Build Lungs With
You can strengthen lungs with a soup made from the night-blooming cereus flower. Both intoxicatingly beautiful and fragrant, the flower itself is bland, but, with the right ingredients makes a very tasty soup.
The Chinese believe that this beautiful plant brings good fortune to the home. Also known as Queen of the Night, its official name is Epiphyllum.
I am told there are many different species of this flower, most of them blooming only at night. The flower is quite large, spanning anywhere between seven and nine inches (17-23 cm), but only blooms for a several hours before dying in the early morning hours.
Although the night-blooming Cereus usually doesn't blossom until after sunset, perhaps because I live in a temperate zone, the flowers of my plant usually start to blossom as early as six o'clock. Since dusk doesn't occur until seven or nine o'clock in spring and summer, that means I get an excellent view of the flower in broad daylight!
Once a flower comes into its full glory, the entire house is filled with its wonderful fragrance, smelling something like gardenia and magnolia.
My aunt brought us the first leaf, and it has since grown into several hardy plants that reach all the way to the ceiling. We've had to prune it many times, because it grows so well, each of the trimmings having gone to relatives and friends.
If you want a cutting to root quickly, it's best to place it in water, under full-spectrum lighting. You'll get strong roots almost overnight!
The older the plant, the more night-blooming Cereus flowers it produces, eventually all year round. The first cutting usually takes about two years to grow before producing flowers, although when we gave one to my master to grow in his clinic, it produced flowers in several months, probably because the chi energy from the tai chi/qigong classes was so strong!
You don't want to water it too much, just when the soil becomes dry. It doesn't require much fertilizer, if at all. If you do fertilize it, do so immediately after the blossoms die so that it will produce more on the next round. You definitely should not fertilize it during budding time.
When the leaves begin to bud flowers, be careful not to touch them, or they will abort! Although the plant itself is very hardy, in the early stages bud is ultra-sensitive and cannot bear human touch or proximity.
The night-blooming Cereus is quite popular in the tropics, but very few people know that the flowers are edible. Once the flowers blossom, I wait until the next morning and cut them. They can be stored in the freezer until you're ready to make soup.
In Chinese medicine, we say the night-blooming Cereus run fei, Literally, it means moistens or lubricates the lungs. So, making a soup from this flower is a good way to tonify the lungs. However, do not take this soup if you suffer from hypertension, as it may aggravate your condition.
To prepare the soup, cut the entire flower (petals and stem) into bite size pieces. You can add meat if you want, although I actually prefer without. Instead of seasoning, I usually add thinly sliced preserved Chinese mustard, a vegetable that is preserved with chilli and salt and added in soups.
Thickened with a bit a flour or starch and lots of thinly sliced bamboo shoots, the soup takes on a flavor not unlike Peking hot and sour soup.
Those who practice qigong/chi kung regularly, usually don't have any problems with their lungs. Qigong/chi kung practice strengthens all vital organs more effectively than any other aerobic exercise or herbs and tonics you can take.
However, although my lungs are quite strong, I drink this soup mostly because I love the flavor, so I can't tell you how effective it is in strengthening the lungs. But if you have the night-blooming Cereus, don't let the blossoms go to waste. Now, you can try them in soup and let me know what you think of it!