Food Therapy for Cough and Phlegm

asian pearThat’s right you read that correctly food therapy not hot tea therapy 😉 This usually works well when trying to help the kiddos out, I find it easier to bribe them with a sweet treat then to try to force them to sip on hot tea (Maybe that’s just my kids though) 😉  There are a few foods that are really good for cough (whether it be a dry cough or a cough with phlegm) One of my favorites to cook for my kids is Asian Pear (for dry cough) and you can add the herb Chuan Bei Mu (for cough with yellow phlegm) on top. Chuan Bei Mu is only beneficial for yellow phlegm, which we call Heat Phlegm in Chinese Medicine. Because this herb is cold in nature it would not do well with Cold Phlegm aka white bubbly phlegm.

This recipe requires the pears to be steamed or baked.

Asian pear (it’s very important that it is an Asian Pear)

honey or rock sugar

3-9g (approx. 1tablespoon) of Chuan Bei Mu (usually found in Asian markets) if your cough is accompanied by yellow mucus. *Crush or Grind the Chuan Bei Mu after measured*

1. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each pear so that it will stand upright. Cut the top squarely off each pear, slicing about 2 inches from the top, carefully remove the core and seeds. Do not cut through to the bottom of the pear. Reserve the tops.

2. Arrange the pears on a pie plate or some kind of a heatproof plate. Spoon a tablespoon of the honey or rock sugar into each pear and sprinkle some of the Chuan Bei Mu (this must be crushed into powder). Place the reserved tops on the pears, if necessary securing them with toothpicks. Place the plate in a steamer tray.

3. Fill a wok or large pot with enough water to reach the bottom of the steamer tray and bring to a boil.

4. Cover and steam 40 to 45 minutes, or until the fruit is tender when pierced with a knife. Serve the Asian pears warm eat everything and drink the juice.

* The pears can be baked instead of steamed. Preheat the to 350 degrees and bake for about 40 minutes or until soft.*

Another really good fruit (and probably most widely used fruit among the Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners) is Apricot Fruit.

When you have excessive mucus formation restricting nasal tracts and you can’t even cough due to blockage, eating fruits such as Apricot helps with cough symptoms. They retard production of mucus as well as help its movement thus clearing air passages.

  • Eat one fresh or 4 dried apricot at least twice a day for good results to deal with cough. Both fresh and dried apricots make excellent relief agents. (No cooking required) 😉
  • In case of the off season you can also use Xing Ren (Armeniacae Semen) aka Apricot Seed (usually easily found in Asian Markets). Use 3-9 grams and crush prior to decocting. I would use extreme caution if using the seeds, they can cause diarrhea and are also slightly toxic in high doses.If you would like to learn more about food therapy and how it can help specific issues please leave a comment below.

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