The Wonderful Goji Berry

It was over a decade ago that I first encountered Goji Berries. At the time I was friends with the owner of this lovely jazz club in Taipei. I would often go there on Fridays and at some point in the evening Gary would join me. Accompanying him was always a large warm glass filled with Chinese herbs. He said his staff often teased him but that this was the key to his health. I knew nothing of herbs at the time and was given a brief tutorial about the most abundant herb in the glass the goji berry.

It would be years later before I fully understood all that this little herb had to offer; and by then it had become the new darling amongst health aficionados. Outlandish claims propagated by aggressive marketers had inflated the cost and misled people into thinking they had found the cure to all disease. The reality, as near always, was one much simpler. It is a food and herb filled with vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients. It is rich in antioxidants and its long use in Chinese medicine as improving visual acuity has been attributed to the antioxidant zeaxanthin, which protects from hypopigmentation and soft drusen accumulation in the macula. It, like all healthy foods and herbs, is a wonderful addition to the diet. It can be added to smoothies, used as a topping, as a sweet addition to stir fries or as Gary did simply tossed in a glass of hot water and drunk.

For more information go to: http://www.ameliedemahylac.com

Chinese Herbs in Your Kitchen – Ginger

Though you may not know it, your kitchen is likely home to several different Chinese herbs. In this entry we will highlight the wonderful herb, ginger. Ginger, the rhizome of the plant Zingibar Officinale, is an herb native to Southern China. It is an aromatic, spicy herb that is considered warm in TCM. In Chinese medicine three primary forms of ginger are used: sheng jiang or fresh ginger, gan jiang or dried ginger, and pao jiang or quick fried ginger. Each of these forms imbues the herb with different properties.

Fresh ginger, which is likely the form you have in your kitchen, is used to fight colds and flus that are marked by chills. It helps warm the body and promotes mild sweating, which can help relieve symptoms. The herb is also well-known for its ability to relieve gastro-intestinal disturbances. It is safe for use during pregnancy and is often utilized for its ability to help with morning sickness. Historically, its use in many seafood dishes is due not only to its delicious flavor but to its ability to prevent seafood poisoning. Recent studies have shown that ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve arthritic pain.

Of the countless ways to use ginger, the easiest is making ginger tea. Simply remove the skin, toss a few pieces in a pot, and boil. It can be drunk as is or you can add lemon and honey to mellow the strong taste. Enjoy!

Quick tip!

This came to me from a chef in San Francisco. I have always heard to just take a knife to peel ginger. Though I patiently (sometimes) peel my ginger, without fail I end up losing a ton. To save time and ginger, use the side of a spoon and scrape the outside. The skin comes off quite easily and there is no loss of ginger!

For more information go to: http://www.ameliedemahylac.com

Herbal Medicine – Health Benefits of Raspberries

I feel blessed. I moved into a place with a large garden that was tenderly loved for many years. It’s a historic home, an old farmhouse, whose rich soil now effortlessly bears fruit each year. One of the garden’s gifts are fresh raspberries. This is my first time having a raspberry pulled fresh off the vine. They are warm and full of life, full of the sun. They are a perfect mix of tangy and sweet and they taste like summer.

Fu Pen Zi – Chinese Medicine

Fu Pen Zi - Chinese Medicine

Fu Pen Zi – Chinese Medicine

 Raspberries are not just delicious, they also have numerous health benefits. According to TCM food theory raspberries benefit the liver and kidneys. They nourish blood, treating anemia, and also help with frequent urination. Their sweet flavor helps strengthen the body, especially those in a weakened state. The herb Fu Pen Zi, which is the dried unripe raspberry, has many of the functions of ripe raspberries but is more effective in its treatment of these conditions. It is used specifically for frequent urination and premature ejaculation. In addition it improves vision. And in animal studies Fu Pen Zi was seen to have estrogenic like effects and elevate testosterone levels.

For more information go to: http://www.ameliedemahylac.com