Continuing from Part 1 yesterday, today’s article will cover some benefits of Chinese rice wine. Yesterday’s article featured the history of 2 Chinese rice wines, Mijiu (yellow) rice wine and Shaoxing (brown) rice wine.

Chinese rice wines contain more than 10 different amino acids which can easily be absorbed, hence health buffs call it “liquid cake”. It is a favorite among the elderly, expecting women and people who are physically weak.

Mijiu (yellow) rice wine

Mijiu rice wine for drinking is different from the variety used for cooking. Mijiu for drinking has a sweet taste, low level of alcohol and is rich in nutrients. It is a popular rice wine with the Chinese for thousands of years, consumed mainly for its ability to fight the cold, as it warms the body, relieves stomach aches and is an important ingredient in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) recipes.

Mijiu originating from the region of Xiaogan, Hubei Province is one of the most famous yellow rice wines.

Shaoxing (brown) rice wine

Premium brands of Shaoxing rice wine originate from Shaoxing in Zhejiang Province. Do note that pregnant women should not drink Shaoxing rice wine, however TCM doctors believe rice wine can help women recover faster after childbirth.

In the field of TCM, Shaoxing rice wine is considered a workhorse, as it is an ingredient in more than 70 traditional medicine recipes, and some Chinese medication have to be taken with Shaoxing rice wine.

In the past, people would just add some wolfberries or Goji berries to a warmed bottle of Shaoxing rice wine, and serve it alongside some peanuts or tofu on a chilly winter day.

Shaoxing rice wine is also rich in more than 18 kinds of amino acids, with seven being essential amino acids, i.e., they cannot be made by the body and must be obtained from one’s diet.

TCM doctors advice Shaoxing rice wine to be taken during the winter months to expel cold from the body and warm the energy channels, nourish the skin, and strengthen the digestive system. The rice wine should be heated in the cold weather.

People suffering from chronic stomach inflammation are advised against taking alcohol, but TCM doctors feel a little warm Shaoxing wine is acceptable. Readers taking Western medication for chronic stomach inflammation are advised to check with their Western medical doctors and get clearance on this, as alcohol in any form combined with medication may cause serious adverse effects.

It is always recommended to drink Shaoxing rice wine when consuming seafood, as it prevents diarrhea and can neutralize the “cold” effect of seafood.

TCM doctors recommend drinking no more than 200ml of Shaoxing wine daily, to help stimulate blood circulation, increase energy levels and improve metabolism. The addition of some ginger to warmed Shaoxing rice wine will help strengthen the body and prevent you catching the cold.

The traditional way to warm Shaoxing wine is to place the wine bottle in water and heat the water to around 35deg Celsius, to get the best taste and aroma of the wine.

General benefits of drinking Chinese rice wine

To summarize, drinking Chinese rice wine gives you some of the following general benefits:

  • improves blood circulation
  • moisturizes the skin
  • promotes good appetite
  • helps digestion
  • provides relief from heat
  • good for refreshing oneself

Do note that the key word here always is moderation!

How to drink Chinese rice wine

Both Mijiu and Shaoxing rice wines can be drunk directly from the bottle, heated up during the cold winter season to warm you up and help fight against the cold; or can be enjoyed chilled during the hot summer months.

Warm rice wine is more appropriate for people suffering from blood statis, which is a painful condition arising from poor circulation. People suffering other diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, backache and numbness of the extremities (i.e., hands and feet) due to poor circulation, find relief from drinking some warm rice wine.

Other uses of Chinese rice wine

One use for Chinese rice wine that many readers probably are unaware of, is rice wine can thaw out frozen fish easily. All you have to do is ladle some rice wine over frozen fish or soak the fish in rice wine, and it will be thawed a few minutes later.

If you sprinkle a few drops of Chinese rice wine on stale bread prior to heating it up in a microwave oven, the heated bread will smell and taste as if it was freshly baked.

We hope this article has given our readers some general insight on Chinese rice wine. As usual, this article is not meant to be taken as medical advice of any kind. Readers are advised to consult their medical practitioners on consumption of rice wine which is an alcohol, especially if they are on medication for existing medical conditions. Lastly, we would like to highlight once again that taking any form of alcohol should always be done in moderation.

By Aaron
16th July 20:00 2020 

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