Recipe of the Week: Hangover Helper

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For all you people planning to overindulge on New Year's Eve get yourself to a Chinese herbalist and stock up on the ingredients for these curative teas and tonics. It's a healthy alternative to greasy bacon and eggs. These are courtesy of Nina Simonds's A Spoonful of Ginger. Simonds writes "classic Chinese cuisine evolved as an offshoot of Traditional Chinese Medicine, which, is why virtually all foods cooked the Chinese way contains at least one of several medicinally active aromatics and seasonings, such as ginger and garlic".

For Hangovers .
20 grams Hovenia dulcis (zhi ju)
10 grams Pueraria/kudzu root (ge gen)
10 grams Peuraria flowers (ge hua)

Place the herbs in a glass or ceramic heatproof vessel with 4 cups of spring water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer until the liquid is reduced to 2 cups. Strain the broth and discard the herbs. Divide into 2 equal doses, and drink the first dose immediately on an empty stomach. Take a second dose about 2 hours later.

Lotus Root Cooler

According to Simonds this formula is good for detoxifying the liver.

1 large fresh lotus root
Raw sugar (such as Demerara) or barley malt (not honey, which would counteract the effects of the root) according to taste
4 cups spring water

Cut the lotus root into 1 inch lengths. Put lotus root sections and sweetener in a saucepan and add boiling water to cover. Cover with a lid and let steep for minutes. Strain and drink throughout the day.

Ginseng Licorice Tea

Simonds says "This is an overall blood and energy tonic that also helps to detoxify the whole system" A great start to your New Year resolution of healthy eating and weight control.

1 handful small tendril rootlets of white ginseng roots (ren shen)
10 long thing slices of licorice root (glycyrrhiza uralensis of G glabra( (gan cao)

Put the ginseng and licorice together in a thermos or a large teapot and add 4 cups of boiling water. Steep for 20 minutes, then pour off the liquid into a separate container. Add 4 more cups boiling water to the ginseng and licorice and steep 20 minutes more. You may repeat this process with the same roots up to 5 times. Strain the tea and drink it throughout the day.

So here's to a headache free New Year's Day and a healthy 2006!

::A Spoonful of Ginger at Amazon