Monday, September 29, 2008

How To Cook Chinese Herbs

This instructional video is pretty good. The lighting isn't great, but all the basics are there.

A few things to remember:
  • Soaking your herbs before hand is a good idea, but be careful you retain all the herbal material when tossing out your soaking water. If you have very small pieces of leaves or small seeds, be sure to use a fine strainer.
  • Don't use a microwave to heat up your leftovers! In fact, most of the time you don't even need to refrigerate it. If you drink it all within 24-48 hours, leaving it on the counter and reheating on the stove should be fine.
  • Dosing: be sure to follow your practitioner's instructions on how much to drink and how much to brew. For some reason, many practitioners in the United States prescribe half-doses - in other words, they have you brew one bag of herbs for every two days. In China, they use one bag of herbs per day. I've heard some practitioners say that Americans aren't used to the taste of herbs, and therefore can't take the higher concentrations of the regular dose. At my first TCM school, the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine - New York, we dosed one bag per day. All the private practitioners I saw did the same. Here on the West Coast, many people dose one bag for every two days.

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