Eating Well

For a happy throat: Lo Han Guo

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I’ve been sick this past week and it’s not fun – just when I feel like have so much I feel like I have to get done! But I took it as a sign from the Universe that it’s time to slow down even further and to really commit to taking care of myself. Message received, Universe.

I’m usually pretty averse to Western medicine because I feel that it’s too strong for my body. I usually take half the dosage of whatever is prescribed whenever I can, because I feel the effects of ANY drug very, very intensely. I have no doubt it’s an aspect of my sensitivity; I can feel it when anything’s off in my body very acutely.

So, to cure this itch in my throat and annoying cough that seems to become more severe in the night, I turned to this tried-and-true concoction, that turned out to be super simple to make. The ingredients can be found in any Chinese herbal medicine store, and as a major plus – it’s not at all bitter despite its dark brown appearance. In fact, the sweetness from the dried fruit makes it pretty tasty!

Recipe:

  • Sweet and bitter dried almond seed – a small handful
  • 1 Lo Han Guo
  • White fungus – a quarter
  • 3 – 4 dried figs
  • 1 red date (optional)
  • 1 liter of water

Things I had to text my mother to ask her about:

  • What do you do with the lo han guo?! You crush it with your bare hands; everything goes into the water, including the shell. The shell itself is sweeter than the fruit (!) so be sure to add that in too! The shell is thin and brittle and breaks easily, and it’s also kind of fun. That said, try not to crush the shell into too-small fragments as you don’t want to accidentally find it in your throat. Not fun.
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Mystery fruit! But it’s sweet and kind to your throat, much-needed in time of respiratory distress.

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  • Did I buy the right kind of almond seed? Yes. But I only bought the bitter one (which is the one that’s better for the throat), but for a better balance in flavour, try to get both the sweet and bitter ones. In Chinese, they’re referred to as the 南北杏 – literally, the South/North almond seeds, because of their opposing flavors… which I think is a really pretty way of putting it. If you mention this to the Chinese herb store person they’d know what you’re talking about immediately!

Preparation:

  • Cut figs into half.
  • Soak almond seeds and white fungus in water – the almond seeds for at least 10 minutes, and then rinse a couple of times thoroughly. The white fungus expands so even if the initial piece looks tiny, soon it’ll grow before your eyes! So estimate accordingly, and start small.
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Start small, this guy expands.

  • Put everything into a pot and boil for 30 minutes, including the lo han guo, which you crush and add into the water directly:

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And after half an hour, it’s time to drink up! Repeat as often as needed till your throat feels better. Which mine does already, after brewing two pots of this magical stuff – cheers!!!

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