TCM Perspective; Healing With Whole Foods: Congee from healing with whole Foods by paul pitch ford

This post is a cut and copy . great Info that I want to refer to myself as much as share on this blog.

TCM Perspective; Healing With Whole Foods: Congee

Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutrition by Paul Pitchford


Traditionally known as hsi-fan or “rice water,” congee is eaten throughout China as a breakfast food. It is a thin porridge or gruel consisting of a handful of rice simmered in five to six times the amount of water. Although rice is the most common grain for congees, millet, spelt, or other grains are sometimes used.
Cook the rice and water in a covered pot four to six hours on warm, or use the lowest flame possible; a crockpot works very well for congees. It is better to use too much water than too little, and is is said that the longer congee cooks, the more “powerful” it becomes.

Healing Properties: This simple rice soup is easily digested and assimilated, tonifies the blood and the qi energy, harmonizes the digestion, and is demulcent, cooling, and nourishing. Since the chronically ill person often has weak blood and low energy, and easily develops inflammations and other heat symptoms from deficiency of yin fluids, the cooling demulcent and tonifying properties of congee are particularly welcome; it is also useful for increasing a nursing mother’s supply of milk. The liquid can be strained from the porridge to drink as a supplement for infants and for serious conditions.

Other therapeutic properties may be added to the congee by cooking appropriate vegetables, grains, herbs, or meats in with the rice water. Since rice itself strengthens the spleen-pancreas digestive center, other foods added to a rice congee become more completely assimilated, and their properties are therefore enhanced. Listed below are some of the more common rice-based congees and their specific effects.*

Thirty-three common Congees:

Aduki Bean: Diuretic; curative for edema and gout

Apricot Kernel: Recommended for coughs and asthma, expels sputum and intestinal gas

Carrot: Digestive aid, eliminates flatulence

Celery: Cooling in summer; benefits large intestine

Chestnut: Tonifies kidneys, strengthens knees and loin; useful in treating anal hemorrhages

Water Chestnut: Cooling to viscera; benefits digestive organs

Chicken or Mutton Broth: Recommended for wasting illnesses and injuries

Duck or Carp Broth: Reduces edema and swelling

Fennel: Harmonizes stomach, expels gas; cures hernia

Ginger: Warming and antiseptic to viscera; used for deficient cold digestive weakness: diarrhea, anorexia, vomiting, and indigestion.

Kidney from Pig, Sheep, or Deer: Strengtherns kidneys; benefits knees and lower back; treats impotence (use organic kidney)

Leek: Warming to viscera; good for chronic diarrhea

Liver from Sheep or Chicken: Benefits diseases of the liver; very powerful (use organic organ meats)

Mallow: Moistening for feverishness; aids digestion

Mung Bean: Cooling, especially for summer heat; reduces fevers; thirst relieving

Mustard: Expels phlegm; clears stomach congestion

Salted Onion: Diaphoretic; lubricating to muscles

Black Pepper: Expels gas; recommended for pain in bowels

Red Pepper: Prevents malaria and cold conditions

Pine Nut Kernel: Moistening to heart and lungs; harmonizes large intestine; useful in wind diseases and constipation

Poppy Seed: Relieves vomiting and benefits large intestine

Purslane: Detoxifies; recommended for rheumatism and swellings

Radish: Digestant; benefits the diaphragm

Pickled Radish (salt): Benefits digestion and blood

Brown Rice: Diuretic; thirst-quenching; nourishing; good for nursing mothers

Sweet Rice: Demulcent; used for diarrhea, vomiting, and indigestion

Scallion Bulb: Cures cold diarrhea in the aged

Sesame Seed: Moistening to intestines; treats rheumatism

Shepherd’s Purse: Brightens the eyes and benefits the liver

Spinach: Harmonizing and moistening to viscera: sedative

Taro Root: Nutritious; aids the stomach; builds blood

Wheat: Cooling; used with fevers; clears digestive tract; also calming and sedating due to wheat; nourishing effect on the heart

Yogurt and Honey: Beneficial to heart and lungs

*Adapted from Chinese Medicinal Herbs, translated and researched by F. Porter Smith and G. A. Stuart; San Francisco;: Georgetown Press, 1973, p. 470.


4 Responses

  1. iam looking for a porridge with tcm herbs. is such a product made? i have an article that says it is so good for ibs. but i cant find it. could it be that i could just use congee and add the herbs. also are the herbs hot? if so i cant use them.

    • HI Ruth
      this would be a great product. let me know if you find it, but in the meantime, just throw whatever herbs suit your own imbalance into the simmer pot.

  2. Flying with Baby…

    […]TCM Perspective; Healing With Whole Foods: Congee from healing with whole Foods by paul pitch ford « Porridge[…]…

  3. Gout…

    […]TCM Perspective; Healing With Whole Foods: Congee from healing with whole Foods by paul pitch ford « Porridge[…]…

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