Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Book on Herbs From The Herb Shop!

Introduction to Chinese Herbs published by herbal company, Eu Yan Sang

While shopping for herbs for my Mom-in-Law a few weeks ago at the Eu Yan Sang outlet near my home, I saw this book on Chinese herbs. Priced at RM38, the book is published by Eu Yan Sang and contains an introduction to Chinese herbs and their origins, pinpointing their location in China.

I told myself that I was there to buy herbs for my Mom-in-Law so I thought I'd buy this book the next time.

I have quite a few books on Chinese TCM herbs but I still love collecting these books. Even in today's Internet age where I can easily google and find out about a specific herb, nothing beats browsing a real book.

I also realized why I need to quickly learn how to read in Chinese - many books on TCM herbs are still largely in Chinese (as I found out when I was at Popular Bookstore). I found myself annoyed that I could not understand 80% of what was written in these Taiwanese and Chinese books.

(In case you are keen to learn Chinese, let me point you to Skritter which I am using. It helps me a lot and at US$9.95 per month, quite an affordable deal for self-motivated Mandarin learners like me. I like to be able to login any time to learn.)

In the end, I did buy the book above, no thanks to the fact that the sales promoter told me I would qualify for their lucky draw if I spent another couple more ringgit to make it a total of RM160. (Packets of herbs in Eu Yan Sang are not cheap - a packet of herbs for soup costs about RM16 to RM18. Compare this to my market herbalist who sells similar packet herbs for RM5 to RM8. So Eu Yan Sang is a little more expensive than your no-brand herbalist.)

However, I do believe the herb selection and processing should be much better at Eu Yan Sang. After all they have their brand to protect.

The book caters to both English and Chinese readers. It's not a recipe book but a book which informs how you should select herbs, what to look for, what region or province in China it comes from and what are the distinguishing features. It does have recipes but without the photo of the dish. The pages are in full colour.

The best part is they do inform you how many grammes of the herb to be used, which makes it a lot easier than going by guesswork.

Many of the featured herbs are familiar but they get the in-depth treatment for each page. It's always interesting to know the regions they come from and how the herb is processed. Things like these fascinate me to no end.

Over the next few weeks, I shall share more from this book. Anyway I am pleased I bought this book. Another herbal book to add to my TCM book collection!

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