It should be steeped at a temperature of 167 – 176 F degrees for 1-2 minutes, however, some suggest that the steeping for Silver Needles tea should be slightly longer than for other white teas – up to 5 minutes.


Jun Shan Yin Zhen

(君山银针 – Jùn shān yìn zhēn)

Gentleman Mountain Silver Needles. The tea originates from Hunan province and is considered the most famous yellow tea or the King of Yellow teas.  It is also called ‘three climb-downs, three climb-ups’ due to the funny dance that tea leaves make during the brewing process. The taste, according to TeaSpring, is “smooth, light and sweet at first sip but finishes with a fleeting smoky taste. This smokiness is only apparent in the first infusion and is not offensive at all.” The tea belongs to a group of Chinese ancient teas revered for their long history and has been produced since the  Tang Dynasty and is famous for being the Chairman Mao’s favorite. As to the health benefits, apart from slowing the process of ageing it helps to prevent heart disease, liver disorders and the appearance of tumors; it regulates sugar levels, improves digestion and fights headaches and depression. The best steeping temperature here is 176 F degrees, and the tea should be steeped for approximately 5 minutes.



(滇红 – diānhóng)

Dark Tea. This type of red tea has been produced since the beginning of the 20th century in Yunnan province. It has a beautiful golden color and lacks bitter aftertaste some teas have. Apart from being a good refreshment during the hot summer times, Dianhong tea is famous for its ability to normalize blood pressure. It should be steeped at a temperature of 194 – 212 F degrees for 3-4 minutes.


Lapsang Souchong

(拉普山小種/正山小种 – lāpǔshān xiǎozhǒng)

This is a sub-Variety from Lapu Mountain and is a type of red tea. It is popular among westerners, especially, in the UK. It is produced in Fujian and is famous for its deep smoky flavor, which is a result of the way it is produced – it is dried over pinewood fires. The tea helps fight inflammation and cardiovascular disease and helps to strengthen the immune system. Some sources suggest that it can also help in maintaining the liver. It is better brewed at a temperature of 200 F degrees for approximately 2 minutes.


Qi Men Hong

(祁门红茶 – qímén hóngchá)

Great Gate Red Tea comes from Anhui province. It is a relatively young tea – less than 200 years. It is also a popular tea in the west and is a base for English breakfast tea. The taste is a heady mixture of orchid, pine and dried plum. This type of tea improves digestion and helps fighting inflammation. It also helps fighting urethral deseases. The best steeping temperature for this tea is 195 – 205 F degrees for 1-2 minutes.


Long Jing

(龙井茶 – lóngjǐng chá)

Dragon Well Tea. This is the most desirable of green teas and belongs to the roasted green tea group. “The aroma of the genuine product is warm, fresh, complex and with a note of baked mung beans, or chestnut, and a distinctive accent of bouquet,” according to the Tea Guardian.  Long Jing originated in 15th century Hangzhou and currently is produced in Zhejiang province. Apart from being a favorite tea of many emperors, it is currently widespread among both Chinese and foreigners alike. It is effective in deterring food poisoning, preventing cavities, fighting viruses and has  many more beneficial effects. 176 F degrees is considered to be the best temperature for steeping Long Jing– as if too high – it can kill the aroma and nutrients. The tea should be steeped for 1-2 minutes.

And there you are, 10 of the finest teas in China; go forth and drink, think, and be at one with the world…


How to Raise Silkworms

how-to-raise-silkworms mASTER


“If you’ve eaten garlic, don’t breathe on your silkworms,” says one girl who kept the critters as a child. Raising silkworms has always been a fun pastime for kids in China, and—as you might expect—is something of an art. (Even garlicky breath can make them deathly ill!) Recently, we came across these guidelines for good silkworm parenting:  Keep no more than 20 in a shirt box. Their kernel-like droppings must be cleaned daily.

The worms should be fed mulberry leaves. But be cautious: even just a little dirt or moisture in the leaves will give these bugs diarrhea and might even send them to a wormy heaven.


If they are still babies (the size of ants), don’t use your fingers to move them or they’ll get smushed. You may use the tip of a paintbrush.


Naming silkworms is difficult because there are too many to remember. The best advice is to call them all “Little Baby” (蚕宝宝 cán bǎobǎo).


If you do manage to keep your silkworms alive, they will make beautiful cocoons and one day you’ll wake to find 20 of them magically hovering over your bed. So what is the joy in raising them? When we asked the girl she said, “They feel nice and cool if you let them crawl on your arm.” Beats cuddling the cat I guess. – N.R

Time to get patched up


Aches and pains abound, don’t they? Whether it’s a niggling sprain, a torn muscle, or a stinging bruise, they sure ain’t fun. Well, dear reader, I might just have the perfect solution for your irksome little twinges. I call it a Traditional Chinese Medicine thingy,  or the  Gou Pi Gao (狗皮膏), more commonly called Gao Yao (膏药). It’s a sort of  plaster or patch. If you literally translate Gou Pi Gao it means dog skin patch because, back in the olden days,  a medicinal paste was smeared on an aged piece of dog skin and applied to the affected area. Nice, huh? Thankfully as time passed, the use of dog skin was phased out and has been replaced with adhesive cloth patches.

The idea behind the use of medicinal plasters came from the Tang Dynasty; they believed that medicinal plasters were more effective than ingesting the medicine for “diseases” that were positioned between the skin and the bone or tendon (bruises, broken capillaries, tiny fractures, torn muscles, etc.). Applying the plaster directly allows the medicine to be directly absorbed into the damaged soft tissue thus speeding up the healing process.

“”Gou Pi Gao is not really made out of the skin of a dog, but it is a very effective plaster to heal fractures or pain. The herbal plasters come on a plastic base, and these are put into a steamer and attached to the afflicted site while warm. Be sure to take the plaster off at night, as the plaster can cause skin irritation due to cutting off oxygen. The plaster will also stain clothing and smells, so don’t be surprised if everyone wants to avoid you while you are using it. Of course, products like Salon Pas or Tiger Bone Musk Plaster or Yunnan Bai Yao plaster are also good alternatives, but my not be as strong. An alternative is to use Die Da Zhi Tong Gao (Fall/Strike Stop Pain Plaster) which is commonly available.””

Around the 11th century, paper and cloth replaced the dog skin and instead of having medicine come in paste, the medicine itself was dried into a resin and was sandwiched between paper and cloth. To activate the patch, the resin was melted in a warm pan or in a steamer to soften it so it could be directly applied to the wound. Later on, if need be, it could be reheated and reused elsewhere. Thankfully in the 80s there was a breakthrough; the medicine was mixed with a rubber base and coated on to a thin piece of cloth that adhered to your skin making transportation of the plasters and their use easier than ever before.

Growing up, medicinal plasters were an essential part of my personal first-aid kit. When I jammed my thumbs during volleyball practice, I used a small patch on the joint to lower the swelling. If I worked out too hard the day before and my shoulders were tight and tense, a larger patch was used to cover that area to relieve some of the pain. Not to mention when I tore my ankle, a whole package of medicinal plasters were used in trying to speed up the healing process. Though the medicinal plasters have done a lot to help me through my bumps and bruises over the years, I never really thought about what kind of ingredients were inside these sticky squares of medicine or if there were different types for different aches and pains.

For those holding their breath, relax; there are no bad chemicals or anything horribly dangerous contained in the patches but there are some warnings to take heed of. The adhesive for various patches has been known to cause some skin irritation for those with sensitive skin. Make sure you only use the patch only for as long as directed, to prevent any irritation. Plasters containing TCM sometimes have a slightly funky medicinal smell; I’ve had friends comment on the aroma quite a few times. Thankfully, the aroma fades away after a couple hours of use.

The main ingredients of patches are Methyl Salicylate, which is a chemical that can cause a mild cold or warm/burning sensation when used. Menthol is also used, which adds to that cooling sensation. The more basic patches, for simple pain relief of tense muscles, contain the two chemicals above as the main source along with the ingredients for the adhesive. More TCM orientated patches will have various medicinal ingredients, including Rhubarb Rhizome, Mylabris Beetle (yes, a type of beetle), Taraxacum Plant (dandelion), Acacia Plant-resin, Myrrh Resin, and Carthamus Flower (safflower), to name just a few.

Now, if the idea of using these plasters for your aches and pains appeals to you, here’s a quick guide to the various types that exist for different problems:

Wu Yang Pain-Relieving Plaster

Provides cooling pain relief and does not penetrate deep into the skin. It can be used if there is swelling, heat and inflammation from sprains, strains, tears or pulled muscles.

Yunnan Piaoyao Plaster

This is the best all around plaster for traumatic injury, because it’s effective in stopping internal bleeding and healing wounds. This plaster can be used for acute injuries even if there is swelling or inflammation.

701 Plaster

It contains herbs that reduce pain, heals damaged muscles, tendons and ligaments. This should not be used while there is still inflammation, heat, and redness.

Hua Tuo Anticontusion Rheumatism Plaster

If there is still residual stiffness, pain and the injury feels cold or sensitive after 3-4 weeks of the initial injury its best to use this plaster.  It is also good for chronic injuries that ache in cold, damp weather.

Gou Pi Plaster

This is the strongest plaster that can be bought in a Chinese pharmacy. It has  medicine mixed with pine resin allowing the herbs to penetrate deeply, which stimulates the healing process more quickly than other types of plaster.

If you’re interested in other TCM methods and beliefs on how to cure aches, sprains and tears click here.



TCM for Sprains and Strains

Monday, March 18, 2013 | By:

So you’ve just sprained your ankle fighting for that offensive rebound (you should have stuck to defense) or maybe you just stepped on an uneven patch of pavement. In either case you’ve been taught to religiously recite the sacred mantra RICE – Rest Ice Compression and Elevation. Well, that’s not a bad idea and it will work over time; however some would argue that if you try the TCM approach, you’re ankle will heal even faster and you’ll be off playing basketball again in no time. Unlike RICE, the tenets of TCM say if you sprain or strain a joint, the first thing you should do is to immediately and aggressively massage the injured area using tuina (推拿 tuīná) to prevent the blood from over clotting and qi from stagnating. With this approach, the most painful part of the healing process is the very beginning because it is believed that the more aggressively you massage the injured area, the faster it will heal. This means a lot more pain in the beginning, but it is believed that the resulting improved circulation will promote faster healing and less pain, including chronic pain in the long run. Rather than worsening the bruise, many Chinese believe that rapidly massaging the injured area will prevent bruising or at least lessen the amount of time it is present. Before going any further, if you are in doubt about whether or not you have broken a bone, you should get x-rays first.

An example of my homemade Dit Da Jow brew based on a secret kung fu recipe

An example of my homemade Dit Da Jow brew based on a secret kung fu recipe

Ideally, one should massage the injured area with a liniment such as what is known in Cantonese as dit da jow or in Mandarin diedajiu (跌打酒 diē dǎ jiǔ, falling and hitting wine). Dit da jow is well known in kung fu circles as an analgesic and for its ability to reduce inflammation, increase circulation and prevent infection in martial arts-related injuries. Two key ingredients that are old friends of yours from biblical lore are Frankincense (乳香 rǔxiāng) and Myrrh (没药 mòyào), which both turn out to be extracted from tree resins in the Arabian Peninsula and northeastern Africa. These ingredients combined with others such as Safflower (红花 hónghuā) remove stasis in the blood and invigorate (活血huóxuè) it so that blockages are cleared and circulation is increased to and through the injured area. Each kung fu school has its own secret recipe of numerous Chinese herbs that are fermented in wine for at least six months to achieve the optimal healing results. Different recipes of dit da jow are designed for different purposes such as conditioning for iron palm training or, in this case, healing. Some Chinese medicine stores sell various brands of dit da jow over the counter while some Mom and Pop shops may even have their own homemade brew, the latter are preferable as the product sold over the counter is usually not as potent. Apply dit da jow liberally up to six times a day until healing is complete.

If dit da jow isn’t available, Red Flower Oil (正红花油 Zhènghóng huāyóul) is another alternative. If the injury is to the bone such as a bone bruise on the shin or forearm, you can apply Zhenggushui (正骨水, Bone Rectifying Liquid), which is specifically designed for healing bone bruises and hairline fractures but can be used to some extent to soft tissue injuries as well. Another option is Deer musk (麝香 shèxiāng), which can also be quite effective, but your friends as well as deer may be able to smell the musk on you from far away. All of the aforementioned liniments are for external use only and none should be applied if there are any open sores. To stop bleeding, Yunanbaiyao (云南白药, Yunan White Medicine) powder should be applied until the bleeding stops and keep any of liniments mentioned away from the cut.

If a trained TCM practitioner is available, the next step is to start to manipulate the joint in the opposite direction that it was injured in. Unlike Western medicine where the emphasis is immobilizing the injured joint as soon as possible, Chinese medicine advocates working on reestablishing range of motion immediately. If you’ve rolled your ankle inwards, the Chinese approach is to press it outwards in the opposite direction of the injury to start establishing the proper motion of the joint. They will also soon moving the joint in all structurally correct directions. The idea is to introduce more range of motion much earlier in the healing process to ensure that there is less atrophy and loss of mobility once the joint has healed. Manipulating your joints in this way is not advisable without the aid of qualified TCM physician, nor is the amount of pressure required easy to achieve on one’s own as the pain prevents many from treating themselves effectively. Chinese doctors also often augment this treatment with acupuncture and moxibustion (艾灸术 àijiǔshù), the latter being a kind of heat treatment with mugwort sticks.

Instead of packing the wound in ice, which the Chinese believe is detrimental as it stagnates blood and qi circulation, an herbal poultice can be applied to the wound such as Sanhuansan (三黄散 Sān huáng sàn, Three Yellows Powder). The three yellow herbs in Sanhuangshan – 黄芩 (Huángqín, Baikal Skullcap Root),黄柏 (Huángbò, Chinese Corktree Bark),大黄 (Dàhuáng, Rhubarb) – all have a cooling effect on swelling while enabling flow of blood and bodily fluids to flow at normal body temperature, unlike ice. You can request these three herbs from a Chinese medicine shop and make the concoction yourself, or there are some herbal websites online that sell the ready made product. The main thing is that it has at least the three herbs mentioned (often there are a couple more added for extra effect). If you’re trying to figure out where to start, Tongrentang (同仁堂 Tóngréntáng) is the best known Chinese herbal drug store chain in the world, and though sometimes more expensive than other shops, it has a relatively good reputation.

After the poultice has been applied for three days, the concern switches from reducing swelling and inflammation and now becomes primarily increasing circulation and mobility. It is important to resume massaging and manipulating the joint, and there are a number of different variations of liniments that you can use to expedite this process. If you have a good dit da jow recipe, you can simply continue to apply that liberally and rigorously. Alternatively, you can use a combination of White Flower Analgesic Balm and Tiger’s Balm, the two have similar ingredients and can be used individually to good effect, but combined they are like a tiger with wings (如虎添翼 rúhǔtiānyì). Apply the White Flower Analgesic Balm first to open up the pores and then apply the Tiger Balm (虎标万金油 hǔbiāo wànjīnyóu) so it can penetrate more deeply and have more of an effect. Both balms will aid in relieving residual pain and stiffness in the injury as it nears full recovery. Tiger Balm also now is sold as a plaster, essentially a patch that you can stick to the injured area for several hours at a time.

Herbal Remedy for Joint Injury

The following is a more sophisticated TCM recipe to treat joint injuries such as sprained ankles and knees that is can be used if you have access to a well-stocked Chinese herbal medicine shop:

桂枝 (Guìzhī, Cassia Twig) 20ɡ,红花 (Hónghuā, Safflower) 20ɡ,细辛 (Xìxīn, Manchurian Wildginger Herb) 10ɡ,威灵仙 (Wēilíngxiān, Chinese Clematis Root) 60ɡ,伸筋草 (Shēnjīncǎo, Buck Grass) 40ɡ,昆布 (Kūnbù, Kelp) 40ɡ,海藻 (Hǎizǎo, Seaweed) 40ɡ,路路通 (Lùlùtōng, Chinese Sweet Gum) 40ɡ,续断(Xùduàn, Himalayan Teasel Root) 40ɡ,海桐皮 (Hǎitóngpí, Oriental Variegated Coralbean Bark) 40ɡ,透骨草 (Tòugǔcǎo, American Lopseed) 40ɡ,防风 (Fángfēng, Divaricate Saposhnikovia Root) 20ɡ,艾叶 (Àiyè, Argy Wormwood Leaf) 60ɡ,五加皮 (Wǔjiāpí, Slenderstyle Acanthopanax Root-bark)30ɡ,芒硝 (Mángxiāo, Mirabilite) 50ɡ   (external use only: bathe)

Put the herbs in 1500-2000 ml of water, add 200 ml vinegar and then boil the mixture.

Step 1:  Keep the temperature of the herbal formula at 120-160 F to fumigate the injured area of the body.  In other words, place the piping hot water near the injured area to let the water vapors reach the joint.

Step 2: When the temperature lowers down to 110, soak and cover the joint in the fluid until it is normal body temperature. Usually, it takes 15-20 minutes.

Step 3: Wrap the herbs in a cloth and then place that over the injured area. Remember the residual herbs which have been boiled should still be warm.  Do this for 20 minutes.

Step 4: Massage it for 10- 20 minutes.

Step 5: Activate the local joints. The last step is to start gently moving the joint around to start to reestablish natural range of motion.

You can break this formula into several smaller batches of herbs, each of which can be used twice, thus giving you up to 2 weeks of treatment if necessary.

The purpose of this blog is to provide information on several different herbal options to treat injured joints. It is advisable to choose only one of the treatment options listed above for your injury based on what is available in your area. Over time, you can try different methods. Like any medication, there is always the possibility of an allergic reaction, so exercise caution.


Sit the Month


Some of the absolute no-nos for new mothers (and the emphasis is very much on no here) include: no direct contact with the wind, no going out, no fruits, no vegetables, no salt, no wearing sandals, no exposing of the heels, no leaving empty space between the waist and back of a chair (cushion required), no hair washing, no baths, no brushing teeth, no brushing hair, no TV watching, no crying, no boiled water, and more. The list is exhausting. Everything from the food that goes into the mouth, to the air flow in the room—right through to the precise posture and exact amount of standing, sitting and walking—is closely monitored with military precision by various members of the family.

An old Chinese saying addresses the significance of postnatal care: “Eat well, sleep well, nothing is better than sitting the month well.” (吃的好,睡的好,不如月子坐的好。Chī de hǎo, shuì de hǎo, bùrú yuèzi zuò de hǎo.) The health aspects of zuoyuezi find support in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). According to TCM, there are three crucial periods that have life-long effects on a woman’s health: arrival of first period first, post-childbirth and menopause. It’s believed taking the 月子 lightheartedly may result in 月子病 (yuèzibìng), a loose TCM term referring to all illnesses contracted during the month after childbirth that never completely heal. While Western medicine explains the need for postnatal care in scientific terms, TCM attributes it to imbalanced yin and yang. From the perspective of the prestigious Yao (瑶) Medicine, yuezibing results from the invasion of the Six Evils (六邪 liùxié): wind (风 fēng), cold (寒 hán), dampness (湿  shī ), dryness (燥 zào), fire (火 huǒ), and heat (暑 shǔ).  Hence, a new mother must receive 24-hour care lest any natural element leaves her in ill-health.

mothers cannot drink water or milk for two weeks after giving birth, substituting it for rice wine. Not bathing or washing their hair for a month is forbidden, as is salt—all while consuming as much sugar and protein as possible. And then there’s my favorite saying related to zuoyuezi: “When sitting the month, one must eat 40 chickens.” That’s a lot of chicken.

Book of Rites (《礼记》 Lǐjì). In the twelfth chapter, the custom is described as a postnatal ceremonial family ritual that the new mother goes through, symbolizing the transformation of her role from wife to mother, from outsider to family member.

sitting the month is precisely why Chinese age better than foreigners, or even that foreigners simply don’t know any better.

An extremely protein-heavy diet remains one of the most significant parts of the zuoyuezi care, and postnatal caregivers are hotly sought after, especially ones that are qualified, have experience, and possess both the knowledge and the cooking skills to produce a month-long yuezi food menu.  Guo Jingjing, the retired Olympic diving champion, is offering 80,000 HKD for a top-notch postnatal caregiver. Chinese actress Jia Jingwen’s care giving center cost upwards of 4,500 RMB per day, with the minimum stay being no less than 15 days.


Guangdong New South Group has been dealing with malaria since 2006, when it teamed up with Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine and together they marketed Artemisinin, an anti malaria drug extracted from sweet wormwood plants (青蒿素, qīnghāosù). The plant has a long history of usage in treating many ailments in China, including malaria, going back to the fourth century CE.

Food to Detox

detoxify - master

“You are what you eat” rings even more true in China, where traditional Chinese medicine beliefs put emphasis on the different natures of food. That is why red dates enjoy enormous popularity and why Chinese people do not drink cold water during a meal. Boiled coke with ginger for example, is a popular remedy for a sore throat. Some foods are promoted as healthy because of their detoxifying effects. These are believed to help the body get rid of toxins, garbage, and excesses, keeping the internal organs clean and refreshed.

The staff at China Gaze suggested 20 detoxifying foods that work well for your body system, and here are 10 to get you started:

1. Sweet potatoes (facilitate bowel movement)

2. Green beans (eliminate toxins, induce diuresis, and quench thirst)

3. Oats (relax bowels, stimulate bowel movement, and detoxify the body)

4. Barley (improve blood circulation, induce diuresis and reduce swelling caused by oedema)

5. Millet (detoxify and induce diuresis)

6. Brown rice (stabilize the digestion system, absorb water and fat)

7. Red beans (stimulate bowel movement, help with constipation and induce diuresis)

8. Carrots (help treat constipation, clear toxins)

9. Chinese yams (rectify the digestive system, reduce subcutaneous fat accumulation and help the immune system)

10. Burdock (improve blood circulation and metabolism, regulate bowel function, help treat constipation)

For details on how to prepare these foods to maximize their detoxifying effects, continue at China Gaze. Other famous TCM foods generally believed to be detoxifying and good for the body include: wood fungus (or cloud fungus), which clears up toxins in the blood, helps blood circulation, and stimulates the bowels; honey, which cools down the body if eaten raw, relaxes the bowels, and has painkilling effects; and seaweed, which absorbs the fat in the blood and helps keep cholesterol down. Seaweed is also believed to prevent leukemia. So, if you need to flush out some free radicals or kick your bowels into gear, these Chinese remedies will hopefully be of some use.


The Basics of Traditional Chinese Medicine

Wednesday, June 30, 2010 | By:

Acupuncture Zhēnjiǔ 针灸

The name alone—a potent combination of the Latin words for needle and prick—induces cringe reflexes. Portrayals of acupuncture in Western popular culture only add to its mystique. Yet, in China, acupuncture is revered as a cure-all for conditions as varied as high blood pressure, drug addiction and depression.

An acupuncturist assesses a body’s qi, or vital energy, and any imbalance of it, to diagnose causes of sickness. Then the healing begins, with fine needles inserted into specific acupoints on the body (there are361 intotal, according to the current TCM textbooks), situated on meridians along which qi flows.

In Chinese, acupuncture encompasses two equal parts: zhen, the needle, and jiu, which is translated as moxa or moxibustion. Moxa makes use of dried mugwort herb, which is rolled into a cigar or pyramid shape, then lit, and applied directly to the skin for a warming effect. Together, needle and mugwort help to balance out a body’s qi.

Cupping Báguàn 拔罐

Its folk name, baguan, literally means “pulling jar,” and reveals the popularity that cupping enjoys as a home therapy. In the countryside, the elderly are still prone to rinsing out jars and using matches and cotton balls to administer this treatment for aches and pains. Professional cupping therapists place cups on acupoints, using heat for suction, which draws blood to the surface. This process stimulates blood flow and qi. Round purple welts appear on the skin, indicating areas where toxins have been drawn out.

Although cupping is now widely associated with TCM, its origins are global. The prophet Muhammad speaks of cupping as the best form of healing in the Hadith books. The ancient Greeks and Egyptians, along with the Chinese, used this healing method thousands of years ago, starting with natural implements like animal horns, then moving on to bamboo, clay and finally glass cups.

Herbs Cǎoyào 草药

Herbs are widely used in TCM. Dark bitter brews, usually cooked in clay pots, are a traditional way of ingesting medicinal herbs. Modern TCM has offered patients the convenience of popping herb pills instead of tediously boiling and preparing the ingredients. Chinese cuisine also incorporates herbs—those slices of ginseng, and bits of colorful wolfberry, floating in teas and soups serve medicinal, as well as aesthetic and tasty, purposes.

Externally, herbs can be administered in varied ways—as plasters (placed on acupoints and removed after two days), fumigations (directing the steam from brewed herbs towards a problem area) and baths (repeatedly soaking patients in42°Cconcoctions for ten minutes at a time). Many herbal uses, internal and external, are preventive. For example, it’s common for TCM practitioners to boost the body’s defense against winter colds by applying plasters in the summer.

Scraping Guāshā 刮痧

In principle, scraping is just like cupping. A practitioner drags a small flat scraper, made of animal horn or jade, down the patient’s body. Tiny reddish bumps appear on the skin where disease-causing xieqi (evil qi) is stored. These cutaneous bumps are the sha that makes up half of this treatment’s Chinese name, guasha.

Scraping taps the body’s meridian system, opening up capillaries and stimulating blood flow. Although scraping is also frequently done at home inChina, and aroundSoutheast Asia, it’s not as simple as it looks. A professional can target ailments in a specific organ—say, the lung—by scraping along its corresponding meridian (in this case, on the arm). A more general and intensive treatment involves scraping all of the body’s twelve major meridians. Done properly, scraping can alleviate high blood pressure, fatigue, and even osteoporosis.

Tuina Tuīná 推拿

Pain is gain, in traditional Chinese massage therapy, or tuina (push grasp), which employs a series of methods: hand-massage of muscles and tendons, acupressure to adjust the flow of qi, and joint manipulation to realign muscles, bones, and ligaments (also known as bone setting). Tuina is not the leisurely massage of the West. A vigorous session is punctuated with pained groans, and often the pop of a relocated joint. Some specific hand techniques paint a clearer picture of what’s involved: cuo (twist and rub), tina (lift and grasp), and bashen (pull and extend).

Between 150-215, the famed Chinese physician Zhang Zhongjing wrote about tuina. Hippocrates, meanwhile, had already created bone setting devices, and the Egyptians also carried these practices through families of healers. Tuina‘s global popularity is perhaps unsurprising, as it is a trusted method of curing musculoskeletal conditions and chronic ailments of the digestive, respiratory and reproductive systems.

Reflexology Zúliáo 足疗

Reflexology—a specialized form of massage typically practiced on the foot—is often confused with general massage or tuina.

Massage parlors all around China display the ubiquitous diagram, which shows zones on the foot that map to the organs in the human body—although not all such venues adhere to reflexology principles. While tuina works on the meridian system, reflexology works on holographic principles. A reflexologist applies specific pressure using hands, fingers, and thumbs to reflex areas, to improve circulation, relieve tension, and enhance the corresponding organ’s functions.

Reflexology has a long and geographically dispersed history. The earliest archeological evidence, dating over 5,000 years, was found in China.EgyptandJapanalso have a long history with reflexology. The West was the last to catch on, some time in the 19th century.

Special thanks to Professor Ji Xiaoping and The Meridian (明经堂, 8456-7010,

The World of Chinese


Making Steamed Buns

Monday, January 31, 2011 | By:

There are only two days left before Spring Festival. Do you think you’ve finished preparing all the food? Tofu, meat, and chicken are obliviously not enough. So, today and tomorrow, people are going to finish their last and most important food— mantou (馒头 mántou). The 28th and 29th days of the last month in the lunar calendar are the days for making mantou, or steamed buns.

The legend for mantou dates back to the age of the Three Kingdoms. A fortune teller told Kongming to sacrifice 49 human heads in order to bless his soldiers. But Kongming found it too cruel, and couldn’t bring himself to do it. Then he came up with an idea: use flour to make head-like buns as a substitute for the sacrifice.

The first step of making steamed buns is to leaven dough. In Chinese it is called 发面 fā miàn; the character 发 is the same one in 发财 fācái (make a fortune), which makes making mantou an auspicious endeavor. Also, the making of steamed buns (蒸馒头 zhēng mántou), reminds people of the process of becoming more and more prosperous (蒸蒸日上 zhēngzhēngrìshàng).

Winter is pretty cold. As a result, in the past, the dough of the steamed buns might require a whole day to be leavened properly, since the quality of the leavened dough determines the taste of steamed buns. After this is done, skillful housewives would turn the big loaf of dough into delicate buns of different shapes or even colors, such as the “smashed bean bun”, the “rabbit or hedgehog steamed bun” and steamed buns with a bright red toppings.

Making steamed buns is a big deal in families, and only adults have right to take part in it. If the steamed buns get ruptured in the process of making them, no one in the family is allowed to say, “馒头裂了” (“The bun has cracked”). Instead, people say, “馒头开花了” (“The bun has blossomed”) because it sounds nicer–that’s important around Spring Festival.

So dust off your cooking skills and break out the flour. Spring Festival is just two days away; you’d better start preparing your mantou now!

Kungfu Tea Beijing Tongrentang Tianwangbuxin Wan 天王补心丸 9g*10丸 养血安神,用于心慌失眠、健忘、便秘

Price: $9.99 + $0.01 shipping
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Ships from and sold by Kungfu tea.
  • Ingredients: Radix rehmanniae, Ophiopogon japonicus, asparagus, angelica, Radix Scrophulariae, Salvia miltiorrhiza, Shi Changpu, Bai Ziren, wild jujube seed (fry), Codonopsis pilosula, Platycodon grandiflorum, cinnabar and other 16 kinds.
  • Functions and indications: Nourishing Yin, nourishing the blood, nourishing the heart to calm mind. For heart Yin deficiency, heart palpitations, forgetfulness, insomnia, dry stool.
  • 成份: 地黄、天冬、麦冬、当归、玄参、丹参、石菖蒲、柏子仁、酸枣仁(炒)、党参、桔梗、朱砂等16味。 性状: 本品为棕黑色浓缩丸;气微香,味甘、苦。 功能主治: 滋阴、养血,补心安神。用于心阴不足,心悸健忘,失眠多梦,大便干燥。 规格: 每丸重9g。 用法用量: 口服。一次1丸,一日2次。 不良反应: 尚不明确。 禁忌: 尚不明确。 注意事项: 1.本品处方中含朱砂,不宜过量久服,肝肾功能不全者慎用。 2.服用前应除去蜡皮、塑料球壳;本品可嚼服,也可分份吞服。 批准文号: 国药准字Z11020140 贮藏: 密封,置阴凉干燥处。 包装: 塑料球壳装,每丸重9g,每盒装10丸。 有效期: 60个月 生产企业: 北京同仁堂股份有限公司同仁堂制药厂
Emperor's Tea Pill (Tian Wang Bu Xin Wan)
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Emperor’s Tea Pill (Tian Wang Bu Xin Wan)

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Emperor’s Tea Pill
(Tian Wan Bu Xin Wan)
Packing: 200 concentrated pills per bottle
Manufactured by Lanzhou Traditional Herbs, China.

This is a patent remedy based on the ancient recipe “Tian Wang Bu Xin Dan” (Heavenly King Cardiotonic Pellet) in TCM originally appeared in She Sheng Mi Pou (Exposition on Health Conservation), which is primarily used for nourishing yin and blood, reinforcing heart and tranquilizing mind, in cases of deficiency of yin and blood, fidgeting due to deficiency.


Dried rehmannia root
Codonopsis root
Scrophularia root
Schisandra fruit
Platycodon root
Asparagus root
Wild jujube seed
Ophiopogon root
Chinese salvia root & rhizome
Poria sclerotium
Polygala root
Chinese angelica root
Biota seed
Grass-leaf sweetflag rhizome
Chinese licorice root.

Actions: Invigorating the heart to tranquilize mind, nourishing yin and clearing away heat.

Indications: It is indicated for mental derangement due to yin deficiency and interior heat, marked by palpitation, insomnia, restlessness due to deficiency, mental fatigue, nocturnal emission, amnesia, feverish sensation in heart, palms and sores, orolingual boil, reddened tongue with little fur, thready and rapid pulse. It is applicable to insomnia, neurosis, schizophrenia, arrhythmia, heart disease, hyperthyroidism and others, the chief symptoms of which are mental derangement with feverish sensation in heart, palms and sores, reddened tongue with little fur, thready and rapid pulse.

Directions: Take 8 pills each time, 3 times a day.
Caution: Do not use during pregnancy.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

汉语拼音:tian wang bu xin wan