A basic concept in Chinese Medicine is that successful medical treatment is hastened, and the patient made more comfortable, by nursing appropriate to the particular disorder. We used to have this in this Western Medicine, too, especially with infectious disease. I remember my mother giving my sister and I “sponge baths” with alcohol or witch hazel to lower our fever when we had chicken pox (or was it measles?.) And when we stayed home from school with the flu or a bad cold we received hot tea and toast in place of normal food. Both are fond memories.
Chinese Medicine observes that infectious diseases of the respiratory tract primarily involve heat (fever, infection, inflammation–characterized by either raised temperature or redness of tissues). And as in nature, heat results in dryness.
Heat drys our tissues the same way it drys plants and soil in nature.
The most common Kitchen Medicine in the East for the lungs are Pears. Pears are cooling and moistening which in moderation is how the lungs like to be. Not only do pear’s cool energy counteract the heat building in your lungs with infection, but their viscous moist quality is a natural lubricant for the mucous membranes of the lungs, with expectorant qualities, too.
Bite into a ripe pear. Compare with a ripe Apple. Pears have a viscous quality. This is a moistening characteristic that targets the lungs and nasal passages, and makes them excellent food this time of year, raw or cooked. Apples are more crisp, and slightly astringent. They are excellent for the intestines, but can aggravate “Vata” or “Wind” becuase of their astringency.
In Autumn, which is a naturally dry time of year where i live, I use pear in salads a lot. Here is a favorite I learned years ago. Its simple and delicious and cleansing. Most of the year I use apple, but in Autumn I switch to pear. Any kind of pear is good, but Asian pears are the most cooling and moistening to the lungs.
Pear Waldorf Salad (hold the mayo!)
1 cup chopped Celery
1/2 cup chopped Walnut or Cashews
Depending on your taste, Walnut is more bitter and I would say stands out or contrasts the cashew more, which is itself a bit sweet.
2/3 cup chopped Yellow Asian Pear.
That’s it! You can modify this recipe to taste. I like to use a high ration of celery, since it’s a wonderful Kidney, Blood, and Intestinal Cleanser.
And this is a tempting way to get it in your diet
But if you want to make the dish sweeter, add more fruit.
Sometimes I add toasted Sesame Seeds, too.
One can also add some fresh or bottled pear juice to make it sweeter for children.
Where to buy Asian Pears? Asian pears are ludicrously expensive at American markets. Go to Nijiya Japanese market on Convoy St. or the 99 Ranch Chinese Market on Clairemont Mesa Blvd, for the best prices and variety. Perhaps the best are the Yellow Korean Pears. Korea is famous for its pears in east Asia.
Asian Pears can be cooked, too. They are commonly boiled with licorice root for dry cough in Korea and with a kind of barley called Job’s tears in China. You can just boil a pear or two, and when cooked, add some honey, which also moistens the lungs.Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego