Why Is Licorice Called „The Old Man” In Traditional Chinese Medicine?
TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) dates back more than 2.200 years, and we can thank some of the most potent herbal formulas to it.
There is a common thing in those potent formulas, which is the inclusion of licorice.
„Licorice has a reputation as an “important official of China” in the kingdom of medicine, which is like a respected old man in the medical kingdom, who eases contradictions, regulates disputes and helps others.” a thought from Gao Yuxin
The taste maker
According to “Compendium of Materia Medica,” written by Li Shizhen, licorice “mainly cures fetal toxicity, decreases internal heat and relieves pain.”
He also praised licorice for its medicinal properties in the book. “Licorice can reconcile all drugs so that they coexist harmoniously, closely cooperate, foster strengths, circumvent weaknesses and work together to cure diseases.”
For example, licorice can reduce the toxicity of medicines and because its root and rhizome has a sweet taste and a cool nature it improves the taste of traditional Chinese medicines.
Long life tea
When the summer is searing hot in China many folks drink Yellow chrysanthemum flower tea.
„Chrysanthemum flower tea is used as a blood purifier to get rid of excess heat and to calm and relax the body and mind. It is often combined with honeysuckle flowers to enhance the cooling properties, then a small amount of cinnamon, licorice and ginseng is added to balance the cooling and warming properties.” as you can read in Medical Herbalism.
Though you should note, that too much (more than 10g a day) of licorice may induce various side effects, like hypokalemia, headache, spastic numbness, hypertension, weak limbs, dizziness, and edema.
So enjoy it wisely.
Snippets Of Herbalism
Stress away. Every culture has its own stress reliever herbs. Ayurveda uses some really potent ones that are not commonly known in the Western world, such as brahmi, ashwagandha, vacha, Bhringraj, or Jatamasi
Covid vs. herbs. A vietnamese herbal covid medicine has just been approved for clinical trials. And it is a first time. Containing different types of herbs such as green chiretta, fish mint, baikal skullcap, cloves, ginger, and licorice means it’s sure has some great effects, but time will tell whether it really helps covid patients.
Better in pairs. Have you ever thought about planting herbs to support each other? Well if you haven’t you should really think about it. And Lucy Francis tells you why.
Cacti. If you are a plant lover you must know all about the succulent craze of the past few years. Though you may not know about a special succulent, namely the prickly pear (Opuntia spp.). For example the inner flesh of the prickly pear pads can reduce blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes, and that’s not even the best part.
How Can These Searing Summer Days Become More Bearable? With These Herbal Popsicles.
Average, store bought popsicles tend to contain high amounts of sugar and artificial dyes, but these honey-sweetened chamomile popsicles need none of those.
Brittany Thomas of The Pistachio Project shared this easy to make and at least as delicious recipe. It’s a popsicle, it’s healthy, it’s cold, but the best part of it is has chamomile in it!
A comprehensive list of medicinal uses for chamomile would be really really long. It is one of the best herbs for all kinds of digestive problems. It soothes the mind and body as it is a strong nervine, so a great stress and anxiety reliever. But as I wrote it has many more uses.
Honey-sweetened chamomile popsicles
4 cups water
4 tbs dried chamomile (or 2 tea bags)
4 tbs honey (note: do not give honey to babies under 1 year)
In a small pot, bring water to a boil.
Remove from heat and add in dried chamomile.
Let steep 5-10 minutes.
Remove chamomile from the tea.
Add in honey and stir until dissolved.
Allow the tea to cool before pouring into popsicle molds.
Place into the freezer for a few hours. (makes about 8 popsicles)
Really easy and really tasty. (if you like it bitter just steep the chamomille for more than 15 minutes)
The Botanist Bartender Who Reinvents Herbal Cocktails
The garden of Danny Childs is thriving with herbs. And he uses those herbs to make cocktails. Herbs like wormwood, rhubarb, artichoke, bee balm, shiso, tarragon or basil all find their way into Danny’s cocktails.
The best part, is that it’s not just Danny’s home garden, but many of these herbs grow at the backyard of the Farm and Fisherman Tavern, he mixes those herbal cocktails at.
he’s committed to defending and rediscovering the biodiversity of his region. This means he uses not only herbs, but fruits and vegetables that are native or historically important in his area.
Taking it to another level
Those fresh and functional herbs from his gardern are not the only things he puts in his herbal cocktails. Danny also forages for things like cedar, juniper, birch, wild berries and staghorn.
One of the main goals of Danny is Inspiring more people to do the same and that is the reason he started his cocktail project on Instagram called slow drinks.
“Things are experimental and the final product is unknown. But when you taste that final product for the first time, it’s all the more special.”
We should really have more of this
Imagine every bar serving a wide array of alcoholic and non-alcoholic herbal beverages. Or just every third bar, it’d be pretty awesome.
Until that happens, you too can try and experiment at home. Inspired by Danny’s stories on Slow Drinks, or maybe by your own herbal journey. Maybe mix some nettle in a glass of whiskey, or the simple lavender/lemon balm/mint lemonade on a hot afternoon.
+ Pawpaw Pisco Sours on deck. Peruvian pisco, pawpaw-juniper shrub, lemon, honey, egg white and huacatay. One of my favourites from Danny.
If You Feel Rebellious And Would Love Give Back To Nature, You Should Really Rewild Your Garden (Or Just a Portion Of It… At First…)
10 easy steps to turn your lawn into a wildflower meadow
Whether you have acres of land, or just a few meters of a yard this will really be fun, and many herbal surprises might be waiting for you.
- Stop mowing your lawn, the first step to rewild your garden
- Leave dedicated areas for „weeds”
- Install a water feature
- Be patient and let nature do her own thing
- Get organic, ditch all chemicals
- Plant more perennials
- Use native plants in your garden design
- Do less work (on your garden)
- Encourage wildlife in your backyard (like building a bug house or a bat house!)
- The last yet most important thing is to rewild yourself
I must admit it is very hard for me not to write about everything in great detail here, as rewilding is really close to my heart. So I cannot recommend you enough to read this awesome guide by Cheryl Magyar where she details each step, setting you up for some great herbal fun along the way.
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