Camomile tea is one of the favorite for Chinese, now it is also a popular herbal tea in the Western world. In China, it is planted in large area and produced in huge quantity. But Taiwan still claims to have its own camomile fields. It is mainly concentrated in 銅鑼 at Miaoli (苗栗) county. Every year there is a camomile festival. This year, it was held between November 13 to 21.
More scientifically, Camomile is known as chrysanthermum. In the US, they are commonly known as mums and are planted in Fall. It is a major color attractions in the garden during the cold Fall and early Winter season. The chrysanthermum used in Chinese medicine is Chrysanthemum morifolium (菊花 juhua). There are usually two colors: the yellow kind called 杭菊 (huangjuhua) and the white kind called 甘菊花 (ganjuhua). Here is a detail description of the medicinal useages of the two types of camomile.
Huangjuhua, the yellow flower, which is sometimes called hangjuhua, as it comes from Hangzhou....Huangjuhua especially enters the lung meridian; it is more effective for expelling wind-heat in the upper burner and is often used in cold infections, feverish sensations in the head, and headache. It can also be used for acute infections of the eyes, such as acute conjunctivitis...the steam from juhua decoction can be used for painful and itchy eyes...moreover, the cool decoction can be used externally to wash the affected eye.
Baijuhua, the white flower, is also called ganjuhua, which means sweet juhua. It is also sometimes call chujuhua because the white juhua growing in Chu county is considered to have the best quality. Baijuhua is sweeter and cooler [than huangjuhua], and can slightly generate yin and clear heat. Because it enters the liver meridian, it is more effective in cooling and pacifying the liver and benefiting the eyes. It is used for dizziness, blurred vision, dry eyes, and a tired feeling in the eyes, which are caused by yin deficiency or yin deficiency with uprising liver yang....
Sum up, if you have a cold drink yellow camomile tea. If you have too much heat (火氣大) drink white camomile tea.
Grace has been in Europe for two weeks already and I have been planning of going out for a photographic trip by myself. However, the weather has been miserable and only clear up till last Monday. Thus, I grabbed my camera and headed south to 銅鑼.
Nothing romantic of farming camomile flowers, the hand picking process is hard work. It is carried out by old weather beaten farmers. They usually covers themselves completely to protect from the sun, a very Asian farmer's tradition. Her garment was quite fashionable!
I arrived at the end of the festival, the flowers were in full bloom and ready to be picked. One more week and they will be all gone.
Here is the yellow kind, of cause it makes more colorful photographs.
The palm trees in the background, which make the scenery so Southeast Asia, in reality is not your common palm trees often linked with the South Pacific Islands. Locally, it is called pinang, the malaysian name of the tree. The scientific name is Areca catechu. The seed has medicinal use in Chinese medicine. But all over Southeast Asia, including Taiwan, there is a culture of chewing the pinang seeds. It is addictive and can give person a high. Thus the hard labors and truck drivers especially like to chew on the seeds to keep their spirt high during the long hours of working or driving. On Taiwan's highway, we can often see scantily clad girls maned the pinang stand selling the seeds to passing by drivers, a distinct Taiwan culture phenomena. Chewing pinang is a major cause of oral-pharengal cancer for all Southeast Asia region.