Learn to use herbs to boost health
Eu Yan Sang holding workshops to teach participants how to cook with herbs
The use of herbs is very much ingrained in Chinese culture, but many in the younger generation have little knowledge of the benefits of herbs and how to incorporate them into modern lifestyles and cooking.
In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which adopts a holistic and preventive approach to health and wellness, minor ailments are commonly treated with a specially prepared meal, or by adding a particular ingredient to a dish.
Home-grown TCM health and wellness company Eu Yan Sang is holding an Everyday Botanical cooking workshop series in collaboration with Republic Polytechnic's School of Applied Science, which aims to introduce participants to herbs that can be part of nutritious meal preparation.
Upcoming workshops will be on Calm and Relief (Aug 10 and 17), where you can learn to cook tonic soups to boost vital energy and help support the healing of a lethargic body; Heart and Digestive Health (Aug 24 and 31), on how to make tonic soups that help improve blood circulation and digestive health; and Beauty and Wellness (Sept 14 and 17), on the importance of food therapy as part of a beauty and wellness regimen.
They are held at Republic Polytechnic, from 9am to 12.30pm (English) and 2pm to 5.30pm (Chinese).
Eu Yan Sang has also launched the Everyday Botanica Herb Handbook, which has the basics of using Chinese herbs in cooking and diet. It features botanical illustrations of common Chinese herbs, along with storage tips, preparation methods and more than 100 pairing ideas.
The New Paper spoke to Eu Yan Sang Singapore TCM certified herbalist Huang Yan Fei to find out more about incorporating herbs into our meals.
What are the star herbs and dried good and their health benefits?
Goji berries and wolfberries are known to help nourish the "yin", enrich blood, benefit vitality and improve visual acuity. It is recommended for those suffering from insufficient vitality and blood manifested as dizziness, blurring of vision, hypoplasia, tinnitus and soreness of loin and extremities.
Chinese Angelica relieves anaemic symptoms, helps to regulate the menstrual cycle and eases menstrual pain for women. It also eases pain experienced in cold limbs or pain resulting from physical injuries due to poor blood circulation.
Red dates tonify the "qi", nourish blood, calm the mind and invigorate the spleen and stomach. They also help to stimulate the production of white blood cells, which improves immunity and protects the liver.
American ginseng is one of the most treasured herbs in TCM. It helps boost the immune system, protects the heart, regulates glucose levels, restores energy and is good for the skin.
How can these items be incorporated into diets?
They can be easily incorporated into food like soup and dessert. Goji berries and red dates can even be eaten on their own.
What are some ways to vitalise the body and alleviate common ailments with herbs?
A TCM-endorsed menu that is easy to prepare includes teas made from steeping wolfberries or chrysanthemum in hot water for 15 minutes. These ingredients are also not overly "heaty" or "cooling".
For a soothing drink, a tea of dried roses and red dates can exert a calming effect.
American wild ginseng tea can reduce excess heat and promote alertness. Essence of chicken is targeted at boosting vitality and is suitable for overworked and sleep-deprived students and office warriors.