History records the use of age Liu An tea as a "medicine trigger" to enhance Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
The weather in Thailand has been cooling down during the past week thus providing me with an opportunity to take in a few shots of a medicinal tonic I picked up in Hong Kong some years ago. The herbal formula was prepared by a TCM practitioner, consisting of deer antlers and ginseng together with an accompaniment of herbs. Chinese Moutai (aka rice wine) was used to extract the goodness of the ingredients into the liquor. I have been taking a few shots in the last few days to reinvigorate and add warmth to the body to counter the late nights and incoming cold weather. To enhance the effects of the tonic I have incorporated the brewing of age Liu An tea alongside.
“… when I went to Hong Kong 20 years ago, Liu-an baskets could be found in Chinese medicine shops. They used Liu-an as one of the Chinese medicines. … The tea Qi of Liu-an was very deep which was good to body’s internal organs.”, excerpt from the article An Interactive Dialogue with Zhou Yu, Aged Liu-an Appreciation from The Art of Tea No.5. Zhou Yu is a well respected Teamaster and owner of Wisteria Tea House in Taiwan
Whilst the effects of TCM and age tea can bring about varying experiences for individuals I will share some of my experiences below in the case that it may act as a guide or be synonymous and help reaffirm certain aspects of TCM with others who are following in the same path. To start I would like to openly say that I am a firm believer of using age Liu An tea as a “medicine trigger” for TCM. For me this idea initially surfaced many years ago from discussions with more experienced tea enthusiasts and subsequent articles on Liu An tea from The Art of Tea magazine would further ignite my interest. However my questioning mind would not fully allied itself to the idea until I observed my own reactions to the effects as a recipient. To seek the truth for yourself is something I strongly encourage for those who are interested in seriously studying TCM and the effects of age tea. Through your own experiences you will achieve far greater depth and meaning that allows you to filter out the false myths and wayward beliefs from the good and time tested practices recorded by history.
In the case of using age Liu An together with the medicinal tonic I find that both combine and complement each other very well. Deer antler and ginseng provide strong yang energy that helps strengthen and warm the body. Athletes are known to use both to boost performance through enhancing their strength, endurance and ability to recover. The effect on the body and mind does not take long to be noticed and I can feel it progressively spreading throughout my body within minutes. Depending on the quality of the ingredients, dosage and my state of health the effect can linger and be felt in the body for days. For newcomers the anxiety and over excitement from their first encounters can cloud their initial observations. This can be rectified with time and practice. For more experienced individuals, it is simply about controlled breathing and allowing the effects of the combined ingredients to actively do their work. I find that Liu An tea helps channel the energy from the tonic more effectively by opening up the body's meridian system as well as helping to balance out the heat from the strong yang nature of the tonic.
The experience can be compared to watching a movie to make for an easier comprehension. Instead of watching and listening with your eyes and ears, you use all your senses and feeling to focus inward by connecting to the continuous ebb and flow of energy that is pulsating through your body. That energy is creating various sensations, openings, and clearing blockages along the meridian pathways as your body works towards healing and recovery. The heart does not necessary need to beat faster. There is a lightness of feeling and a steady calm. My best experiences have been to feel my mood lift as the mind clears and the muscles relaxes and loosens, easing away tensions around the shoulders and neck. There is a sensation of having an open and free flowing of energy pulsing throughout the body, most noticeably from the back of the neck to the top of the head. Aches and pains are alleviated, any headaches and uncomfortable throbbing around the area of the head dissipates. Again the experience varies from individual to individual but a key emphasis of TCM is in ensuring there is free flowing energy that connects to the entire body which is reflected by the Chinese meridian system. This aspect of circulation and treating blockages within the body's meridian pathway is something I find fascinating and reflective of many of my experiences.
On a final note it is important to be reminded that to best appreciate what is taking place all external disruptions need to be eliminated. I find silence to be my best companion. Allocate a leisurely time and take a positive approach. Eliminate unnecessary hindrances and stress on the physical body that can be caused by overeating, sugary snacks, tight fitting clothes, etc. Meditation is highly effective and alternatively controlled breathing and light stretching can be an excellent way to make the most of this healing energy.
Important notice: To attain the greatest benefit from using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and as a safety precaution please consult with a licensed TCM practitioner.