Herbal teas and populace health care in tropical China

Am J Chin Med. 1997;25(1):103-34. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X97000147.


Commercial Chinese herbal tea is the development of the populace in tropical and subtropical China consequential to their fight against infectious diseases and their struggle to explore local plants to relieve fever, to alleviate pain, to restore strength and to modulate immunity against viral epidemics. From these ethnomedical experiences, two types of herbal teas were commercialized, namely, liangcha and medicated teas. Liangcha refers to a ready-made decoction infused from wild plants served in simple stores in cities and towns. Medicated teas are parcelled material prepared from crude drugs with or without tea (Camellia sinensis [L.] O. Ktze,), sold in colorful boxes and bags to people for use at home. Investigations of liangcha were made in Hong Kong and Macao, and studies for medicated teas were done from samples obtained in Chinese stores at Boston. A total of 127 source species of these herbal teas were identified and arranged in two alphabetical lists by the botanical names, each followed by an English common name in parenthesis, part used, frequency in samples, and family. External recognizing characters of medicated teas, discussions of problems encountered in identifying source species, relevant toxicities, and potential new vegetal pharmaceutical resources are given.

MeSH terms

  • Beverages*
  • Boston
  • China
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / classification
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Ethnobotany
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Macau
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plants, Medicinal / metabolism
  • Product Packaging
  • Product Surveillance, Postmarketing
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Tropical Climate
  • United States


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Plant Extracts