Monday, February 2, 2009

Meet The Herbs: Bi Zi

Chinese: 田鸡
Pin Yin: Tian Ji (translation - "field chicken")
Pharmaceutical: Rana limnocharis
English: Rice Frog
Vietnamese: Nhái

In Yang Shou-zhong's translation of the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing, this herb is listed as Bi Zi. It is sweet and warm, and mainly treats evil qi in the abdomen. It also removes the Three Worms, snakebite, gu toxins, demonic influx, and hidden corpse.

Volume II of the Vietnamese Materia Medica, Cây Thuốc Và Động Vật Làm Thuốc Ở Việt Nam, lists the herb as having different functions depending on its preparation:
  • To treat jaundice: pound 1 frog with 12g unbleached black rock sugar and put inside a rooster's gizzard. Cook. When it's done, let cool and remove the frog and sugar. Eat the gizzard.
  • To treat mental illness characterized by crazy talk: cook one frog until charred, powder it, and drink it with liquor.
Some remedies for external use also included in the book:
  • To treat pustulent open sores: remove the entrails of one frog, fry it til it's black, powder it, mix it with sesame oil, and place on skin
  • To treat purple bruises: mix the frog with lá mau (sorry, don't know the translation of this herb) and the leaves of a garden egg, or Thai eggplant, plant. Chop everything finely and cook with water and rice. Wrap everything in cheesecloth or fabric, making a little bundle the size of your fist. Roast the bundle and place on bruises.
  • To treat phagedena (rapidly spreading destructive ulceration of soft tissue): crush one frog with Vietnamese coriander and wild betel leaf, then press onto skin.
  • To treat pink-eye: squash a live frog and place on affected eye.
I don't know about you, but I can't find enough live ones of these around to use them in my practice on a regular basis. I can, however, occasionally find the hind quarters of these little creatures at the supermarket.

It's what's for dinner!

Black bean and garlic frog legs, sauteed in a shallot and ginger sauce. Served with brown rice, steamed collard greens, and peppered acorn squash soup. Yum!

If you're interested in learning how to prepare this delectable dish, hit me up and I'll let you in on the joys of where to find, and how to cook, rare medicinal meats.


Henry said...

Don't forget harsmar, the dried fallopian tubes of the Asiatic Grass Frog! From wikipedia: Reported benefits of eating harsmar include replenishing vital essence in the lungs, kidneys, and improving skin complexion. Harsmar is also prescribed to treat respiratory symptoms such as coughing, hemoptysis and night sweats due to tuberculosis.

Jonah Ewell said...

mmm, harsmar.