Chinese Medicine Remedies to Strengthen your Kid’s Health This Winter

chinese medicine tea

The dip in temperatures outside means winter has finally hit Hong Kong, and with that comes the cough season and plenty of sniffing red noses conquering subways, schools and kindergartens. You’re probably going to spot one of them among your loved ones and you might even remember last year’s hit on your family – that week when your annual tissue consumption reached an impressive peak.

So, how do you avoid it this year? Some ancient Chinese wisdom might do the trick, offering simple and effective ways to boost your kids’ immune systems and cure the little red noses with natural and mild alternatives to western medicine. Let’s enhance your parental toolbox and have a look at what Traditional Chinese Medicine can do for you and your kids.

Traditional Chinese Medicine has a long history which includes the development of pediatrics within TCM, dating back to the first book on treatment of children called “Xiaoer Yaozheng Zhijue” in 1114 AD. The traditional Chinese childcare strongly focuses on what kids should eat, how much clothes they should wear and how much sleep is needed. What at first glance might look like a very protective way of child upbringing is actually based on a complex and sophisticated system within TCM. To understand this system, we need to take a closer look at how TCM views kids.

Kids are growing humans, as much on the outside as on the inside.

In our young age, organs are still immature and therefore more sensitive. Children’s lungs are yet to be fully developed, but since our lungs are responsible for the circulation of our protectiveqi, weak lungs usually mean an inferior immune system. There’s also a strong connection between weak lungs and upper respiratory diseases such as colds, coughs, allergies and asthma. In autumn and winter especially, your lungs will need some extra help to keep up the necessary protective qi.

To boost your kids’ lung power in winter, try brewing them a cup of the famous “Jade Windscreen Tea”:

Ingredients:
5g Chinese Parsnip Root
10g Astragalus Root
10g Atractylodes Rhizome

Method:
Boil together in 400-600ml of water. Then lower the hear, cover the pot and let it simmer for 30-45min. Turn off the heat, leave it covered and let it rest of 15 minutes. Then filter the tea and serve.Tip: This tea can only use for prevention but not for treatment of colds and flu. 

chinese medicine herbs

Another important organ that is often overlooked by western medicine is our spleen. Together with the stomach, the spleen is responsible for our digestion. Kids under 7 years have an immature and sensitive digestive system, which is worsened by our modern diets filled with unhealthy foods and sweets.

This becomes especially problematic when we look at the close connection between the spleen and the lung: according to the Chinese 5-element theory, the spleen is the mother of the lung. And like in real life, when mama gets sick, the kids won’t be happy either: An improper diet causes a weak spleen, which will weaken the lung and trigger colds and coughs.

A chronically troubled spleen may even lead to respiratory diseases such as asthma and allergies. By addressing the root cause and managing a healthy diet for your family, you can control these diseases easily. Avoid overeating and foods that are high in unnatural elements like processed foods. Opt for the organic choices as much as you can.

To specifically invigorate spleen function, try out this Chinese porridge:

Ingredients:
20g poria cocos (also known as fu ling)
10g Chinese jujube
20g yams
50g sticky rice
A little brown sugar

I recommend to eat small portions of this congee as part of your three meals a day.

The Yin and the Yang

Children are constantly growing and developing. According to TCM, this is accompanied by “Pure Yang” in the body, which easily turns into an overload of heat – your kid is on fire! There is good news and bad news. Bad news is, the lack of cooling Yin and an abundance of Pure Yang usually leads to liver heat. Your kid will have trouble sleeping or not being able to focus in school. In extreme cases, it might lead to ADHD.

The good news is, your kids can use their Yang-power to recover very fast, too. To support your kid you need to take some of the heat out of their system. Simply drinking the right tea or other mild herbs will help to get the right balance back. Avoid foods that contain high amounts of growth hormones, like none organic milk and chicken. Stay away from deep-fried foods, barbecues or chips, as those foods contain a lot of heat. And again, choose organic foods wherever you can.

TCM Treatments

If your kids are already starting to get the sniffles, Kid’s Health Chinese Medicine remedies can be a good alternative to western medicine, with some milder and safer treatments. Pediatric treatments can include acupressure or acupuncture, using small and pain-free needles specifically designed for children. Since younger patients usually don’t like to sit still, they will only be shortly pricked into the qi points and then removed again.

More commonly, traditional treatment for kids involves light herbals, which are consumed as teas. Another common practice is pediatric massages, which you can also learn yourself and use as a comforting way to bond with your child.

By simply observing the subtle imbalances in your body and integrating preventive TCM advices into your everyday life, you will find it easy to keep your family healthy throughout winter!

Judy

Judy

Judy Xu
Certified Holistic Health Coach and Chinese Medicine nutritionist at Balance Health and Oriental Health
Chinese Medicine Nutritionist, Chinese University Hong Kong
Holistic Health Coach, IIN New York (Institution of Integrative Nutrition)

Judy Xu is a Holistic Health Coach, combining integrative medicine from the West with the ancient wisdom of Chinese Medicine for a modern lifestyle that helps patients to naturally achieve balance and health. Judy believes that creating balance is the prerequisite for health and self-healing. In her coaching she takes a holistic approach to address imbalances and create a long-term basis for health. She enables clients to achieve weight loss, a peaceful mind, improve energy levels and manage stress. Judy is originally from Shanghai and a long-term resident of Hong Kong. She speaks and writes English and Chinese.

 

Originally published 12 December 2014 on Sassy Mama HK

How Chinese Medicine helps Strengthening your Kids’ Health

Antibiotics Harm Your Child
A recent study published in the journal Lancet confirmed long-held suspicions against the use of antibiotics when they showed no effect in the treatment of coughs.
Prof Paul Little commented in the BBC: “The overuse of antibiotics, particularly when they are ineffective, leads to the development of resistance and has side effects like diarrhea, rash and vomiting.”
Children are particularly vulnerable since an overuse of antibiotics hurts their immune system and leads to less resistance against illnesses. How can we restore your kids health with a natural solution?

Chinese Medicine can be a potent alternative
Fortunately there are alternatives to treating mild forms of chest infections and coughs as Traditional Chinese Medicine is as useful today as it has been for centuries.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is especially effective in the treatment of coughs because of its careful differentiation of the various types of coughs.

Coughs due to excessive Heat
For instance, coughs due to heat produce a sticky phlegm that’s difficult to spit out, so it is treated with cooling, moistening herbs and acupuncture directed at specific points on the body which clear heat from the lungs.

Coughs due to excessive Cold
By comparison, coughs due to cold is accompanied by chills and plentiful mucus. It is treated with warming, drying herbs and the application of moxibustion, a traditional Chinese medicine therapy using mugwort herb.

Coughs caused by Wind
Treating a dryness cough caused by wind is another possible type. Usually contracted due to overexposure to a dry environment, symptoms are a dry, non-productive cough accompanied by a sore throat with a ticklish sensation. The focus is to repel the dryness; a typical formula includes Sang Xing Tang, which helps moisten the lungs and repel the dryness. The treatment should be accompanied by a diet of soups and plenty of liquids.

An experienced TCM doctor can differentiate the types and the root cause of a cough, and then applies unique techniques to not only fix the immediate symptoms but also address the illness at its source.
Continued use of Chinese Medicine will tackle the root cause of the health imbalance and strengthen your child’s immune system to prevent an illness to occur in the first place.

Yu Ping Feng – A powerful recipe to prevent colds
Jade Windscreen Tea, also known by its Chinese name as Yu Ping Feng, has been used by TCM practitioners for centuries to prevent the common colds experienced during the flu season.

Jade Windscreen Tea, also known as Yu Ping Feng (玉屏风)
Ingredients: Chinese parsnip root (防風), Astragalus (黄耆), Atractylodes (白术)
Cooking Instructions:
1. Clean all the ingredients, add 200ml of hot water, and bring to boil
2. Turn the heat down to a low simmer and cover. Do not lift the lid, as this will diminish the “flavor”. Cook the herbs for 30 – 45 minutes. Let the boiling liquid cool down for 15 minutes.

[staffbio staffname=”Judy Xu” staffimage=”http://orientalhealth.com.hk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/JAN_6493-e1387943852637.jpg” stafftitle=”Practice Manager
Chinese Medicine Nutritionist, CUHK, INI
MBA HKUST” staffemail=”judy.xu@orientalhealth.com.hk”]Judy is the founder of Oriental Health and a practicing TCM nutritionist. [/staffbio]