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c h i n e s e - m e d i c i n e ++ UNLEASHED

BEER ---- Is It Good For You?
I GOT AN EMAIL FROM A READER RECENTLY WHO ASKED: "I've read a fair amount about the subject, and no one as of yet has been able to explain to me why beer is classified as a cool food when alcohol is a hot food. Do you have any idea why?"

It is a good question, and one I have asked myself from time to time -- why does beer have a different heat classification under Chinese medicine than regular alcohol? More importantly, is beer good for you? Or at least, not totally bad for you? As my reader went on to comment in her email to me:

"I have a very significant Yin deficient empty heat, and I have put myself on a cool/cold foods diet to try and alleviate some of the problems. I'm trying to figure out if it is Ok to have a beer every day or not."

As someone who also enjoys a beer (or two or three or more) every day, I am interested in getting a definitive answer to this quesiton (hopefully in the affirmative, as in it is cool to drink beer every day!) Here are some results and insights I have gained on the subject, from sources far more knowledgable than myself:

Firstly, from a common sense point of view, there is probably a world of difference between an ice-cold beer as typically consumed in the West, with the small cup of often warm or hot rice wine traditionally consumed in the East. And on the question of whether it is optimal to drink a western-style beer every day, it is worth considering the season you are in -- as Chinese Food Recipes point out on their site: "Chinese people have a unique view on food since ancient times. We believe the seasonal changes directly affect our health. From spring warmth, summer heat, autumn dryness and winter coldness, we derive the longevity principles of sowing in spring, growing in summer, harvest in autumn and restoration in winter. Similar to the Yin and Yang concept, we should choose the right food in each season to complement the natural forces of that season, and to replenish the loss of nutrients. This is the Chinese naturopathic system called Echoing with the Nature."

According to the Chinese Food Recipes site, iced beer should be especially avoided in Winter. On the other hand, white wine is good for winter because it possesses a warming nature (go figure.) The site claims:

"The cold weather and slow metabolic rate means that replenishment of nutrients for the spleen and stomach is especially important. Use care in choosing supplements according to your body predisposition. Those with blood-asthenia should eat supplements that promote blood cell formation; those with Qi-asthenia should choose Qi-supplementary food; those who suffer from general body debility (sic) should eat food that moisturizes and benefits the central energy. Food of cold nature and uncooked or refrigerated food should be avoided as they harm the internal organs.

Do's : lamb, beef, dates, lotus seeds, white wine, ginseng, cinnamon.

Don'ts: clams, conches, crabs, snails, mung beans, uncooked melon and fruit, banana, persimmon, black flossy moss, iced beer, American ginseng, mint.

ANOTHER MIRACLE OF CHINESE MEDICINE ---- The Surgery of Dr Huang Hongyun.
CHINA CONTINUES ITS INEXORABLE RISE TO BECOMING A WORLD SUPERPOWER, AND ALMOST EVERY DAY, YOU HEAR SOME STORY ABOUT THE MIRACLES OF CHINESE MEDICINE IN THE MEDIA. Here is a story I found in the English newspaper The Guardian some time ago, regarding the latest Chinese miracle worker, Dr Huang Hongyun. The former peasant has become famous in Asia and beyond for helping the lame walk, and the dumb talk, by injecting them with the cells from aborted foetuses. The Guardian said Dr Hongyun has overturned the conventional wisdom that chronic spinal injuries can never be treated -- by relying on the mystery of Chinese medicine. Quackery? Decide for yourself -- by reading the article here.

Contact the author Rob Sullivan at Copyright February 2013.

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