“Chee” is one of those concepts that floats around in the English-speaking world, but is rarely understood outside of its cultural context. I’ve written about this before in Ginseng and Ginger posts. There are loads of potential benefits to your health if you consider Qi in your daily life. But, first we need to get an understanding of the meaning of the word “Qi” and then we can drape more layers of meaning on top of that. After all, language defines culture and allows it to breath, which is not too far away from the literal meaning of Qi.
氣 (traditional character)
Meanings: Air, gas, breath, mood, smell, manner, anger, etc.
The more familiar of the two Qis (mmmm, cheese…) is something called “Qi Gong” 气功 – literally “air” + “results/success”，and known as “a system of deep breathing exercises,”[*] it is a form of meditation and has been used by martial artists and common people for hundreds of years. The image to the right shows the flow of Qi through the body, with the 3 “elixir fields.” These are basically places where energy is stored. The arrows show how energy flows point-to-point through the body, although it is not always in this direction.
Trivia time!Where is the center of the human body? When I was first asked this question I pointed to my naval/waist area. Where did you point? In fact, according to Qi Gong, the center of your body is at your upper lip. Yep, its in your face! This comes from the idea that energy is draped over your body from the top.
Combining body movements and breathing exercises are key to this practice and can have great health benefits, similar to Tai Ji or “Tie Chee”. Due to better blood circulation, relaxed breathing, and reduced stress, these exercises are used for health maintenance by millions of people around the world. As you can imagine, the field of Qi Gong is extremely deep and could take a lifetime to understand fully. Continue reading Two Kinds of Chee
Another popular root that is common in the Chinese diet, and many other Asian diets, is Ginseng. In fact, American Ginseng is one of the most popular in the world. I even see it in small local markets here in Zhuhai. I see it popularly used out here in soups, often with other Chinese herbs, chicken bones, Gou Ji berries, and Zao Zi. This kind of soup can be purchased warm and ready to eat at any Fujian style dumpling shop. (I’ll post a simple recipe for making this at home soon.)
Ginseng is also consumed by steeping some dried slices of it in hot water, like tea. I sometimes do this before going to bed in order to reduce “Qi” in the body. I also suggest this drink as a replacement for evening teas or coffee.
Here is some health-related information from Wikipedia, and sourced therein:
“Both American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) roots are taken orally as adaptogens [a product that increases the body’s resistance to stress], aphrodisiacs [you can guess…], nourishing stimulants,and in the treatment of type II diabetes, as well as sexual dysfunction in men.
Other information: The English word ginseng derives from the Chinese term rénshēn (simplified: 人参; traditional: 人蔘), literally “man root” (referring to the root’s characteristic forked shape, resembling the legs of a man).”
Ginger is commonly used in Chinese cooking. You can find that and garlic everywhere in China! And its no mystery that it is good for your health. Slice it or chop it for added flavor with fried veges. A respected professor and leader in my university here suggested me to eat small cubes of it with warm milk in the morning to support the flow of “Qi” in the body and settle my stomach. Its better to eat (swallow) ginger earlier in the day, but you can use it with cooking at anytime of the day.
Here are some health benefits sourced from Wikipedia:
“Ginger may also decrease pain from arthritis, though studies have been inconsistent, and may have blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties that may make it useful for treating heart disease…Ginger compounds are active against a form of diarrhea which is the leading cause of infant death in developing countries…
Ginger has been found effective in multiple studies for treating nausea caused by seasickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy…. Ginger is a safe remedy for nausea relief during pregnancy…Tea brewed from ginger is a folk remedy for colds,… congestion, and coughs.”