Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

The evil brew I have to drink twice a day

This isn’t a food post per se.  I am down with my fourth cold this year.  And they have all been whoppers.  D jokes that if we lived in the wild, I would be picked off my predators as the weakling of the pack.  I’ve always been the sick kid from school days.  Someone sneezes, I catch a cold. I’m so tired that I don’t feel like eating anything and so blocked up that I can’t smell any food that I eat – shocking !

Living in Singapore, I have ready access to a multitude of Chinese herbal remedies – my supermarket has those packets of herbs that you are meant to boil with chicken for various ailments – improving immunity, improving circulation, recovering from illness – you name it.

I actually like the taste of these – it’s just like chicken stock, and I do make it relatively regularly, but here I am, blowing my nose again as I write this post.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is the practice of various systems (herbs, acupuncture, massage therapy) for balancing the various functions of the body, based in the principles of yin and yang.  TCM practitioners believe that a healthy body has perfect balance of yin yang energy and it is the imbalance of these that causes ailments.

TCM professors train for years and years, usually in Mandarin, which has been an inhibitor for me going to seek their advice, because I speak barely conversational, let alone telling someone what’s wrong with me-type Mandarin.  I went to visit Dr Long Zhong – a TCM professor who has an interpretor in the room with you. After you tell the kind and wise-looking Doctor what’s wrong with you (via the interpretor), he feels your pulse, asks you more questions, and then prescribes a course of herbs.  What makes this place more awesome is the fact that they will boil the prescribed herbs (I was assured that all my prescription was vegetable-based only), vacuum pack single serves of the herbal drink for you, and deliver that to your house.

The prescribed herbs are precise – the ladies behind the counter weigh out the various ingredients on an electronic weighing scale (as opposed to traditional scales which I frequently see in other Chinese Herbal stores which probably are as accurate while looking soooo old skool cool), and they are boiled for a precise amount of time.  They have made the entire process so convenient for modern day living.  Perfect for me.

I’ve just had my first packet of herbal drink and it’s horribly bitter.  Chinese believe that anything bitter is good for you (bitter gourd is a perfect example of this) so this has to be very good for me, right ?  I have to drink two of these packets a day for six days.

Western medicine has so far not helped me in terms of improving my immunity.  Here’s hoping TCM will.  Stay tuned to the comments for updates.

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About Carolyn Chan

A girl slowly eating her way around Singapore and farther afield when she's lucky. View all posts by Carolyn Chan

3 responses to “Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)

  • Carolyn Chan

    Two days after i have taken the herbal drink and I am feeling 90% better ! Looks like screwing up my face and holding my nose while I drink it has been worth it !

  • rsmacaalay

    I am always afraid of taking herbal medicines such as those ones, I just cant imagine how strong the taste is. I remember when I buy my green tea in chinese shops way back in Malaysia I see different dried ingredients placed in covered jars and bottles and they said that what they use in Traditional Meds.

    • Carolyn Chan

      There are some practitioners who still use animal products as part of their prescriptions – there are always plant-based alternatives and I sought this doctor out because he uses only plants.

      I won’t lie in that the taste of the stuff they brewed for me is HORRIBLE – very very strong and bitter but I swear I have never recovered from a cold this quickly. And if it means that it will help me overall in not getting sick as easily, (years of Western medicine have not helped) it’s worth it for me 🙂

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