Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

my better-half has been taking Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for the last 6 months and has had fairly good results.
TCM is great for problems that can't be fixed quickly with western medicines. for example, if you were to have a cold, you could take western medicine to relief the symptoms of the cold. TCM however gets to the heart of the problem and helps your body to overcome the problem altogether. As TCM needs to be taken over a long period of time it is not so useful for a cold or quick relief of a cough for example.

TCM shops can be found all over Hong Kong with some shops having a doctor who specialises in a certain field. walking into one of these shops is great on the senses, strong smells of dried herbs and plants give it a fairly overpowering smell, and all the jars lining the shelves are awesome to look at. most of the time I have no idea what the contents of the jar is; apart from the dried seahorse...
the smaller seeds and dried berries etc are stored inside these draws.

after seeing a doctor, the doctor will write out a prescription (a list of raw ingredients) which will then be measured out using scales by another staff. as TCM comes in the form of a liquid drink which needs to be taken twice a day; morning and night, you can either ask the shop to boil and bottle the ingredients (for a cost) or you can purchase an electronic TCM-Boiler contraption and boil it yourself at home.
my wife has decided to boil it herself and bought one of these contraptions for around HK$200.
little did she know it is quite a time consuming process...

first all the ingredients need to be soaked in 3 cups of water for 30min. next with a flick of the switch the soaked ingredients are boiled for 45min. at this stage our apartment smells just like a TCM shop...
after straining you are left with 1 cup of black bitter liquid.
you can now make the next mornings drink by adding another 2 cups of water and boiling for 30min.

one of the great things about doing this at home is you get to see what you are drinking, in other words, all the raw ingredients.
these ingredients will change after each visit to the doctor (about once a week). this weeks batch was made up of the following:

  1. 丁香 : cloves
  2. 三棱 : bur-reed seeds
  3. 莪朮 : curcuma roots
  4. 青皮 : mandarin skins
  5. 枳 : Chinese bitter orange skins
  6. 白朮 : atractylodes
  7. 茯苓 : hoelen mushrooms
  8. 淮山 : yam roots
  9. 香附 : coco-grass seeds
  10. 續斷 : Himalayan teasel roots
  11. 川楝子 : szechwan chinaberries
  12. 小茴香 : fennel seeds
  13. 薏苡仁 : coix seeds
  14. 延胡索 : corydalis yanhusuo roots
interesting concoction huh?!
at least it seems to be working!

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