Shan Yao, Huai Shan or Chinese yam is a root that’s commonly eaten as a tonic food. Fresh yam can be commonly found in markets or supermarkets. It is also sold in most traditional chinese medical halls in Singapore in its dried form or even powdered form. Japanese call it “nagaimo” which translates to “long yam”.
Chinese yam is rich in proteins, polysaccharides, vitamin B & C, calcium, minerals, enzymes, saponins and diosgenin and fibre. It dilates blood vessels, thereby improving blood circulation, enhancing overall wellness and especially for skin, it increases skin hydration, smooths wrinkles, increases skin elasticity and improves colour tone. It strengthens the spleen and stomach to aid digestion, nourishes the kidneys and lungs and can even be used as diet supplement to lose weight as it reduces fat deposits.
Chinese yam contains polysaccharides that reduce blood sugar, and some are strong antioxidants. Chinese yam is also rich in mucilage, a gooey polysaccharide that makes a gel when mixed with water. Chinese yam contains other active compounds like allantoin, an antioxidant that promotes wound healing, and several antioxidant flavonoids that is anti-aging.
In Traditional Chinese medicine, Chinese yam restores the Qi and nourishes yin. It is sweet in nature and neutral in nature. It nourishes the spleen, lungs, and tonifies the kidneys. It is believed to help in digestion, moisten our lungs and skin. Hence, it’s commonly used for beauty and health soups.
7 Benefits of Chinese Yam
1) Supports Women’s Reproductive Health
Chinese yam is commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for supporting and enhancing women’s reproductive health – from increasing fertility to irregular menstruation and other symptoms menopausal symptoms.
2) Improves Digestive Health
Chinese yam promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive system and improves digestion as it contains the enzyme amylase. It is also commonly used to treat loss of appetite as well as diarrhea in TCM.
3) Reduces Blood Sugar
Polysaccharides from Chinese yam have been shown to decrease blood sugar. Meanwhile, diosgenin found in Chinese yam increases insulin sensitivity which may be helpful in managing diabetes patients.
4) Nourishes lung to stop cough
Chinese yam contains saponins and mucilage, which have a lubricating and moisturizing effect on the lungs. Hence, it benefits lung qi, enriches lung yin, and treats chronic cough due to lung deficiency and phlegm.
5) Nourishes kidney and Men’s health
Chinese yam contains a variety of nutrients, which can make our body stronger, nourishes kidneys, increase sperm count, and improve sperm quality. So, it is widely used for impotence, nocturnal emission, abnormal vaginal discharge, frequent urination, and more.
6) Antioxidant and Boosts Immunity
Raw yam contains a lot of mucus protein , vitamins and trace elements, which can effectively stop oxidation and precipitation of lipids in the blood vessel wall and thereby prevent cardiovascular diseases. Diosgenin and mucilage from Chinese yam increase the activity of the immune system and improve the body’s ability to fight infections.
7) Improves Skin Health
Mucilage has traditionally been used to soften the skin and manage skin disorders. Mucilage from a variety of plant sources promotes wound healing and soothes rashes and burns. By nourishing the Lungs and Kidneys, Chinese Yam improves the production of fluids and mucus that nourishes our skin resulting in improved skin moisture and appearance.
There are many ways to cook and eat Chinese Yam. It has a mild sweet taste and is very versatile to incorporate into many dishes. It can be both savoury or sweet.
Ways to eat Chinese Yam:
Eat it raw like a salad
Steam or boiled in soups
Boiled in desserts
Boiled and drink like tea
Stir-fry with vegetables or meat
Skin Hydrating Dessert
In this hot summer heat, our skin is easily dehydrated. This simple and easy to cook dessert hydrates our skin from the inside. Barley reduces water retention and swelling, nourishes the spleen and reduces dampness and heatiness. Chinese yam replenishes Qi, improves digestion and is anti-aging. This combination helps us fight oxidation and aging and gives us hydrated and smoother and fairer skin over time. You can enjoy this dessert anytime especially during summer.
Chinese Yam 100g ; 山药 100克
Pearl Barley 50g ； 薏苡仁 50克
Red Dates 10 pcs ； 红枣 10个
Goji Berries 10g ；枸杞 10克
Rock sugar (to taste) ；冰糖（调味即可）
Wash all ingredients. Wash the shanyao and remove the skin and cut into small strips or cubes. 山药去皮，洗净切块；薏苡仁洗净；枸杞泡发洗净。
2) Boil 2 litres of water in a pot and add in the barley and red dates. Bring to a boil and turn down the fire to low. Boil for 30mins. 备好的薏苡仁和红枣加水，以小火煲约0.5小时。
3) Add the shanyao and the Goji beries and boil for 10mins. Add in rock sugar to taste. 再加入山药与枸杞，最后加冰糖调味即可。
It is important to nourish our skin using nutritious food as well as using good skincare products. Ensure your skincare is natural and does not contain preservatives or chemicals that harm your skin. Our Renew Collection contains TCM herbs such as ginseng and danggui that nourishes our skin and increases blood circulation to the skin to stimulate skin renewal. Experience younger, radiant and healthy skin today: