Want to look good? Then eat the right food!
Many TCM herbs and Chinese cuisine food items have hidden beauty properties that you probably did not know about. In the book 《美容本草》 (Měi Róng Běn Cǎo), written by 王葆方 and 梁华, the TCM herbs that have beautifying effects are introduced in detail.
Since many TCM herbs are often consumed as food in Chinese cuisine, we pick out some of these secret ingredients from the book and briefly introduce them, so you can eat your way to looking fabulous.
Chinese red dates（大枣）
Beauty: Legend has it that a woman who got married at a middle age had the complexion of a young lady. When asked about her beauty secret, she replied "3 dates a day, keeps aging away".
Yes, the dates you see in countless Chinese soups and desserts actually have beautifying properties. They are believed to replenish Qi and Blood and thus give a rosy and healthy complexion.
Health: Apart from replenishing Qi and Blood, red dates also strengthen the spleen and stomach. They are thus highly suitable for those with poor appetite, fatigue and loose stools. They may support healthy blood count as well.
Beauty: Regular consumption of Chinese yam is believed to have the effects of skin whitening, lightening brown spots, strengthening teeth, darkening hair and anti-aging.
Health: Chinese yam replenishes Qi and strengthens the spleen, kidneys and lungs. It is therefore a good tonic for those who tire easily, have poor appetite, loose stools, weak knees and waist, frequent urination at night etc.
Beauty: Ginkgo nuts are often found in Chinese desserts as well. In TCM, they have the properties of clearing toxins, sores and spots.
Health: Ginkgo nuts can target the lungs and may be used to clear phlegm and treat breathing problems.
Caution: Consuming too many ginkgo nuts, particularly in the raw form, may result in undesirable side effects. It is advisable to cook
Quick recipe - Chinese yam, date and ginkgo dessert
Ingredients (serves 1 person)
Chinese Yam 山药 (200g)
Ginkgo nuts 白果 (5)
Chinese dates 大枣 (5)
Rock sugar 冰糖 (to taste)
Boil the ginkgo and dates in water for 5min
In the meantime, peel and slice the yam into 0.5cm thick slices (use gloves to handle the Chinese yam to prevent itch on your hands)
Add the Chinese yam slices in and boil for another 5min
Add rock sugar
Optional: Add 2 pandan leaves in at the start for extra flavour
Co-author of 《美容本草》, Dr. Ong Poh Hong 王葆方, is a TCM practitioner at
快速食谱 - 山药大枣白果汤
材料 (1 人份)