Monday, October 5, 2015

Congratulations to the New Nobel Laureates in Medicine

Congratulations to the new Nobel Laureates in Medicine— Youyou Tu, William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura!

This year's prize acknowledges discoveries toward medicines against parasites causing diseases affecting millions of people around the world. Interestingly, one of these awards has its roots in traditional Chinese medicine.

Y ouyou Tu, who is affiliated with the China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences (previously known as the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine) in Beijing, looked through the ancient herbal medicine literature for a cure for malaria. In the process, she tested many plants, eventually homing in on one called Artemisia annua or sweet wormword. This herb has been used for hundreds of years to bring down fever.

Tu developed a purification procedure, which resulted in the active agent and the drug Artemisinin, which is remarkably effective against malaria. By some estimates, Artemisinin saves 100,000 lives every year in Africa alone.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Yuan's Chicken Cabbage Stir-Fry

Yuan recently shared this recipe for Chicken Cabbage Stir-Fry with her Eastern Nutrition class at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. She notes that napa cabbage (a.k.a. Chinese cabbage) is a great ingredient for eating in the autumn, according to traditional Chinese medicine. In addition, both napa cabbage and trumpet mushrooms have anti-cancer properties.  
Chicken Cabbage Stir-Fry 
2 chicken breasts (cut into bite-size pieces)  
1 tsp rice vinegar
½ tbsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp starch (corn starch or qian shi “Fox Nut Powder”)
Vegetable oil 
1 package king trumpet mushrooms (cut into bite-size pieces)
½ head napa cabbage (sliced into ½” strips width wise)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced ginger (optional)
1 tsp chili peppers sliced into thin pieces (optional)
1.  Mix together the chicken, rice vinegar, salt, sugar and starch. Set aside to marinate 15 - 20 minutes.
2.  Heat the vegetable oil in a wok or large sautée pan on high, add the napa cabbage and cook until tender. Set aside on a separate plate.
3.  Add a little more vegetable oil to the wok/pan, heat it, then add the mushrooms and cook until tender. Set aside on top of the cooked cabbage.
4.  Heat more vegetable oil in same wok/pan, add the garlic and chicken, and ginger and chili peppers (if using).  
5.  When the chicken is cooked through (not pink inside), add the mushrooms and cabbage back into pan, turn off the heat and stir. 
6.  Serve and enjoy!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Another Take on Cumin Lamb Stir-Fry

The New York Times this week offers this article and video on how to make Chinese-style cumin lamb stir-fry:

We have a similar recipe in our book, where we note that Traditional Chinese Medicine considers lamb among the warmest of meats. The spices are also warming, making this dish an excellent meal for the winter months or for anyone feeling a chill or experiencing fatigue.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Foods for Summer - Cool as a Cucumber Salad

We've had our first really hot summer day this year in San Diego, which reminded me that traditional Chinese medicine advises us to eat according to the seasons. In the hot months of summer, certain types of food--which happen to be in season this time of year--help counteract the heat of summer and replenish lost body fluids.

Good summer foods include watermelon, tomatoes, mung beans, cucumber, lotus root, coix, bean sprouts and ocean fish. In addition to their other benefits, fruits and vegetables help provide us with sufficient fluids and promote digestion. Traditional Chinese medicine also tells us that sour and salty foods ease irritability and insomnia from excess sweating.

Here's one simple and delicious recipe that helps counteract Summer Heat.

Cool-as-a-Cucumber Salad

1 medium-sized cucumber, peeled
1 clove garlic, crushed and then minced
1/4 cup wine vinegar
2 tablespoons dark sesame oil

1. Using a blunt instrument, such as the handle of a knife, pound the cucumber's surface to soften it slightly an absorb the salt and salad dressing. (Optional.)

2. Cut the cucumber in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon, if desired. Then cut the cucumber widthwise into thin slices or slivers.

2. Sprinkle and toss with salt, to taste.

3. Combine the cucumber, garlic, vinegar, and sesame oil in a bowl and toss well.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Making Friends with Germs

Traditional Chinese medicine has long approached the body as a garden to be tended, nurtured through good habits, including a diet of a variety of wholesome foods and promotion of good digestion. In this week's New York Times Magazine, Michael Pollan writes about the host of microorganisms that live on  us and in us, reaching a similar conclusion--eat wholesome foods and pay attention to their effects on the flora responsible for our digestion. As has long been the folk wisdom in the East, the article also points to fermented foods such as miso and kimchi as particularly beneficial in this regard.

For the full version of this thought-provoking article, see

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy New Year!

We followed the Japanese tradition of eating mochi (rice cakes made of pounded sticky rice) to bring in the New Year. Roasted in the oven for eight minutes at 450 degrees, our mochi pieces puffed up and became crispy and golden on the outside, and gooey and sweet on the inside. We use a dipping sauce of soy sauce and maple syrup mixed in about equal parts.

This year, we decided to try brown rice mochi. Somewhat unexpectedly, they were a huge hit. The whole grain provided a slight nutty flavor and a more robust texture to the treat. Many of the mochi pieces didn't even make it to the dipping sauce before being devoured!