March 8 may be International Women’s Day, but young Chinese girls simply couldn’t wait to get the party started and so have claimed today as their very own. In Chinese universities, female students often feel March 8 is for older women and doesn’t apply to them. This may be because in Chinese the translation for “woman” (妇女 fùnǚ) is literally “married woman” and carries connotations of already being a mother – not something that appeals to young, carefree students.
So in a bid to keep the special privileges the day entails and avoid the 妇女 tag (or have their cake and eat it to – ed.), Chinese students came up with “Girls Day”. While it’s not certain when or where the tradition originated, Chinese campuses across the country now devote March 7 to celebrating girls. Boys are supposed to show unquestioning obedience to their female counterparts, while some universities throw parties during which boys must unthinkingly accept an invitation to dance from any girl who asks.
Whether you’re a girl or a woman, the next couple of days should celebrate the flowering beauty and strength of the fairer sex, and no drink encapsulates this more than Chinese angelica and milk vetch root tea (Dāngguī huángqí chá, 当归黄芪茶). This nourishing brew replenishes the blood and qi to ensure your natural inner beauty shrines through to the surface.
Chinese herbal medicine teaches that it’s essential to keep up sufficient levels of qi and blood to shield the body from illness and stay healthy. While qi is the life force that feeds the body and its organs, enabling them to function properly, blood nourishes the meridians, bones and organs. A person with sufficient blood always looks healthy – with ruddy cheeks, smooth skin, lustrous hair and flexible joints – as blood provides the spur that keeps us feeling refreshed and quick-witted.
There are two sources of qi and blood. The first is inherited from the parents, while the second is absorbed by the spleen and stomach from water, cereals and the natural environment. The two are interdependent, with qi boosting blood circulation and blood transporting qi. If qi weakens, blood will deplete; if blood diminishes, qi will weaken.
In Chinese herbal medicine treatments, qi and blood should be replenished at the same time, and there’s no better way to do this than brewing up some angelica root and milk vetch tea. Chinese angelica root is one of the most common herbal medicines, and is thought to enrich the blood, stimulate circulation, regulate menstrual cycles, alleviate pain and lubricate the intestines. Milk vetch root is believed to be among the best herbal medicines for replenishing qi.
– 30 grams milk vetch root
– 6 grams Chinese Angelica root
– A pot made from stainless steel (do not use a wok or pot made from iron or aluminum)
- Pour water on the two roots and soak for half an hour
- Boil for 30 hours and filter the medicine out. Transfer the medicinal soup to a big bowl
- Add fresh water and boil the roots for another 20 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Repeat the process.
After you’ve boiled the medicinal water three times, you can finally start drinking! How much water you add depends on how much you want to drink. Usually two cups each time is enough. The above method is known as Sān jiān sān zhǔ (三煎三煮), and is often used when boiling Chinese herbal medicine to ensure all the medicine’s essence is released. Drink this once a week and you’ll be sure to feel the effects, especially if you’re a woman!