Grocery list: Buying confinement herbs

You’re planning for your Chinese confinement, but do you know what kinds of confinement herbs you need to buy? What should you budget for these herbs and where is the best place to buy them? Here’s a basic guide to confinement herbs.

Chinese herbs for confinement

If you’re hiring a confinement lady, she will give you a list of herbs to get for your confinement. But she may not necessarily explain to you what each herb does. If you’re carrying out DIY confinement, then the following list will be even more useful for you:

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  • Red and black dates. You’ll need plenty of these to boil with water to make tea.
  • Dried longans. Increase the heatiness, and helps you relax
  • Wolfberries.  These are great for healing your eyesight and increasing energy.
  • Dang gui. Alleviates menstrual cramping and prevents bleeding.
  • Black fungus. Expels dirty blood and waste from the body.
  • Dang shen. Rejuvenates Qi and improves blood circulation.
  • Panax ginseng. Good for increasing strength and healing.
  • Cordyceps. Renowned for nourishing the lungs.
  • Bei qi. Heaty and boosts the immune system.
  • Yok chuk. Helps with healing the throat and lungs.
  • He shou wu. Reduces hair loss after childbirth.

Where do I buy confinement herbs?

Any Chinese medicinal hall or TCM clinic would be able to supply you with confinement herbs. It’s good to shop around to see what your options are from different shops. Many shops and confinement nanny agencies will offer packages inclusive of all the standard herbs. To assess whether they are good value, you should do your research first on what the various herbs cost.

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If you’re doing a DIY confinement or simply like convenience, you can opt to buy pre-packaged soup mixes which already contain pre-measured confinement herbs. All you have to do is to boil the mix with chicken or your choice of soup ingredients for a confinement meal. The same goes for various types of confinement teas.

Keeping a budget for confinement herbs

Depending on how many herbs and what quantity you wish to buy, you should set aside a budget of between $300 to $600. To reduce cost, you can skip the expensive herbs like ginseng and cordyceps.

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If you know reliable suppliers, you can often save by importing your confinement herbs directly from Malaysian wholesalers since the exchange rate is advantageous. However, you should be careful where you buy your herbs from since you are not able to examine the quality in person.

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