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Poetic scenes and rare teas that bring health

THE wind in Xiaguan, the flowers in Shangguan, the snow on Cangshan Mountain and the moon at Er'hai Lake are the four famous views of Dali. But they are also the four famous medicinal teas of the area as well. Zhang Qian raises her cup.

Feng hua xue yue" ("wind, flower, snow and moon") is a proverb in Chinese that usually refers to romance. But in Dali, Yunnan Province, it is used to talk about certain scenic views or tea.

The wind in Xiaguan, the flowers in Shangguan, the snow on Cangshan Mountain and the moon at Er'hai Lake are the four famous views of Dali. And there are also four teas grown there named after the four views and all are rich in nutrition and good for your health.

Wind - yao cha (medicinal tea)

Instead of looking like dried leaves as most does, yao cha looks more like tiny 1-millimeter medicine pills. In fact it is made of several local TCM herbs together with aged Pu'er tea, according to Jane Lin who sells the teas in Baocheng Fu, a popular tourist venue in Dali.

San qi (notoginseng), mu xiang (costus root), tian ma (rhizoma gastrodiae), jue ming zi (Semen Cassiae), xue lian guo (yacon) and aged Pu'er tea are ground then mixed together to make the tiny pills, Li says.

Notoginseng is one of the most famous precious herbs in Yunan Province. It belongs to the panax species, yet grows nowhere except southwest China. Wenshan County in Yunnan Province is the best place to find notoginseng. It has long been used in TCM to relieve external injuries and other bleeding or blood stagnation problems. It is effective in improving blood circulation, relieving pain, stopping bleeding, healing wounds, and relieving swelling.

"Ginseng is best for reinforcing energy while notoginseng is best for reinforcing blood - they are the most precious herbs in TCM medicine," according to "A Supplement of the Compendium of Materia Medica" written by Zhao Xuemin in 1765 in Qing Dynasty (1644-1912).

The roots, stems, leaves and flowers are all used as effective medicines in TCM. Its "cold" (yin) flower can help dispel pathogenic heat, soothe nerves and decrease blood pressure. It is widely recommended as herbal tea to treat high blood pressure, dizziness, tinnitus and sore throats. The leaves are more effective for relieving swelling, pain and bleeding. It can also help decrease blood fat. The roots of notoginseng can help protect the heart, soften arteries and prevent problems with blood vessels and the heart.

Mu xiang usually grows on mountains 2,500 meters or more above sea level, and is found in Yunnan and Sichuan provinces in China. It can help improve energy, relieve pain, benefit the spleen and relieve indigestion.

Other ingredients like tian ma, jue ming zi and xue lian guo are also effective in relieving high blood pressure. Jue ming zi and xue lian guo are both "cold" and help dispel pathogenic heat and toxins while the "neutral" tian ma is used to relieve headaches and numbness. Modern research suggests that tian ma can help improve memory and sight.

Drinking yao cha is believed to help high blood pressure and blood fat, improve the digestive system, soothe nerves and improve memory.

Li suggests taking a salt spoon of the tea and pour hot water (90 degrees Centigrade) over it. Adding three or four leaves of xue cha (snow tea, thamnoia vermicularis asahina) can help strengthen its efficacy.

"Most medicinal teas should not be drunk again for 24 hours, but yao cha is an exception," says Li. A spoon of tea can be taken at least two to three times a day, according to Li. And if you have finished drinking your tea, you can just turn the cup upside down and put it aside. The tea leaves will stick to the bottom of the cup all night and you can just add hot water to make the tea again the next day.

Flower °?- wild roses in Cangshan Mountain

The wild rose in Cangshan Mountain is a microspecies of rose. It grows in valleys and is found at about 2,800 meters. It looks smaller than the normal rose teas sold at supermarkets. One of the surprises is that when you pour hot water on the wild rose tea, the water suddenly turns green rather than the yellow or pink of most rose teas.

"These roses grow in valleys and get less sunshine than other roses. That means they contain more chlorophyll than anthocyanin in the flowers," says Li. "That's why the tea goes green rather than pink or yellow."

Like other roses, the wild roses of Cangshan Mountain are also "warm" herbs that help regulate blood and energy, reinforce blood, regulate menstruation and are good for the skin. The sweet aroma of the tea can help sooth nerves and relieve depression.

Li warns that if the petals of the roses loosen when hot water is poured on them they may not be natural roses. There is a possibility they have been steamed at first to extract the essential oils and perfume has been added to restore the smell.

Pouring hot water on three to five flowers will make a perfect rose tea. Adding some milk can help relieve a hangover. Mixing the tea grounds with honey and egg white makes a face mask for perfect skin.

Snow - xue cha (snow tea)

Snow tea is a lichen found underneath snow on mountainsides above 4,000 meters. It cannot be grown artificially. Its leaves are like fine silver threads about 3-7 centimeters long. And the vegetation on the ground looks like white chrysanthemums.

Snow tea tastes bitter at first yet sweet when reaches the back of the throat. Drinking snow tea often can help dispel pathogenic heat, promote fluids, nourish the lungs, dissolve phlegm and decrease blood pressure. The thicker leaves with a whiter color usually taste more bitter but are more efficacious. Snow tea can also break down nicotine and diminish damage caused by smoking, according to Li.

Snow tea can be drunk alone or taken with green tea, chrysanthemum and liquorice. Adding some ginger to snow tea can help relieve colds caused by pathogenic cold. Chewing snow tea leaves can help relieve sore throats.

Moon - Jin gui piao xiang (tea with osmanthus scent)

When you pour hot water onto 8-10 tea leaves of jin gui piao xiang, a strong scent of osmanthus will pervade your home. And its sweet taste lingers in your mouth if you sip just a little.

Jin gui piao xiang are large leaf teas found at the Er'hai Lake in Dali, and they are deliberately planted next to osmanthus. The tea leaves absorb the osmanthus scent while growing and release it when hot water is poured on them.

Red ginseng powder is added in the process of the tea fermentation and that is why it tastes sweet, Li says.

Drinking this tea often can help refresh the mind, improve blood circulation, reinforce the kidneys, promote fluids and relieve thirstiness. It is especially recommended for "weak" people with cold limbs and night sweats.

It is also effective in countering radiation and oxidation. Drinking a cup while working at a computer might be a good idea.


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