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November 10, 2009

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Home » Feature » Health and Environment

Hot lips: Don't gloss them over

CHAPPED lips are a problem in the dry autumn air, and most people just put on commercial lip balm, or lip gloss in the case of women.

At its worst, chapped lips are dry, peeling, cracked and can bleed. The condition can be painful.

Chapped lips can be caused by dry air, dehydration, fever, deficiency in vitamin A, B, C and other problems.

Traditional Chinese medicine holds that chapped lips are also a symptom of shang huo (fire-ascending) that often appears in the dry autumn. The "fire" (yang energy) may also cause toothache, sore throat, poor appetite, mouth ulcers, constipation, acne and insomnia.

Adopting a regular lifestyle (regular meals, regular hours, regular sleep) and eating a cool and moist (yin energy) diet may be more effective than wearing lip gloss.

At this time of year, the dominant pathogenic "dry" energy in the universe is a major cause of shang huo. Besides, as the temperature drops, most people put on more clothes, stay in heated rooms and eat more "hot" (yang) and spicy food to warm them up.

However, internal heat cannot be released as efficiently as in summer, through sweating. Fatigue and lack of sleep aggravate the energy imbalance.

Generally, to prevent and relieve "fire-ascending," TCM recommends a regular lifestyle, plenty of sleep, lots of water, "cool" (yin energy) foods, proper exercise and a cheerful mood.

Recommended are moistening juices, fruits such as pears, sugar cane, cucumber, chrysanthemum and green tea. Vitamin-rich carrots and other vegetables with B vitamins can help relieve dry lips and mouth ulcers.

Around 1,200-2,000ml of water a day are needed but it can also be taken as juice, juicy fruits and milk, which also supply nutrition.

Drinking a cup of light salt brine in the morning and a cup of cool honey water at night is a traditional therapy to combat autumn dryness. It is also aid to retard aging.

If you've got "fire ascending," cut out the spicy food, alcohol and cigarettes and "hot" foods like jujube, mutton and lichee. Avoid vigorous sports and seriously dehydrating exercise.

If problems like mouth ulcers, toothache or constipation are not relieved in a week, see a doctor. If you have 'fire-ascending,' try these remedies Sore throat Salt water

Drink light salt brine, often make sure the throat gets a good dose.

Don't add more than 1g salt to 100ml water.

Orange peel tea

Add boiling water to a cup with 2-3g dried orange peel. Sweeten with honey.

Drink often.

Honey pear

Cut a pear in half, scoop out the center and put honey in the hollow. Steam for about 15 minutes.

Eat one pear a day. Mouth ulcer

Lotus root, white gourd and tofu soup

Ingredients: Fresh lotus root (50g), white gourd (100g) and tofu (100g)

Method: Put the three ingredients in water and cook.

Drink once or twice a day.

Honeysuckle and mung bean soup

Ingredients: Honeysuckle (20g), mung beans (20g)

Method: Make soup with honeysuckle, filter, add mung beans, and cook again. Sweeten with sugar.

Drink once or twice a day.


(If it's caused by "fire," otherwise see the dentist)

Mung beans and liquorice soup

Ingredients: Mung beans (100g), liquorice (15g)

Method: Cook soup with liquorice, filter, add mung beans and cook until beans are soft.

Drink twice a day.

Shui qincai (a kind of celery) and pork soup

Ingredients: Pork (50g), shui qincai (30g)

Method: Put pork and the celery in water and cook soup.

Drink once or twice a week.

Chapped lip pain

Apply a thin slice of ginger and keep it there.


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