Thirteen Chinese Herbs Found at Your Grocery Store

Chinese herbs are everywhere!  Herbal medicine is a great addition to acupuncture, and in fact, many of our patients at Acupuncture in the Park have found relief from a variety of conditions through the use of herbs. For some, herbal medicine feels confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. You can tap into this incredible healing tool just by pushing your cart through the grocery store, because many Chinese herbs are found there. Here are a baker’s dozen that are accessible and effective:

  1. Ginger. This warm herb is one of my favorites and works really well to relieve nausea and vomiting. It’s frequently used to control nausea by people undergoing chemotherapy. Ginger can also stop a cough, and can help fight off a cold in its early stages. The papery skin of the ginger root is used in Chinese medicine to drain edema (water swelling) and induce urination. 
  2. Scallions, when mixed with ginger in a warm broth, are perfect if you’re just coming down with a cold. Scallions are hot enough to drain nasal congestion and to induce sweating, which often heads off a cold before it gets started. 
  3. You may think of walnuts as being the perfect chocolate chip cookie ingredient. However, walnuts also strengthen your Kidney and moisten your intestines. I recommend walnuts (not necessarily in cookies) to my patients who have constipation. 
  4. Like walnuts, black sesame seeds also moisten your intestines and can be used for constipation. They also nourish your Chinese Kidney and Liver, and can help with blurry vision, tinnitus, and dizziness. 
  5. Cinnamon is a warm herb that can also help you fight off a cold. Its warming effects are helpful for joint pain that gets worse in the cold weather. Cinnamon has mild antibiotic and diuretic (drains water) effects. 
  6. Mint is a cool herb that also works well for colds and flu, especially those that are accompanied by a fever, headache, cough, and sore throat. Mint is also used to bring an early rash to the surface of your skin, so it can heal faster. 
  7. Look in the fungi section of your grocery store for wood ear mushrooms. They moisten your Lungs and are good for a chronic dry cough. Eat them in stir fried dishes or soups. 
  8. Mung beans clear something called Summerheat, which is similar to heat exhaustion. Boil the beans, add some seasoning, and drink the water to get rid of that blah nauseous feeling you get on the hottest, most humid days of the summer. 
  9. Watermelon is also great for Summerheat. In addition, it generates fluids in your body and alleviates thirst. 
  10. Look in the spice aisle for turmeric, which can help in lowering your cholesterol. 
  11. Got parasites? Try pumpkin seeds. They’re used in Chinese medicine for tape worms and round worms. 
  12. Garlic is also used for parasites, especially hook and pin worms. In addition, its antimicrobial effects make garlic a good choice for food poisoning from shellfish. 
  13. Mulberry fruit looks a little like large black raspberries. While not found in all grocery stores, most will carry mulberries when they’re in season. They can be used to nourish Blood and Yin, as a way to treat dizziness, tinnitus, insomnia, premature graying of your hair, and constipation in the elderly. Mulberries make a great addition to a fruit compote, which when combined with other fruits, is moistening in nature.



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