In China, mung beans are very popular to eat especially in the hot summer months. Most families in China eat mung beans and use them widely in different recipes, such as mung bean noodles, mung bean cake, mung bean rice, mung bean soup, mung bean desserts and even mung bean wine. They are also commonly sprouted to make bean sprouts. Mung bean soup is an extremely popular family dish in China during summer.
1. Health Benefits of Mung Beans
A very famous Chinese herbal pharmacist, Li Shi Zhen, stated in his book, Ben Cao Gang Mu, that “mung beans are highly recommended not only as a rich source of nutrients but also as medication” and described that mung beans can help to clear heat and toxins from the body, balance the organs and skin, and tonify Qi. Mung beans also improve circulation in the twelve meridian channels throughout the body.
i) Clear Heat & Prevent Heat-stroke
Chinese Medicine believes that the external environment has a strong influence on the body. For example, in a hot summer the body will absorb more heat from its external environment. If the body cannot release this heat, physical changes may occur, including: body will feel hot, red face, very thirsty, dry skin, constipation, lack of energy, headache, dizziness.
For the hot seasons, Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends foods that are cooling in nature, can balance the body’s Yin & Yang and can release the heat. These types of foods should be a part of the daily diet during the summer.
Drinking mung bean soup more than once a day is extremely beneficial in reducing the above symptoms. Upon cooking the mung bean soup it is best kept refrigerated which preserves the dish and also helps to increase its effects. Drinking two or three cups a day of this soup will help to release the summer heat as well as preventing the symptoms above.
ii) Clear Skin & Help Acne
Mung beans are sweet in taste and cooling in nature. One of the very old traditional Chinese books, Kai Bao Ben Cao, mentions that mung beans act more on the Heart channel and clear heat and toxins from the skin, and cool heat in the blood. Therefore, mung beans can help acne and other skin symptoms, such as the common skin rash, cold sores, mouth ulcers, pimples and boils. To help these conditions, mung bean soup should be thick in consistency and at room temperature – see the recipe below.
iii) Clear Toxins from the Blood & Body
Modern science now also considers that mung beans can help clear toxins from the body, including environmental toxins and chemicals.
i) Mung Bean Soup – for skin conditions
2 handfuls of mung beans
4 cups of water
4 cups of water
Boil for 3 minutes, remove from heat & cover saucepan with lid. Allow to soak in boiled water for 30 minutes then strain.
Drink the thick liquid soup.
This process can be repeated once again using the same batch of mung beans.
Effects of this dish: Clear skin heat; reduce acne & other skin complaints as mentioned above.
Drink one cup of this soup twice a day in conjunction with regular treatment. Have 2 days break from the soup every 5 days.
ii) Mung Bean Soup – for summer (hot weather conditions)
Boil 2 handfuls of mung beans
7 cups of water
7 cups of water
Boil for 15 minutes on low heat. Set the soup aside to cool (it can even be refrigerated). Drink this thin soup as required. The beans can also be eaten if soft enough.
Effects of this dish: Clear body heat, prevent heat attack from the hot season.
i) Avoid eating mung beans if you have diarrhoea or cold hands and feet.
ii) If you are unsure whether or not mung beans are suitable for you, consult your experienced Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner.