Ng Tong Shan Herbal Tea: Cooling the System

One of the things that I often get asked during consultations is whether the condition they are suffering from is a result of “heatiness” (Juah). And it is not just the elderly who ask me this question, I also get asked by teenagers at times.

Now, we never learnt about the antidote for “heatiness” in medical school, so I must admit that I don’t know the intricacies of Chinese Medicine. Suffice to say that there are now 1.3 billion Chinese in the world so even if I don’t understand how it all works, at least I have to admit that it has somehow helped in the successful propogation of the Chinese race.

Anyway, what I know is that if one is striken by a condition caused by “heatiness”, then the remedy is to take something that is “cooling” (liang). I guess everyone knows that. Unfortunately, there is nothing in my dispensary that can be prescribed as “cooling” medicine, although if one is suffering from, say, a bacterial sorethroat, I would prescribe a suitable antibiotic to remedy the ailment. So, can antibiotics be also called “cooling” medicine? On the other hand, we often try to do the reverse and understand Chinese Medicine in the context of having anti-inflammatory ingredients and antibiotic effects. So maybe calling an antibiotic a “cooling medicine” might make sense to those who practise Chinese Medicine.

Back to this “Cooling” tea that Cactuskit told me about. As you all know, our roving food photographer eats quite a lot of hawker food, so every now and then, he feels a bit “heaty” and needs to cool down. That is when he pays this particular stall a visit to get his dose of “Bitter First Sweet Last” (Xian Ku Hou Tian) Cooling Tea.

For $3, you get a bowl of powdered bitter herbs mixed with a tonic which you have drink first and then counter the bitterness you follow with another sweet concoction. Like all medicines it is bad to take but good for you. Like I said, I don’t know how it works but at least you feel that you have taken something that will enable you to continue eating all that yummy food at Old Airport Road FC!


So are you a fan of herbal tea?