Tonight my wife who is a Hong Kong Chinese made one of our favourites - Beijing Duck. It was a little different this time as she used a recipe that her mum used to use, and hours later I still have a pleasant after taste of the spices used. This got me interested in the Chinese 5 spice mixture that she blended and the research yielded some intereting results.
Now my mum is a good cook, but a typical Australian meal of my childhood generally only had salt and pepper added with the ocassional curry made from a packaged curry powder mix.
Let's have a quick look at the Chinese 5 spice blend:
used in tea for rheumatism, aids digestion, contains "shikimic acid" which is used to create "Tamiflu"
contains "eugenol" which has antiseptic and anaesthetic properties, contains "methyl salicylate" which is used as a pain killer
used as a treatment for diarrhea and digestive problems, contains "Cinnamtannin B1" which has a therapeutic effect on Type 2 diabetes, activates the Nrf2-dependant antioxidant response in colon cells recognised as a chemopreventative therapy for colorectal carcinogenisis, contains "cinnamic aldehyde" an anti melanoma compound, reported that a teaspon of cinnamon contains as much antioxidant as a full cup of pomegranate juice and half a cup of blueberries.
used in Chinese medicine to alleviate abdominal pain, treat vomiting & diarrhea, used with "Ku Shen" for eczema and kills parasites
contains "Anethole" which has potent antimicrobial properties, against bacteria, yeast, and fungi, has a compound that acts acts as a carminative which prevents formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract, has been shown to be effective in treating glaucoma, is a source of phytoestrogens for improved milk supply in breastfeeding mothers, has been shown to be effective diuretic and a potential drug for treatment of hypertension
So the next time you have that Chinese meal at your local Golden Dragon resturant, you may find some comfort in thinking that is doing you more good than you think.