By: Katy Wong – Ethnic Seattle

November 12, 2015

During the flu season, people are coughing and blowing their nose almost everywhere we go. While having a sore throat or running nose might seem minor, they could easily disrupt our daily life. Taking medicines are one of the solutions, but there are also many natural herbal remedies that can prevent us from getting sick.

Hot Ginger Tea 

This is one of the tastiest and simplest Asian remedy. Ginger is very effective in keeping your body warm. Ginger has long been used as a home remedy in many Asian countries (and with my mom).  Today,this remedy is now widespread across the nation. In fact, ginger has an awesome anti-inflammatory compound called gingerols. They will protect you from diseases and boost your immune system. Ginger will also relieve nausea and respiratory issues like coughs, bronchitis, and asthma.

For those who are not a big fan of sweet beverages, you can just boil several pieces of ginger for couple minutes and drink it. If you want the ginger tea to taste even better, you can add in honey or lemon. Both honey and lemon will moisten your throat without creating phlegm.

There are a number of grocery stores in downtown Seattle that provide pre-packaged or powdered ginger tea, which is what I used when I was having a really bad sore throat a few weeks ago. Whether it is ginger tea with black sugar, or ginger tea with honey, many Asian stores will be able to provide customers different kinds of pre-packaged ginger tea.

So the next time you are coughing non-stop on the bus, at night, during meeting or classes, try drinking a cup of ginger tea! It will reduce your frustration and make you feel ten times better!


Flickr photo by Kai Schreiber

We use salt in many of our dishes, but do you notice that salt can actually make your throat feel better? When you have a sore throat, dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water, and gargle the solution for a few seconds. Gargling the salt water will flush your throat and encourage phlegm to leave the area. Salt will also draw moisture out of the bacteria and your swollen tissues, relieving inflammation.

However, don’t drink the salt water! Gargling the solution already gives your throat enough salt to fight the bacteria. Also, putting too much salt in your water won’t make you feel better—it will actually make you feelworse. If the concentration of salt is too high, it will dry out your throat.


Kimchi is a very common side dish in Korea. In fact, they actually have lots of nutrients that boost your health. Many researches have shown the health benefit kimchi provides. In fact, Kimchi offers a wide range of vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. While Kimchi is made from cabbage, the fermentation process during its preparation actually creates healthy bacteria that promotes digestion. Garlic that is used to marinate kimchi will also reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Most importantly, the healthy bacteria and rich nutrient in kimchi could reduce inflammation and improve your immune system.

There are also reasons why Kimchi is so popular among Korean, kimchi helps keeping your stomach feel full for a long period of time. It prevents you from overheating and controls blood sugar levels. In fact, it also has an anti-aging component!

Time to grab a box of kimchi or a hot kimchi stew for lunch!

Korean recipe

If you enjoy home-cooked meal, you can purchase kimchi from Uwajimaya, and make your own kimchi fried rice or kimchi stew. Here are recipes for how to make these delicious dishes.

Kimchi fried rice:

Kimchi Stew (With a nice YouTube video) :

Korean restaurant

If cooking is not in your to-do list, here are some Korean restaurants located in the International District that you might want to try.

Shilla Korean BBQ: 517 S Weller St, Seattle, WA, 98104

Tofully: 502 S King St, Seattle, WA, 98104

Seoul Tofu House: 516 6th Ave S, Seattle, WA, 98104

Woad Root/ Isatis Root (Ban Lan Gen)

Flickr photo by Spot Us

Woad root tea is a well-known herbal tea many Asians use to prevent cold or flu in China. Some say it has been used as Chinese medicine in China for nearly two thousand years. This magical root can reduce fever by killing both viruses and bacteria at the same time.

Woad root looks like a skinny tree branch that has a hole in it. It has an elongated cylindrical body with a light greyish-yellow color. In fact, it was believed that the thicker and more solid the root is, the better the results it will be.

Besides improving your immune system, the root also helps for detoxing and will help you fight off viruses.

This Chinese herb can be purchased at many places in downtown Seattle. However, it is always good to consult a professional TCM specialist to see what Chinese herb fits you the most. Also, you should follow the instructions on the back of the instant beverages or drinks.

Kue Hing Chinese Herbs & Specialists

This small business that has variety of Chinese herbal medicines. They also have a professional TCM specialist in the store who can give you advice on what to drink depending on your sickness and personal health conditions. They will be able to pack different kinds of herbs that could fight the unhealthy bacteria in your body!

Address: 651 S Jackson St, Seattle, WA, 98104

Green Tea

Flickr photo by McKay Savage

Originated in China and India, green tea actually has one of the highest level of antioxidants and polyphenols that help you fight against flu. It can defeat the common cold virus in its initial stage of infection.

Different than other herbal teas, green tea contains caffeine. However, the nutrient green tea provides can also help you defeat other bad diseases such as Type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, obesity, and more. Besides prepackaged green tea, you can also purchase green tea brick, pour a small amount of green tea into a boiling water, and let it soak for 10 minutes.

How to properly loosen compressed tea brick:

For a better taste, you can always add a teaspoon of honey to enjoy a hot honey green tea!

Seattle Best Tea:

Opened in 1996, Seattle Best Tea is a tea house filled with various kinds of tea. The tea house also has tea pots and tables for rent. Owners are Taiwanese who are very knowledgeable about the tea culture. They offer different types of tea including black tea, green tea, jasmine tea, oolong tea, organic tea, and pu-erh tea.

Address: 506 S King St, Seattle, WA, 98104

Honey Loquat Chuan Bei Syrup

Flickr photo by Larry Hoffman

The Loquat Chuan Bei Syrup is made with Chinese herbs that can loosen cough and mucus. The recipe dates back to an ancient Chinese herbal formula in the Han Dynasty. Loquat is a Chinese plum that is native to China, it is a round or pear shaped fruit with a yellow hard skin. This yellow fruit contains excellent sources of vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin C. The rich minerals it contains also results in many health benefits including prevention of lung cancer, reduction of blood cholesterol level, and control one’s heart rate. Like many other Chinese herbs, it also serves as an anti-inflammatory herb. One special benefit Loquat provides is a mild sedative that turns this herb into a soothing cough syrup and making it easier to cough.

Chuan bei is also known as Fritillaria, this Chinese herb can effectively moisten your lung to stop a cough. In fact, this is also a Chinese herb that has been used in the Eastern Han Dynasty. This cough-killer herb will reduce irritation caused by dry cough, and remove stasis in your throat to reduce swelling. Despite its powerful effect in defeating our cough, it tends to be more expensive.

While honey Loquat syrup will reduce your cough and irritation of your sore throat. It might be a good idea to grab a syrup that also contain Chuan Bei in it! It will make you feel better. One very fa
mous Chinese cough syrup is called Nim Jiom Pei Pa Koa,

If you are interested in making your own sweet loquat soap, here is a recipe for you!