Sichuan peppers (huajiao), also known as Chinese prickly ash or Chinese peppers, are an essential seasoning in Chinese and Himalayan cuisine. They have also been used for medicinal purposes in China for centuries. They come from plants in the family Rutaceae (citrus or rue).
According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), they are warm in nature and pungent in taste. They can remove “coldness” in the organs. Let’s take a look at their efficacy.
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Soaking your feet with Sichuan pepper water can prevent colds and increase immunity
There are more than 60 acupuncture points on the soles of the feet. They are the starting and ending points of the meridians, which are connected to the functioning of the body’s organs.
Soaking your feet with Sichuan pepper water can improve blood circulation, cleanse and soothe itching, alleviate athlete’s foot and prevent grey hair. It’s also a preventative to the common cold, detoxifies, expels cold and warm in the stomach, and increases immunity.
- Put 2 ounces of Sichuan peppers in a cotton bag, and tighten the bag with a piece of string.
- Prepare half a pot of water, and boil the bag for 5 minutes.
- Let the boiled water cool down, then pour it into a washbin for soaking, the water temperature should not be too high, and the level should cover the ankles.
- Soak the feet for about 30 minutes.
Perform this about 4-7 times per week. The peppers can be reused, but they need to be replaced every seven days. Note that people with heart disease or the elderly who are frail should not do this.
Stew pears with Sichuan peppers to alleviate coughing
Sichuan peppers can dispel coldness, remove dampness, and ease pain. It also inhibits a variety of bacteria and viruses. Pear is cool and beneficial to the lungs and the stomach. It increases body fluids, moistens, cools internal heat, and dissolves phlegm.
- Wash a raw pear.
- Poke five small holes into the pear.
- Stuff 1 Sichuan pepper into each hole.
- Place the pear in a ceramic container.
- Put water in a pot, then place the container inside the pot, but make sure the water does not get into the container. Simmer on low heat until the pear is thoroughly cooked.
- Remove the peppers after the pear has cooled off.
- You can eat the pear and drink its juice.
Apply Sichuan pepper liquid to itchy skin
- Put two handfuls of Sichuan peppers in a pot, add 4 cups of water, and simmer until the water level drops to 1/2 of its previous level (2 cups), then turn off the stove and wait for it to cool.
- Dip a piece of clean gauze in the Sichuan pepper water and gently scrub the itchy area; you should feel a sense of relief immediately.
You can put the unused pepper water in the refrigerator and reheat it later.
Treating frequent urination in elderly people
TCM believes that a deficiency of the yang qi (energy) causes frequent urination in the elderly, and using a hot compress with Sichuan peppers can help.
- Prepare salt, a Sichuan pepper, and aniseed.
- Warm them up in the microwave, then wrap them in gauze.
- Apply the gauze to the ‘Guanyuan’ acupoint (3 inches below the navel) at a comfortable temperature.
Do this every day, and many urogenital system ailments will improve.
How to store Sichuan peppers
You can store dry Sichuan peppers in a sealed container or separately in small bags.
Fresh Sichuan peppers should be sealed in a ziplock bag and stored in a freezer. Wash the fresh flower pepper and remove excess water. Please place them in a plastic bag with a bit of cold water before placing them flat in a freezer.
Take the peppers out of the bag when you want to use them. Under normal circumstances, frozen flower pepper can be kept for one year, and the taste is close to freshly picked.