Natural Living: Stop the cough with these food remedies
Fall is the season where nature shows us we must slow down and take more rest, like the animals preparing themselves for hibernation. It is the season for letting go, as the leaves let go of their leaves. It is the time we forage local and seasonal nourishing foods, such as root vegetables, squash and dried beans to help us bulk up for the coming winter.
In Chinese Medicine, fall is the season that is vital to lung health. We can strengthen our lung energy by practicing deep breathing exercises, wearing a scarf around our necks to protect our ‘wei qi’ (immunity in Chinese Medicine), avoiding alcohol, smoking, spicy foods and dairy products. The lungs in Chinese Medicine do not like heat or mucous. Alcohol, smoking and spicy foods create heat in the lungs, while dairy products generate mucous.
Today we will talk about how the following food remedies can help promote better lung health and stop the cough. While these food remedies will aid your path to better health, assure that you are following nature’s teachings and get more sleep, let go of what is not serving you anymore, (this could be emotional or physical), and focus on nurturing your mind, body and spirit.
The people of Asia have used soybeans and scallions to benefit one’s health for thousands of years. Records show the use of these ingredients as medicine dating as far back as the 3rd or 4th century. Doctor Ge Hong (283-343 CE) included them in his medical handbook, “Emergency Formulas to Keep Up One’s Sleeve’. Dr. Hong’s Chinese herbal formula, known as ‘Cong Chi Tang’, is now used widely today across the world, we know as Miso Soup.
Bring 2-3 cups of water to a boil, add 2 tablespoons of miso paste and allow to dissolve. Cook for 5-10 minutes over a low flame. Chop 3-5 stalks of scallion and sprinkle them into the soup prior to removing from the flame. You may add garlic, ginger, tofu and/or seaweed to maximize benefits.
One of the most medicinal warming spices we use in Chinese Medicine is ginger. The warming and pungent energetics of ginger has the amazing ability to penetrate the body deeply. Garlic is a very warming medicinal as well and with it comes the benefit of being antibacterial and immune boosting. It is used to reduce swellings, remove toxicity and carcinogens, strengthen the digestive system and move energy. Beets are very nourishing to the blood in Chinese Medicine, which helps ready ourselves to move into winter. Beets also have been found to have powerful antioxidants, cancer protective and ergogenic.
Blood Building Soup:
5-7 large beets (peeled), 1 chopped onion, 1/8 cup each of crushed garlic and ginger, ¼ cup parsley, ½ cup lentils, ½ toasted buckwheat, 4 chopped carrots. In a large soup pot combine all ingredients with 1 gallon of water. After bringing to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Season to taste with a dash of cayenne, lemon, vinegar, tamari or miso.
In Chinese nutrition, pears nourish and moisten the lungs. By incorporating more pears into the diet, we can help boost our immunity and balance the lung energy, thereby stopping cough.
Pears cut in ½, whole nutmeg, cinnamon stick, cloves , goji berries. Put pears in a pot with nutmeg, cinnamon, and a few whole cloves. Sprinkle in goji berries and add spring water to 1/2” above pears. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 10 minutes until tender and aromatic. Remove pears and reduce cooking water to a glaze and drizzle over pears in a serving dish.
Other foods that can be used in healing a cough include the following; chrysanthemum, licorice root, cabbage, mango, duck egg, radish, cucumber, kelp, onion, tangerine peel, bamboo shoot, mushroom, kumquat, lily bulb, fritillary bulb, persimmon, apricot kernel fig, apple and grapefruit.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the lungs are vulnerable organs, in which the flow of energy can easily be disturbed, leading to cough or other ailments. The food and beverage we consume daily can greatly affect the body’s healing process, either to promote or aggravate it. Eat well and be well!