Traditional Chinese Medicine | Radish, Hawthorn Fruit & Red Beans


Chinese traditional medicine theory believes that radishes are sweet, spicily hot and without harmful elements.

If eaten raw, they can produce saliva and alleviate dryness in the body. If eaten cooked, it’s said they can help digestion. Cooked radishes can also eliminate heat, help with the downward flow of qi, vital enery, and dissolve phlegm.

It was said an Indian monk came to China and was surprised that a lot of people ate wheat. He noticed that people ate radish after wheat flour food and concluded that the radish helped eliminate the heat wheat food produced.

The story spread and radish became a must after having wheat flour food.

Radishes can be prepared in two ways:

1.Smash raw white radishes and drink a cup of the juice everyday. It helps improve the symptoms of diabetes, which include drinking a lot, being thirsty all the time and urinating a lot. It also cures thrush and the sore nose and throat caused by dry weather.

2.Radish and crucian carp soup. It improves the condition of those with weak lungs and people who cough a lot, or who are weak as a result of prolonged illness.

It was a Chinese folk custom to have watery radish and sugar-coated haws on a stick during the festival, both of which help with digestion of meat and overeating.

Hawthorn Fruit

A common traditional Chinese snack sold on the street is bing tang hu lu, candied haw made of hawthorn fruit or sometimes other fruits wrapped in candy.

The candied haw is sold more during winter, especially during the Chinese Festival, when people have a lot of rich food, because the haws are believed to help with digestion.

Li Shizhen (1518-1593), a renowned Chinese pharmacist in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), wrote about the function of haws.

A boy had a tumefied belly because of indigestion and could not get relief at the doctors. He passed a hawthorn tree occasionally which had a lot of fruit on it and ate the haws. When he got back home he vomited a lot of phlegm, after which he recovered from his illness.

Modern medical study has found that haws can not only help digestion, but also lower blood fat level and improve the condition of the heart and blood circulation. It is good for weakness of the stomach and sleen, indigestion and forms of upset stomach.

You can find haws easily at the food market. They can be eaten in two ways:

1. Wash raw haws clean and have several after each meal.

2. In case one has had too much meat, which results in indigestion’s, abdominal distension and a vomiting feeling: use some haw flesh to boil in water, drink the water and eat the flesh.

Red beans

In traditional Chinese medicine it is believed that red beans are sweet, acid, mild and harmless in nature. They help with urination, clear harmful heat in the body and eliminate dropsy.

Grind the beans into powder and mix with egg white. The mixture can be applied to the body to treat sores or swelling caused by harmful heat in the body.

It was said that Emperor Renzong of Song Dynasty (420-479) got parotitis in his childhood. A Taoist monk ground 70 beans into powder, applied the paste to Renzong’s face and he was cured.
There are two other ways red beans can be used:

1. Boil two or three handfuls of red beans in water. Drink the soup slowly. It can treat problems with the stomach after too much drinking and nausea. It can also be used to help mothers to produce milk for their new-born babies.

2. Two handfuls of red beans with a carp made into soup can eliminate dropsy and help with urination.