Chinese herb tea is not an actual tea, but a brew made from a number of herbs that are used in traditional Chinese medicine. This medicinal beverage may be drunk cold or hot, and is used as a cooling drink to ward off heat and to treat a variety of ailments like sore throat, flu, upset stomach, high blood pressure and so on. It is possible to prepare the Chinese herbal tea at home from fresh herbs, or the herbal tea may be purchased ready made in powdered form or in tea bags. The taste and color of the Chinese herb tea depends on the composition of its herbal ingredients; the tea may retain its original bitter taste or may have sweeteners added to make it more palatable.
The herbs are boiled in water for a specific length of time and the brew is then strained; if herbal tea bags are used, of course, they only need to be dipped in boiled water. Cantonese speakers refer to Chinese herbal tea as liong cha and in the Mandarin language it is known as liang cha. Some flowers like jasmine may be added to the tea to give it a pleasant flavor.
One well-known Chinese herb tea is Kuding tea. It is made using plant extracts from the Ligustrum robustum and the Ilex kudingcha plants, and is very bitter. It is regularly prescribed in traditional Chinese medicine to patients suffering from high blood pressure and high cholesterol problems; the chemicals in the tea are effective in regulating blood pressure and lowering cholesterol build up.
Kuding tea has also been found to be effective for treating common cold, bronchitis, strained eyes, headaches, inflammations and fevers. It has a calming effect on the nerves and is said to improve mental focus. Drinking this tea may also improve the blood circulation and help with digestion.
Another Chinese herb tea is made from a herbaceous vine called jiaogulan; this is a member of the gourd family. Drinking this tea is also beneficial for people with blood pressure and cholesterol problems. It has been found to be effective in treating altitude sickness as well.
While drinking Chinese herb tea is generally safe, it is best to drink it in moderation. It may also be advisable, in some cases, to consult a medical practitioner beforehand. This is particularly important if there are any other ongoing medications that may potentially clash with the medicinal herbs.