In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang are viewed as complementary yet opposing forces that balance each other to maintain order and preserve harmony. Stemming from this belief, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) sees the healthy body as being in a balanced state of yin and yang. Disease arises when one of the forces becomes disproportionate and the body becomes too yin (cold) or too yang (hot). The remedy is then the ingestion of different foods/herbs, which are attributed cooling and heating properties.
Though there is no equivalent conceptualization of yin and yang in western medicine, recent studies have shown a seeming correlation between what are traditionally considered yin and yang herbs with respectively antioxidation and oxidation properties. Yin herbs, in controlled experiments, displayed significantly more antioxidant capacity, measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity, than yang herbs.
It is interesting to recall here that antioxidation-oxidation balance lies at the heart of modern oxidation stress theory which explains aging as the cumulative damage to cells done by free radicals inadequately neutralized by antioxidants. In other words, the theory implies that aging, and the increased risk of age-associated diseases (cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc), are caused by an imbalance of antioxidants-oxidants since free radicals are formed when atoms oxidize or loss electrons.
Regardless of the validity of the yin–yang/antioxidation-oxidation correlation, what is known fact is that green tea, considered yin (or cooling) is also a known potent antioxidant with a steadily growing list of attributed health (and anti-aging) benefits.
Mere coincidence or the same underlying phenomena explained through different visualizations? I’ll leave you to ponder upon that question while cooling down on a hot summer down with a homemade cup of matcha ice cream (with red bean topping).
Matcha Ice Cream
– 2 cups heavy cream
– 1 cup milk
– 1/3 cup loose-leaf green tea (or 1/2 for stronger taste)
– 1/4 cup brown sugar
1. Using a mortar and pestle (or herb grinder), grind the loose-leaf tea into powder form.
2. Combine the tea powder, sugar and milk in a small bowl. Place in microwave and heat on high power for approx 1 minute (alternatively, you can also heat the mixture on a stovetop, heating allows the tea leaves to disperse their flavor and the sugar to dissolve). Stir and set aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in milk mixture.
4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or being paper, place in freezer for approx 2 hours (or until softly frozen through). Remove from freezer. Using a large spoon or spatula, fold the sides into the center and repeat to break up any large ice crystals.
5. Transfer to storage container. Cover the surface with plastic wrap or baking paper to stop ice crystals forming on the surface, then a lid.
6. To serve, transfer ice cream to refrigerator for about 20 minutes to soften.
Red Bean Topping
– 1 cup red bean
– 5 cups water
– 1/2 cup brown sugar
1. Soak the red beans in 1 cup of water overnight.
2. Place red beans and water in a stove pot. Add brown sugar and remaining 4 cups water.
3. Heat on high to a boil, simmer on medium heat for approx 45 minutes (or more until the red beans are completely cooked through). Stir the mixture every 10 minutes or so, adding more water as needed to prevent burning.
4. Take the pot off the stove, drain water into a separate bowl, side aside.
5. Pour the red beans into a blender, add back in approx 1 cup of the drained water, blend. Add more water as needed to achieve desired thickness.