China has the most diverse flora in the temperate world, including more than 30,000 species of flowering plants. It is now one of the top spice-producing countries in the world, and has been famous for the production of tea for more than four thousand years. Tea is the world’s most popular beverage, and China leads not only the consumption of Camellia sinensis, but teas containing many other herbal ingredients.
China has one of the oldest herbal traditions worldwide. More than 4,500 herbs and folk medicines are used by the Chinese people in total, accounting for forty percent of all of China’s pharmaceutical production.
Chinese herbs used medicinally are often taken as decoctions, often in complex formulas with other herbal components. The herbs are placed in a teapot, covered with about two inches of water, and boiled according to the type of herb. They are then strained out, and the resulting tea is consumed hot. The herbs may be taken in other ways, including as capsules or powders.
Chinese herbs, such as cinnamon, star anise, fennel, and cardamom, are also commonly used in cooking worldwide. They’re used for seasoning, to freshen breath, and enhance fragrance. Confucius believed that a good cook must have skilled herbal knowledge to blend the spices in a harmonious way. Much of the philosophy behind Chinese cooking centers around preserving the health-promoting effects of the materials consumed, including herbs.
The use of herbs also extends to food for livestock. In China, pigs, ducks, and chickens are frequently fed forage enhanced by herbs to increase their health and well-being.
Chinese Herbs List –