You’ve probably heard the saying that Chinese people eat everything that moves except for cars, everything that flies except for airplanes and everything that swims except for submarines. In a nutshell – it’s true. And the same applies to brews. If it can be boiled and doesn’t resemble old dirty socks – into the pot with it!
Apart from (duh!) tea and hot water, there are some herbal brews which are popular also in the Western parts of the world, like camomile or this thing below, which is basically citron peel. Apparently all of them have some beneficial qualities, for example the citron peel is supposed to be good for digestive and respiratory systems (no news for me; where I come from we use lemon much to the same effect. But then, as an Italian doctor once remarked when my friend fed some garlic and blueberries to her ill boyfriend – we Poles live closer to nature!).
Then there are also all kinds of more exotic flowers, like chrysanthemums (very popular!). The one below is tiger lily flower. I’m just googling its uses (done it once before, but it all tends to mix up) and it seems like each site says something different, but they all agree that the bulb can be used as a slightly bitter spice in cooking. Still, what about the flowers? For now the consensus seems to be that they are good for lungs and dry throat. Chinesemedicinewiki.org also says they harmonise the middle Jiao. Sure, if they say so… Whatever the truth – they just look pretty in a cup.
Then there’s my personal favourite, gouqi, chinese woolfberry. According to various sources it’s good either for women or for eyes. Being both a woman and possessed of eyes, I have no qualms and drink it almost daily (it can also be eaten directly or used in sweet dishes).
And then there’s the new thing I bought to try out, the ultimate Chinese plant – the lotus. When brewed, the leaves taste slightly tangy and a bit… well, like pee. But it’s a good thing, since among its many functions is also that of a diuretic. And I can’t really say what about the woolfberry and eyes, or the lily flower and lungs – but the lotus things bloody well works. Do not drink it before going out.