Fix it with red beans

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Red beans are used in Oriental medicine to cool and detoxify the body, lower cholesterol, stop dysentery and treat pimples.

A hundred grams of dry red beans contains 61g of various sugars and almost 5g fiber as well as calcium, phosphorus, iron, and vitamins B1 and B2.

Here are some medicinal uses for red beans.

- To treat chronic dysentery, herbalist Nguyen Ngoc Sang recommends eating plain red beans every day, preparing them in a kind of rice porridge, or simmering them to make a tasty sweet soup.

- To beat pimples, Sang suggests roasting red beans until they are crisp, crushing them into a powder, and mixing in enough vinegar to make a paste that can be applied to affected areas several times a day.

- For acute or chronic hepatitis, Dr Nong Thuy Ngoc prescribes a sweet soup that should be eaten three times a day. To make the soup, start by separately soaking 30g of red beans and 30g of peanuts in water for four hours and six hours, respectively. When they are well and truly soaked, simmer the beans and peanuts along with 50g of black jujubes and a pinch of sugar for 30 minutes. The soup is then ready to eat.

As a precaution, Dr Ngoc says people who often have a dry throat or light fever, or who are raw-boned or prone to excessive perspiration, should go easy on the red beans.

- Nursing mothers wanting to improve their milk output can try a daily bean-based drink recommended by the herbalists Tran Khiet and Nhu Ta. Start by washing 250g of red beans in water, then place them in an earthen pot, add 500ml of water and cook the beans for 20 minutes. Only the liquid should be consumed; the residue can be discarded. The drink can be taken for five days to increase the amount of breast milk. An alternative is to simply wash one kilogram of red beans and cook them in two liters of water for one hour; drink the liquid once a day.

- Here's a recipe from Suc Khoe va Doi Song (Health and Life) magazine for a red bean and carp soup that acts as a diuretic, and is good for dropsy and cirrhosis of the liver. To make the soup, soak 500g of red beans in water for four hours and 500g of gutted and cleaned carp. Place the beans and carp in a pot, cover them with water, and cook until the beans are soft. Eat the fish and drink the soup, three times a week.

- To get the digestive system working normally, and to stop fluids building up in the body, the magazine recommends a recipe for a bean, bo bo (sorghum) and rice dish that should be eaten twice daily for a week. To make it, soak 20g of red beans in water for four hours, bring them to a boil and let simmer until the beans are soft. Then add 30g of sorghum and 30g of rice and continue cooking until the rice and sorghum are soft. Before eating the dish, it's best to sprinkle on a little sugar.

- Suc Khoe va Doi Song also recommends red beans for obese people. Soak 50g of beans in warm water for three hours, remove them from the bowl, and place in a pot. Simmer the beans for a bit and add 50g of rice, and cook until the mixture thickens. Eat the hot porridge as an alternative to fattier food, every morning and evening.

- To treat anemia, the magazine suggests boiling 250g of red beans with water for 30 minutes and drinking the liquid frequently.

- For a good night's sleep, herbalist Dinh Cong Bay says to soak 100g of peanuts and 200g of red beans in water, in separate bowls, overnight or until they are soft. Then cook them along with 20 red jujubes in a pot of water to make a mushy soup that should be eaten with a pinch of sugar as the last food of the day.

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