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The wonderful uses of pears in Chinese Medicine

by Michaela Rinkel

Pears are in abundance at the moment, but did you know they have therapeutic properties according to Chinese Medicine?

Pears are considered a valuable winter fruit that can support health during the colder months in numerous ways.

How pears can support health:

Moistens the Lungs: I have been seeing a lot of dry, lingering coughs in the clinic this season, and in Chinese Medicine, pears are valued for their ability to nourish and moisten the lungs. This means they are particularly beneficial for individuals experiencing dryness-related respiratory symptoms such as coughs or sore throats.

Clears Heat: Pears are also believed to have a gently cooling effect on the body, making them useful in reducing heat in the body which can accumulate when an illness remains unresolved.

Aids Digestion: The fiber content in pears supports digestive health by promoting bowel regularity and preventing constipation. The lung and large intestine are closely connected in Chinese medicine, and this fruit benefits both of these organs.

Promotes Yin: Pears are classified as a yin-nourishing food, helping to balance the body's yin and yang energies. This is helpful in conditions where dryness is predominant - dry skin, dry cough, thirst etc.


Recipe: Poached Pears in Chinese Herbal Syrup

This recipe balances the cooling, moistening nature of the pears with warming, invigorating spices, making it perfect for supporting the lungs through winter.


● 4 ripe pears, peeled but with stems intact

● 4 cups water

● Honey to taste

● 2 slices fresh ginger

● 1 cinnamon stick

● Optional: 2-3 pieces dried tangerine peel (chen pi), 3-4 dried red dates/jujubes (da zao)


1. Prepare the Pears: Peel the pears, leaving the stems and core intact.

2. Make the Herbal Syrup: In a pot, combine water, honey, ginger slices, cinnamon stick, and dried tangerine peel. Add any optional ingredients such as tangerine peel or red dates for additional flavor.

3. Poach the Pears: Bring the syrup to a boil, stirring until the honey dissolves. Carefully place the peeled pears into the pot, ensuring they are fully submerged in the syrup.

4. Simmer: Reduce the heat to low and let the pears simmer gently for about 20-30 minutes, or until the pears are tender but still hold their shape. Turn the pears occasionally to ensure even cooking and absorption of flavors.

5. Serve: Once cooked, remove the pears from the syrup and allow them to cool slightly. Enjoy the warm pears, drizzled with some of the herbal syrup from the pot.


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