Spring Kicharee- Chinese Healing Herbs for Hypothyroidism and Weight Loss
Spring Kicharee is a soup- or porridge-like dish which has abundant healing herbs and spices.
Hypertension is common with Wood types. In Chinese Medicine, the Kicharee is also good for resolving “dampness”. Dampness in the body is associated with fatigue, excess weight, sinus infections and unclear thinking.
I heard about the Spring Kicharee and its benefits several years ago in an online article I read. The article, Thyroid Disease: A Natural/Herbal Perspective, was an interview of Shasta Tierra-Tayam, L.Ac. by Mary Shoman. Mary Shoman suffers from thyroid disease, and has become an advocate, has written books, and writes the thyroid information for multiple websites including her own. If you have thyroid disease, I strongly recommend you read Mary’s interview. I also highly recommend her book, Living Well with Hypothyroidism. She has also written on hyperthyroidism.
Shasta Tierra-Tayam is a natural medicine practitioner licensed as a primary care provider. She uses Acupuncture, Acupressure, Nutrition, and Clinical Herbology in her practice. Among her specialties for practice and teaching are hypothyroidism and women’s health. Among her academic credentials are lecturing in Chinese Medicine at the Center for Integrative Medicine at O’Connor Hospital. She also studied under her father, Dr. Michael Tierra, O.M.D., L.Ac., author of multiple books.
Dr. Tierra-Tayam recommends the Spring Kicharee from the book Herbal Healing Secrets of the Orient, written by Darlena L’Orange, L.Ac., her father’s student. The recipe was taught to her father by yogi Baba Hari Das. Dr. Tierra related that L’Orange took the recipe and added herbs and vegetables for each season and element type. I only saw four kicharee recipes in the book however: Basic, Spring, Autumn, and Winter.
Dr. Tierra-Tayam recommends the Spring Kicharee for “all of my patients who want to lose weight”. She recommends eating the Kicharee at least 3 times a day for 7 to 14 days, describing it as a tonifying cleanse.
Eat it with steamed or sautéed vegetables. You can also eat it with a little meat protein. Expect cravings to change, energy to increase, and dampness to come off. The turmeric, cumin, and coriander aid digestion and increase metabolism. The beans are a diuretic. She reports “most of my patients lose 7 to 10 pounds in 7 to 10 days while eating plenty of food!” Dr. Tierra-Tayam recommends patients take Planetary Formulas Triphala or Triphala-Garcinia formula with the Bupleurum Liver Cleanse while doing the Spring Kicharee cleanse.
After the Spring Kicharee, Dr. Tierra-Tayam suggests following the Eat Right for Your Type plan by Dr. Peter D’Adamo. Then in 3 to 4 weeks, do the Kicharee cleanse again with the Spring Kicharee or one of the other kicharees (based on your season or element), to lose another 5 to 10 pounds.
I have purchased 2 copies of Herbal Healing Secrets of the Orient though the Amazon sellers. It is out of publication as far as I can tell. Dr. L’Orange has another book, Ancient Roots, Many Branches. It seems to be very different from Healing Secrets, so I presume it does not have the recipe. In the video below, Dr. Michael Tierra says his daughter Shasta has written several books on kicharee, which I did not find on Amazon or Dr. Michael Tierra’s website. I did however find his article, Kichari, Food of the Gods, which has several recipes, but not the Spring Kicharee. I did an internet search and did not find the Spring Kicharee recipe either. I am therefore including the recipe here. If anyone comes across a website with Dr. L’Orange’s recipe, please let me know and I will link to it. I will also remove the recipe here if offensive to any of the parties.
Dr. L’Orange encourages that you make the kicharee even if you can’t find every ingredient. I think I was ultimately able to find everything. I could not find fresh burdock root, so ordered dry. I finally found asafetida, but it was a large expensive amount, and the recipe called for a pinch, so I chose not to get it. If you leave out a few ingredients, don’t fret, as my massage therapist friend said, “There’s lots of mojo in there.”
In my most recent version of Spring Kicharee, I used a barley, yellow split pea, and lentil mix that I had in the pantry. I thought I was using quinoa, but when it cooked up I didn't see those little thready loops, so I think it must have been millet. Also I did not have dandelion greens, so I used some baby kale that I had.
Bowl of Spring Kicharee, Loaded with Healing Herbs
10 c spring water
1 c pearl barley
½ c quinoa
½ c French green lentils, or mung beans
2 to 3 T canola oil or ghee
1 large onion, minced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 burdock root, thinly sliced
2 parsnips, thinly sliced
2 c broccoli, chopped
1 c dandelion greens, sliced
1 T dry dandelion root
3 slices fresh ginger, ½” thick
¼ c chopped parsley
1 c shiitake mushrooms
2 T chopped cilantro
2 T nettles
1/3 Arame seaweed
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp mustard seed
1 ½ tsp coriander powder
1 ½ tsp cumin
Dash of black or white pepper
Dash of cayenne
Pinch of asafetida
Sea salt, Bragg’s amino acids, or tamari to taste
Pot of Spring Kicharee
Instructions for Making the Kicharee
1- Rinse the grains thoroughly.
2- Sauté garlic, onion, and burdock in oil or ghee in a soup pot or stockpot.
3- Add turmeric, coriander, cumin, asafetida, and mustard seed. Continue to sauté until seeds begin to pop.
4- Add water, beans, grains, arame, dandelion root, and ginger.
5- Simmer 50 to 60 minutes on low, stirring occasionally.
6- Add mushrooms, parsnips, parsley, and nettles.
7- Simmer 25 to 30 minutes. Add another cup of water if needed.
8- Add broccoli, cilantro, dandelions, and pepper.
9- Stir and cover. Simmer 10 to 12 minutes.
10- For creamier texture, remove 2 cups soup, and puree. Mix blended portion back into kicharee.
11- Add salt, aminos, or tamari, to taste. I added some pink Himalayan salt, and some lemon juice for some acidity. I've also added some Bragg's apple cider vinegar.
Talk to Your Health Care Provider
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You take full legal responsibility for whatever decisions you make regarding you own health care. Consult your health care provider. As my massage therapist friend says, this soup has lots of powerful mojo.
Dr. Michael Tierra; discussion of Kichari is about 7 minutes into the video
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