Dietetics Recipe for Muscles and Tendons
Acupuncture, herbal medicine, the movements arts (Tai Chi, Qi Gong, meditation…), bone medicine and dietetics are five important branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Today, I wanted to talk a little about dietetics. At HealthCMi, Prof. Jeffrey Pang, L.Ac. and I have an ongoing live webinar dietetics lecture series for acupuncture CEUs and also an instant download-able course in dietetics. Soon, we will release part two of the instant download-able acupuncture CEU course and it will contain favorite healing recipes.
Many Chinese Medicine dietetics recipes involve soups requiring herbal medicines that are inaccessible to consumers without the help of a licensed acupuncturist. However, there are ingredients and recipes that are open to a wider audience wherein the ingredients can be bought in the grocery store. Naturally, Asian markets and organic health food markets are a big help. They tend to have more ingredients with potent healing benefits.
A very simple Chinese Medicine dietetics stew to benefit the muscles and tendons contains ingredients that may be purchased almost anywhere. The stew is excellent for the treatment of blood deficiency related tendinitis and muscle cramping but is equally effective for athletes who consistently experience tendon and muscle pain related to strenuous workouts. This stew helps to prevent bodily injury and treats muscle and tendon aching and weakness.
Combine beef shank, Ge Gen (kudzu), carrots, Gou Qi Zi (goji berries) and celery. If beef shank is unavailable, lamb shank may be used. However, lamb is a very warming meat and beef has a more neutral to warm effect on the bodily temperature balance. In the strictest sense, the stew calls for both beef shank and beef tendon. Try asking your butcher to see if beef tendon can be made available.
Ge Gen, called kudzu root in Japanese, is usually found in the Asian food aisle of finer grocery stores. If one has difficulty finding it, check with Asian markets or go online and visit sites such as the Eden Foods website. Labeled Organic Kuzu Root Starch, this is a high grade Ge Gen offered by Eden Foods that is often used as a thickener in cooking preparation. Here, we use it for benefiting the muscles and tendons. While on the topic of Eden Foods, I must admit I am a big fan of their product line. The quality is tremendous. For fun, you may want to purchase their ponzu sauce. It’s the real deal, very authentic and very flavorful. I digress a bit but passion and love are always good ingredients when conversing about food.
Getting back to the kudzu root, Ge Gen enters the Stomach and Spleen channels and is cool, pungent and sweet. Ge Gen expels wind-heat and releases the muscle layer. It also promotes the generation of body fluids and promotes the proper expression of toxic eruptions from the body. Ge Gen stops diarrhea and has an inhibitory effect against hypertension. Ge Gen is often used for the treatment of febrile conditions, stiff neck and upper back, diabetes, excess thirst, measles and dysentery. Ge Gen is well known for its presence in formulas such as Ge Gen Tang, Cong Bai Qi Wei Yin, Chai Ge Jie Ji Tang, Sheng Ma Ge Gen Tang, Li Shi Qing Shu Yi Qi Tang, Ge Gen Huang Qin Huang Lian Tang and Yu Ye Tang.
Carrots are colloquially referred to as “poor person’s ginseng” in some parts of China. Comparing the appearance of carrots and ginseng, they share many visual similarities. Ginseng is a more potent tonic but carrots are an important tonic superfood. When introduced into China, it was considered an important discovery by acupuncturist-herbalists. Carrots, specifically red/orange carrots, are called Hong Luo Bo and enter the Heart and Spleen channels. Following Five Element theory, the carrot’s orange color is a combination of both yellow, representing the Earth element and the Spleen, and red, representing the Fire element and the Heart. Carrots are sweet, neutral and tonify the Qi and Blood of the entire body. Carrots benefit the Ying Qi, nutrition Qi. Carrots also have the special function of benefitting vision and are useful in the treatment of night blindness. Carrots are rich in betacarotene and many other carotenoids. Carrots are also rich in vitamin C, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and potassium. There is some modern research demonstrating that carrots help to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Gou Qi Zi is now available in grocery stores under the name goji berries. I did come across several unusual combinations including chocolate covered goji berries. OK, I didn’t like it. However, Gou Qi Zi is traditionally used in dessert preparations. Gou Qi Zi is neutral and sweet. It enters the Kidney, Liver and Lung channels and nourishes the Liver and Kidney Yin, Liver Blood, Kidney Jing and moistens Lung dryness. Gou Qi Zi is commonly used in the treatment of blurred vision, anemia, dizziness, tinnitus, premature graying of the hair, lower back and knee pain, coughing and diabetes. Gou Qi Zi appears in herbal formulas such as Qi Ju Di Huang Wan, Zuo Gui Yin, Nuan Gan Jian, You Gui Wan, Qi Bao Mei Ran Dan, Zuo Gui Wan, Yi Guan Jian and You Gui Yin.
Celery is our last major ingredient. Naturally, use culinary spices to flavor the stew to taste in addition to these basic ingredients. Chinese celery has a smaller stem than western celery. Celery enters the Liver and Stomach channels and clears Liver Fire. Celery also clears deficiency related heat due to Liver Yin vacuity with Yang uprising. Celery is used in Chinese Medicine dietetics to lower blood pressure and biomedical research suggests that celery helps to reduce total serum cholesterol. Note that celery is strongest when raw and juiced celery is an excellent way to deliver the medical powers of celery to the bodily system. Overall, the color green represents the Wood element and therefore the Liver, according to Chinese Medicine principles. Many green foods are cooling, clear Liver Fire and are applicable for the treatment of high blood pressure due to Yin deficiency with Yang uprising.
This deeply nourishing stew is worth a try. From athletes to those with blood deficiency, it is a great way to deliver powerful nutrients to the muscles and tendons. The stew’s protective properties with strengthen the body and prevent injury. Enjoy!
The following is a sample of the course material video. On the day of the event, the course will be in high quality, full screen video for use on your computer or smart device. This clip is from a prior live Chinese Medicine dietetics webinar.
Excerpts of Course Video Content