Monday, 24 March 2014

A ship came from China, with a cargo of tea . . .

My tea has come!  My special tea!  All the way from China!  I’ve been waiting for it . . .

It all began with a photograph on an internet forum.  [If you are the person who took this photo, please excuse my not having asked permission.  I lost the place to find you – I just kept the photo to try and track down the tea]

The person who posted the photo said it was of a special tea she had been given by a Chinese traditional doctor to help her liver.  This interested me because I have discovered that a whole range of apparently unrelated minor physical manifestations (swollen ankles, xanthelasma, proliferating spider veins, acid reflux, tiredness, diffuse pain all over – doc hazarded a guess at fibromyalgia) are all linked causatively by liver malfunction.  Uh-oh.  So I have been working on healing and building up liver function, especially biliary function because that’s the bit going wrong.  My father had this too.  Had to undergo emergency surgery to remove his gall-bladder .

Chinese Bitters” are (a mixture of) herbs with a reputation for cooling inflammation in the liver and improving liver and gallbladder function.  They are said to help dissolve the fatty deposits that can accumulate as “liver stones”.  I think.  I mea, I think that’s what “liver stones” are. Or gallstones.  I’m not sure and I’m not a doctor.  All I know is, the community of people gathering to talk about their liver problems all said go for Chinese Bitters, they are brilliant.  So I thought I would.

And the lady  (I think it was a lady) who posted that picture said all she had was the words in Chinese her therapist had written down, and the herb itself, a sort of quill of leaves.

It was a bit hard to find because the handwriting is not always easy to match with the printed Chinese, but eventually I managed to track down what she had as Kuding Tea.  I found someone in China selling on eBay a wild-growing premium grade of it, which sounded promising, so I sent off for it.

Everyone reviewing it said Urggh and Yuck and Yeuch – that it was the vilest taste in the world ever ever – so I felt a bit nervous of it!  I found somewhere online a set of instructions saying that the more you steep it the more bitter it gets. The advice I read said [I am so very sorry I didn’t make a note of sources to credit these things - I think it was the product legend for my purchase]: “Steep tea leaves in hot water at 80C/176F to 90C/194F for 1 minute for the first and second brewing. Gradually increase steeping time and temperature for subsequent brewing. Use a half teaspoon of leaves per cup of boiling water for approximately two minutes. Increase the steeping time for each subsequent brewing. The taste should be only slightly bitter, and over-steeping it will make it extremely bitter!”

The information I copied also said:" 
Kuding tea has the reputation of "health tea" and "slim tea". Kuding tea, also known as "bitter tea" is a unique Chinese tea. It does not fall into any tea categories of green, black, oolong or white tea, which are all made from the leaves of Camellia Sinensis. Kuding Tea is made from the leaves the holly category of ilex, t ilex or ligustrum.This is a black bitter stalk tea. At one time the Ku Ting was used only as an offering to royalty. Since this tea has a very concentrated taste, it is suggested to brew this tea with less tea leave and more water. For example, one Kuding stick with 500ml of water. In Chinese, "ku" means bitter, describing the taste, and "ding" means nail, or a small piece, indicating the shape of the tea leaves. Kuding tea has a very special type of bitter taste which is sometimes hard to be accepted by new drinkers. The more you drink, the more you will be able to appreciate the sweet flavor accompanied by the bitterness."  And it said to "keep the product in shady, ventilated, dry and no strange smell place".
So I bore all that in mind and waited patiently for the tea to come.  
Meanwhile, I’ve been working on my liver, decreasing fatty and sugary food bigtime à la Gerson (not that I have been perfect and never fallen off the wagon you understand), eating lots of fruit and veggies.  THOSE TO WHOM ALL GUT-RELATED INFO IS T.M.I. STOP HERE The coffee enemas have been fabuloso.  I have discovered much to my surprise that depression is (for me at least) liver-linked.  I’ve come to recognize the signs now.  I start to get a faint, increasing whiff, cloud, drift of despair, related to nothing in particular but looking for something to attach itself to, for justification and rationalization.  The Gerson coffee sees it off.  Just like that. OKAY GUT-SQUEAMISHERS – BACK ON.
My whole health and mood and everything is doing well, and being able to identify that the problems were all arising from one category – the liver – makes it a lot easier to understand and correct.
So, the tea came today, all the way from growing wild and being picked and dried into wonderful rolled quills, in China.

I opened the pack and sniffed the herbs – a pleasant, green smell a bit like nettles or spinach.

I made some as instructed just for a minute or two while the leaves unfurled.  The tea they made was green – and the leaves looked almost black dried, but once wet they are green too.

Then I poured off the tea.

Poured off the last bit into a little jug to empty the pot.

 Left the herbs there for their second steeping.

I wasn’t too worried about the bitterness really, because I already take very bitter herbs for my liver – this is the last one I’ve been waiting for.  Yes, they are bitter but hey – so what?  I think one adjusts to natural tastes eating mostly fruit and veggies and they’re less of a big deal.

My teacup has a green glaze, so here it is empty . . .

. . . so you can see the colour of the tea:

And that’s all, really.  I don’t know what it will do to/for me, but it does have a good reputation.


Hawthorne said...

"I start to get a faint, increasing whiff, cloud, drift of despair, related to nothing in particular but looking for something to attach itself to, for justification and rationalization." Yes, yes, yes!!! That's exactly it! That's what I'm battling today. (But I'm not brave enough to try the coffee enemas or Chinese tea!) x x

Pen Wilcock said...

Yes, I sympathise - I found both the idea of bitters and the idea of enemas discouraging - it took me years to take the plunge with either. But they seem so normal now. Lots of YouTube videos to guide you through if you do decide to give it a go. Gerson coffee is sold in the UK (find it online) and the enema kits are cheap and easy to use. x