Season of Food Stagnation

My grandmother loved to eat. Even in 1980s Mainland China with strict household food rationing, she always had sweets and snacks to share with me. The last time I saw her in Beijing, just a few months before she passed away at age 85, she was bedridden and not able to speak clearly. However, she could still communicate to me that she wanted a plate of fried chicken from the corner market.

The snack I associate most closely with my grandmother is haw flakes (see image below), which she used to give me, one flake at a time. This tart and sweet candy is made from hawthorn fruit or Shan Zha, a staple of the Chinese Medicine pharmacopeia used to treat what we diagnose as “food stagnation”. In other words, when you eat too much and need some digestive help, Shan Zha is your friend. Along with other herbs that treat food stagnation, Shan Zha contains enzymes that help with the digestion of fats and proteins. It’s also a great herb for those with high cholesterol.

As many of us enjoy large, decadent meals during this holiday and winter season, it becomes even more helpful to make friends with our body and digestive system. Through regular acupuncture treatments, we can speed up food metabolism, decrease gastrointestinal discomforts like bloating and gas, and regulate bowel movements. Finding the right herbal formula for your digestive constitution can also work wonders on both acute and chronic health issues.

If you’re curious, book a phone consultation! For the rest of December, Bitter Melon Acupuncture is offering free initial phone consultations. Just email to schedule a time.

Happy eating!