According to the lunar calendar, November 8 is “Lidong”, the beginning of winter. It has long been a tradition to eat certain foods on this day to boost energy levels and to stay warm.
But one practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine is telling consumers to think carefully about the winter tonics they buy. That’s because energy-boosting ingredients and herbs are not necessarily good for everyone.
The lunar calendar says that winter has just arrived. And although temperatures in northern Taiwan remained in mid-20s on Friday, some people still followed the old tradition of eating certain foods thought to promote wellness at the beginning of the season. Popular choices include sesame oil chicken and mutton stew.
But while tonic foods like these give a boost of energy, they are not suitable for everyone. Cheng Ho-chu practices traditional Chinese medicine. Cheng says pregnant women and those with high blood pressure or constipation should stay away from foods like these. So too should people who have caught a cold.
Cheng suggests “eight-treasure soup” instead, a relatively mild health food. This pork soup is boiled with eight herbs, such as ginseng, licorice, dried jujube, and Chinese wolfberries.
Cheng says pork can be replaced with bitter gourds and daikon. Chicken soup with black Chinese mushrooms and garlic is also a good choice.