Red azuki beans and odema

You can often purchase red azuki beans (adzuki or aduki beans) within health food shops. They are also called red beans in China. They are deep red in colour and spherical in shape. They have excellent properties in dehydrating, removing dampness, reducing swelling and eliminating toxins. Therefore, Chinese practitioners commonly use them as a form of medication, to be used as a prescriptive treatment. Traditionally, red azuki beans are commonly used in Chinese cooking and red bean soup is a very popular desert in most of the Chinese restaurants.

1. Cause of Oedema

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Oedema is a very common symptom seen in the clinic.  Oedema can be a disease or it can be the result of another disease or disorder of the internal organs.  Although there are many possible causes, Chinese Medicine believes that oedema is usually associated with Kidney Yang deficiency, Spleen Yang deficiency, Blood stagnation, Qi stagnation, Damp or Phlegm.  All of these disorders will finally cause reduced circulation resulting in fluid becoming stuck in certain areas, causing oedema.

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2. Symptoms of Oedema

Depending on the cause of the Oedema, the puffiness or swelling can occur in different parts of the body – the ankles, knees, arms, facial area or even the whole body.  The body will usually experience other symptoms in conjunction with the oedema: joint pain, lack of energy, bloating, sluggish bowel movement, weight gain, scanty urination.

If you are suffering from oedema, I suggest you find out the cause as it may be a sign of disorder in the internal organs.  During your common treatment, you can eat certain foods to help expel the fluid – Red Azuki Beans are one of these foods. I suggest you have a certain amount of the red bean soup – see the recipe below.

3. Health Effects of Red Azuki Beans

i) Reduce Fluid Retention

Traditional Chinese Medicine texts mention that red beans are sweet in taste and have an affinity for the Spleen organ and channel by promoting transportation of the fluid, helping the body pass more fluid and reduce the oedema. It is suitable for the symptoms mentioned above.

Red beans are also very suitable in damp, wet areas or humid seasons. Eating red beans regularly in these conditions can help the body avoid the affects of external pathogenic dampness.

Red beans can also be used in conjunction with a weight loss program, where the weight is due to excess fluid retention.

ii) Clear Skin Heat & Toxins

Chinese Medicine considers that some skin conditions are due to heat and toxins in the blood. For example, rash, pimples and boils. If you have these symptoms you can eat red bean & mung bean soup in conjunction with your regular therapy. Please see the recipe below.

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4. Recipes

i) Red Bean Soup

Boil 1 handful of red beans in 4 cups of water until the beans are soft.
You can drink the soup and eat the beans 2-3 times per week to reduce oedema.

Effects of the dish:
Promote water metabolism, pass more fluid, reduce oedema.

ii) Red Azuki Beans & Mung Bean Soup

Boil 1 handful each of Red Azuki Beans & Mung Beans in 4 cups of water for 15 minutes on low. Drink the soup only 2-3 times per week.

Effects of the dish:
Clear skin and heat toxins; help the symptoms mentioned above.

5. Precautions

i) If you have constipation (dry stool) avoid eating red beans.
ii) If you are unsure whether red beans are suitable for you, consult your experienced Traditional Chinese health practitioner.

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