Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Self Heal Tea

This is an updated post where I've added more information and photos.

Sometimes it's a revelation to know that certain herbs I thought to be Chinese actually has been in use in the Western world for a long time too.

Self Heal or Prunella Vulgaris - a great liver tonic!

One particular herb called Self Heal or Prunella Vulgaris is just that.

I grew up with this herb. Mom used to make Xia Ku Chao tea (a dark tea which looks just like Lo Han Guo tea) for us when we were little. It helped to cool down the body.

And Xia Ku Chao or Self Heal (flower spikes) is cheap and plentiful. With RM1, you could buy a fairly large packet. Just put this dried herb into a pot of water and boil away. Add rock sugar and you can drink it the whole day.

For a robust taste, substitute with brown cane sugar. For a pot of 1.5 liter water, I add about 1 to 2 pieces of the brown candy sugar.

Brown candy sugar is made from sugar cane juice.
Available at all Chinese shops and herbalists.

But Xia Ku Chao or "Har Ku Chou" (in Cantonese) is more than just a cooling tea.

It has a host of benefits too and can be made well ahead and refrigerated for those hot, balmy days. Much better than drinking canned soda!

Self Heal is a common European wild flower and like its name, it is about healing. It is used in folk medicine to heal wounds.

In Chinese medicine, it is a herb to remedy heat where it cools the liver and calming hyperactive children! If you have swelling of lymph nodes, it is also helpful to take some Self Heal tea.

All About Self Heal 

The flower spikes are used for the lung and gall bladder meridians. It is anti-bacterial, lowers blood pressure, stimulates urine flow. It is also astringent and helps with wound healing. It helps clear heat from the liver.

It can be combined with Chrysanthemum for headaches and dizziness linked to liver fire. Avoid this herb if you have a weak spleen or stomach.

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