Four Treasures Dessert

Updated: Apr 15, 2018

This traditional Chinese desert will not only look great when served to guests, but it will promote their qi, improve digestion and promote better sleep for those around the table. It is also an ancient beauty recipe for improving your skin. 

As one of commonly used Chinese herbs, hawthorn berry, also known as Shan Zha in Pinyin, has a very long history of medicinal use. Since ancient time it has been considered one of the best medicines for strengthening spleen to whet the appetite, promoting digestion to relieve food retention, and quickening blood to dissipate stasis. When used as medicine, it mainly refers to the ripe fruits of Crataegus pinnatifida Bge.var.major N.E.Br. or Crataegus pinnatifida Bge., which are members of the family Rosaceae.


The gingko tree is generally recognized as one of the oldest trees in the world. Botanists often describe it as a “living fossil,” since it is a surviving specimen of a stage of plant evolution that was annihilated during the last ice age. Among its unique features is the fact that the gingko blooms only at night and sheds its blossoms immediately, as if celebrating the wonder of life in secret. Another ancient characteristic is its yin-yang quality. As an ancient Chinese botanical treatise notes: “There are male and female gingko trees, and only if the male and female trees are planted together, there will be seeds; or if [the female tree] is planted by the side of a pond where it can reflect itself in the water, there will also be seeds.

This dessert

will promote qi and blood, benefit spleen and improve digestion, benefit lungs and promote better sleep.

INGREDIENTS: (2 Servings):

  • Hawthorn (shan zha) 

  • Chestnut 

  • Gingko (ying xing) 

  • Pitted red dates (da zao)

  • Honey - to taste

1.  Remove gingko shell and chestnut shell with nutcracker and put in boiling water for a few minutes. Retrieve and remove membrane. Cut gingko into halves and remove kernel in the middle. 

2.   Rinse red dates and hawthorn.

3.   Put the four fruits in a plate and steam for 20 minutes.

4.  Heat a few drops of oil in a frying pan on medium heat and add honey and a cup of water.

5.  Add the four fruits and simmer until the content become sticky and serve. 

Eca Brady is a fully licensed physician of Chinese Medicine BSc(Ac) MBAcC PGDip(CHM), practicing from Harley Street, London. Make an appointment for an acupuncture treatment and we can discuss how we can help you, to read more about Eca click here.

These articles are not intented to diagnose, treat or cure any conditions. Excerpts from the original article in The Journal of Chinese Medicine and Nourish.

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