Mushroom and Yi Yi Ren Soup

Mushroom and Yi Yi Ren Soup

Following from our last newsletter I wanted to share one of my fav mushroom and yi yi ren soup. Pick this up from a site many years ago and have made it many time with loads of modifications. Yi Yi Ren (also known as coix or Job’s tears or Chinese pearl barley) is also part of the soup. Some research has found that this is a gluten free ingredient even though one of the names for it is barley. It is one of the allowed foods by the NIDDK (National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases).  The Chinese herbal medicinal use of Yi YI Ren is to reduce swelling, however the elders do not recommend eating large amounts of yi yi ren when pregnant. It is best for any other time when you want to retain less water.

Mushrooms are key to making that umami taste (rich, savory, and earthy), thus three types of mushroom – king trumpet, shiitake, and miyatake (button mushrooms) but of course you can use any type of mushroom.



1kg of carrots, washed, trimmed and rough chopped

1kg onion, chopped

125g. of ginger, washed, sliced, or crushed

500g. dried shiitake mushrooms, rehydrated and rinsedmushroom

500g of napa cabbage (wombok), washed and rough chopped

125g. of dried bok choy, rehydrated and rinsed three times

7.5 l of water

1 honey date, rinsed


1kg king oyster mushrooms

500g  fresh shiitake mushrooms

500g  brown beech or oyster mushrooms

180g. dried yiyiren, rinsed 3 times and soaked for at least 4 hours

90g  lotus nut rinsed and soaked

Directionsyi yi yren

Soak the barley and lotus seed for 4 hours. They can be soaked together. Drain.

Meanwhile, combine stock ingredients in a soup pot and bring to a boil. Simmer for 2 hours then strain all the stock ingredients out of the soup. Use a fine mesh strainer to get clear stock.

Add barley and lotus to the stock and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, dice all the mushrooms into small pieces. Toss the mushrooms with some oil. Saute the mushrooms and deglaze with rice wine. Or, broil the mushrooms. Add the mushrooms to the soup and simmer for another 20 minutes.

The soup is done when the stock looks cloudy and the pearl barley are soft.


Health Benefits of Gui Zhi (Cinnamon)

Health Benefits of Gui Zhi (Cinnamon)cinnamon

Cinnamon (Gui Zhi- Rou Gui) Ramulus Cinnamomi Cassiae, can go by many names in Chinese herbology depending on type and locations. Cinnamon is a powerful herb and spice that has been utilized medicinally around the world for thousands of years. It is still use daily in many cultures because of its wide-spread health benefits, not to mention its distinctly sweet, warming taste and ease of use in recipes.

The unique smell, color, and flavor of cinnamon is due to the oily part of the tree that it grows from. The health benefits of cinnamon come from the bark of the Cinnamon tree. This bark contains several special compounds which are responsible for its many health promoting properties- including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid, and cinnamate. In Chinese herbology Cinnamon is considered warm, spicy herbs that release the exterior.


The main health benefits include

High Source of Antioxidants

Contains Anti-inflammatory Properties

Protects Heart Health

Anti-diabetic effect

Fights Infections & Viruses

Freshens Breath Naturally

Prevent or Cure Candida

Natural Food Preservative


Health advantage of cinnamon can be obtained in the form of its pure bark, essential oils, in ground spice form (which is bark powder), or in extract form when its special phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and antioxidants are isolated. These compounds make cinnamon one of the most beneficial spices on earth, giving it antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, immunity-boosting, cancer and heart disease-protecting abilities.


suggestion for cinnamon apple treat 


  •  4 large sundowner apples
  •  1/2 cup (60g) walnuts, finely chopped
  •  1/2 cup (100g) brown sugar
  •  1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  •  3/4 cup (85g) almond meal
  •  1 egg white, lightly whisked
  •  10g butter, cubed
  •  Custard, to serve


  • Step 1: Preheat oven to 190°C. Using an apple corer, core the apples to make a 3-4cm opening at the top. Place the apples in a small baking dish.
  • Step 2: Combine walnuts, sugar, cinnamon and almonds in a bowl. Stir in egg white. Spoon mixture evenly among centre of the apples. Place butter over the top of the apples. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the apple is just tender.
  • Step 3: Place the apples in serving bowls and serve with the custard.

Ginger and cinnomen tea 


  •  4cm piece fresh ginger, peeled, sliced
  •  2 cinnamon sticks
  •  2 tablespoons honey


  • Step 1: Place ginger, cinnamon and 4 cups cold water in a saucepan over high heat. Cover. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes for flavours to develop.
  • Step 2: Strain mixture into a heatproof jug. Add honey. Stir to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes or until slightly cooled. Serve.



The information and reference materials contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader. It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion with the patient’s own physician. The information presented here is not intended to diagnose health problems or to take the place of professional medical care.

Thanks and graduate for reading this blog if you would like to discuss your individual needs, please feel free to email or 02 8213 2888. 

Rodd Sanchez Sydney Acupuncture and Chinese medicine 

Chen Pi “the old skin”

Chen Pichenpi

Chen Pi or mature mandarin skin is a common ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Best quality Chen Pi should be large, with deep-red scarfskin and white interior, the flesh is to be heavy in oils, it should have a dense fragrance and pungency. In general, old-aged Chen Pi is in a higher quality, with the aging process being 20 -65 years. It is also the reason why Chen Pi is called literally “the old peels”.  In Chinese medicine, the dried peels of fruits are used in the regulation of qi, strengthening of the Spleen, elimination of dampness. Chen Pi is used to treat abdominal distension, enhance digestion, and to reduce phlegm. It solves digestion problem by relieving intestinal gas and bloating. Chen Pi can improve problems of pain, poor appetite, vomiting and hiccups.

Herb Actions


Regulates Qi and Harmonizes the Middle Jiao (Spleen and Stomach)chen pi

Assisting with symptoms such as nausea and vomiting due to rebellious Stomach Qi, fullness, distention, or bloating in the abdominal or epigastric region, stomach ache, belching, and poor appetite.

Dries Dampness and Dissolves Phlegm

Dampness symptoms such as fatigue, low appetite, loose stool, diarrhea, abdominal fullness, chest oppression, and a greasy think tongue coating.

Dissolves Phlegm and Stops Cough

Weak Lungs with symptoms such as cough with profuse phlegm, wheezing, dyspnea, and stifling sensation in the chest.



Constituents:2017-03-17 13.38.57

Vitamin C, Vitamin B1, Choline, Folic Acid, over 60 known flavonoids, d-limonene, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, aldehydes, numerous minerals and vitamins.

Chen Pi high vitamin C content (and A) makes it a wonderful supplement to build immunity and combat invasive infection, colds, flu and many other ailments.

Chen Pi Fibre helps you increase your bowel movement, lowers cholesterol, and controls your blood sugar levels. Also, it is said that fibre prevents heart disease and colon cancer.

Hesperidin is present in high quantities in Chen Pi specially in the inner part of the skin (peel). It is said that hesperidin has antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory effects on cells and tissues.

Ganoderma mushroom, King of herbs

Ganoderma mushroomganoderma mushroom

The Lingzhi mushroom or Reishi mushroom is a species of mushroom which is complex in structure and its ability to heal. Ling zhi mushroom encompasses several fungal species of the genus Ganoderma, most commonly related to Ganoderma Lucidum. In Chinese Medicine it is known as the king of herbs for its powerful properties. It is a hard bitter mushroom that has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for centuries to enhance longevity and improve health. Unlike many other herbs, it is only used as a medicinal compound. Herbalists and consumers claim that Ganoderma can heal and fight allergies, liver diseases, lung difficulties, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Interestingly, Ganoderma is used by patients who are undertaking radiotherapy and chemotherapy to reduce pain as well as unwarranted side effects. Nevertheless, taking Ganoderma mushroom can have both advantageous and disadvantageous aspects.

Advantages of consuming Ganoderma Lucidum

Immunity Resistance: Ganoderma is recommended by medical practitioners as it is sought to enhance the immune system and decrease allergic symptoms.

Relieves respiratory conditions: Ganoderma is also beneficial for people suffering from asthma and other respiratory conditions because it seems to have a healing effect on the lungs. Ganoderma is good for building respiratory strength and curbing a cough.

Cardiovascular protection: Ganoderma is believed to impede platelet aggregation and reduce blood pressure.

Enhance blood sugar balance: Ganoderma polysaccharides have blood sugar lowering effects and this is due to the polysaccharides referred to as Ganoderma A, B, C. Ganoderma has the capability to enhance plasma insulin levels, increase the glucose liver metabolism, and enhance peripheral tissue and its utilization of glucose.ganoderma

Anti-inflammatory effects: Hot water extracts of Ganoderma have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Liver protector: Ganoderma is used because of its liver protection ability. One study reported that Ganoderma significantly reduced the size of a fatty liver and ALT levels. Additionally, there was also a marked drop in nitric oxide production. The study established that the liver protective effects of Ganoderma may be due to its influence on nitric oxide production.

Oxygenation: Another unique advantage of Ganoderma is its usefulness in altitude sickness. Ganoderma reduces illness caused by altitude by oxygenating the blood.

Antioxidants: Ganoderma mushrooms have strong antioxidative protection within the body from the negative effects of free radicals which are formed inside the body by daily exposure to the sun, chemicals, and pollutants. Ganoderma is also proven to boost the immune system, especially when taken in conjunction with other antioxidant supplements.


Disadvantages of taking Ganoderma Lucidum

Some individuals can be allergic to Ganoderma and its components.  Sensitivity can vary with the type of hypersensitivity to the Ganoderma mushroom. Other adverse effects can include an itchy, red rash, a dry mouth and throat, or a nosebleed following ingestion.

Ganoderma can interfere with daily medications and their effects. For instance, taking Ganoderma while on diabetic medication may result in a decline in blood pressure. Another well noted adverse reaction is the use of blood thinners like Warfarin. Long-term use of Ganoderma may also lead to gastric bleeding which is a very serious side effect. Other less noted side effects include: vomiting, nausea, acne and gastrointestinal upsets.


It is very important that a full consultation be undertaken by a practitioners prior to taking any new substance such as Ganoderma Lucidum, especially if you are pregnant, breast feeding or taking regular medications. Despite Ganoderma’s efficaciousness, it is also important to be aware of the risks and dangers that it may present. If you are on immune-suppressing drugs, Lingzhi may not be for you. Lingzhi may work against these drugs because of its potential stimulating effects on the immune system.

How Much Ganoderma to Take When Using As a Supplement

The recommended dose when using Ganoderma as a dietary supplement is 150 to 900 mg if taken in tablet or capsule form or 1.5 to 9 grams of the dried variety.

Discussion of winter

Discussion of  Winter / Kidneys

As mentioned in prior discussions, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses terms and ideas to explain physiological, biological, spiritual, metaphysical and environmental manifestations that are around us. As such, when discussing the kidney, we are depicting the Shen (Chinese word for kidney) which encompasses all of the above, and as well as some of the physical western medical kidney definition.

A chapter in the ancient Nei Jing Su Wen text describes and gives insight into the four climatic seasons and how they both harm and harmonise our bodies. To be in harmony within the winter season, the Nei Jing states that winter is the essential time to “close and store”. We are instructed to not disturb the yang Qi energy, thus one must go to bed early and rise late (one must wait for the shining of the sun). In addition, to be in harmony with winter, we have to adopt the posture of stillness and conservation. We should sleep and rest more; our state of mind should be quiet and reflective. Nei Jing says, “Avoidance of the cold and seeking warmth is of the utmost importance. During winter, we should refrain from sweating as it causes the Qi to be scattered rapidly.

Important aspects of the TCM Winter

Winter is the most important time to tonify and strengthen the TCM kidneys and kidney function. In the darkness of winter, the emotion of fear can damage the kidney, so avoiding fear and fearful events are advisable. The kidneys are said to store Jing (life essence) which is the essential product for longevity and long life. Wasting Jing can lead to premature aging and age related illnesses.

During winter periods we should cook foods for longer periods at a low constant temperate and use less water to cook with. Hence the use of slow cookers are ideal and so is the use of fermentation to store foods for a later date.

Activities and substance that harm the kidneys [according to the Nei Jing Su Wen text] are varied and peculiar to some. These include excessive salt (some good salt ill nourish kidney, such as Celtic). A lack of water will cause damage to the kidneys and urinary bladder. Too many consecutive pregnancies for females (without appropriate time to recover) and excessive ejaculations for males will place a taxation on the kidneys.

Activities and substance that harm the kidneys [according to the Nei Jing Su Wen text] are varied and peculiar to some. These include:

  • excessive salt (some good salt ill nourish kidney)
  • lack of water will cause damage to the kidneys and urinary bladder; and
  • too many consecutive pregnancies for females (without appropriate time to recover) and excessive ejaculations for males place a taxation on the kidneys.


Functions of the TCM Kidney

  • Stores essence (Jing)
  • Governs birth, growth, reproduction and development
  • Produce marrow and fill the brain
  • Controls bones [osteo conditions]
  • Governs water
  • Controls the receiving of qi
  • Opens to the ears [hearing and tinnitus ]
  • Controls the lower two orifices
  • Houses the will power


Foods to support the Kidney include

Cinnamon ,  Clove, Ginger, Onion

Watercress, Celery, asparagus, carrots

Rye, Barley, oats quinoa, Miso soy sauce, Salt

Bone broth, Warm slow cooked soups, Roasted nuts

Dark beans, Kidneys, Dried foods, Chicory root, burdock root


Coughs and Autumn Herbs


Autumn herbs and their influence on usherbs

As previously mentioned, eating within the seasons is important to maintain balance. As autumn is upon us, I will extend upon this idea. Along with eating foods which correspond to the season, looking at ailments which afflict us is imperative; these can include coughs, colds and dry skin. The element for autumn resonates with the metal element and is allotted the lung organ. When the Lung vitality has been deteriorated, the body’s defence system will become faulty and cough, colds and dry skin can manifest. Of cause there are many types of coughs and colds that can be identified, however, to keep things simple, we shall explore the ones which are closely affected by autumn and how we can assist these.

An herbal perspective for addressing these symptoms which work along the lung meridian would be through the use of herbs such as Jing Jie (Schizonepeta), Jie Geng (Radix Platycodi ), sang bai pi (Cortex Mori Radicis), gan cao Radix Glycyrrhizae. Other herbs that can be included in cooking include Chuan Bei Mu (Fritillary bulb), Yi Yi Ren (Job’s Tears) and even Ren Shen (Ginseng).

Over-the-counter herbal formulations which can also treat coughs include Zhi Sou San (Stop Coughing Powder) which is made up of Jie Geng (Radix Platycodi), Jing Jie (Herba Schizonepetae), Zi Wan (Radix Asteris), Bai Bu (Radix stemonae), Bai Qian (Rhizoma Cynanchi Stauntonii), Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae) and Chen Pi (Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae). Other formulas such as Yin Qiao San or Gan Mao Ling (for coughs and sore throat), Gui Zhi Tang or Ge Gen Tang (for cold) can also be used. A favourite at the Macuarie Street clinic is the Fritillaria Loquat Syrup (Chuan Bei Pi Pa Gao) for those persistent coughs.

For those of you who wish to try your hand at making your own immune booster and cough remedy, why not have a go at the Master Tonic which was discussed in a previous blog.

Foods and helpful remedies include

Honey: can be standalone remedy or mixed with either garlic or turmeric. Honey has great antibacterial properties and soothes the throat.

Turmeric: can be used as a standalone remedy or in combination with a warm drink mixed with warm to hot milk. Turmeric contains curcumin which is an active agent with strong anti-viral, anti‑bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Garlic: Used as a cure for all ailments in many different cultures. Garlic can stand proud as a cure for all. Garlic has anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties due to the active agent, allicin. It can also be one of the most effective home remedies for a dry cough as well as boosting your immune system to help fight infections that cause a dry cough.

Thyme: contains compounds which relax the throat muscles involved in coughing and lessen inflammation.