Grace Yu is a Chinese Medicine Doctor who hails from Taiwan. She practises Chinese medicine, advises and heal patients at the Balance Health Holistic clinic in Central, Hong Kong. Her interest in Chinese Medicine started with her dad who was not a practising doctor, but was interested enough to learn it himself and practising on his kids when they were unwell.
Yu decided to make it her vocation, so she packed her bags and headed off to Beijing to studying Chinese Medicine for eight years. She then practised in Guangzhou and now Hong Kong. Yu merges Chinese medicine and energy healing methods in her practice in order to better heal her patients. We ask her to give our readers some tips and pointers on some of the common health problems we face in Hong Kong, and how to treat them.
What are the common ailments people experience in Hong Kong during summer?
During summer in Hong Kong when it’s hot and humid at the same time a lot of patients come see me for digestive problems. They have symptoms like diarrhoea, stomach pain, nausea and bloating. It’s quite common that they get flu in their digestive system as well.
What are the causes of this imbalance?
Conditions like dampness in the body, having cold drinks, or being in very cold air-conditioning at the office can escalate the deficiency of the spleen (where your blood is produced and purified) and stomach yang (low energy to perform task). When there is ‘yang’ deficiency, the dampness will be trapped in the body which causes the discomfort in the digestive system. When the ‘qi’ is not moving freely in the digestive system, it causes nausea and bloating. On top of that, when the body encounters external influences like heat and cold, especially when we are cold inside an air-conditioning room and we go out in the 30C heat, we can get sick.
What is a simple thing you recommend people do in summer?
I suggest that people take a cup of ginger tea. Cut a slice of fresh ginger, the size of a two-dollar coin, and place it in a cup. Fill the cup with boiling water and let it brew for 15 minutes. Do this in the morning, everyday to promote yang qi in your spleen and stomach. You can also drink Eliminating Dampness Herbal tea or winter melon tea, which helps as well.
Four things to do to take care of your health in summer?
In summer, other than regulating and nourishing our digestive system, we also need to look after our heart as well. I suggest:
1. Avoiding iced drinks
2. Take a 20- to 30-minute nap in the afternoon
3. Have a massage and press the acupressure points of PC9 (Laogong) and PC6 (Neiguan) to improve the cardiovascular circulatory system and reduce discomfort in the heart and stomach
4. Drink rose tea to reduce stress level and calm the mood
What type of herbal tea do you recommend for summer?
Osmanthus Flower Tea to heal gastroenteritis, stomach discomfort. This tea nourishes the stomach, Yin energy, Qi and the fluids, liver and kidneys, and heals bloating. Put the tea into a 250 c.c. of water, boil for 10 minutes then add a bit of crystal sugar. Consume it all in the same day.
Lotus Root Sea Weed Green Bean Soup nourishes heart and stomach, and clears the heart’s internal heat. Boil the lotus root first for 30 minutes, then boil all ingredients together for 60 minutes and add crystal sugar to taste.
What type of food you recommend people eat during summer?
Eat heat-clearing and moisturising foods. The following food helps to regulate the flow of qi, eliminate dampness, remove food stagnation, nourish spleen and stomach. Also I recommend taking fruits with acidity like plums or pickled plums. They can eliminate the heat in the body and at the same time nourish the heart yin energy.
- Chinese pearl-barley麥芽
- Chinese celery芹菜
- Woodear mushroom木耳
Type of foods to avoid?
Avoid fatty, dry, rich-flavoured food, spicy foods. You want to avoid spicy food in summer to prevent excessive dissipation of heart qi. When all of your pores are open and you are sweat a lot this process takes away a lot of energy for the heart. So, avoid hot and oily meat and food to prevent poor digestion during summer. Foods to avoid includes:
- Green onion 蔥
- Hot pepper辣椒
- Chinese chives香蔥