Cooling Summer Herbal Teas
Five Flowers Tea, or Wu hua cha 五花茶 is a traditional Chinese folk tea, enjoyed especially during the summer months by Cantonese people in the hot and humid south. Sweet and slightly cold, its’ main TCM functions are to clear heat and toxins, drain dampness, promote urination, cool blood, and alleviate summertime wind-heat.
There is no official version of the recipe in the traditional Chinese pharmacopoeia, but most herbal tea shops in Asia use five kinds of flowers: Honeysuckle, Chrysanthemum, Japanese Pagoda tree, Kapok, and Frangipani. In herbal clinics, the tea is modified for individual prescriptions based on the drinker's constitution. Modifications can include Roses, Magnolia, Dandelion and Self-heal flowers as well as non-flower herbs such as Mulberry leaves, Hedyotis diffusa, and Bamboo leaves.
Try these Summer Tea ingredients:
- Honeysuckle / Lonicera japonica / Jin yin hua
- Chrysanthemum / Chysanthemum morifolium / Ju hua (white is recommended for lighter taste)
- Japanese Pagoda tree / Sophora japonica / Huai hua
- Kapok / Gossampinus malabarica / Mu mian hua
- Frangipani / Plumeria rubra / Ji dan hua
- Roses / Rosa rugosa / Mei gui hua
- Magnolia / Magnolia denudata / Xin yi hua
- Dandelion / Taraxacum mongolicum / Pu gong ying
- Self-heal / Prunella vulgaris / Xia ku cao
- Mulberry leaves / Morus alba / Sang ye
- Hedyotis diffusa / Bai hua she she cao
- Bamboo leaves / Lophatherum gracile / Dan zhu ye
- Hawthorne fruit / Crataegus pinnatifida / Shan zha
- Goji fruit / Lycium barbarum / Gou qi zi
Whatever combination of herbs you prefer, simply:
- Soak about 2 gram each of the dried flowers for 5-10 minutes in a tea pot or mug
- Drain water and pour 8-10 ounces of freshly boiled water over flowers
- Cover and let steep for 10-15 minutes
- Strain out flowers
- Sweeten to taste
Can be enjoyed hot or put in fridge to cool into a refreshing, cold drink.
Forage your own ingredients!
Depending upon the region where you live, some flowers and herbs can be found fresh in your garden or on a hike. You may consider harvesting them for your tea, but be sure that they are an edible species, have not been sprayed with dangerous pesticides, and wash thoroughly before using.