Essentials in the kitchen – Burn Treatment
When you work with fire, chances are, sooner or later you’re gonna’ get burned.
Ching Wan Hung (also written “Jing Wan Hung”) Chinese burn ointment. I have a big tub of it in my locker at Le Cordon Bleu which I apply liberally to the scorched, splattered, sizzled and fried flesh that arrives there. It’s karma. It’s my turn.
I’m fortunate to have a medicine man/healer in my tribe of amazing friends. One of the most balanced medical practitioners I’ve ever met; Dr Josef (Joe) Kubinec is a Physiotherapist, Sports Medicine practitioner, Osteopath and Acupuncturist. The final leg of his training in acupuncture he studied in China, broadening his knowledge of herbal and Chinese medicine.
The combination of western and eastern, traditional and modern, herbal and drug based therapies is rare in any medical professional but Dr. Kubie (as he is affectionately known) treats the entire body… on all levels.
Before my departure from Nova Scotia to Le Cordon Bleu it Dr. Kubie handed me a big tub of Chin Fat Hung saying…“you’re going to need this!” and he would know.
Making his way through medical school Dr. Kubie worked in the kitchen at the Keg turning out hundreds of steaks a night, he was later in the kitchen at the Teapot Restaurant on Lasqueti Island, BC and Rebar Modern Food in Victoria, BC and is now a passionate cook in his own home in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.
He’s had (and treated) his fair share of burns.
Last Christmas while cooking in Kubie’s Kitchen I picked up the wrong utensil to remove the turkey and instead splashed 400* turkey grease and juices on my hand, up my arm & torso. It was a BAD burn… I have medical testimony to that fact.
How fast can you rip off your shirt in the kitchen?! Pretty dam fast when it’s scalding you. Modesty be dammed.
After cooling and cleansing the (red, bubbling) burn with cold water Dr. Joe liberally applied Ching Wan Hung, wrapped my arm and shoulder in saran wrap and kicked me out of the kitchen (with a glass of wine).
At first it stings, but within 30 minutes the pain was gone and an hour later the redness was minimal and the bubbling had subsided, I became an instant fan of Ching Wah Hung and eventually he let me back in the kitchen.
Ching Wah Hung, is a deep red color which is where it gets it’s name (“Wah Hung” means red ingredients “Ching” means capitol city ,which is where it’s from). It smells pungent and sharp, like medicine. Some say it smells like soy sauce, personally I smell fish sauce. It will stain clothing, so when I use it I try to make sure there’s a barrier between the ointment and my favourite sweater (thus the saran wrap or gauze).
Many (including a certain Chef instructor who shall remain nameless…) say to cover burns in butter. I took this to Dr. Kubie and asked his professional opinion…
“Putting butter on burns is an old wives tale. If anything butter seals in the heat and makes it worse. If you’re in the kitchen and have a bad burn you’re better off to use honey than butter.
Honey has amazing healing properties, it’s an anti-fungal and an antibacterial and it allows skin to breathe, so in a pinch, cover a burn with honey and you’ll find damaged skin recovers quicker.
Funny that those cooking under the Cordon Bleu banner haven’t promoted lavender oil from Provence!” jokes Dr. Kubie.
“Pure lavender oil is also an antibacterial and healing agent for burns. So there’s a French cure for you. But, lavender oil is expensive, a small 10ml vial can be $20 – $30 where as Ching Wan Hung is about $5 for a 100ml jar.
Ching Wan Hung contains Chaenomeles, which treats pain and swelling. For my money; fast relief of pain, speed in healing and feeding the skin so that it can repair is essential in any burn treatment. My kitchen is never without it. I’ll send you a link listing the key ingredients in English, the boxes are generally in Chinese… ”
- link from Dr, Kubie: http://www.itmonline.org/jintu/chingwan.htm
Hey, he has four medical degrees how many does the guy/gal who told you “butter cures everything” have? I’m going with Dr. Big Brain! Butter makes your sauce better… not burns. Love the honey cure though… thanks Dr. Kubie. I like the thought of being covered in honey.
At school, all the girls know to come to my locker if they have a burn and Aunty Gypsy will make it all better. I’m going start bootlegging this stuff as a side line.
The guys just tough it out I guess, haven’t seen any of them (yet). It’s just a matter of time.
A must in every Chef’s kit and – your kitchen. Ching Wan Hung also works on sunburns and poison oak/ivy. Available at your nearest Chinese apothecary, it comes in handy little tubes for traveling ($2) as opposed the industrial sized tub in my locker as I heal the student body of Le Cordon Bleu’s Ottawa campus.
Take a trip to Chinatown, get yourself some Ching Wan Hung and have a spring roll!
Play safe in the kitchen and… be kind to the skin you’re in.
Gypsy Note: Ottawa readers: found Ching Wah Hung at every Chinese medicine store on Sommerset. Price points vary. (In one store the small tubes were $.89!) If there’s no Chinatown near you, it’s available on line with a quick Google search at dozens of sites.