How to keep your child healthy with Chinese medicine
BY ALEX YU
In the view of Chinese medicine, from birth to adulthood, the growing and developing human body has significant physical, physiological and pathological differences in each stage. Therefore, a child should not be taken as a miniature adult and given nutritious supplements that are usually for grownups. During growth, a child’s organs are not fully developed and cannot function well, especially their lungs, spleen and kidneys. They can easily catch a cold, cough and vomit as well as suffering from diarrhea, enuresis, edema and other illnesses. Focusing on their physiological characteristics, the best nutritious supplements for children are not expensive Chinese medicine like ginseng, but some food supplements that are easy to digest and can strengthen their lungs, spleen and kidneys. Here are some of them:
Sesame is sweet in flavor and neutral in nature, acting on the channels of the liver and the kidney. It contains 60 percent fatty acids, most of which are unsaturated fatty acids (oleic acid, linoleic acid and arachidic acid). Sesame invigorates the liver and the kidney, and moisturizes the organs. It is usually used to combat dryness in fall and treat deficiencies of the liver and the kidney, dizziness due to internal weakness, dry stool and difficult defecation, weakness during convalescence, early graying of hair, and lack of lactation in women.
Walnut kernel is sweet in flavor and warm in nature, acting on the channels of the kidney and the lung. It contains 40 to 50 percent fatty acids (mainly trilinolein), protein, carbohydrate, calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, vitamin B1, B2, and nicotinic acid. Its functions include warming the lungs to relieve asthma and moisturizing the intestines to relax the bowels. It is used to treat symptoms due to deficiency of kidney function, asthma, cough, lumbago and beriberi, impotence, constipation, frequent urination and enuresis.
Hyacinth bean is sweet in flavor and warm in nature, hyacinth bean contains large amounts of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and minerals. It acts on the channels of the spleen and stomach. Its functions include invigorating the spleen to eliminate dampness. It is used to treat spleen deficiency with dampness, fatigue, anorexia, diarrhea, leukorrhagia due to hypofunction of the spleen, as well as diseases caused by summer-heat and dampness.
Ginkgo seed is bitter in flavor and neutral in nature, acting on the lung channel. It contains carbohydrates, protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, various kinds of amino acids and riboflavin. Its functions include inducing astringency, arresting discharge, arresting spontaneous emission, and leukorrhagia. It is used to treat asthma attacks, spontaneous emission, enuresis and frequency of urination.
Luo Han Guo
Luo Han Guo is sweet in flavor and cool in nature, acting on the channels of the lung and the large intestine. It can moisturize the lung and the intestine, and clearing away heat. It is used to treat cough, aphonia, sore throat and constipation due to intestinal dryness. It can also prevent asthma attack.
Honey is sweet in flavor and neutral in nature, acting on the channels of the lung, the spleen and the large intestine. It contains fructose, glucose, a little sucrose, and maltose. It can strengthen the spleen and stomach, moisten dryness, relieve spasm and cough, and clear away toxic materials. It treats cough due to lung dryness, constipation due to intestine dryness, epigastralgia, rhinorrhea with thick, opaque discharge, aphtha, scalds, and burns.
Alex Yu is a registered Chinese medicine practitioner in Hong Kong and a doctoral candidate of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine. He holds a master of Chinese medicine and bachelor of Chinese medicine and science from Hong Kong Baptist University.
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