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Herbal Teas at Home

By Adam Haysom-McDowell
from Annandale Natural Health & Chinese Medicine

Herbal Teas at Home

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), herbs are used in many ways. Often decocted in a pot to make a medicinal soup, or dried and offered as powder or pills. At times, I will prescribe simple medicinal teas for mild complaints. Nearly every herb can be viewed from a TCM perspective and you may have medicinal herbs growing in your garden, or in your cupboard right now! Other than being a great tasting cuppa, understanding how herbs are used medicinally can really increase their benefits. Let’s look at a few of examples.

One herb commonly used in TCM is mint (bo he / menthae haplocalysis). Everyone knows the strong flavour of mint and there are many varieties. The species mostly used in TCM is field mint. Peppermint (menthe x piperita) is similar though not used as often. Mint’s cooling properties are used to disperse wind-heat which is one way we view the cause of a sore throat and headache. Mint is also used for stomach aches, reducing feelings of stress and relaxing aching muscles (especially around the sides / ribs).

While mint is cooling, fresh ginger (sheng jiang / zingiber officinale) is warming. Ginger tea has been widely studied for its ability to calm an upset stomach and reduce nausea, and is a safe option for morning sickness. With its traditional use for the common cold caused by wind-cold, ginger’s warming properties can induce sweating. So it’s best not to consume if you have a fever where sweating is already present.

Our last example, one of my personal favourites, is not as common in Australian cupboards, but widely available in Chinese supermarkets. You may have enjoyed a pot of Chrysanthemum tea (ju hua / flos chrysanthemum morifolii) at your favourite yum cha restaurant. It has a lovely sweet floral flavour, is cooling, and as TCM views it as calming the liver. It is often used for headaches with dry red eyes, especially if brewed with dried goji berries (gou qi zi / lycii fructus).  Even some cooled chrysanthemum tea on a cotton pad placed on the eyes is a wonderful way to sooth sore eyes.

Enjoy your medicinal teas, but please remember that the description of symptoms listed above are from a TCM perspective, rather than Western Medical advice. Of course, herbs taken as teas are generally very safe, however if you have a known medical condition, or are unsure if a particular herb is suitable, please consult with your qualified healthcare practitioner.

More about the author

Adam Haysom-McDowell
Adam Haysom-McDowell
– Annandale Natural Health & Chinese Medicine

Adam is a nationally registered Acupuncturist and Chinese Medicine Herbalist, qualified with a Bachelor of Health Science (TCM), Diploma of Remedial Massage and a Diploma of Fitness (Personal Training). Adam is also a qualified Infant Massage Therapist and Instructor. With over 10 years experience working in both multi-modality (physiotherapy, chiropractic) and private clinics, Adam brings an integrative approach to his Chinese Medicine practice.

Clients of all ages in Sydney's Inner West come to Adam for any number of reasons. Whether it's back pain, a sporting injury, allergies, trouble sleeping, stress, anxiety or even a desire to cease smoking, Adam will utilise any combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine, Chinese remedial therapies (e.g. cupping, gua sha) and remedial massage in your treatment regime.

Listening to you and working with you, Adam will take into consideration recent clinical research along with his vast clinical experience in order to develop an individual treatment plan to suit your needs. If you are unsure how Chinese Medicine could help you, don't hesitate to get in contact today.