Eggs are a very common and popular food to eat throughout the world. Eggs are generally suitable for all people (except those who have allergies to eggs or those who prefer not to eat them). Chinese diet therapy believes that eggs not only bring great nutrition to the body but also that eggs have special benefits to our health, such as the stage after labour or long term illness.
1. Health effects of eggs
i) Tonifying yin and blood
One very famous traditional herbal book called “Ben cao gang mu” states that egg yolk tonify’s yin and blood. During labour, the body looses many fluids and blood quite quickly which makes the body deficient in yin and blood. The body may have the following symptoms for some time after labour, such as; thirst, constipation, dry skin, pallor, dizziness, lethargy or hair loss. Some women may breast feed straight after labour which may further deplete their yin and blood.
Chinese medicine considers that replacing yin and blood is very important for new mums to recover from the process of labour and it is also important to have quality milk for breast feeding. In Chinese medicine theory, it is believed that breast milk is produced from blood so it is important that the yin and blood are replenished.
I suggest that women eat boiled eggs 1 or 2 per day for at least 4 weeks after labour. In Chinese medicine it is believed that boiled eggs hold the most qi and energy as they are cooked within the shell. So eating boiled eggs will provide a great benefit to the body.
In certain parts of China, ginger, vinegar and sugar eggs are a very popular dish to eat. Family’s usually prepare these types of eggs a month before labour, then women who have just given birth will eat these straight away for at least 4 weeks after labour. The ginger and sauce will also be eaten. This type of dish also have the benefits of improving circulation in the pelvis and removal of old blood existing from the pregnancy, as well as the effects of tonifying the yin and blood. This is a very popular dish as it helps women recover quickly after labour and lessens the side effects of labour. Please see the recipe below.
ii) Egg whites to help improve sleeping
One traditional Chinese medicine text books called “ Ben cao jing ji zhu” mentions that egg whites have cooling effects which act primarily on the heart and kidney. Chinese medicine considers that some sleeping problems are associated with heart and kidney disorders. It is believed that the heart is unable to bring blood to the kidneys and the kidneys are unable to bring fluid to the heart (this is from the yin, yang and five elements theory). These people ay suffer from the following symptoms, as well as the sleeping issues; very emotional, stress, unsettled, palpitations, vivid dreams, easily awoken, frequent urination at night time, lower back pain or lethargy. I suggest that if you suffer from these types of insomnia you can drink warm egg whites and milk whilst you are undergoing treatment. You can drink this a 2 hours before you go to bed 3 times a week.
i) Ginger, vinegar and sugar eggs
20 hard boiled eggs and remove shell
0.5 L of Chinese black vinegar
2 L of Water
250g of Fresh Ginger chopped
1 cup of brown sugar
Boil the vinegar, water, ginger and sugar on a low heat for 20 minutes. Place the hard boiled eggs into the soup and store in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. After this time the eggs are ready to eat. You can eat 1 or 2 of these eggs per day with ginger and a little amount of liquid. It is best to warm the eggs and soup before eating.
Effects: Replenish yin and blood; improve and warm the circulation.
Because this dish is rich in nutrition, people who have not been through labour can also eat this dish if they have similar conditions. This is why it is sold in many restaurants especially during winter.
ii) Egg white and milk drink
1 cup of milk
1 egg white
Mix ingredients and warm on the stove up to 70-80 degrees (while you are warming stir the liquid constantly). You can drink this 2 hours before bed time.
Effects: Clears the mind; calm the body; balance the heart and kidneys.
i) If you are unsure if you are suitable to eat eggs, please advise your experienced TCM practitioner.