Eggs are very popular all around the world. They contain protein, and are full of vitamins and minerals, necessary for good health. They are also very versatile and can be cooked in a number of different ways for both sweet and savoury dishes.
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 provide great nutrition to our bodies, but also have special health benefits for women following labour, or anyone who has suffered a long-term illness.
Health effects of eggs
Tonifying Yin and Blood
A very famous traditional herbal book called Ben cao gang mu, states that egg yolk tonifies Yin and Blood. During labour, the body looses a lot of fluid and blood in a short time, which leads to a deficiency in Yin and Blood. This may lead to the following symptoms:
- dry skin
- hair loss.
Women who breast feed straight after labour may further deplete their Yin and Blood.
Chinese medicine considers that replacing Yin and Blood is very important for new mums in order for them to recover from the process of labour. It’s also important to ensure your body produces nutritious, good quality milk for breast feeding. In Chinese medicine theory, breast milk is produced from blood so it is important that the Yin and Blood are replenished.
In some parts of China, families prepare ginger, vinegar and sugar eggs in the lead up to a birth. Following the arrival of the baby, the mother eats these for at least four weeks, along with the ginger and sauce.
This dish helps improve circulation in the pelvis and assists the body remove the old blood from the pregnancy (i.e. postpartum menstruation). It also tonifies the Yin and the Blood. This dish is very popular in China, as it helps women recover quickly after labour, and reduces the side effects associated with labour. We have included the recipe at the end of this article.
If you’ve just delivered a baby, it’s recommended you one or two boiled eggs per day for at least four weeks after labour. According to Chinese medicine, boiled eggs hold the most Qi and energy, as they are cooked within the shell.
Egg whites to help improve sleeping
According to the traditional Chinese medicine text book called Ben cao jing ji zhu, 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).
If you suffer from Heart and Kidney disorders you may experience the following symptoms, in addition to problems sleeping:
- feeling very emotional
- vivid dreams
- light sleeper, easily awoken
- frequent urination at night time
- lower back pain
Drinking warm egg whites and milk whilst you are undergoing treatment can help. You can drink this a two hours before you go to bed, up to three times a week.
Ginger, vinegar and sugar eggs
This dish is highly nutritious and suitable for anyone suffering the symptoms mentioned above. In fact, this dish is sold in many restaurants during winter.
- 20 hard boiled eggs, shell removed
- 500ml of Chinese black vinegar
- 2L 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. Let the eggs and soup mixture cool before storing in the refrigerator for two 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; improves and warms the circulation.
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; calms the body; balances the Heart and Kidneys.
If you are unsure whether you should eat eggs, please speak to your experienced TCM practitioner.