One of the hotly demanded Chinese herbs in traditional medical halls during the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak was jin yin hua (honeysuckle).
The dried flower buds of the lonicera japonica are believed to have detoxifying properties in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
In the 2012 book, Your Guide To Health With Foods & Herbs by Zhang Yifang and Yao Yingzhi, honeysuckle is used in TCM to clear heat and toxins. It is believed to reduce summer heat and helps in the treatment of heat rash.
But the book cautions that those who have weak constitutions, especially in the stomach, should avoid the herb.
Chinese physician Cheong Chin Siong, 45, recommends two brews featuring jin yin hua.
The first is a Detox And Immunity-boosting Tea which contains jin yin hua and pu gong ying (dandelion), another herb believed to help dispel heat and aid detoxification.
The recipe also has bei qi (astragalus root), believed to have properties which include tonifying the lung and boosting immunity; as well as dried Mandarin orange peel, believed to help strengthen the stomach.
Mr Cheong says: "Nutrition is part of boosting your immunity. Maintaining a healthy digestive system is important so that your body can absorb nutrients from food for good health."
He advises against eating raw, spicy and deep-fried foods to prevent stomach upsets, and recommends taking the Detox And Immunity-boosting Tea twice weekly, after meals.
Another detoxifying brew is Five Flower Tea, which features xia gu cao (prunella spike) and dried chrysanthemum flowers - both are used in TCM to dispel heat.
This concoction is much tastier and palatable because of the use of luohan guo (monk fruit), which lends natural sweetness. It is also recommended to be taken twice a week, after meals.
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DETOX AND IMMUNITY-BOOSTING TEA
- 20g pu gong ying (dandelion)
- 10g jin yin hua (honeysuckle)
- 10g bei qi (astragalus root)
- 8g gan cao (licorice root)
- 5g chen pi (dried Mandarin orange peel)
- 11/2 litres of water
1. Rinse the ingredients twice and place in a colander or sieve to remove excess water.
2. Place the ingredients in a pot.
3. Add the water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat. Allow the tea to cool before drinking. Serves two to three
FIVE FLOWER TEA
- 2 large luohan guo (monk fruit, 70g)
- 20g xia gu cao (prunella spike)
- 50g dried chrysanthemum flowers
- 8g gan cao
- 15g jin yin hua
- 3 pieces of sang ye (mulberry leaf)
- 2 litres of water
1. Break the luohan guo into small pieces.
2. Rinse the xia gu cao thoroughly.
3. Rinse the dried chrysanthemum flowers, gan cao, sang ye and jin yin hua thoroughly.
4. Place all the ingredients and water in a pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
5. Allow the tea to steep and cool before serving.
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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