When I make new friends and those people learn of what I do for a profession, I often find myself sounded out for some tips and advice on health issues.
Among the most common questions is this: “Based on my body constitution, what herbal drinks would you recommend?”
“Something as easy as to prepare instant coffee would be perfect,” they would say.
Speaking of Chinese herbal tea drinks with medicinal properties, ginger tea is an excellent choice for propelling and soothing early cold symptoms such as runny nose and fear of coldness.
Since fresh ginger is pungent in flavor, warm in energy, it is able to expel bad elements from the body. The medicinal properties of fresh ginger tea would be more significant when it is brewed together with perilla and brown sugar.
For wind-heat type of cold where patients would have sore throat and cough along with yellow phlegm, they can brew a tea of either chrysanthemum, honeysuckle flower or peppermint.
Smokers, people witnessing their last stage of cold or those who often cough are recommended a brew of almond, coltsfoot flowers and fine leaf schizonepeta herb.
Coltsfoot is a warm herb that can help nourish lungs, regulate energy, decrease phlegm and relieve coughing.
For losing weight and alleviating edema, mulberry tea or Chinese hawthorn tea would be great options. Both facilitate the removal of excess water and relieve indigestion problems. As Chinese hawthorn tastes deliciously with a mix of sour and sweet, big eaters could drink the tea more often to aid digestion.
Goji berry tea is believed to promote longevity.
The addition of fructus schisandrae to goji berry tea would yield stronger tonifying effect on the blood, kidney yin, liver yin and lung yin.
In the end, let me just remind you that different people have different body constitutions, so it would be unrealistic to have one particular tea that can solve all problems.
But I can assure you that practicing traditional Chinese medicine is a fascinating art and that there are always ways to restore or promote good health in individuals.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 16.
Translation by John Chui with additional reporting
[Chinese version 中文版]
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