Chuan Bei Mu & Pears

This traditional steamed pear recipe is often prepared in the autumn, the season of dryness, to prevent or treat a dry lingering cough after a cold or flu. It may also be used to moisten the Lung Yin cooling fluids for those with difficulty breathing. Pears are considered to be strongly moistening and tonify the Lung Yin. Traditionally Asian pears are used, and considered to have the strongest medicinal effect to moisten the Lungs, but western pears are more moist and are considered by some western practitioners to actually be better Yin tonics.
Raw honey has many health benefits, including topically soothing and healing skin wounds, internally eliminating allergies, strengthening the immune system, blocking free radicals, reducing homocysteine levels, and promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestines. It also has expectorant and anti-inflammatory abilities, as well as anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities, to treat respiratory conditions such as sore throats, coughs, bronchitis and asthma. Raw honey contains many natural antioxidants, enzymes and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc, phosphorus, and selenium, and high amounts of B vitamins.


  • 2 to 3 pears (Asian or western varieties. I like to have a mix of pear types)

  • Chuan Bei Mu/Fritillaria cirrhosa bulb – 8-16 tiny raw bulbs (around 1 – 2 grams) per pear

  • Raw honey to taste

  • Optional: add a gram or two of Xing ren and Chen pi to strengthen the ability to stop cough


  1. Soak the Chuan Bei Mu in fresh water for 20 minutes, then drain.

  2. Wash and core the pears. (Traditionally the pears are cut at the top, cored, filled and then the top is put back on to ensure that none of the liquid escapes while steaming.)

  3. Bring water to a boil in a large pot with a steam-releasing lid. (Traditionally the pears are steamed to increase their Yin-moistening quality, so optimally a double boiler would be used.)

  4. Place the pears in a large ceramic bowl with 1 inch of water in it.

  5. Crush the Chuan Bei Mu with a spoon, and place into the cored pear.

  6. Add raw honey to taste (a couple of drops up to a teaspoon).

  7. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, place the covered bowl in the large pot, cover with steam-releasing lid and simmer at medium heat for approximately 25-45 minutes, or until tender.

  8. Eat while warm. The liquid from the pears should be drunk as well for maximum benefit.