Tuesday, July 31, 2012

ChangSha Kiln Productions

Brown-glazed jar with decals and double handles

Tang Dynasty
Height: 19.2 cm
Mouth diameter: 12.6 cm
Foot diameter 14.2 cm
Open mouth, straight neck, broad shoulder, round belly contracted downward, flat bottom. The base takes on grayish white color. Yellow brown glaze is applied to the original hoar body except for the bottom and the area close to the bottom. There are two square ears and four decals on the shoulder of the jar. The bottom and the part close to the bottom are unadorned and without glaze.
In the Tang Dynasty, porcelain wares produced in Changsha Kiln were mainly for daily use, among which, jars of various kinds were the most popular. They featured simple design and delicate changes. Porcelain wares in Changsha Kiln sold well not only in China but also in many foreign countries at that time.

White-glazed green colored pillow
Tang Dynasty
Height: 9.5 cm
Length: 16.5 cm
Width: 10 cm
The pillow is rectangle with round corners. There is a hole on one side of the pillow. With the top in white glaze, the pillow features a large rhombic pattern composed of four smaller rhombic flower patterns painted in green color in the center and smaller flower patterns round the four corners. There are small crackles on the glaze. The bottom of the pillow is not glazed.
Small and exquisite, it is a typical porcelain pillow of the Tang Dynasty. The simple painting style displayed by simple pictures bears intense charm and beauty.

By Explore Cultural China

Sunday, July 29, 2012

ChangSha Kiln

The Changsha Kiln 长沙窑 was first established in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and its site was found in the town of Tongguan in the suburb of Changsha in Central China's Hunan Province , hence its other name of the Tongguan Kiln 铜官窑.

The kiln prospered at the junction of the late Tang Dynasty and the Five Dynasties (907-960), before gradually declining after the Five Dynasties. The products of the kiln were mainly common house wares like pots and jars. The most prominent achievement of the Changsha Kiln was its invention of underglaze painting technology, which exerted tremendous influences upon the underglaze decoration technologies succeeding it.

The distinctive artistic feature of the Changsha Kiln at that time was its products being the first to incorporate traditional Chinese painting and calligraphy as decorations.

By Explore Cultural China

Friday, July 27, 2012

How to brew KungFu tea

You are probably most familiar with the Chinese words Kung Fu as referring to the martial arts. This however, is by association and these words actually have other meanings in Chinese. Kung Fu actually refers to hard work, labor, and dedication toward any task or any goal. Kung Fu Cha (Cha means tea) is the Chinese tea brewing process that incorporates all these meanings. Here's how to indulge in the beauty and warmth of Kung Fu tea in the comfort of your own home.

Appreciate the tradition. In the Chinese traditional tea culture, Kung Fu tea has a certain etiquette that goes along with it, a procedure that drinkers follow. Each different place adds various details. Study the various ways in which Kung Fu tea is served and enjoyed, and eventually you will develop your own unique way.

Get a tea set: This will include a tea tray (hollow tray with a container inside which can contain all the water that will be spilled during the process), teapot, fair cup (a separate tea vessel), tasting cups, and aroma cups (sniffer cups). Prepare the tea leaves in advance, so that they are ready to be placed in the pot as soon as it has been warmed. A tea caddy, or “tea presentation vessel," is recommended for this purpose, as is a proper set of tea tools. Approximately one to two teaspoons of leaves is a good quantity to begin with and is easily adjusted to taste after the initial infusion. Keep in mind that due to the many variations of tea processing, some leaves are a lot more compact than others. For instance: in terms of volume of leaves, you will need less Tieguanyin than Yan Cha or Formosa Oolong. 

Tea leaves
Rinse all vessels with hot water. This signifies that the ritual of tea making has begun by purifying the pot, cleaning it of dust and residue and making it ready to receive the tea. It also warms the vessels since the hot water is then poured into the serving pitcher and from there into the tasting cups. This is done because at room temperature ceramic teaware is usually quite cold and unsuited to brewing fine teas whose temperature must be carefully controlled. After rinsing, the water should be discarded into the draining tray or a waste water bowl.
Before infusion, pour hot water over the leaves and then quickly pour it off. This removes any dust from the leaves and begins to open them up—-releasing the tea’s aroma, which should be savored prior to infusion. This set prepares the palate to appreciate the full flavor of the tea.
Use pure or mineral water to brew the tea. Tap water should be avoided, since its chemical treatment imparts undesirable flavors and odors which interfere with the delicate aromatics of tea. (Home filters and other water purification systems can minimize and, in some cases, eliminate these problems.) The best water for tea brewing is spring water with a natural mineral content that’s neither too hard nor too soft. Since T.D.S., “total dissolved solids", or mineral content measured in parts per million, varies greatly from water to water, you may want to do your own taste-test of waters available in your area to determine which one has the best flavor, body and compatibility with the tea you drink.
Fill the pot to the top with hot water and cover. Pour water over the top of the pot, drawing the stream over the air hole until a little water comes out the spout. When this occurs, you know the pot is full and heated to the right temperature. 

Pour hot water over the teapot
Pour the water into the fair cup to heat it. A fair cup allows the tea to be poured from the teapot into a holding vessel. Sometimes these fair cups use a filter to trap unwanted tea particles that may have passed on from the teapot. 

Add tea leaves and let steep.
Oolong Tea: For light oolongs, such as Bao Zhong & Imperial Green, use 70°-80°C (158°-176°F) water and an infusion time of 3 to 5 minutes. For darker styles, including Tieguanyin & Yan Cha—between 80° and 90°C (176-194°F) again steeping 3 to 5 minutes.
Black Tea: You will probably find that water between 85° and 95°C (185°-203°F) and a three minute infusion works best for black tea. You may want to experiment with lower temperatures and longer steeping times.
Puerh Tea: Use water that’s just come to a boil and infuse 3-5 minutes.
When the leaves have infused their essence, pour the tea out into the pitcher (fair cup). This intermediate step between the teapot and the individual cups allows the tea to be mixed while pouring (the first tea coming out of the teapot will be less strong than the one on the bottom of the teapot). Moreover, it allows to precisely adjust the brewing time in the teapot (all the tea comes out quickly, instead of being slowly poured in the individual cups).
From the fair cup, distribute the tea in the aroma cups, keeping the pitcher close to the cups and pouring slowly. This reduces the movement of the tea, maintaining its temperature.
After the aroma cups are filled, position one tasting cup, upside down, over each aroma cup. After tasting cups are positioned, take each cup pair and quickly flip it: this is a very delicate step since the cups are becoming hot on the outside. Notice that the tea will not spill out because no air can enter the aroma cups. After this is done, each guest will simply lift the aroma cup from the tasting one.
Another option to this step is to give each guest the aroma cup and separately the tasting cup. The guests will then simply pour the tea from aroma to tasting cups and proceed by smelling in the same manner. 

Aroma cups
At this point, the aroma cup can be brought near the nose to receive the fragrance of the tea by inhaling the steam. 

After smelling, drink the tea from the tasting cups. Drink by taking small sips that allow to fully enjoy the taste, aromas and qualities of the tea.
A good green tea will allow up to four or five brews. Add water to the teapot and start again from point 10 to your will.

By Explore Cultural China

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Drinking Gongfu Tea: A Chinese Custom In East Guangdong And South Fujian

It is a Chinese custom to treat guests with tea. However, people in east Guangdong and south Fujian have a special way of preparing tea, called gongfu tea.

The tea sets for making gongfu tea are very small. The teapot is as big as a fist and the white and transparent teacups are as small as tiny liqueur glasses. In addition they use a small charcoal stove, a small water kettle and a porcelain base for holding the tea set.
 Spring or well water is the best for making gongfu tea. Water is boiled with olive stones, which give out high flames and the delicate fragrance of olives. Before making tea, first the teapot is cleaned with boiled water to get rid of the remaining tea flavor in the pot and to warm the teapot. Then a big handful of tea leaves is put into the teapot.
After the water is boiled,  the kettle is lifted high to pour hot water into the teapot. The water is continually poured even when it overflows, so as to get rid of impure materials and foam, and to make mellow tea. After the lid is put on the teapot, boiling water is poured onto the teapot. This will cause the tea leaves to unfurl.
 A few minutes later, the tea can be poured into the cups, which are arranged in a circle.  It is poured with a circular motion into each cup. In this way, the color and consistency of the tea in all the cups are the same. To avoid creating foam and scattering the fragrance of tea, the teapot should be held close to the teacups. When the tea is ready, the teacups are presented to guests and elders with both hands.
It is mentally refreshing to see the yellow and limpid tea and smell its delicate fragrance. The first sip seems slightly bitter, but a while later, the sweetness of the tea can be savored.
Wulong (black dragon) tea is the best variety for making gongfu tea. Half fermented, Wulong tea is as mellow as black tea and as refreshing and sweet as green tea, complete with lingering after taste. According to research, Wulong tea helps prevent and cure illnesses, prolong life and prevent arteriosclerosis and cancer.

Guangdong's Wulong tea comes from Anxi in Fujian Province. Legend has it that the first cultivator of the tea was named Wu Liang.
One day, Wu Liang went home after he had picked several pounds of mountain tea and caught a river deer. In the evening, he was busy with killing the river deer, and didn't have enough time to dry the green tea. The next day, he found the tea in the basket had fermented on the way back and after having been stored in the basket the whole night. He fried the tea at once. To his surprise, he found that the tea tasted very mellow, with no bitter and astringent taste. Soon Wu Liang taught his fellow villagers how to make the tea. Almost everyone in his village liked the fermented tea and they named it Wu Liang tea. In the south Fujian dialect, liang and long are two homophonic words. As time went by the tea was called Wulong tea by later generations.
By Explore Cultural China

Monday, July 23, 2012

YiXing Teapots

Clay teapots from the town in Yixing, near Wuxi, are an indispensable accessory for tea drinkers throughout China. Usually small, squat, and brown, fine craftsmanship and special materials make them an ideal vessel for making tea. The fired clay is uniquely able to bring out the flavors of tea leaves during brewing. Since the clay is absorbent, unlike porcelain or metal, some of the flavor is absorbed into the pot during each brewing. This gives the tea a richer and more mellow flavor - after using a pot many times, the pot itself can flavor boiling water without adding any fresh tea leaves!

Much of the unique quality of Yixing teapots comes from the special dark brown clay they are fashioned from. The clay is not simply dug from the ground, but is actually made from rocks unique to the area, ground into powder and mixed with water. Craftsmen use choose several different types of rock and combine them in different proportions in light of what they are planning to make. The different colors of the best Yixing pottery come from different colored clays, not from paint or glazes, so pieces with several colors actually use several different clays. As a result, Yixing pottery is less brightly colored than Chinese porcelain, and uses more muted earth tones.

Yixing pottery is not made on a potter's wheel or with thin coils of clay. Instead, artisans use a complex array of hand tools to shape the parts of a teapot, then put them together before firing. All the parts of a single teapot must come from the same lump of clay and must be worked at the same time - otherwise differences in the consistency of the clay or changes in air temperature or humidity of the environment where it is worked could cause cracks and breaks when the pot is fired.

Each pot is made of five parts - base, lid, walls, spout, and handle. After "tenderizing" a suitable lump of clay with a heavy wooden mallet, the artisan slices it up and rolls out a thin sheet to use as a base, making it a perfect circle with a small compass. He then rolls out and pounds clay for the walls and shapes them around the base to form the curved sides of the pot. He then forms the handle and spout, attaches them, and then creates the lid, perhaps the most challenging part of the pot. The pot then dries in the air for two days before being fired in a kiln. Since the clay can crack easily, it is slowly moved deeper and deeper into the oven to prevent it from heating too fast. After being fired for 18-24 hours, depending on the clay and the item, the pot is finished and ready for some tea leaves!

The workbench of a Yixing artisan is crowded with a bewildering array of tools, whose specialized uses have evolved over the centuries. There are separate compasses for measuring lid, bases, and walls of the pots, different mallets for pots with different shapes of walls, a plethora of knives and tiny awls, and tools uses to create the countors of everything from aged wood to the wrinkly skin of a gourd. A good set of tools and a thorough familiarity with their use is perhaps the key to the teapot craftsman's art.

This seemingly simple process is actually quite demanding, especially for the simplest and least decorated pots. For while small imperfections can be hidden underneath decorations or carving, even the smallest flaws or imbalances in the shape of an undecorated pot are obvious even to an untrained eye. While round, unadorned teapots, differing in shape and curve, are a classic favorite, Yixing teapots are also decorated in all sorts of beautiful designs. At one extreme are pots shaped to look like fruits and vegetables, or pieces of wood or bamboo, with amazingly lifelike textures and artful imperfections. Others are decorated with Chinese calligraphy or poems. One of the most traditional and beautiful styles combines the simplicity of plain teapots with touches drawn from nature - such as crafting the handle to look like a plum branch, with a small spray of flowers spreading over a section of the pot.

Since the clay absorbs flavor, you should keep the pot clean by washing it with warm water once you've finished drinking. But never clean it with soap - the soap can seep into the clay and give a soapy aftertaste to the next pots of tea! If you forget to clean it and the old leaves turn foul, adding boiling water, immediately pouring it out, and placing the pot in cold water will freshen the flavor again.

Clay teapots from the town in Yixing, near Wuxi, are an indispensable accessory for tea drinkers throughout China. Usually small, squat, and brown, fine craftsmanship and special materials make them an ideal vessel for making tea. The fired clay is uniquely able to bring out the flavors of tea leaves during brewing. Since the clay is absorbent, unlike porcelain or metal, some of the flavor is absorbed into the pot during each brewing. This gives the tea a richer and more mellow flavor - after using a pot many times, the pot itself can flavor boiling water without adding any fresh tea leaves! 

By Explore China

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Seasons of tea drinking

According to traditional Chinese medicine, people should drink tea according to their physical fitness as well as choose the right tea in different seasons of a year.
Generally speaking, scented tea is recommended in spring, green tea in summer, oolong tea in autumn and black tea in winter.

 Drinking scented tea in spring can help emit the pathogenic cold stored up in human body through winter, with its full aroma activating the generation of Yangqi.
Green tea is highly recommended in summer for its properties of bitterness and cold, which can help remove heat and toxic substances, quench thirst and strengthen heart.
In autumn it is better to drink Oolong tea. Neither too cold nor too hot it is, Oolong tea can help dispel extra heat within body and resume salivation. 

Black tea is an ideal drink in winter. With pleasant sweetness and temperateness, it contains rich protein to help digestion while nourishing and strengthening our body.

By Explore Cultural China

Thursday, July 19, 2012

WuYi Cassia Tea

Wuyi Cassia Tea (Rougui or Yugui in Chinese) is so named because it is similar to cassia in both aroma and flavor. According to documents, the name appeared as early as in Qing Dynasty. It is a kind of oolong featuring fresh leaves from high quality tea plants, and a highly aromatic breed among Wuyi Rock-essence Tea that is processed in the same way as other breeds are produced.
The Cassia Tea is produced in the famous Wuyi Mountain Scenic Area in Wuyishan City, Fujian Province and is said to originate in the Mazhen Peak of the mountain. In early 1940s, the tea had already become one of the ten breeds planted in Wuyi Mountain tea garden, while it was gradually recognized by people because of its high quality ever since 1960s. With its planting area expanding year by year, today, it has become a major breed among varieties of Wuyi Rock-essence Tea.

The Wuyi Cassia Tea is regularly curly in strips with glossy brownish green color. The dry tea smells sweet, which gives out a creamy, fruity and cassia-like aroma after steeped. It tastes mellow with sweet aftertaste. The liquid takes on a clear orange yellow color, with the leaves evenly spread with light green bottom and red edge. It can still retain the cassia aroma after added with water for six or seven times.

By Explore Cultural China

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The herbal tisanes culture of Lingnan

In 306 AD, Ge Hongnan, a Taoism pharmaceutist in the Eastern Jin Dynasty came to Lingnan. At that time, the miasma disease was spreading, so he was able to carefully study the medicine for various epidemic febrile diseases. The herbal tea, based on the medical works left by Ge Hong and the rich experiences summed up by later generations of Lingnan doctors during the long-term disease control and treatment for labors, has formed into profound cultural heritage of Lingnan. The formula and terminology of herbal tea making have been passed down generation by generation. Historical stories and folklore about herbal tea have been widely circulated in Lingnan and overseas for a long time. Over the centuries, the herbal tea shops standing in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao form a unique sight of Lingnan culture.

By Explore Cultural China

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Lotus root Tisanes

frequent drinking of it can remove the heat and blood stasis.

Making method: 
clean 75 grams of lotus roots, cut them into pieces and put them into the boiler with 750 grams of water, boil by slow fire. When the water in the boiler is reduced to two-thirds, add some sugar of proper amount.
By Explore Cultural China

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Lotus leaves Tisanes

  sunstroke prevention and cooling.
Making method:
  tear a half lotus leaf into pieces, put them into the water with 10 grams of talc and lagehead atractylodes respectively as well as 6 grams of licorice, boil them for about 20 minutes, remove the residue and take the liquor, and then add a little sugar. Drink it once cooled.
By Explore Cultural China

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mulberry and Feverfew Tisanes

heat dissipation, clearing away the lung-heat, soothing throat, removing liver heat and brightening the eyes, also acting on wind-heat type cold.

Making method: 
put 10 grams of mulberry leaves and feverfew respectively as well as 3 grams of licorice into the pot for slight boiling, and then remove the residue, and finally add a little sugar.

By Explore Cultural China

Saturday, July 7, 2012

How to make an herbal tisanes

Suffering from a cold? A herbal tisanes can be the perfect, natural substitute for taking pills and cough medicine. Want to relax after a long day? Herbal tisanes are also good at helping one relax or sleep. Herbal tisanes are wonderful at anytime of the day, but they can be a bit tricky.
They are also good for people on de-tox diets. They can be a good substitute for coffee.

Know the reason for which you need the tisanes. There are many herbal tisanes selections to try.

1. Relaxing - if you are trying to get some rest, look for a tisanes with chamomile as the main ingredient.
2. Uplifting - lavender, thyme, and spearmint are also good things to look for in a blend.
3. Soothing - if you are trying to soothe a cold you'll want something with eucalyptus, ginger, cinnamon, and/or licorice root.
4. Determine how much tisanes you will be making. The least you should ever heat up in a kettle is two cups. Any less then that, and you run the risk of boiling your kettle boil dry. Put the kettle on the stove (or plug in the electric kettle) and bring the water to boiling.
5. Gently warm your tea cups and teapot by running the tap water as hot as possible and fill teapot & tea cup(s) with the water. Put lids on each to keep in the heat. By heating up the cups and pot, your tisanes will keep warmer longer, and you lessen the risk of having a tea cup or top shatter.
6. Add the herbal tisanes. When the water has come to a rolling boil, empty the teapot of warm water and add the leaves/flowers or tea bags. The general rule when making a pot of tea is to add a teaspoon of leaves (or a tea bag) for each cup and one for the pot. If only making tea for one in a cup or mug, then add the bag or leaves to the mug and pour the boiling water over them.
7. Steep at least 5 minutes. While steeping too long can bring out the bitter tannins in black, green, or white teas, herbal teas are different. They generally don't have many tannins and therefore can be steeped anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. Use extra tea leaves to make a stronger tea;not a longer steeping time.
8. Strain if needed. If you have used loose tea leaves, and don't like leaves floating in your tea, then pour hot tea through the strainer into each cup.
9. Sweeten to taste. Sugar or honey may be used to taste. However, some herbal teas are naturally sweet. One should taste each tisanes by itself first before deciding if milk and honey are needed.
By Explore Cultural China

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Herbal tisanes that promote sleep

Enjoying tea is an integral part of Chinese life, and drinking herbal tisanes is also a popular yet affordable way for ordinary people to relieve common ailments. Depending on what causes your sleep problem, a specific tisanes should be able to help you. For example, for a restless mind unable to sleep, sour jujube seed, Chinese arborvitae kernel, tuber fleece flower stem or schisandra can be used to make a tea; for insomnia due to mental fatigue, a tisanes made from longan aril, red dates, wolfberry or ginseng are helpful. With a nauseous or upset stomach, a hawthorn fruit or tangerine peel tisanes can relieve the discomfort; sleep disturbed by a headache can use a tisanes made from chrysanthemum, Sichuan lovage or cassia seed; a depressive or irritable mood will be alleviated with a tisanes made from lotus plumule, albizia flower, rose bud or jasmine.
Generally, the tisanes may be a combination of leaves, bark, buds and roots. When using roots or bark or other coarse components, you need to grind them properly or boil them to make a decoction. You are advised to drink the tisanes in the evening, which help release tension and soothe the mind after busy work.
The following are some simple tisanes recipes that help promote sleep.

Chrysanthemum tisanes
Place dried chrysanthemum (10g) in a cup of boiling water, infuse for five minutes then add sugar to taste. Chrysanthemum clears liver fire and inhibits a hyperactive liver, which can cause insomnia, dizziness, irritability and eye soreness. The tisanes is particularly suitable for people with hypertension or other cardiovascular diseases.

Albizia flower tisanes
Steep albizia flower (12g) in hot water for 5 minutes and serve warm. The flower has an effect of relieving qi stagnation caused by emotional distress, and thus can ease a stressful mind, allowing the body to relax and fall into sleep. TCM uses it for conditions like insomnia, depression, tightness in the chest and poor mental functioning. Drinking the tisanes regularly helps to stabilize the nervous system and maintain a calm mood.

Lotus plumule tisanes
Steep lotus plumule (5g) and liquorice root (5g) in hot water for 10 minutes and serve warm. The tisanes is slightly bitter in taste, which clears heart fire and helps relieve insomnia accompanied by irritability and mouth dryness.

Common rush and bamboo leaf tisanes
Boil common rush (10g) and fresh bamboo leaf (30g), with 500mls of water for 15 minutes, add sugar to taste. The two ingredients clear heart fire and calm the mind. The tisanes is suitable for insomnia accompanied by irritability, palpitations, forgetfulness and urinary difficulty.

Acorus tisanes
Boil acorus (3g), hawthorn fruit (15g) and red dates (5 pieces) with the desired amount of water for 20 minutes, add brown sugar to taste. The tisanes is suitable for insomnia accompanied by palpitations, forgetfulness and low appetite.

Chinese arborvitae kernel tisanes
Fry Chinese arborvitae kernel (500g), crush slightly and store in a sealed container. Each time, take 15-20g of the herb, infuse with hot water and wait for 10 minutes, and then mix with honey. The tisanes is suitable for insomnia or dream-disturbed sleep accompanied by a pale complexion, forgetfulness, palpitations, and constipation.
Longan aril tisanes
Steep longan aril (10g) in hot water for 10 minutes, add rock sugar to taste. Longan aril invigorates the heart and spleen, and calms the mind. This tisanes is suitable for those who are mentally exhausted, have difficulty sleeping and who have a poor memory.

Schisandra tisanes
First, roast and crush the desired amount of schisandra, and store in a sealed container. Each time, take 5g of the herb and infuse with hot water, wait for 3 minutes and then add honey to taste. Schisandra promotes lung and kidney functioning, and helps relieve insomnia, fatigue and night sweats.

Prickly acanthopanax root tisanes
Boil prickly acanthopanax root also known as Siberian ginseng (15g) and schisandra (6g) with the desired amount of water for 20 minutes, add sugar to taste. The tisanes improves sleep quality, and is good for those with anemia. It also helps prevent coronary disease.

Wolfberry and jujube seed tisanes
Steep wolfberry fruit (10g) and sour jujube seed (10g) in a cup of hot water for 20 minutes, add brown sugar to taste. The tisanes nourishes the body and calms the mind. It is suitable for those who experience insomnia, irritability and mental fatigue due to insufficient essence and blood.
Ginseng tisanes 
Simmer ginseng (10g) with 400ml of water for 15 minutes.
There are different types of ginseng, suitable for different situations. For people with mental fatigue, shortness of breath, mouth dryness and a red tongue, American ginseng or white Chinese ginseng is appropriate; while people who have limb coldness, sensitivity to low temperatures, poor appetite and a pale tongue, red ginseng is the right choice. In addition to ginseng root, its fibrous root, leaf, flower, fruit and stem can be the cheaper alternatives to use as a tisanes. It should be noted that TCM regards ginseng as a strong tonic, and is contraindicated in some situations, such as the early stages of cold and flu, excessive throat secretions, thick and greasy tongue coating, skin sores, diarrhea and indigestion.

Reishi mushroom tisanes
Simmer the herb(10g) with 400ml of water for 20 minutes and when cool, add honey (20g). Reishi mushroom has a bitter taste, and is a popular anti-aging ingredient. TCM use it for situations like insomnia, dizziness, fatigue, chronic coughing, and indigestion. Modern research shows that it has calming and pain killing effects.

Pulse-activating drink
Boil ginseng (3g), dwarf lily-turf tuber (10g) and schisandra (10g), with 3000ml water for 2 hours. Keep the solution warm and drink regularly during the day. This is a classic TCM formula which can replenish qi (vital energy), stabilize blood circulation, nourish the body and calm the mind. It is suitable for people who suffer from restless sleep, frequent dreams, palpitations, shortness of breath, fatigue and mouth dryness.

Walnut milk
Fry or bake walnut (30g) and black sesame (20g) slightly and put a food processor; pour in cow's milk (180ml) and soybean milk (180ml), stir the ingredients thoroughly, then simmer over a low fire for 10 minutes. Separate the milk into two lots, one for morning and evening. This healthy milk is suitable for elderly people or during recovery from illness, and particularly benefits those with insomnia, dizziness and a weak lumbar spine.

Liquorice, wheat and jujube drink
Boil liquorice root (10g), shriveled wheat (30g) and common jujube fruit (10 pieces) with 1500 ml of water for one hour. Keep the solution warm and separate it for 2 to 3 times a day. This is a classic TCM formula for treating nervous breakdowns. TCM uses this prescription to relieve problems like insomnia, palpitations, irritability, sadness, frequent yawning and night sweating, which is claimed to be due to heart under-functioning, blood and yin deficiencies, or liver qi stagnation.
In addition to herbal teas or drinks, TCM also use herbal syrups and wines to promote sleep.

By Explore Cultural China

Winter is Coming - Ginger Tisane

 The warmth of summer is slowly fleeing as the September nights and mornings hint at the coming of winter. Ginger tisanes are perfect to pr...