Sticky Rice - the Glue for Your Digestion

By Dr. Shin Min-shik for Jaseng Center for Alternative Medicine

About a month ago during the lunar New Year's,  holiday families gathered and exchanged well-wishes for the coming year. Various kinds of cake made from sticky rice are 'regulars' on party tables for holidays or festivals when we tend to over drink or overeat. These chewy rice cakes are made from glutinous rice. Sticky rice is a favorite of Koreans not so much for its chewy consistency and sweet taste, but rather for its excellent protective effects on our digestive system.

From the viewpoint of Oriental medicine, sticky rice contains warm energy. Warm energy is effective for those suffering from excessive sweating, frequent diarrhea, or a generally weak stomach condition. Sticky rice cake can also be used to improve gastroenteritis problems.

Some people, who suffer from weak stomach functions due to gastritis, experience fullness and belching even when they eat small portions. If these patients consume sticky rice gruel frequently their digestive functions can return to normal. Gruel can be made from cooking sticky rice with more water than is usual for plain rice.

When glue made from rice is not sticky enough to hang wallpaper, Koreans usually add some cooked sticky rice to increase its adhesive strength. Within the stomach, the adhesive properties of sticky rice alleviate gastroenteritis problems by covering the inner walls of the stomach. If you have a burning feeling in your stomach or heartburn one or two hours after eating you may have an ulcer or duodenal ulcer. Try sticky rice cake in such a case, and you will be relieved of the burning sensation almost immediately.

On the other hand, those who have too much heat energy in their bodies should refrain from eating sticky rice. Sticky rice is more suitable for those of yin constitutions than for those of yang constitutions.

Those who have too much heat energy in their bodies should be careful for if they eat too much sticky rice, discord or imbalance may occur, resulting in greater indigestion and stomach problems. As in all Oriental medical theory, harmony and balance in the body are the keys to health and longevity.

By Dr. Shin Min-shik for Jaseng Center for Alternative Medicine.

Jaseng Center for Alternative Medicine is one of the largest integrative medical facility with 10 medical practitioners and it is a branch medical office of Jaseng Hospital of Oriental Medicine, which is the largest oriental medical hospital specializing in non surgical treatment of spine and joint condition. Please visit our website for more info at or

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