Chinese Herbs Found in Your Grocery Store

Chinese Herbal Medicine You Can Find In Your Local Grocery Store
You may have thought you didn’t know much about Chinese herbs, but really herbs are just any food or plant substance with a medicinal property to treat ailments and there are some herbs you might already be using. In the pharmacy, these herbs are dried, ground up and mixed into herbal formulas to treat a variety of conditions, but you can also simply eat these foods to reap the benefits. The following are herbs that can easily be found in your local grocery store and a little about when and how to use them.
Mint
Chinese Herb name: Bo He
Latin name: Menthae haplocalycis herba
Properties: cooling, expelling, aromatic
Treats: hypertension, cough, common cold, viral and bacteria infections, headache, dry/red eyes, sore throat, vomiting, diarrhea
Benefits: potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin C and A, iron
How to use: wash and tear leaves up, steep in hot water for 10 minutes, then drink
 
Scallion
Chinese Herb name: Cong Bai
Latin: Allii Fistulosi bulbus
Properties: spicy, warm, expelling
Treats: common cold, nasal congestion, stomach flu, bloating, promotes sweating to purge toxins (so avoid if you’re already sweating profusely)
Benefits: antioxidants, fiber, flavonoids, Vitamins A,C,K
How to use: clean, chop, can eat raw or cook into a soup or rice dish
 
Turmeric
Chinese Herbs name: Jiang Huang
Latin name: Curcumae Longae Rhizoma
Properties: spicy, bitter, warm, invigorating
Treats: pain, inflammation, poor blood circulation, cramps, viral and bacterial infections
Benefits: antioxidants, dietary fiber, Vitamin B6 and C, calcium, iron, potassium, copper, zinc, magnesium
How to use: peel and chop, add to any dish, soups, vegetables, rice, etc.
 
Cinnamon bark
Chinese Herb name: Rou Gui
Latin name: Cinnamoni cortex
Properties: Hot, sweet, spicy
Treats: pain, bacterial infections, diabetes, diarrhea, blood clots or poor circulation, wheezing, toothache
Benefits: antioxidant, immune boosting, cardioprotective, fiber, manganese, calcium, iron, vitamin K
How to use: in tea, curry, stew, soup, mulled wine, slow boil for at least 20 minutes on medium to low heat, use 1 stick per 1 cup of water
 
Garlic
Chinese Herb name: Da Suan or Xie Bai
Latin name: Allii Sativi (or macrostemi) bulbus
Properties: spicy, warm
Treats: stomach flu, bloating, diarrhea, viral and bacterial infections, parasites, high cholesterol
Benefits: antioxidant, flavonoids, zinc, selenium, iron, manganese, vitamins B6 and C
How to use: peel and chop, use in any dish, stir fry, soups, stews, add to rice, vegetables, etc.
 
Fresh ginger
Chinese herb name: Sheng Jiang
Latin name: zingiberis rhizoma
Properties: warm, spicy
Treats: cough, common cold, bacterial and parasitic infection, inflammation, vomiting, diabetes, indigestion, nausea
Benefits: antioxidants, potassium, B vitamins, copper, magnesium
How to use: peel and slice and add to stir fry, soups, and stews, for tea, boil in hot water for 15 minutes, add honey for taste
 
White Rice
Chinese Herb name: Geng or Jing Mi
Latin name: oryzae semen
Properties: sweet, cool, tonifying
Treats: weak/poor digestion, diarrhea, fatigue, thirst
Benefits: Protein, iron, zinc, manganese
How to use: Steam and eat! Slow cook with lots of water to make a rice porridge.
White rice is an easy to digest food, great to eat after food poisoning, stomach flu or on a regular basis if you have a sensitive stomach.
 
Chinese Yam*
Chinese herb name: Shan yao
Latin name: dioscorea rhizoma
Properties: sweet, tonifying
Treats: fatigue, cough, wheezing, diarrhea, poor appetite, diabetes, sweating, hot flashes, frequent urination
Benefits: fiber, potassium, Vitamin A and C, iron, antioxidants
How to use: chop up & stream
*This one might be a little more challenging to find; you might have to go to an Asian market. There are so many varieties of yam and fortunately they all have similar medicinal properties. The one pictured here is a Garnet yam.
 
This blog is for educational purposes and does not constitute medical advice; please make an appointment with Dr. Gaffney for individualized care and herbal prescriptions.