An Ancient Healing Recipe

Printed in the Lotus Guide. Chico, CA. July 2010

When the young woman walked into my acupuncture office, I knew something was wrong. Her complexion was as pale as impending death, her walk was slow and deliberate, and when she sat down she lowered herself as if sitting on a pile of rocks. This initial evaluation informed me of the challenge ahead. The intake form confirmed it, “How long since your last healthy bowel movement?”

“I’ve had unrelenting diarrhea for the last year. It has left me weak and exhausted. The urgent need to relieve myself has interfered with my ability to work. Leaving my station at a moment’s notice is unacceptable.”

The form read RN for occupation, “I see that you’re a nurse. Have you tried Western medicine?”

“I am a nurse and my boyfriend practices alternative healing. It’s not an infection and I’ve visited many natural healers. Nutrition and herbs have not helped me and I don’t want to use drugs to mask the symptoms, but sometimes I use them for temporary relief.”

I asked the usual questions to fill out her chart notes. As I pressed her acupoints to check on the condition of her energy system, a thought came to me. Her medicine would be the oldest formula for difficult problems mentioned in an ancient Chinese classic.

Remembering this recipe does not appeal to some people, I said, “Tell me, for the next six weeks, what are you willing to try no matter how difficult or unappealing it sounds?”

“I will try anything natural that causes no harm.”

“The medicine is something you cook up yourself with common ingredients found in the supermarket. For the next few months I want you to cook these foods for eight hours in ten cups of water and eat the soupy medicine for breakfast and avoid the foods on this list.”

She looked at the list of ingredients for the medicinal soup, “Doesn’t over cooking destroy nutrients?

“No” I replied, “with time, different nutrients are released. Chinese medicinal herbs are cooked for hours.”

“It doesn’t sound very appealing, but I will try it.”

The next week she came in with a fire in her eyes that had been absent the week before. She reported her bowel movements had started to firm up, “Though the porridge didn’t taste good to me, within minutes of eating the first bowl, I felt good inside, better than I have felt in the last year. It feels so good eating the medicinal soup. I don’t want to eat anything else! Is it okay to eat it exclusively?”

“Yes, that’s okay. I’m sure once your internal organs are healthy, your appetite for other foods will return, but be careful with the list of foods I advised you to avoid.”

During her acupressure treatment, the acupoints that report on the internal organs were still sensitive, but I detected an overall energy improvement.

In the following weeks, her bowel movements became easy, painless, and solid; her symptoms of fatigue and soreness faded with each day. Now that going to the bathroom ceased to be urgent, she returned to work with pleasure.

Some of the most difficult health problems can be cured with ancient medicine.

This soupy ancient medicine is also the most popular breakfast in the world. The Chinese call it congee, but it has many names in Asian cultures. Chinese herbalists do not consider it to be like ordinary cooked rice. Extended cooking changes it into something entirely different. Try congee for colon problems:

Raisin-cinnamon Medicinal Rice

1/3 cup rice
3 cups water
1/3 cup raisins
2-3 sticks cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions: Place all ingredients in a crock-pot or a slow cooker. Cook on high for one hour and then lower the heat setting. (The high setting can cause the liquid to evaporate.) Cook 6 – 10 hours. It should be like porridge. Don’t ever stir while cooking. After it is cooked, gently stir for consistency. Patients report it is delicious for a breakfast, snack or dessert.

Chinese herbal medicine is the oldest continuously practiced medical science in the world.