Home remedies for digestive maladies

Soothe yourself with these brews if the festive feasting gets too heavy

The festive season is often associated with feasting, which can be taxing on our body's systems.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), our digestive system transforms food into blood and qi (vital energy).

Over-indulgence, however, can disrupt this system.

Here, Eu Yan Sang physician Neo Min Jun recommends some remedies for common digestive problems.

1. OVER-INDULGENCE IN OILY FOODS

Hawthorn oolong tea Photo: Eu Yan Sang

WHAT: Hawthorn oolong tea

HOW: Brew 15g of oolong tea in 200ml of water. Boil 3-5g of hawthorn in water for 15 minutes. Mix both and consume warm.

Not suitable for pregnant women. Those with gastric problems should seek TCM advice before consuming.

WHY IT WORKS: Hawthorn aids in the digestion of meat and oily food. Its sour and sweet taste makes it work well in the stomach, spleen and liver meridians or channels through which qi travels.

2. BLOATED STOMACH

Malt tea Photo: Eu Yan Sang

WHAT: Malt tea

Eu Yan Sang Brew a pot of malt tea with one or two malt tea teabags.

Do not add additional sugar or sweetener. Consume warm.

WHY IT WORKS: The natural saltiness of malt works well in the stomach and spleen meridians. In TCM, bloating due to over-eating is often caused by undigested food and stagnant qi in the stomach.

Malt helps to break down carbohydrates and regulate the stagnant qi in the stomach, thus relieving bloatedness.

Also read: 10 TCM tips to manage Irritable Bowel Syndrome

3. VOMITING

Ginger and orange peel tea Photo: Eu Yan Sang

WHAT: Ginger and orange peel tea

HOW: Put two or three slices of fresh ginger with 10g of orange peel in 200ml of hot water. Consume warm.

WHY IT WORKS: The pungent taste of ginger and orange peel makes them work well in the lungs, stomach and spleen meridians.

When the qi in the stomach flows upwards, regurgitation and vomiting occurs.

Ginger and orange peel both help the qi in the stomach flow in the right direction - downwards. The orange peel also boosts the qi of the spleen, which helps digestion.

4. CONSTIPATION

White radish soup Photo: Eu Yan Sang

WHAT: White radish soup

HOW: Boil a quarter of white radish (white carrot) with 150g of pork ribs with water. Simmer the soup till the white radish softens. Add soy sauce or salt to taste. Consume the soup with the white radish.

WHY IT WORKS: The sweet and pungent taste of white radish works well in the spleen, stomach and lungs meridians.

Constipation due to over-eating may be due to congested qi in the stomach and large intestines. White radishes can help by clearing the stagnant qi.

5. HANGOVER

Pueraria flower (kudzu flower) tea Photo: Eu yan Sang

WHAT: Pueraria flower (kudzu flower) tea

HOW: Place 15g of pueraria flower in 200ml of hot water. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Consume warm.

WHY IT WORKS: The pueraria flower has a sweet taste and works well in the spleen and stomach meridians.

It helps to increase the vigour of the stomach, relieve hangover symptoms and quench the thirst caused by excessive alcohol intake.

What you should know about alcohol and hangovers

  • The darker the shade of your choice of poison, the more likely it is going to cause a hangover the morning after.
  • This is because alcohol which are darker in colour denotes a higher level of congeners - products of alcohol fermentation.
  • Studies have shown that bourbon, for instance, has 37 times more congeners than vodka, a clear liquor.
  • Doctors suggest opting for light-coloured drinks - white wine over red wine,
  • or gin over whiskey.
  • This is because the liver is only able to break down half an ounce of alcohol (about one drink) per hour.
  • Any excess alcohol is circulated within the body until the liver has the ability to process it.
  • According to the Health Promotion Board, a standard alcoholic drink is a 330ml can of regular beer, a 175ml glass of wine or a 35ml nip of spirit.
  • This is when you start feeling the symptoms - the usual combination of a splitting headache, nausea, food aversion and that general feeling of wretchedness.
  • A hangover peaks only after the alcohol is totally eliminated from the blood.
  • Alcohol interferes with the secretion of the hormone that inhibits urination, which explains long queues at the loos in clubs.
  • Loading up on water in between drinks helps to dilute the alcohol in your blood.
  • Munching on bar snacks like peanuts or cheese in between drinks also help to line the stomach and reduce the absorption of alcohol.

fjieying@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on Jan 23, 2017.
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