Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pre-“Pear”ing for Autumn

Mary Oleksowicz,   MSTOM, L.Ac.

Autumn is a pivotal time of year, when we transition from the abundance of summer to the sparse nature of winter.  It is no wonder that Traditional Chinese Medicine partners this time of year with the emotion of grief.  Other correspondences for Autumn include the lung organs and the environment of dryness. In fact, it is thought that during this time of year, the lungs are extremely vulnerable to dryness.

When dryness “invades” the lungs, one can experience a nagging cough that is unproductive. The food medicine that is suggested for this type of cough are pears. Pears are viscous in nature. If you were to bite into an apple and then a pear, you would easily be able to tell the difference in the viscosity of the two fruits. Traditionally, the fruit is partnered with honey to increase the moistening nature of the food.  

The benefits of  pears for lung health are not limited to kitchen folklore.  Quercetin is the flavonoid that is most numerous in pear skins. Quercetin  is known for not only its antioxidant properties . In fact, studies have shown that quercetin is also a natural anti-histamine.  From a western scientific perspective, pears can help to reduce allergic response to tree leaves and dusty indoor environments, common causes of coughs during the fall season.  Best of all pears are safe for use by children. When prepared as a healthy dessert or breakfast alternative, one can easily eat a pear a day to keep the cough away,

Baked Pears with Honey

4 firm yet ripe Bartlett pears ( organic is best as skins will be eaten), halved

6 tablespoons of honey

3 tablespoons butter, melted

Dash of  ground ginger ( great for reducing phlegm )

3 tablespoons crystalized ginger ( for extra “zest”)

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. Place pears in a shallow baking dish and set aside.
  3. Melt butter in the microwave or a small saucepan over medium heat. Drizzle pears with melted butter and honey, and sprinkle with ground ginger). Cover with aluminum foil,
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until tender. Baste with released juices occasionally during baking, and again just before serving.
  5. Enjoy !!!


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