Chinese herbs in Christmas meals 圣诞餐常用的中药材料

Updated: Feb 28


Chinese herbs in Christmas meals

Ever wondered what gives Christmas meals that “Christmas-y” flavour? Many Christmas dishes are made with similar herbs and spices, and believe it or not, some of these herbs and spices are actually commonly used in TCM.

If you take a look at the recipes for Christmas turkeys, Christmas hams, fruit cakes, ginger breads etc., you may easily find ingredients such as cinnamon, ginger, cloves, fennel seeds, star-anise or nutmeg.

> Read: German Christmas wine with TCM herbs

These spices are used in TCM as well, and have the common property of being “warm” in nature. From the TCM point of view, it is practical to use “warming” herbs for Christmas meals to warm up the body during the winter.

What can warming herbs do for the body?

1. Reduce Pain

How Cold Causes Pain

In TCM, a common cause of pain is the presence of “cold”. It is believed that “cold” freezes up the Qi and Blood in our body, resulting in a poor circulation of Qi and Blood. Without sufficient Qi and Blood flowing to a certain area, that area cannot receive sufficient nourishment, thus leading to pain (this is a somewhat similar concept to frostbite).

Warming herbs work by introducing heat to reinstate proper flow of Qi and Blood, thus eliminating the pain.

Cold ➙ poor Qi and Blood flow ➙ pain


Examples

Here are some examples of pain that can be managed using warming herbs.

Menstrual pain:

Cloves and cinnamon can relieve menstrual pain caused by “cold”.

Stomach ache:

Cloves, star-anise, nutmeg, fennel seeds and ginger are known for warming the stomach and relieving cold pain in the stomach.

Painful lower back:

In TCM, the lower back is closely associated with the Kidneys, and a lack of Yang energy in Kidneys may cause lower back pain. Since cinnamon is well known for warming the Kidneys, it can be used to relieve lower back pain caused by Yang deficiency.

Cinnamon – good for replenishing Kidney Yang

2. Warm the body, treat "cold" ailments

What Happens When There is "Cold" in the Body?

An organ that is "cold" (due to a lack of Yang energy or an attack by “cold” pathogens) can function inadequately and display symptoms that are characteristic of “cold”. For example, insufficient Yang in the spleen may cause digestive problems (poor digestion, bloating, diarrhea) and cold pain in the stomach. Symptoms can be worsened after taking cold food or drinks. Warming herbs help to restore the proper function of the organs and alleviate the “cold” symptoms by replenishing the Yang energy or expelling the cold pathogens.

Examples

Urinary incontinence due to insufficient Yang in Kidneys:

One cause of urinary incontinence is a lack of Yang energy in the Kidneys. This is often accompanied by symptoms such as feeling cold easily or having a sore waist or back. Cinnamon is one of the many herbs used to replenish Kidney Yang and promote better control of urine output.

Poor digestion due to insufficient Yang in Spleen:

Dried ginger can be used to replenish spleen yang to treat poor digestion, loose watery stools etc.

Vomiting due to cold in stomach:

Cloves and ginger are often used to warm the stomach and spleen to relieve vomiting.

These are some examples of how the appropriate food can support our health. When in doubt, please consult your TCM practitioner for dietary and home remedy recommendations.

为何圣诞大餐有它独特的传统味道?这是因为许多圣诞菜肴都含有相似的香料,而这些香料其实都是中医常运用的药材。

〉请阅读:以中药为主的德式圣诞红酒

大多数的圣诞火鸡,火腿,蛋糕,姜饼等食谱都应用肉桂,姜,丁香,小茴香,八角,肉豆蔻等香料。此些香料都被中医所称为“温药”。以中医的看法,在寒冷冬天圣诞季节时多吃温性食物或药物能助于身体保温。

温药对身体的益处

一,止痛

寒冷如何引起疼痛

中医认为导致疼痛其中的原因是“寒”气凝滞气血,使到气血不通。气血若在身体某部分不通,则导致该部分疼痛(此理论就如冻伤)。

温药乃增加热气,恢复正常气血流通,疼痛就自然消。

寒凝气血 ➙ 气血不通 ➙ 不通则痛


例子

以下例举些疼痛常用之温药:

经痛:

丁香与肉桂善于温经止痛,治疗寒证的经痛。

腹痛:

丁香,八角,小茴香,肉豆蔻及姜善于暖胃,治疗胃脘冷痛。

腰痛:

肉桂具有较好的温肾之功效。因肾于腰部的关系密切,所以肉桂温肾将能缓解肾阳虚导致的腰部疼痛。


肉桂善于补肾阳


二,温身,补阳,治疗寒证

寒气凝身有何后果

当某脏腑寒(因阳虚或寒邪侵袭导致),该脏腑之功能将衰退,并引起“寒性”的症状。例如脾阳虚可导致消化病变(消化不良,腹胀,大便稀溏等)及腹部冷痛,而症状可随着进冷饮或冷食后更加重。 温药可补阳气或散寒邪,藉此恢复脏腑正常功能,并祛除寒性的症状。

例子

肾阳虚的遗尿:

遗尿其中因素包括肾阳虚。肾阳虚常伴有易怕冷,腰膝酸软/疼痛等症状。肉桂是其中善于补肾阳以助尿液排泄控制之药物。


脾阳虚的消化病变:

干姜是补脾阳良药,能治疗脾阳虚导致的消化失调,大便稀溏等。


胃寒呕吐:

胃寒则是呕吐原因之一。丁香于姜都能暖胃止吐。