Drinking Congee for Cold Season

With fall quickly approaching, we should be getting ready for cold season. Of course, the best plan is to not get sick by keeping your stress low, sleeping and eating well and washing your hands often. However, in the event a cold does make it past your immune system, it is best to be prepared with a tool box to fight with!

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Congee- or rice porridge- is frequently used to deliver medicinal herbs or foods into the body in a gentle and easily absorbed way. Depending on the condition of the patient the doctor will suggest specific herbs, spices or foods to be added to the congee to treat the ailment. Congee is made with plain white rice and should be cooked until it is thin enough to drink.

Here are 2 recipes I often prescribe for colds and cough that are common in the fall and early winter months:

For the beginning stages of a cold with chills, low grade fever, body aches, mild headache, congestion and a mild cough

Ingredients:

5 Whole Scallions
15g (about 4 or 5 one inch slices) Fresh Ginger Root

100g (1/2 c) White Rice (not long grain)

Cook rice into a porridge. You can do this over low heat on the stove on in a crock pot. It will take about 2-3 hours. Mash the scallions and ginger into a pulp (a quick trip through the food processor will work too). Add pulp to porridge and simmer for 20 more minutes. Divide into 2 or 3 doses and warm drink every 4 hours. Add water to reheat if needed.

 

For a cough with phlegm and wheezing with possible vomiting of phlegm

Ingredients:

60g (3/4-1 cup) Chopped Fresh Mustard Greens

100g (1/2 c) White Rice (not long grain)

Wash and cut mustard greens. Add to rice and cook into a porridge. You can do this over low heat on the stove on in a crock pot. It will take about 2-3 hours. Divide into 2 or 3 doses and warm drink every 4 hours. Add water to reheat if needed.