Wed, May 16, 2012
Lifestyle > Food & Drink

Chinese herbal tea, a time-honored healthy drink

2012-05-16 06:53:42 GMT2012-05-16 14:53:42(Beijing Time)  China Daily

The Chinese herbal tea or cold tea is a drink concocted from medicinal herbals to ease the summer heat in human's body or sore throat caused by the dry winter.

Drinking herbal tea is an age-old custom in Guangdong province, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, Hongkong and Macao Special Administrative Regions, where the climates are damp and hot and people living there easily suffer from excessive internal heat. In order to repel internal humidity and heat, people collect herbs which can clear away heat and dampness from mountains and valleys to concoct into herb tea.

With many years of practice, different herbal teas have been evolved for relieving different symptoms.

Herbal tea is drinkable in four seasons, which has the functions of relieving summer-heat and body's internal dampness.

Herbal teas' functions can be classified as inducing sweat, relieving syndrome of cold, moisturizing dry-heat and clearing away dampness. Herbal tea for inducing sweat and relieving internal heat is suitable for the people who suffer from excessive internal heat. Medicinal herbs honeysuckle, chrysanthemum, scutellaria are the main ingredients of this herbal tea, which is appropriate for drinking in Spring, Summer and Autumn.

Herbal tea for relieving the syndrome of cold is mainly made up by radix isatidis, suitable for drinking in four seasons.

Concocted by roots of straight ladybell, fragrant colomonseal rhizome, tuber of dwarf lilyturf and white fungus, herbal tea for moisturizing dry-heat is effective in relieving cough and easing people's parched mouth and the scorched tongue in Fall.

Herbal tea for clearing away internal heat and dampness is good for the people who have bad breath and red and sallow complexions. Its ingredients include honeysuckle, chrysanthemum and wild Tuckahoe, appropriate for summer drinking.

Generally, herbal tea should be drunk before it is getting cold. Since most of herbs are cold in drug property, drinking too much will harm to the spleen and stomach, especially for people who lack of vital energy. Therefore, women during the menstrual period, children and the elderly people are unsuitable to drinking herbal teas.

If you have no idea about your physical condition, it is better to see the doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine to choose a right herbal tea for you.

Herbal tea stores once could be found everywhere in Lingnan region (which mainly covers Guangdong and Guangxi). At first, the stores classified herbs and packed them into small packages to meet customers' different needs, and then concocted herbal tea was sold at stores with very low price. Since herbal tea tastes bitter, some herbal stores offer preserved orange peel to customers for free to ease the bitter flavor. Besides herbal tea, fruit juice, dessert and soup are also the staples of some stores.

The earliest brand of Guangdong herbal tea is Wang Laoji, which was originated by Wang Zeban in 1828 and now it has become a household name in China. In July 2004, Wang Laoji herbal tea was even on the list of KFC's drinks.

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