There are many herbs in the Chinese Herbal Materia Medica that are rare and exotic, but there are also quite a few that are familiar and common within American kitchens. Two of these herbs are ginger and fennel, and some of their medicinal benefits can be utilized by drinking them in a simple tea form.
Ginger in the Materia Medica is called sheng jiang and known for its characteristics of benefiting the stomach, alleviating nausea, stopping coughing, and transforming phlegm.
Drinking a cup of ginger tea can be particularly helpful when:
- starting to feel the onset of a cold,
- experiencing nausea (any sense of queasiness in the stomach) or vomiting,
- dealing with a cough accompanied by phlegm (it's acrid and dispersing properties help break up the mucus).
Fennel in the Materia Medica is known as xiao hui xiang, its English translation being "small return fragrance". Fennel is known for its ability to harmonize the middle (one's digestive center), and warm the lower burner (the area of the abdomen below the umbilicus).
Drinking a cup of fennel tea can be particularly helpful when:
- experiencing abdominal pain / distention, indigestion, or having a reduced appetite (due to an etiology of what Chinese Medicine calls cold in the body), and
- women dealing with painful period, PMS, or diarrhea associated with menstruation (again, due to a cold pathology in the body).
There are many wonderful tea brands out there, but Traditional Medicinals is a great one that you can find at most supermarkets and health food stores.