Healing summer teas with Chinese herbs
You can make your herbal tea at home that is cooling, refreshing and with healing properties such as detoxing and calming, just perfect for summer time. No need to choose between a caffeinated drink, alcohol drink or soda. Here are some summer herbal tea ideas inspired by traditional Chinese medicine.
1. Suan Mei or Wu Mei (Plum) tea
“Suan Mei” is the dried plum, and “Wu Mei” is the black variety of the “Suan Mei.” It is sour, astringent, helps with digestion and opens up an appetite.
You can use dried herb from the herbal store or buy fresh plum from the supermarket. Dried plum is very concentrated, so you only need a few pieces. Fresh plum will need cooking to infuse a stronger flavor. Add a little brown sugar or rock sugar as needed to balance out the sour taste. It is best when drinking cold or with ice.
2. Xia Ku Cao (Spica Prunellae, or self-healing spike) tea
"Xia Ku Cao" is slightly acrid and bitter. The cooling property makes it a popular summer drink. As a Chinese herb, Xia Ku Cao clears “liver fire,” and helps with red eyes, heat stroke, irritability, and constipation from heat and dryness.
Xia Ku Cao can easily be combined with other herbs such as Ju Hua, or San Zha (see below). It enhances the clearing heat function and takes away some bitterness. Just add hot water to the dry herbs and add some sugar or honey (optional) to your taste. You can make a big pot and store in the fridge.
3. Ju Hua (Chrysanthemum ) tea
Ju Hua, or chrysanthemum flower, is one of the most popular Chinese herbs. It is detoxing, clears eye problems such as blurry vision and red, itchy eyes. It also helps with a sore throat, dark urine and headache from heat. It is often combined with Go Qi Zi to brighten the eyes.
There are many kinds of dried Ju Hua herbs. Different areas produce different Ju Hua flowers. Regardless of size and color of the flowers, the functions are similar. Ye Ju Hua (Wild Ju Hua) is smaller, bitter and stronger in clearing toxic heat.
Just add a small handful of Ju Hua in a mug, add hot or boiled water. In a few minutes, you have beautiful yellow tea with blooming flowers. Drink it hot or cold. Combine with other herbs in this article to makes custom summer tea.
4. San Zha (Hawthorn) tea
Shan Zha is sour, sweet, and slightly warm. It helps digestion, high cholesterol, and hypertension. Like Suan Mei, the sour and astringent property is popular for hot summer days.
Just pour hot water into dry herbs in a mug. Add sugar as needed. Combine with Ju Hua and Xia Ku Cao to make it more special.
5. Five Flower tea
The Five Flower tea is consisted of 5 different herbal flowers to clear heat and toxin in the body. It is popular during hot and humid summer times. Toxic heat can be manifested as a sore throat, red eyes, skin rash, irritability, headache, fatigue, and distension.
Prepackaged Five Flower Tea is available in many Chinese supermarkets, or you can buy raw herbs individually and adjust your dosage. Each brand might have their combination of the herbs.
The five flowers are honeysuckle (Jin Yin Hua, or 金銀花), chrysanthemum (Ju Hua or 菊花), silk cotton or Bombax Ceiba (Mu Mian Hua or 木棉花), Plumeria Rubra (Ji Dan Hua or 雞蛋花) and Pueraria lobate (Huai Hua or 槐花).
You can just add hot water to the herbs like making teas or cook them on a stove for more flavor and medicinal effect. Add brown sugar or rock sugar if needed.
6. Yu Mi Xu (Corn Silk) tea
Yu Mi Xu is the corn silk. In Chinese medicine, it clears summer heat and generates fluid. Save the silk from the corn and cook in a pot of water. Drink it hot or cold as tea. The taste is on the bland side, but very effective in clearing summer heat.
7. Lu Dou (Mung bean) tea
Lu Dou, or Mung bean, is a very popular summer drink in many cultures. In Chinese medicine, it detoxes, cools, and generates fluid. To make mung bean soup, soak the beans for several hours first. Cook for 20 minutes to soften. Add cover and let it sit for a period (1-2 hours) to cook through completely. Add sugar at the end as needed.
Here is another way to drink the Lu Dou tea for detox and cooling function. Soak the whole beans in water for several hours, and just drink the water rather than the beans. Some herbalists believe this is the best way to take advantage of the Lu Dou’s detox function.
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