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Traditional Chinese Recipes for Winter Health

Recipes courtesy of Oriental Health

Warming Walnut Congee

Purpose: To nourish your brain, blood, and stomach, as well as warm your kidneys and strengthen your lower back. In winter we need to eat foods to create warmth and support the kidney Yin and Yang. Soups and congees are especially good for winter.

Preparation: Mix 50 grams grounded walnuts together with 100 grams white rice and add water. The amount of water depends on how thick you like the congee to be, but is usually around 6 to 10 times the amount of the rice. Put everything into a pot, bring it to boil and then reduce to low heat and let it simmer for around 30 minutes.


Purpose: To invigorate spleen function. The spleen is an important organ that is often overlooked by western 
medicine. Together with the stomach, it is responsible for our digestion and children, especially under the age of seven years, who possess an immature and sensitive digestive
 system. Modern diets can also cause a weak spleen, which will weaken the lung and trigger colds and coughs, leading to respiratory diseases such as asthma and allergies.

Preparation: Cook a thick porridge out of 20 grams poria cocos (also known as fu ling), 10 grams Chinese jujube, 20 grams yams, 50 grams sticky rice, and some brown sugar. Eat small portions of this congee as part of your three meals.

Jade Windscreen Tea

Purpose: To boost your lung power in winter (especially important for children). Lungs are responsible for the circulation of our protective Wei-Qi, which can be compared to the western concept of the immune system, a weak lung usually means an inferior immune system. There is also a strong connection between a weak lung and upper respiratory diseases such as colds, coughs, allergies, and asthma. Especially in autumn and winter, your lungs will need help to keep up the necessary protective Qi. In young children, organs are yet to be developed and more sensitive, therefore this recipe is particularly helpful in boosting your child’s lung power in the colder months.

Preparation: Boil up 5 grams Chinese parsnip root, 10 grams astragalus root, 10 grams atractylodes rhizome in 400-600 ml water. Then lower the heat, cover the pot, and let it simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave it covered for 15 minutes. Then filter the tea and have a cup full of healthiness. This tea should only be used for the prevention, not the treatment, of colds and flu.

Find out more about traditional Chinese childcare dating back to 1114 AD in the book Xiaoer Yaozheng Zhijue.

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