Quick Szechuan Pickles

Categories: Liver Qi Stagnation, Spleen Qi Vacuity

Quick Szechuan Pickles

Thom Heil – PCOM Chicago

makes enough to fill one large canning jar

Ingredients:
•
• 1 daikon radish
• 1 carrot
• 1 cucumber
• ½ lb. Napa cabbage
• 4 dried chili peppers
• 2 tsp whole Szechuan peppercorn
• 3 Tbsp salt
• 2 cups boiling water
• 2 Tbsp rice wine
• 1 cinnamon stick (2†long)
• 3 slices ginger

Preparation:

1. Put water on stove to boil.
2. Chop daikon, carrot, and cucumber. Do not peel. Tear the cabbage leaves into shreds. Chop the dried peppers into small pieces.
3. Place the peppercorn, salt, and dried peppers in the bottom of a pickling jar. Pour in the boiling water, stirring to dissolve the salt. Cool for 10-15 minutes.
4. Stir in the rice wine. Add the cinnamon stick, ginger, and vegetables. Cover and let sit for at least 2 days before using.

TCM breakdown:

ingredient
channels entered
tastes/temperature
actions
daikon
LU, LI
acrid, sweet, cool
• clears heat, relieves toxicity
• rectifies middle jiao
• promotes BM
carrot
SP, LV, LU, HRT
sweet, neutral
• strengthens SP & HRT
• nourishes & soothes LV
• benefits LU
• promotes diuresis
• soothes inflammation
Napa cabbage
ST, LI, UB
sweet, cool
• harmonizes ST
• clears heat, stops cough
• promotes diuresis & BM
cucumber
??
sweet, bland, cool
• clears heat, quenches thirst
• relieves irritability
• promotes diuresis
salt
KD
salty, cold
• clears heat, cools xue
• eases BM
• nourishes KD
chili peppers
?? (ST, LI)
?? (acrid, hot)
• ??
• (warms middle jiao)
• (descends ST qi)
• (expels damp & cold)
Szechuan peppercorn
KD, SP, ST
acrid, hot
• warms middle jiao
• disperses cold, stops pain
• kills parasites
• warms mingmen fire
rice wine
ST, LV, HRT
acrid, sweet, warm
• expels cold
• invigorates xue
• stops pain
cinnamon
SP, ST, UB
acrid, sweet, warm
• invigorates yang
• dispels cold
• promotes xue circulation
• warms mingmen fire
ginger
LU, SP, ST
acrid, warm
• disperses exterior cold
• stops nausea & vomiting
• detoxifies other herbs
• reduces inflammation

The vegetables, sweet and cool by nature, clear heat, harmonize the middle jiao, encourage diuresis, and lubricate the intestines to facilitate bowel movements. The warm nature of the spices warms the middle jiao and expels cold, while their acrid flavor moves qi. The opposing temperatures of the vegetables and the spices make this recipe neutral on the whole. Its site of action is the middle jiao, where it warms the SP and ST while it lightly moves qi and cools heat from stagnation. It also acts on the lower jiao, where it motivates both urination and defecation.

CI: overeating raw veggies could lead to cold in MJ (and then dampness). Spice level can be adjusted to heat level desired.

I would recommend this recipe to patients with a combination of LV qi stagnation and SP/ST qi deficiency. Like Ban Xia Xie Xin Tang, it contains opposing ingredients which act as a whole to combat a multi-faceted pattern.