Shan Zha

by Expat Life

As a practitioner of Chinese Medicine I always use and prescribe yao shan or medicinal foods to my patients. Within the tenets of the practice of yao shan, medicinal teas are an essential component. When you hear the word ‘tea’ you might immediately think of green tea, oolong, pu’er, Darjeeling, and a whole other slew of tea’s that are commonly drunk.

However, in China there are tea’s made of all kinds of fruits, herbs, and yes, also leaves (green, oolong, etc). Most of these teas can be found right here in Thailand, thanks in large part to it’s Thai-Chinese population and a long history with Chinese Medicine. One of my favourites to prescribe as well as use for myself and my family, is shan zha 山楂 (Hawthorne berry) tea.

The indications for drinking this tea can be the following: food stagnation/indigestion; blood stasis/ pain; post partum or menstrual pain; high cholesterol; high blood pressure; weight loss; angina. It is sweet, warming, and sour and targets the liver, spleen, and stomach according to CM theory. Depending on what you are using it for, would dictate how long you would drink it for and how often. If it’s indigestion? Perhaps only for a day.

If it’s for post partum abdominal pain? Until the pain resolves. If it’s for high cholesterol? Drink daily. Shan Zha is also found in some old fashioned Chinese candies here (Hawthorne cakes/haw flakes) which are used traditionally as digestive candies.

by Nicola Sheldon, The Spice Doc

Instructions for shan zha tea:
15-30 grams of sliced dried shan zha can simply be put in a large pot after washing off debris, add 2 tablespoons of rock sugar (good for building your yin i.e. moistening the body if it is dry), and bring water to a boil for 5 minutes – approx. 1 litre’s worth.

Let it steep for an additional 15 minutes after, drink 2-3 glasses/day.

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