During confinement, sufficient fluid intake is very important. Here, warm tea made from qi-restoring berries and dates will boost circulation and vitality and even promote breast milk production through the invigoration of mind and body.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is all about rebalancing an out-of-balance or “Yin” body after childbirth. TCM is all about Yin and Yang and the two should ideally be in equilibrium for overall health and disposition.
What is Qi?
Wikipedia says: “In Chinese traditional Chinese culture, qi or ch’i is believed to be a vital force forming part of any living entity. Qi translates as “air” and figuratively as “material energy”, “life force”, or “energy flow”. Qi is the central underlying principle in Chinese traditional medicine and in Chinese martial arts.
Here are two simple recipes to make confinement tea to restore your qi and rebalance your system. Both recipes are from Whattocooktoday.com.
Goji Berry Tea
Goji Berry is also called Wolfberry. You would have seen the dried version sold all over Malaysia ─ in supermarkets in the dried food section, in health and grocery stores and of course, in Chinese Medicine Halls. You can also buy them online and have them delivered to your house.
Health Benefits of the Goji Berry
Goji Berry is a bright orange-red berry that comes from a shrub native to China. Throughout Asia, goji berries have been eaten for generations in the hope of living longer.
Part of the Solonaceae plant family (which also includes the tomato and potato), goji berries are also known as Lycium barbarum. Its benefits ─ known throughout the ages and now backed by Western medical science, include: Protecting the eyes, protects against cancer, provides immune system support, promotes healthy skin, stabilizes blood sugar, improves depression, anxiety and sleep and protects the liver.
TCM goes one step further to say it can rebalance your qi ─ which, if you think about it, is true, since it has so many restorative and protective powers. It is not a miracle elixir however ─ nothing in life is, there is no magic food ─ but as far as goji berries are concerned, they will do their job in helping mum recovery from the trauma of child birth.
In TCM, goji berries are neither heaty nor cooling but neutral ─ perfect for consumption for overall health. These berries can be used as tea, put in soups, stir-fries or just munched as snacks like raisins. As part of confinement diet, you can add red dates (jujubes) or Chinese black dates to make your drink “heatier”.
Goji Berry Tea is simply dried goji berries steeped in hot water to release mild fragrant aroma to be enjoyed as nourishing beverage. (It is called tea because the colour of the water it is steeped in resembles tea).
- 1/4 cup of good quality dried goji berry
- 3 cups of hot water
Good quality goji berry is easy to spot. It’s large and has bright orange red color. Wash the goji berries in cold water a few times. Drain off water. Place them in a heat-proof container (with lid like a teapot) and pour in three cups of hot water. Cover with the lid and let them steep for 1 hour. Uncover and its ready to enjoy.
Easy nourishing Chinese Red Dates Tea
Red dates or jujubes as they are called has amazing benefits too.
These red dates are known to have an anti-inflammatory effects, they are good for overall skin complexion, improves digestion, improve relaxations, and helps to ease ailment such as sore throat. Chinese red dates have fibre, potassium, calcium, iron (good for blood), magnesium, folate (very important for baby’s spinal chord development) and Vitamins K and B. They are therefore high in antioxidants such as flavonoids and phenolics.
In pregnancy, the Chinese believe that red dates have “tonic” effect on the liver for a pregnant woman (however it should not be taken earlier than 34 weeks) and also to the baby. Some researches have shown that red dates help with easier labour and delivery.
Again, please note that it is meant to be taken late in the pregnancy as it helps with contraction of the smooth muscles and stimulates uterine contraction.
The study also says with consumption of six Chinese red dates from 37 weeks on, less labour induction, caesarian section and instrument-assisted delivery are needed.
As a Confinement Beverage
It is also believed that post-pregnancy, the body loses “heat” or qi. Red dates are neither heaty or cooling but is a “warm” food nonetheless belonging to the Yang category. It has the effect of replenishing vital energy, nourishing blood and calming the nerves. It also restores spleen and stomach function. Red dates have 70 to 80 times more Vitamin C than grapes and apples. As a tonic for postpartum, you can consume the tea daily to almost replace the amount of water you drink daily.
- 50 gr dried red dates
- 800 ml water
- Rinse the dates cleaned with water. You don’t need to core the red dates and just leave the pits inside. (Or buy the cored ones from AEON if you like although the pits have nutrients too. Just don’t swallow them as they are inedible) Take each date and use a pointy scissors or a small paring knife to create five to seven slits around the edge on one end of the dates. This helps to release flavour to the tea.
- Place the red dates in a saucepan. Pour in water. Bring it to a boil and then lower the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for the next one hour. Let it cool down and it will be ready to drink. If you like, you can combine goji berries with red dates. Why not power-pack the goodness of two of Asia’s most nutritious fruits?
Combining the Two
- Give the goji berries and red dates a gentle rinse under cool, running water.
- In a pot, combine the goji berries, red dates and water.
- Cover and bring to a boil before lowering heat and simmering for an hour.
- If you prefer your tea sweeter, stir in rock sugar until dissolved.
- Goji berry and red dates herbal tea can be enjoyed hot or cold.(For confinement, enjoy it hot).
Note: Goji Berries and Red Dates brew are great for regulating menstruation in women, and for men ─ it’s great for improving sperm count too!
For more nourishing recipes, visit Motherhood.com.my