Traditional Chinese Medicine: Herbal Remedies
by Stephanie Hannington-suen·
Growing up, I used to drink herbal tea at least once a week as my parents ran their own acupuncture and herbal medicine clinic. As a child, I tried to avoid drinking it as much as possible but over the years have come to realise the importance it has had on my health. Recently, I’ve developed a strong interest in natural remedies and therefore have asked my mum to teach and prescribe me and my husband with one of her Chinese herbal detox teas to help cleanse the body.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is rooted in my family history. My Popo (grandma) used to pick herbs from the mountains near her home in Tai Po, Hong Kong and make her own remedies. While my parents have been practising it here in the UK since 1984.
TCM itself is over 5000 years old. The basic concept of it is based on the balance of your bodies’ energy, Qi which is running through channels called meridians that have branches connected to bodily organs and functions. In essence, TCM is the practice of preventing or healing disease by maintaining or restoring your Qi balance. The imbalance can result in illness.
The tea my mum has prescribed me is for detoxing and contains a whole range of dried herbs, the recipe is her own and therefore a secret.
I find the whole brewing process quite therapeutic. Some may not enjoy the smell but I find the earthy scent very nostalgic. It reminds me of home and also trips to Hong Kong where I would spend long afternoons with my Popo and sit with her inside one of her friends’ local chinese medicine shop.
For those unfamiliar with TCM, I’ve put together this journal post to run through the cooking process.
Please note that we recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing or on any medications.
First, place the dried herbs in a large pot with 7/8 cups of cold water. Allow the herbs to soak for 30-40 mins. Bring the pan to the boil, as soon as it’s boiling, lower the heat and simmer for 30-45 mins. Stir the medicine occasionally approximately 2/3 times while cooking.
Once done, pour the concoction into mugs, making sure not to get any bits. It’s best practice to drink the tea warm. Some might not enjoy the strong bitter taste, so you can add dark brown sugar or honey to sweeten it.
If you’d enjoyed this journal post or would even like a consultation with my mum and a bespoke herbal tea created, feel free to get in touch to find out more about TCM.