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Chinese barley water recipe

Today, I’ll be sharing with you two simple TCM recipes using Chinese Pearl Barley (薏苡 / 薏仁), Chrysanthemum (菊花) & Ginger (姜). Barley & Chrysanthemum are couple of very popular Chinese home remedies traditionally known for their "cooling" properties, & have been prescribed as a “therapy” for sore throat, fevers etc.
Just recently, the whole of Singapore was engulfed in haze due to forest fires in Indonesia. Public had been advised to use the #N95 masks as it was affecting our health. With people scrambling to get these masks, it ran out of stock quickly. Not just that, there was also reports that supermarket items such as Green Beans, Chrysanthemum & Barley etc were also running low.Due to the haze, a lot of people were down with sore throat & cough. In TCM, the items mentioned above are believed to help relieve these symptoms as well as to increase our immunity. Chinese Pearl Barley (薏苡 / 薏仁) is used as a traditional Chinese tonic for the skin, lungs, & spleen, while Chrysanthemum Tea (菊花茶) is an extremely potent herbal tea as it helps to clear heat & toxic materials which have accumulated within the body.
During the haze period, an old schoolmate of mine sent me a recipe via #WhatsApp. To beat the haze, many households are meticulously making the Barley & Chrysanthemum drinks for their loved ones to consume. Interestingly in this recipe, an extra ingredient is added – Ginger!I’m sure a lot of you are aware of the goodness of this wonder plant, which promotes health & healing in many ways. #Ginger is an incredible herb with powerful anti-inflammatory properties & more. I love the aroma of ginger & often add slices of ginger into my cooking. But this time, let’s just stick to herbal remedy which you can use them for #post-haze healing too.医师建议与你们分享, 请帮忙把简讯发出去.

应付目前的烟雾空气污染, 用食疗法帮助:
1方 : 早上冲泡菊花, 姜小片, 冰糖. 冲泡15分钟就可喝。
功能, 清散风热, 减少烟雾对肺部的刺激。

2方: 下午煮喝薏米水(中国薏米 有黑线的 )加2姜片, 冰糖 共煮40分钟以上。
功能: 健脾, 清热, 利尿, 让身体从小便排出有害物。
请记住放姜片, 一或两片就好, 因为菊花, 薏米为凉性, 姜片是保护中焦脾胃阳气。

The above was the msg I received from Kat, who had kindly shared the recipe with her friends. According to the doctor’s recommendation, we’re supposed to drink the #ChrysanthemumTea in the morning, & #Barley in the afternoon. The recipe specifically called for not just any barley, but #ChinesePearlBarley.

Handful of Chrysanthemum
3-5 pieces of Rock Sugar (adjust sweetness according to preference)
1 slice Ginger

  1. Lightly smash ginger & add to cup together with Chrysanthemum & rock sugar.
  2. Pour hot water & drain off the first round of water (optional). I like to do this cause you won’t know how clean these things are.
  3. Brew for about 15 mins before drinking.
  4. You may filter the leaves off, but I prefer to keep them in the cup to top up the hot water for a second round.

½ cup Barley
2 slices Ginger
¼ cup of Rock Sugar (adjust sweetness according to preference, I’m using the smaller cube ones)
2.5 litres of Water


  1. Rinse barley with water & drain.
  2. Fill pot with water & add rock sugar & ginger. Instructions call to boil for about 40 mins, but barley was still hard. It took over an hour before the grains turned soft.
  3. My family prefer to have our barley cold. So when it’s cooled, I like to transfer it to a container & put it into the fridge & simply pour into glasses whenever needed.
Read my other post @ Haze, How We Can Help Fight This Crisis! So let's stay healthy!

See also:

  • wonderful kitchens sydney kitchen.

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