The weather is very hot, and the sales of herbal teas that relieve heat and heat are also increasing. In order to attract young people, modern herbal teas not only have diversified flavours, but also innovate in packaging. When making your own herbal tea at home, choose high-quality herbs and better control your sugar content. Traditional Chinese Medicine experts explain how to drink herbal tea correctly and what kind of people should not drink too much herbal tea. In short, herbal tea is not medicine, and you should seek medical advice if you are sick.

清热提神养颜 凉茶却非多多益善

Herbal tea that clears heat, refreshes and nourishes the skin, but more is not always better.
联合早报 / 2024年4月30日

To avoid getting “heated” on hot days, many people drink herbal tea to reduce heat. With the changes in modern people’s lives, herbal teas on the market can not only relieve fever, but some also have the effect of refreshing, replenishing energy and nourishing the skin. Most of the ingredients of Qi-tonifying herbal teas include ginseng; while the ingredients of beauty-nourishing herbal teas include bird’s nest, honey, peach gum and other ingredients.

The main components of bird’s nest are glycoprotein, carbohydrates and trace elements. Researchers at the Chinese University of Hong Kong discovered that bird’s nest contains epidermal growth factor, a low-molecular-weight peptide with beauty benefits. Modern research has also found that the main component of peach gum is macromolecular polysaccharides, that is, plant dietary fiber, which can promote gastrointestinal motility and has a laxative effect. Once the intestines and stomach are cleared, the skin will naturally become better. Honey is a natural antibacterial ingredient that can repair skin blemishes and make the complexion naturally glow with health.

In an interview with Lianhe Zaobao, Lee Chin Siong, Vice President of Heng Foh Tong Medical Hall, a time-honored local Traditional Chinese Medicine store, said that as long as you pay attention to drinks with refreshing or beautifying functions on the market, you will find that caffeine is usually used to refresh yourself. For beauty, there are protein antioxidants. He said: “Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) actually has these functions of refreshing and nourishing the skin.”

He believes there is a market for energy-boosting and beauty-beautifying herbal teas. “The former is more popular with men, while the latter’s customers are mostly women. The essence of herbal tea is to drink it cold. If it is combined with some herbs and high-quality raw materials, it will have different effects.”

Today’s herbal teas have more ingredients than in the past. Pink Himalayan salt is rich in various mineral elements and is known as the purest salt on earth because it is taken from the interior of the Himalayas and has been protected by snow, ice crystals and volcanic lava during its formation, and is rarely contaminated. It is a “star” in the consumer market. For example, Lee Chin Siong said that herbal tea made from ginseng and Himalayan salt has the effect of replenishing qi and adding vitality, and is suitable for people who love sports; ginseng and chrysanthemum tea can replenish qi, reduce heat and remove dryness; honey peach gum herbal tea is made from natural Thai honey. Peach gum helps prevent colds, and is also helpful for skin rejuvenation, and beauty care.

Novel Packaging Attracts Young People

In terms of long-term disease prevention and health care, herbal tea is based on the health-preserving theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine and uses Chinese herbal medicine as raw materials. It has the functions of clearing away heat and detoxifying, producing body fluids and quenching thirst, dispelling fire and dehumidification. The older generation believes that drinking herbal tea can achieve health benefits, but now young people prefer sweet drinks. Traditional herbal tea manufacturers have to inject thought and innovation from the taste and texture of herbal tea to the design of bottles and cans to attract young people.

Lee Chin Siong said: “Like our honey peach gum herbal tea, it is a little sweet, and you can taste the chewy peach gum at the end of the drink. The taste is similar to the pearls in pearl milk tea. We introduce such a flavour because we hope young people will drink it.” After drinking herbal tea with the taste of pearl milk tea, they will consider drinking herbal tea when they need to relieve heat or replenish their energy. We have a herbal tea vending machine at Singapore Management University, and honey peach gum herbal tea is the most popular.”

Lee Chin Siong admitted that there is no trend of younger people drinking herbal tea in Singapore at this stage, but he is optimistic and hopes to see a dawn in the future.

There are some beautifully bottled herbal teas available on the market, and HFTea herbal tea’s new generation herbal tea is one of them. It is known that part of the funding for HFTea Herbal Tea’s research and development of new herbal teas was sponsored by Enterprise Singapore. The exquisite herbal tea glass bottle packaging design that consumers see today is the result of the National Heritage Board’s collaboration. The National Heritage Board (NHB) has always spared no effort to support local industries with traditional cultural values. At the press conference announcing major exhibitions and activities in 2024, it specially introduced several industries to the media, and HFTea herbal tea was one of them.

Grandma’s Love Herbal Tea

HFTea herbal tea originated from the story of a grandma (Lee Chin Siong’s mother) who cooked loving herbal tea for her children. Later, she also cooked it for her grandson to drink, and later, she cooked it for everyone to drink together. She always used high-quality Chinese medicinal materials and kept up with the pace of high technology. No preservatives were added, and the shelf life was longer.

Lee Chin Siong and his mother work hard to inherit the herbal tea culture.
Lee Chin Siong (right) and his mother work hard to inherit the herbal tea culture.
(Photo by Lin Mingshun) 

Herbal tea has moved from ancient times to new trends. There are many examples overseas. Some young people are reforming the herbal tea culture and designing herbal tea shops to look like coffee shops. Some people are focusing on creating new flavours of herbal tea. HFTea herbal tea is now available at the herbal tea pavilion at FairPrice Xtra in Jurong Point. The “ancient” design on the top is inspired by London’s landmark historical building – Churchill’s “Old War Office” building. It uses three-dimensional technology to create an elegant roof, hoping to blend the old and the new, reflecting each other.

Lee Chin Siong believes that today, with the rapid development of many industries, protecting and promoting herbal tea culture as part of Chinese food culture has certain practical significance. “Traditional herbal tea must also follow the trend as the times change and social structure changes. I hope that under this concept, traditional herbal tea can evolve and be passed down from generation to generation.”

In order to cater to young people’s habit of drinking sweet drinks, the herbal tea drinks in many local chain Chinese medicine stores have a Nutri-Grade of C. However, there are some young people opting for healthier lifestyle and chose drinks with low sugar, no preservatives and additives, and choose Nutri-Grade B (less than 5% sugar) herbal teas.

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