I have taken many post graduate courses on Acupuncture and Traditional Asian Medicine. So this post is a supplement to the previous post on Ginger. I think I will post on the herb and later post on formulae that contain the herbs and the indications for them.
In Asian Medicine, particularly TCM, individual herbs are for the most part not used by themselves. Herbs (and sometimes animal parts) are used together to increase the effectiveness of the ingredients or to eliminate the side effects of a single ingredient.
Ginger is considered a “warm” herb, it is used in “cold” diseases. So, if you are hot all the time or if you have symptoms of heartburn, acid reflux, or GERD then ginger should not be taken alone.
Ginger is found however in formulae for gastrointestinal disturbances and in upper respiratory problems.
The formula Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang (Pinellia Decoction to Clear the Heart [Epigastrium]) is indicated for acute and chronic gastrointestinal disorders and indigestion. It contains Pinellia, Scutellaria, Ginseng, Ginger, Licorice, Coptis, and Jujube.
Wu Mei Wan (Black Plum Pills) is taken to expel parasites, to warm the internal viscera, and to combat dysentery. The pills contain Black Plum, Asarum, Ginger, Coptis, Dang Gui (also known as Dong Quai), Aconite, Zanthoxylum, Cinnamon Twigs, Ginseng, and Phellodendron.
These formulae are usually made by an herbal medicine company in the form of pills or powders or they are made up by a Traditional Pharmacy that would be found in a “Chinatown” or “Little Tokyo” in a major city. I get the formulae from reputable companies since the FDA has passed new guidelines stating that a facility that creates the formulae has to be up to certain technical standards which needless to say amounts to tens of thousands of dollars that I don’t have.
The last formula is one you can make at home, we use it at our house and I have cooked up batches of this “soup” and have given it out to my patients. (That was before the guidelines were passed.)
Now, you will have to make it for yourself. This formula is for the common cold or upper respiratory infection which has certain symptoms: a feeling of coldness or chills, watery eyes, runny nose, clear or white mucus, pale tongue, a watery coat or a thin white coat on the tongue, stiff neck, headache; not all the symptoms have to be present but this should be the prevalent pattern.
Do not ingest this formula if you have a feeling of heat, itchy eyes, scratchy throat, stuffy nose, yellow or green mucus, red tongue, yellow coat on the tongue, dry coat on the tongue, sweating; this formula will make it worse. You have been warned.
So, here is the fun part. Take 1 scallion and dice it fairly thin and put it in a small pot. Add 2 teaspoons of prepared soybeans and 1 teaspoon of diced ginger, cover with water and bring to a boil. Let the soup sit for 10 minutes and then eat the soup.
You can use 3 scallions, 6 teaspoons of prepared soybean and 3 teaspoons of ginger for a day’s worth of soup, just put the rest in the refrigerator and heat it up later. The soup should be eaten 3 times per day for 3 days to clear up the condition so you should just probably save yourself the time and use a larger pot, 9 scallions, 6 tablespoons of prepared soybean, and 3 teaspoons of diced ginger for one pot.
The formulae are taken from the books by Dr. Geng Junying from the Beijing College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. They are published by New World Press in Beijing.
If there are any questions, please let me know in the comments section. I hope you have a great weekend. We’re going swimming at my parents’ house this weekend.🙂
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