For cold and cough (with phlegm): The physical resemblance of the lotus root to the lungs is no coincidence. Lotus root melts all the mucous in the respiratory system and is known for its power to heal respiratory ailments. Consume it in the form of fresh lotus root tea. To make this: grate lotus root and squeeze its juice (to make ½ a cup of juice); stir into ½ cup of water and boil (stirring constantly at first; reduce flame and allow to simmer for 3–4 minutes). Drink while hot.
To eliminate excess fat: Consume this carrot-radish (mooli) drink. Place half a cup each of grated carrots and radish in a saucepan with 1 ½ cups of water; bring to a boil and then allow it to simmer for a few minutes.
To relieve fatigue or anxiety and to increase vitality: Native to Japan, the kudzu plant was introduced to the USA way back in 1876 as an ornamental plant. The starch that makes kudzu an outstanding thickening agent in cooking is also partly responsible for its medicinal properties. Some of kudzu’s complex starch molecules enter the intestines and relieve the discomfort caused by excessive acidity and bacterial infections. These also rid the body of excess water, offering relief to those suffering from diarrhea. The flavanoids in kudzu help to improve the flow of blood and relieve cramps.
To prepare kudzu tea, mix one heaped teaspoon of kudzu (available from: Wakaba Japanese Food Co; call: 09873923036) in one glass of water (room temperature). You may add some ginger juice.
To cure yourself of sweet cravings and to relax the stomach, body and muscles: This sweet vegetable drink can be consumed whenever you like, but it should be enjoyed warm. Use equal amounts of finely chopped onions, carrots, cabbage and squash (bhopala). Boil this in four times the amount of water; lower the flame, and let it simmer for 20 minutes. Strain the vegetables from the broth (these can be used in soups/stews later), and drink.
To strengthen immunity: Shiitake mushrooms have been highly valued as both, food and medicine, since ancient times. Famous Ming dynasty physician, Wu Ri wrote extensively about their ability to boost energy, cure colds and eliminate intestinal worms. Traditional Chinese physicians believed the forest mushroom also had the power to charge the “qi” or “life force” and to promote longevity.
Dried shiitake contains 25 percent protein. It also has high levels of glutamic acid, which is considered to be “brain food” due to its ability to stimulate neurotransmitter activity as well as its ability to transport potassium to the brain. Shiitake mushrooms are also a rich source of Vitamin B 12, (this is not available in vegetables), riboflavin, niacin, copper, selenium, zinc, dietary fiber and enzymes. They also contain ergosterol, which converts to Vitamin D in the body, and an active compound called lentinan, a polysaccharide that strengthens the immune system.
To enjoy the health benefits of shiitake mushrooms, soak 1-2 shiitake mushrooms in water for 10-12 minutes, then, boil these in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes. Drink half a cup at a time.
To get rid of a persistent cough: Make a tea with holy basil (tulsi) and drink warm. It’s a good idea to prepare this in the morning and reserve in a flask, so you can have it throughout the day. To make the tea, mix a fistful of tulsi leaves (washed, but kept intact with stems) and about ten peppercorns (crushed) in six cups of water — boil for an hour and a half (until the water level reduces). Drink while warm.