One thing I can swear by is Ho Yan Hor herbal tea. It's a varient on regular green tea with a number of added herbs. The tea originates from Malaysia, but is found in a lot of Chinese supermarkets around the world. As I recall, a box of around 12 large bags in the UK cost around 3 pound 50. It's well worth the money.
The box does cite a reduction in body 'heatiness', and that it's a good drink for colds. It was originally intended to reduce the hot sweaty feeling that you get in tropical climates. It can be drunk hot or cold. One bag makes a very concentrated cup of tea, so it's best to add it to a large pot or a couple of flasks and drink it throughout the day.
By chance, a few years ago, I thought I'd try it out to see if it really did do anything for my sore throat and fever, which I now realize is a common symptom to M.E. sufferers. It literally made my sore throat and fever disappear much more quickly than it would otherwise have normally done. I therefore totally recommend it for you to try - if you can find it.
I have an address on my particular bag, through which it may (I haven't tried this approach) be possible to get a delivery at a price cheaper than regular Chinese supermarket price. I've so far not come across a website for my particular branded ho yan hor tea. The postal address is: 3 Kam Lam Street, 13th/Fl, Flat K, Kowloon, HK. To be honest, it sounds more like a residential address, but I'd be curious to try it since where I am now, there are some Chinese supermarkets, but none of them ironically stock much in the way of Chinese products.
Exactly which ingredient it is that most effectively reduces body heat, I'm not sure. It seems that more than one ingredient is held for its heat-dispelling properties. I'd love to know more about the ingredients used in Chinese medicines, but it just looks so overwhelming, and I just don't know where to start for distinguishing plants that look alike! The other curiosity with herbal medicine is the fine balance of dosing. Some ingredients are healing in small doses, but can be fatal in larger doses. Clearly it's wise to do as much research as you can into any herbal drug that you plan to take.
The ingredients list for ho yan hor tea:
- tea leaves - 60%
- Glycyrrhiza Glabra (licorice root - note there are different types of licorice. A gross overdose of the root can cause oedema, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure - source: PFAF Plant Database) - 11.8%
- Ilex Rotunda Thunb. - (from family Aquifoliaceae - an evergreen tree. Although no specific reports of toxicity have been seen for this species, the fruits of at least some members of this genus contain saponins and are slightly toxic. They can cause vomiting, diarrhoea and stupor if eaten in quantity - source: PFAF Plant Database) - 4.6%
- Cleistocalyx Operculatus (also known as C. nervosum - from a tree native to Asia)- 3.0%
- Perilla Frutescens (Also known as 'shiso' - a plant native to Asia. It is a pungent, aromatic, warming herb that is antibacterial, antidote, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitussive, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, emollient, expectorant, pectoral, stomachic and tonic. The leaves are used in the treatment of colds, chest stuffiness, vomiting, abdominal pain. The juice of the leaves is applied to cuts and wounds. The seed is antiasthmatic, antitussive, emollient and expectorant. It is used internally in the treatment of asthma, colds and chills, nausea, abdominal pain, food poisoning and allergic reactions (especially from seafood), bronchitis and constipation. The stems are a traditional Chinese remedy for morning sickness. This herb should be avoided by pregnant women. There have been cases of toxicity, including dermatitis, pulmonary oedema, respiratory distress and even death following ingestion by cattle and horses - source: PFAF Plant Database) - 2.3%
- Rhizoma Atractylodis Lanceae (can't find any general data about this) - 2.0%
- Radix Scutellarial (=Baical Skullcap Root - From family Lamiaceae or Labiatae. Baikal skullcap is commonly used in Chinese herbalism, where it is considered to be one of the 50 fundamental herbs and is used primarily in treating "hot and damp" conditions such as dysentery and diarrhoea. Liver toxicity (hepatotoxicity). Unknown effects during pregnancy - source: PFAF Plant Database [黄芩]) - 1.5%
- Herba Menthae (= peppermint [薄荷]) - 1.2%
- Herba Pogostemonis (= Cablin potchouli herb [广藿香] ) - 1.2%
- Herba Ephedrae gerardiana - (Ephedra herb, from family Ephedraceae, no known side effects. Members of this genus contain various medicinally active alkaloids (but notably ephedrine), and they are widely used in preparations for the treatment of asthma and catarrh. [麻黄]) - 1.0%
- Lithospermum Officinale (from family Boraginaceae) - 1.0%
- Siler Divaricutum (can't find any data about this) - 1.0%
- Rheum Officinale Baillon (= Chinese rhubarb. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, the leaves of some if not all members of this genus contain significant quantities of oxalic acid and should not be eaten in any quantity. Oxalic acid can lock up certain minerals in the body, especially calcium, leading to nutritional deficiency. The content of oxalic acid will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition - source: PFAF Plant Database) - 0.8%
- Magnolia Officinalis Rehd (no known side effect) - 0.8%
- Salvia Plebeia (from family Lamiaceae or Labiatae) - 0.8%
- Radix Bupleuri (= Chinese/Red Thorowax Root. [柴胡]- 0.7%
- Angelica Anomala Pall (All members of this genus contain furocoumarins, which increase skin sensitivity to sunlight and may cause dermatitis.) - 0.7%
- Platycodon Grandiflorum (= Balloon flower. The root is poisonous. The older, basal leaves are also said to be slightly toxic. - source: PFAF Plant Database) - 0.6%
- Artemisia Apiacea Hance (cannot find any details) - 0.6%
- Elsholtzia ciliata (= Vietnamese balm, a herb/weed) - 0.6%
- Citrus Trifoliate (a lot of Trifoliate plants belong to clover family - I cannot find this particular one, although 'citrus'...) - 0.6%
- Citrus Chachiensis Hortorum ([广陈皮]) - 0.6%
- Conioselinumunivitatu Turcz (I could only find a link to Conioselinum, of the Apiaceae family, curiously also known as the 'hemlock-parsley' group, parsley being a superfood that I mentioned in an earlier post, but I'm not sure whether this is really the same plant) - 0.6%