Eggplant is a vegetable which are usually purple in colour, some and long and round in shape and other are just round. Occasionally, you can buy white eggplants. Eggplant is a seasonal vegetable but it provides great nutritional benefit for digestion, especially food stagnant in the intestine, haemorrhoids and heat in the digestive system.
1. What is food stagnation?
Chinese medicine considers that some body diseases are caused by food stagnation. Generally, after eating the body takes time to digest food; it needs to breakdown the food, transport the food, absorb nutrients and finally remove the remains from the intestine. Problems arise when these processes are slowed down, with the undigested foods building up causing heat and toxins which is known as food stagnation, particularly in the large intestine.
When food is stagnant in the intestine, it will cause the following symptoms: constipation, pungent flatulence, hemorrhoids with bleeding, after bowel movement feel burning or pain sensation around the anus area. If the body absorbs toxins from the undigested food over a long period of time, the following symptoms may occur: Head ache, insomnia, very emotional, bloating, weight gain, lack of energy, high cholesterol, heart burn and high blood sugar level. For children, children may have unsettled sleep, crying at night, perspiration on forehead and a red face.
Traditional Chinese medicine quotes “If you want to be healthy, your intestines need to be cleared and empty”. This is like your house, the house must be cleaned so that you have a good environment to live. I suggest that you should choose certain natural foods to eat which can help to naturally and regularly help to clear food stagnation, which has been building up over time to prevent or reduce the symptoms we mentioned above. Eggplant is one of these foods you can eat.
2. Eggplant can help to clear the large intestine
An ancient traditional Chinese herbal book <’Ben Cao Shi Yi’> records “eggplant has cooling characteristics and effects the digestive systems, which can help to remove the heat and food stagnation, especially in the large intestine”. If you have any of the symptoms mentioned above, whilst you are undergoing your treatment you can eat eggplant to help improve your condition. I suggest a stir-fried eggplant – please see the recipe below.
Eggplant helps to improve food stagnation through the following ways:
1) It can improve the peristalsis (waves of contraction) of the stomach and intestines to help remove the food from that day and avoiding the production of the heat toxins which occurs from old undigested food.
2) If there is lots of heat in the digestive system, the stagnation of the heat will radiate towards to anus area which will cause hemorrhoids, pain, or bleeding, especially after bowl movement. As eggplant has cooling effects, eating this vegetable will help in the reduction of heat and cooling the intestine. Thus is is very helpful in reducing pain, bleeding and heat sensation around the anus area.
I remember when I was little in Beijing, every summer eggplant was a very popular vegetable in the market. Every family would eat it a few times a week, after learning Traditional Chinese Medicine, I realised that people eat eggplant during the hot season is to help to clear body and intestinal heat which will help to balance body ying and yang to avoid disease from the hot season. Most seasonal vegetables can help to balance your body for that particular season.
1) Stir-fried eggplan
t This is a very popular dish in Chinese families and can even be brought in restaurants. This is very simple to cook and is delicious.
1 eggplant chopped into 2cm pieces
3 cloves of garlic chopped into small pieces
3 teaspoons of olive oil
1 cup of water
Fry the eggplant, water and oil on a low heat. Slowly cook until the eggplant is soft and add the garlic on top and cook for another two minutes. You can add salt and pepper for taste.
Effects: Clears intestines and body heat and helps bowel movement.
1) For certain conditions it is best to avoid eggplants, for example, diarrhea, during menstruation and those with aversion to cold.
2) If you are unsure whether you should eat eggplant, please visit an experienced TCM practitioner.