Quick remedy for holiday overeating
May is full of holidays and observances — Children’s Day, Parents’ Day and Buddha’s Birthday, to name a few. Most of the occasions emphasize relationships and family.
In the mist of these celebrations and gatherings, it would be a shame to not nourish the body with great food and drinks. However, there is a fine line between having a satisfying meal and overeating. Understanding a few medical tips from our ancestors can help avoid digestive disorders.
According to Statistics Korea, 2,693,206 patients visited medical facilities in 2010. Of all the patients, 14.2 percent had gastrointestinal problems. Adolescences between the age of 15 and 24, and males between 25 and 44 ranked digestive aliments as their primary reason for visiting medical centers.
According to “Donguibogam,” a medical encyclopedia from the Joseon Kingdom (1392-1910), eating too much food may disharmonize the stomach and intestines. Food with extreme temperatures, either too hot or too cold, will worsen the clash of entrails. Dyspepsia is always accompanied with a bloated stomach, spoiled egg smelling belch, headaches and sometimes fever.
In most cases of indigestion, the food remains under the pit of the stomach causing distention and smelly gas. Indigestion can be defined as excessiveness. Indigestion can damage “Qi,” or life energy, thus medications should be combined with tonic. In a mild case of abdominal bloating, you can get rid of it with a tonic.
Certain herbs can provide cure to unsettling stomach. Crataegus pinnatifida, or hawthorn, has a bright red colored fruit known as the thorn apple. One can take the cherry-sized fruit raw or dried. According to “Donguibogam,” hawthorn helps the human body break down and absorb meals. People can eat it to relieve fullness and uncomfortable upper abdomen caused by indigestion.
Practitioners of Oriental medicine steam and render the apple before decocting it. Drinking 40 grams of the thorn apple decoction can alleviate dyspepsia due to excessive red meat.
Another effective cure for an upset stomach is to press “hap gok,” or an acupuncture point LI 4. Located in the middle of the second metacarpal bone on the radial side, hap gok is the fourth point of the large intestine meridian.
The writer practices traditional Korean medicine at Nasaret Oriental Medical Hospital in Incheon.