Tag Archives: cold remedy

Congee

21 Mar

The last post I published had to do with me getting a cold.  Luckily, I am over that hurdle now, but in the meantime I came up with a great healing breakfast that utilizes a recent fermentation that I posted:  Mak Kimchi.    Almost every day last week, I ate congee for breakfast, mixed with kimchi, some tamari sauce, and a fried duck egg on top.  It looked about like this:

20140321-225815.jpgCongee is a Chinese food that is commonly eaten during illness.  Part of the premise of congee as a healing food is that the rice porridge, cooked for an extended time, is  nourishing and easily digested so that vital chi is not wasted on the effort of digestion, but instead the body’s energy is reserved for the effort of healing.  I believe congee can be found in other Asian cuisines as well, but I was introduced to it at a New York downtown Chinese restaurant, appropriately named Congee Village.   Kimchi is decidedly Korean, so my preparation of congee could perhaps be called Asian fusion, although Doctor Google has told me that actually Koreans have a similar porridge called juk.

My dancer friend Rebecca often comes into rehearsals with a glow in her eye, saying “I made congee last night.”  The choreographer we work for has attested to her amazing congee making skills.  When I  asked her how she makes this awesome congee, she replied.  “It’s very easy, you just add a shitload of ginger.”

So, I followed Rebecca’s advice.  Here is my version of congee:

Adele’s Sick-Week Breakfast Congee:

Rinse 1 cup of rice.  I mixed half white and half brown rices together.  Traditionally, you would use a short grained sushi rice.

Put the rice in a 4 quart slow cooker.  Mix it with 1 tsp sesame oil.

Add 10 cups of water (that’s what I did this time) or chicken stock (more traditional), and a dash of salt.

On top, grate a shitload of ginger.  (whatever that means to you.  Sorry, I didn’t measure.)  I grated about two inches worth of ginger, basically, what I had on hand.

Cook on low in your slow cooker overnight.  I like to start my slow cooker on high for the first hour to heat things up, and after that, I turned it on low and set it for an 8 hour cook time.

To serve, add mak kimchi, tamari, and a fried egg that’s still a little runny on top.  Scallions would be nice too.

Enjoy!

Alewife gets a cold, engages with Osha root: Monica’s tincture.

13 Mar

Brooklyn Alewife has a cold.  I thought I got through this winter without getting  sick at all.  Till now.  I do recall some time in mid-January, I almost got sick and warded it off with plenty of sleep, elderberry brandy, herb teas, and an amazing Osha root-based tincture from my friend Monica.   She discovered the root via her now ex-boyfriend, who left a bunch of it behind, and she began chewing it straight-up to help her overcome a lingering illness.  Liking it a lot, she found that she particularly liked it in combination with both red root and cherry bark.  Periodically when I got a threatening tickle in my throat this year, instead of taking cough drops I took a half-dropper of Monica’s tincture.  It soothed my throat as well as warding off whatever germs were attacking me.

hallsgood.preview

These halls ads were all over the subway a coupla years ago. I feel like this lady right now.

Osha root (Ligusticum porteri)  is an herb that Monica introduced me to last year.  It’s native to the Southwestern US and Mexico, and my herbal books seem to have a blind spot for it.  My wellness wall chart in my kitchen sites it for sinusitus, because of it’s anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities.  A quick google search led me straight to Wikipedia, and the picture of Osha looks much like poison hemlock, which is not too surprising because both plants are in the parsley family.  The plants are easily distinguished by smell, however.  Hemlock has a mousy smell when the leaves are crushed, whereas Osha has a celery smell to it.  This celery smell and taste is noticeable to me in consumption of the dried root.   Osha is sometimes called bear root, because brown bears are attracted to it, both eating the roots and rubbing it on their fur.

Researching Osha today, I find via both Susun Weed’s website  and on the Mountain Rose herbs website an advisory that Osha is an at-risk species, to use sparingly.  Guilt rises in me, as I just bought two ounces of the root yesterday (okay, that’s not that much).  Because of the scarcity of the root, you should be mindful of your herbal sources:  Do you get your supplies from someone who harvests sustainably?

English: Ligusticum porteri variety porteri (o...

English: Ligusticum porteri variety porteri (osha, Porter’s lovage, Porter’s licoriceroot, loveroot, etc.), showing flowers and part of seedhead, Winsor Trail, Santa Fe National Forest, near Santa Fe, New Mexico. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Weed sites Osha as a very powerful herb that helps to prevent against anaphylactic shock and other extreme reactions to both allergens and venoms.   She also refers to it as “singer’s root,” because of its soothing effect on the throat.  I have noticed it listed as an ingredient in prepared herbal remedies such as “Singer’s Saving Grace,” and “Old Indian Wild Cherry Bark,”  two remedies that I have used over the years when I am sick.  The good news is, a little goes a long way.  I was not sparing in my use this winter, and an ounce of diluted tincture lasted me the entire season.

Here’s what Monica did.  Keep in mind, neither Monica nor I are trained herbalists, but amateurs dabbling in herbal crafts, experimenting researching, and having conversations.  Do your own research.  Check out the resource linked, for instance in this article.  Take your herbs with respect and caution.   Via Weed, 2 oz. of dried roots should be combined with 10 oz. of high-proof alcohol.

Monica’s Osha tincture:

In a glass jar, combine

2 oz coursley chopped osha root

2/3 oz cherry bark (read more about it here)

1 and 1/3 oz red root. (read more about it here)

Cover the roots with 20 oz. 100-proof vodka.  Cap the jar tightly, and let it sit for a year.  If some of the alcohol evaporates, you can top it off.

Tinctures are generally consumed  a few drops at a time in a glass of water.  Monica chose to dilute her master tincture with distilled water to a still strong but more directly ingestable level (Dilute yours to taste if you go this route:  she just said, “I put a lot of water in there.” I’m going to guess my bottle is half distilled water).  If you dilute the whole tincture, you will shorten the shelf life, but is a nice way to carry it around and apply at will on the bus, on the road, whatever, even if you don’t have a bottle of water with you.

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