Healthy Living in China
The problem: Low energy levels, trouble waking up in the morning
The solution: Goji berries
Goji berries or “wolf berries” can be found everywhere in the grocery stores, pharmacies and on the streets of China. They are also sold from large bags or containers at local vegetable markets and in tea shops.
Goji berries, known by its Latin name, Lycium Babarum, have a long history in China. They have been in use as a health aid since about 200 BC and boast a wide variety of health benefits. Cardiovascular benefits and gastrointestinal benefits are linked to consuming goji berries. One quarter cup of dried goji berries is said to contain roughly 150% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A as well as a good dose of copper, selenium, vitamin B, not to mention a bit of vitamin C, iron, potassium and zinc as well. In addition to these vitamins and minerals are about 9 grams of protein, 6 grams of fiber and an abundant supply of antioxidants.
The tremendous nutritional content is likely to give you a boost and get you going in the morning in a different way. When you find you are really struggling to get up in the morning, all you have to do is place the blender on the base, push a button and you’re ready to go. As an alternative, most grocery stores in China sell a dry mix ( just need to add hot water) healthy porridge- like breakfast drink made from nuts, seeds, grains and often containing goji berries. This can be a great choice for overcast winter mornings.
Goji berries may be used anyway that you would typically use raisins or other dried fruits. But many Chinese people put a tablespoon of the dried fruit in
中国人食用枸杞历史已久，公元前 200年左右，人们就发现枸杞对身体健康有着诸多好处，而将其作为一种药食同源的保健佳品。中医认为，吃枸杞可以养心血、健肠胃。据说四分之一杯干枸杞中维生素 A的含量，大约是医生建议每天摄入量的150%，枸杞富含铜、硒、维生素B，还含有一定量的维生素C、铁、钾和锌。除此之外，四分之一杯的干枸杞中还含有9克蛋白质、6克纤维素和丰富的抗氧化物。
a glass and add hot water and a slice or two of lemon. Sipping on this throughout the day can also provide many healthy benefits.
The problem: Lack of sunlight resulting in low mood/seasonal depressive disorder
The solution: Licorice root
Licorice root ( 甘草 , “gan cao”) is another one of those things that can be found not only in grocery stores and pharmacies, but also bought out of a burlap bag in most street side vegetable markets. It’s not hard to see why it’s so widely available.
From a TCM perspective, it is thought to detoxify the body. It is credited with having antiviral, antibacterial and antiinflammatory properties as well. Much like astragalus, it’s sometimes used to fight colds and the flu. But licorice root which contains a surprising side benefits all immune boosting functions.
Licorice root is said to nourish the adrenal glands and help heal the gut. The connection between gut health and mood has gotten a lot of publicity recently. Perhaps this combination of alleviated adrenal fatigue gives licorice root its potent anti- depressant properties. Whatever the reason, if you find yourself down in the dumps due to the lack of sunlight in winter months, consider brewing yourself a cup of licorice root now and then.
It should be noted that licorice root is recommended for intermittent use. For this reason, licorice root is not recommended for those who deal with hypertension or high blood pressure. But if you enjoy average health and you just need a mood boost, this root may be a low cost solution for you.
The problem: Sluggish digestion
The solution: “Dark” tea from Hunan
What westerners call “black tea,” the Chinese call “red tea” (hong cha). And so now it’s a big confusing to discover a tea that the Chinese call “black tea” ( 黑
茶 hei cha). We seem left with no other option but to call this “dark tea.”
But call it whatever you want. Just make sure to try it sometimes during your stay in China. Make a special effort to acquire some of this tea if you have had any stomach or digestive issues. Hei cha is very similar to pu-erh tea. It doesn't look quite as nice as other teas in that it is pressed into disks or bricks and often contains rough looking leaves and bits of twigs and stems. The fermentation process is quite similar. But if you can get a hold of some good-quality hei cha and you split the brick apart, you will find something unique. Hei cha is famous for growing a bit of yellow colored mold inside their tea disks/bricks. When you first hear
（编译 / 孙开元）
this, you are probably less likely to want to try this “dark tea.” Think for a moment about where penicillin comes from. That's right, it’s also a mold.
A legend about where Hei Cha comes from involves a stash or rotting tea that was finally brewed and drunk by the local inhabitants who were afflicted with some sort of plague. The townspeople were dropping like flies until they brewed and drank what looked like moldy tea. The mold contained immune boosting properties and the townspeople were saved.
Personally, I found dark tea during a period where I was having some digestive problems. Dark tea cannot be found just anywhere but it can be bought all across China. Check larger tea shops or wholesale tea markets. Make sure you find a knowledgeable sales person and ask to see a sample that has the 金
花 ( jin hua) or “golden flowers.” These “golden flowers” are the bits of yellow mold that carry incredible health properties.
The problem: Susceptibility to colds, weak immune system or high histamine levels
The solution: Astragalus
Astragalus, or “huang qi ( 黄
芪 ) ,” is considered to be a warming and sweet root that has the potential of nourishing the lung and spleen meridians. The Chinese characters 黄芪 are roughly translated into “yellow leader.” Astragalus root certainly is a leader when it comes to boosting immune function and strengthening the respiratory system. Thus this herb can be extremely helpful if you live in an area that has a lot of air pollution.
Astragalus is used in many different Chinese herbal remedies for cold, coughing and the flu. In addition, western medicine now recognizes its effectiveness in combating viruses, bacteria and in reducing inflammation. What was most interesting to me was that it is commonly recommended by both Chinese doctors and western natural doctors for allergies as well. I was amazed to find that the brand pictured below was more effective than the commercial antihistamine I was taking for allergies at the time. If you are now struggling with what is being called “histamine intolerance,” you shall have access to a Chinese pharmacy, then give this Astragalus root complex a try. I found it to be almost miraculous.