Jun 21, 2013

    TCM remedies for haze irritation

    IF YOU have been experiencing respiratory discomfort brought on by the persisting haze, you might want to try herbal brews and soups that may help you breathe easier.

    And the ingredients for such remedies - such as white fungus, green bean and liquorice - can be easily found at Chinese medicine halls and supermarkets.

    Ms Tjioe Yan Yin, a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) physician at Nanyang Technological University's TCM Clinic, told My Paper: "The haze is very drying for the lungs; there are certain soups and drinks that can help to moisturise and nourish them."

    One simple dish that can counter the harmful effects of the haze is white-fungus dessert (see sidebar), said Ms Tjioe.

    Those who like savoury soups can try boiling Chinese pear with lean pork and apricot kernels, she said.

    Making the haze worse is Singapore's hot climate and high humidity, which can worsen the smog-related irritation experienced by people, said Mr Zhang Mao Ji, head physician at TCM centre Long Zhong Tang.

    He said that respiratory problems that people may experience from the haze could lead to ear, nose and throat illnesses.

    Mr Zhang recommended TCM remedies such as cooling teas to counter the respiratory irritations.

    In addition, watermelon juice, chrysanthemum tea and green-bean soup, all of which have cooling properties, can help people cope with Singapore's heat and humidity.

    To soothe throat irritation or dry cough, Ms Tjioe suggested taking raw liquorice. This herb helps reduce throat inflammation.

    However, these herbal brews and soups may not be suitable for everyone.

    Xin Hua TCM Therapy noted that people with watery bowel movements or high fevers, for example, should avoid taking such remedies.

    Mr Zhang added that the remedies may not be suitable for everyone, even if they have the same haze-related irritation. This is because what one can take depends on his or her constitution and pre-existing medical conditions, if any.

    All the TCM physicians that My Paper spoke to said that those who are unsure of their medical condition should seek professional advice.

    "People with chronic diseases, as well as those with a low immune system, should consult their Western doctors," said TCM physician Lim Lay Beng of YS Healthcare TCM Clinic.