|Most of the time when we think of herbal tea, the first things that
come to mind are chamomile tea or a simple peppermint tea. In Asia,
herbal teas take on quite another meaning. Herbal teas are often
serious medicine, prescribed by medical practitioners or used as part of
an intensive home-remedy program for the prevention and/or treatment
of everything from colds and headaches to indigestion and arthritis.
The American Journal of Chinese Medicine recently published an article
by one of the world's authorities of Chinese herbs, Dr. S. Y. Hu, an
89-year old Harvard University botanist of Chinese descent. Dr. Hu
divides all tea into two major types (1) ready-made refreshment teas,
known as liangcha and (2) medicated tea, packed in boxes or bags.
1.Liangcha tea has been proved from research conducted in the
1930s to prevent contagious diseases in Southern China. Two
well-known brands of liangcha are available in American Chinese
stores: (a) Wong Lo Kat and (b) Er-shi-si-wei.
2.Medicated teas are sold in pre-parceled amounts. They are
stronger and very bitter, and are used for improving vitality and
preventing illness. Dr. Hu includes among these (a) Panacea
Harmonizing Tea (b) Ho Yan Hor (c) Kanlu Tea and (c) Five
From a scientific point of view, until recently there was no definitive
work on the botanical sources of Chinese medical teas. Thanks to the
American Journal of Chinese Medicine and researchers like Dr. Hu that is