Herbal teas are an excellent tool that can be used as part of a healthy lifestyle.
While it's possible to find some herbal teas at your local health food store, what I am going to talk about here is Chinese herbal tea and medicine, something that not everyone is familiar with.
Personally, I consult a traditional Chinese herbalist at least once a month. If necessary, I will consult the herbalist more often until my body is balanced and working well. Once the body is in balance, then visiting the Chinese herbalist once a month is a great way of maintaining health.
Few westerners are aware of the many benefits that can be obtained from visiting a traditional Chinese herbalist. All Chinese herbalists who come from China are also trained as medical doctors in addition to their training as herbalists and acupuncturists.
Chinese herbal medicine can be used to prepare the body for winter, help the body adjust for spring and summer, get rid of colds, reduce fevers, help you sleep, improve your kidneys, assist skin problems, improve the health of your eyes, help alleviate constipation, improve digestion, cool the body's temperature in the summer, reduce arthritis inflammation, help stop smoking and so much more. Essentially, many health problems can be assisted by a traditional Chinese herbalist.
Of course, with any health problem, quick results should not be expected as healing takes time. But at the same time, it's been my experience that in some situations, I've had really quick results from taking Chinese herbal medicine.
I've used Chinese herbal teas to reduce my fever in less than 12 hours.
Also, once when I had a slight case of heat stroke, I got quite sick and discovered my teeth hurt so much that I couldn't chew food. In talking to my herbalist, she told me that when the body overheats that it can affect the tongue and teeth. She then prescribed some herbs to help cool the body and overnight, the teeth went back to feeling normal. This made me quite happy as I thought I was going to have to go to my dentist and get a tooth pulled!
If you've never visited a traditional Chinese herbalist before, then here's how it works.
You need to find a Chinese herbalist first. As you might expect, they will be easily found in Chinatown. Most cities have a Chinatown and depending on the city, there might be a few different Chinatowns within the city.
Once you've located a Chinatown, you then look for stores that sells herbs. You really can't miss them because you can see all the herbs in jars behind and in front of the counter.
Once you've identified a Chinese herbal store, simply walk in. It's possible, in some situations, the individuals may speak limited English but usually someone speaks good English. At this point, all you do is ask to see the herbalist.
Some herbalists speak better English than others. In situations where the herbalist cannot speak English, then usually someone will translate if necessary. But it's been my experience, that communication while beneficial, is not always necessary depending on the severity of your health because the Chinese herbalists have methods of determining what your body needs without the need to communicate.
When consulting with the Chinese herbalist, the herbalist will want to take your pulse using a technique known as the "Chinese pulse". This method allows them to see how your body is functioning. It's quite amazing but they can determine many things by taking your Chinese pulse.
Next, the herbalist will ask to look at your tongue. Your tongue will change colours, thickness, width, etc all depending on your state of health. If you don't believe me, take a look at your tongue the next time you have a cold and you will see it is covered in a thick white coat.
Based on these observations, the Chinese herbalist will write on a piece a paper some information, all in Chinese of course. You then take the paper to the counter and the clerk will start putting a collection of herbs together for you.
Directions will be provided to you and so when you get home, you throw your herbs into a saucepan, add some water (usually 6 cups of water) and then bring to boil. Once at the boiling point, you reduce and simmer until only 1 cup of water remains. This usually takes about 60 – 90 minutes.
You then drink the 1 cup of tea.
Next, you add 3 to 4 cups of water back to the herbs. You bring to boil, reduce to simmer and boil again until 1 cup remains. You drink this cup of tea later in the day or at night.
You must wait at least 4 hours between each drinking of the tea. I personally drink my tea in the morning and then again at night.
In some situations the herbalist might say to drink the tea 30 minutes after eating.
Either way, you only drink the tea a maximum of twice per day unless otherwise stated by the herbalist.
I am going to be quite honest and tell you that the tea will taste horrible, in most situations, and the smell during the boiling process may not be to your liking either. But the tea works.
It is said that the more bitter the tea you drink is, the more toxic your body is. The more sweet the tea is, the more energy your body needs.
Most people are going to drink a tea that is quite bitter. But don't worry, the herbalist will give you some candy to eat while drinking your tea!
The benefit of a Chinese herbalist is that every time you visit them, they customize the herbs specifically for you. While some of the herbs may be the same, some herbs will be different.
The other benefit of a Chinese herbalist is that you do not pay for the consultation. Instead, when you simply pay for the herbs and the consultation with the herbalist is free.
Chinese herbs are, for the most part, quite affordable too especially when you consider the consultation is free.
Every time you visit the herbalist, the cost of the herbs may vary slightly depending on what herbs have been prescribed. don't be surprised if you see the clerk using an abacus to determine the price of the herbs!
Another great benefit of visiting a Chinese herbalist is that you can find a lot of things that are quite cheap, especially when you consider they would cost a lot more at a health food store or if you were to buy the same thing online.
For example, one item that is getting more and more popular with those in the western world is something called the Goji Berry. The Goji Berry is also known as the Wolf Berry.
The Goji Berry is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine and is considered anti–aging. It is high in numerous vitamins and supports the health of the kidneys and strengthen the eyes amongst many other things.
I've been using Goji Berries, as prescribed by my Chinese herbalist, since the mid 1990's. But one day, I walk into my local health food store and the clerk started raving about these berries called Wolf Berries.... "hmmmm" I thought to myself. What could these berries be? The clerk then showed them to me and immediately I knew them as Goji Berries.
The clerk tried to sell me on these berries but the clerk didn't realize I had been using them for years, long before they became popular amongst movie stars and others. I then looked at the price and my jaw dropped to the floor!
The clerk was trying to sell me the Goji Berries and the cost might have been approximately $25 for 500 grams. If I were to buy the Goji Berries through my Chinese herbalist then for the same amount then I would pay approximately $6.50!
What a huge difference in price! This is how you can save money by shopping at a Chinese herbal store.
When you want to buy Chinese herbs, don't buy them online or through a western herbal store. If the herb originates from Asia then go to a Chinese herbal store and save your money.
Now Goji Berries can be used every day and make a wonderful and gentle tea. Ideally, you want to get your tea customized by the Chinese herbalist, but for general purposes you can add some Goji Berries to some hot water and make a tea.
But here are some more secrets for you.
There are 4 things you can do to help create a beneficial tea and at an affordable price. The 4 ingredients you would need are:
- Green tea
- Goji berries
- Wu–wei–zi berries
- Asiatic Cornelian Cherry Fruit
While ingredients such as Green Tea is quite well known and while Goji Berries are becoming increasingly popular, the other two suggestions are lesser known but of great benefit also.
Soon you will begin to hear about the other ingredients I have suggested and I have listed them in order of benefit.
Green tea is well known. This is a excellent ingredient to use in a tea and has many beneficial properties. The Chinese have used this for centuries.
Goji Berries, also known as Wolf Berries, I have already discussed.
Wu–wei–zi berries are also very good for you. The botanical name for wu–wei–zi berries is Schisandra fructus. These berries have a slightly odd taste to them when eaten, but an interesting taste when made as part of a tea. In fact, wu–wei–zi berries have such an interesting taste that their name, when translated, means "five taste fruit" because wu–wei–zi has sour, sweet, salty, hot and bitter tastes. Wu–wei–zi berries are also beneficial for helping the quality of sleep.
Asiatic Cornelian Cherry Fruit are sweet in taste and really nice. The botanical name is Cornus fructus. The Chinese know this fruit at Shan Zhu Yu.
All of the berries are beneficial for the kidneys and going back in time, before the Chinese knew that the body had kidneys, the Chinese described the benefit of these ingredients as helping the whole body because to the Chinese, when you assist the kidneys, you support the whole body. All of these ingredients are also anti–aging!
Generally speaking, I make a tea using Green Tea, Goji Berries and Wu–wei–zi berries. I seldom use the Asiatic Cornelian Cherry Fruit.
Here is how you make your tea.
- Add a small spoonful of Green Tea to a cup.
- Next add about 25 wu–wei–zi berries.
- Then add about 25 Goji berries.
- Bring your water to boil.
- Pour some water over the ingredients and put a plate or a lid of some kind over your cup.
- Let sit for 1 minute and then drain the water.
- Then add some more water to the cup and let the hot water make your tea.
- Drink when the temperature is to your liking.
Please note the following:
- You don't need more than 25 goji berries per day.
- After you drink your tea, you can boil some more water, add it to the tea and then drink when ready. I find the goji berries can make 3 cups of tea before the taste gets too weak.
- Adding more than 25 goji berries and using more than 25 goji berries per day is not recommended. More is not better.
- You can eat the goji berries if you want too after drinking the tea and if you want, you can eat some of the goji berries during the day. The goji berries have a really nice taste but if you eat them, make sure you clean your teeth well because they will stick to your teeth.
- I sometimes make my tea, walk away and drink it an hour later. This is okay but a tea should not be left out overnight because it will start to grow bacteria. You will often walk into a Chinese herbal store and notice the herbalist and others in the store have a glass of water with herbs in it. They drink it throughout the day. But as mentioned, you do not want to use more than 25 goji berries a day.
- The tea can stain your teeth especially the green tea. So I like to suggest that people use an electric tooth brush like the Braun Sonicare tooth brush which can help remove stains and yet is gentle on the teeth and gums.
Should you decide to go to a Chinese herbal store and buy these sort of herbs then it's possible that the herbalist may not understand the English name of the herbs. But the herbalist will have books and can look up the botanical names for the herbs.
The people in a Chinese herbal store will definitely understand the following:
- Green Tea
- Goji berries
- Wu–wei–zi (sounds like wu–way–z but trust me, my ability the speak Chinese is limited)
- Shan Zhu Yu
For your added benefit, the Chinese characters are as follows:
- 五 味 子 = wu–wei–zi
- 山 茱 萸 = shan zhu yu
It's possible some herbalists may have different spellings of these herbs in Chinese characters.
You won't find as much information about shan zhu yu as you will about the other herbs I have mentioned, but with time, this herb will gain in popularity. But remember, buy all of these herbs at a Chinese herbal store and save your money.
With time, when your friends are talking about these fantastic herbs they have just learnt about, you will be able to say "oh yes, I heard about them a long time ago through juicingbook.com"!
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Jesse is not flexible — never has been and probably never will be flexible like others. But it doesn't matter. In pure hatha yoga, how flexible you are makes no difference. It's all about loving the pose and focussing the mind on the stretch.
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