The story appears on

Page B16

December 16, 2012

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Sunday » Now and Then

TCM Treasures - Chuan bei 川贝

Fritillaria, a bulbous plant with hanging, bell-shaped flowers, is known as chuan bei and its dried bulbs are used to treat coughs and reduce phlegm. It's also good for smokers.

Said to contain yin or "cold" energy, it clears inner heat (yang energy) and works in the lung and stomach, according to traditional Chinese medicine. It's a common ingredient in patent medicine for coughs.

Modern research in China has shown that compounds including fritillaria including verticine, verticinone, imperialine and thymidine help reduce mucus secretion. The unprocessed bulb is poisonous, so always undergoes boiling, steaming and drying.

The bulb was recorded as a medicinal herb 5,500 years ago. It grows in Sichuan and is sometimes just called "chuan," an abbreviation of the province name.

There are many species, mostly with colorful flowers with a checkered pattern.

Its bulbs, which resemble garlic bulbs, are collected in May, processed, dried and often crushed into powder.

Chuan bei is an ingredient in more than 100 prescription remedies. Some of the most famous combine chuan bei with loquat juice, or snake bile.

Prescriptions & Usage:

Chuan bei and pear water

Slice a pear. Mash chuan bei into powder.

Boil with water for half an hour.

Add rock sugar or honey to sweeten.

Drink while hot.

Benefits: Cures coughs and helps lungs.

Partridge stewed with chuan bei

Stew chopped partridge with 200g cubed pork, 30g sliced ham, 12g chuan bei, 20g longan and some ginger for four hours.

Add rice wine and salt.

Benefits: Cures coughs and helps lungs.

Apple and chuan bei syrup

In 500ml water, boil sliced apple, 10g chuan bei, 20g yu zhu, 70g dried lily root and 10g almonds for 45 minutes.

Add 25g rock sugar when it's finished.

Benefits: Boosts the spleen.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend