I am sure you will agree that shopping day in Shanghai is often full of surprises. The other day, while perusing the shelves for brown sugar I was drawn to this very pink package of ORGANIC brown sugar. What fascinated me more than the big ORGANIC letters was the smaller print saying “For Women”. Now this is interesting…
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, brown sugar is a warming food ( yang energy) nourishing for blood and helps to reinforce Qi (energy). Brown sugar will also reduce gastrointestinal pain, promote blood circulation and production and fight blood stagnation. All of which sounds very positive for a weary body.
TCM specifically recommends brown sugar tea for women with painful monthly cramping, women who have just given birth and the weak and the elderly. Plenty of candidates for nourishment on that list.
Apparently drinking brown sugar tea for menstrual cramps is something every Chinese woman knows. And from my anecdotal survey the prevailing opinion is that it works. Thanks for letting your western sisters in on the secret, ladies.
Back to the ORGANIC brown sugar. Brown sugar in China is processed in a way that does not use any artificial additives or colors. The sugar cane is boiled for 5 -6 hours which gives the sugar the rich brown color. It is most often sold in cakes. For the package I found the cake had been ground. Of course just because they don’t add artificial stuff does not make it organic. To get the organic seal the brown sugar must be made from organically grown sugar cane.
It does not appear that this brown sugar, even though it is marked “For Women”, contains any thing other than brown sugar. According to TCM, the magic ingredient is the brown sugar. From what I can tell, any Chinese brown sugar will do for a nice hot cup of the pick-me-up tea. Perhaps this pink packaging was just a not so subtle reminder to women to grab a bag for next month. It definitely caught my eye.
Eat Well, Live Well, Have Fun !