Orange you glad your tummy feels better?
Updated: Jul 16
Summertime heat and farmers markets beg for cold, damp foods to be consumed: watermelon, cucumbers, raw salads, and – of course – ice cream. For many of us with finicky digestive systems these delights are a recipe for digestive distress. Often for symptoms such as a full chest, loose stools, fatigue, indigestion with bloating, poor appetite, distention, and nausea – you know, the “I think I shouldn’t have eaten that” gut - Chen Pi is the answer. Its warm, dry nature counteracts the cold and damp of these other foods. Chen Pi (aged peel) is the peel of tangerines that has been dried. There is evidence that Chen Pi operates by increasing peristalsis (muscles moving your food through the digestive tract) and reducing inflammation.
You can, of course, obtain the real thing from a Chinese Herbal Dispensary. You can dehydrate your own peels, and if you're the kind of person who likes direction, here are some instructions. Or you can use the ultimate TCM Herbal hack and switch out whatever you currently put on your toast for orange marmalade. This latter is probably the easiest but least effective and comes with a lot of sugar; it is a hack, after all. If you opt for dried peels, boil for about 15 minutes to make a tea or search on line for wide ranging recipe ideas: grilled, bread, and candied just to name a few. Have these a few times each week to support your digestion of other summertime favorites.
Because its action is warming and drying if you experience a lot of heat symptoms or dryness (think dry cough or hot flashes as examples), avoid the Chen Pi for now and ask your acupuncturist for a more suitable alternative. Acupuncture is also a great way to support a happy digestive system.
Source: Chen & Chen, Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology.
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