Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Chinese Herbs and Spices


liuzhou

Recommended Posts

35. 箬叶 (ruò yè) – Bamboo Leaf and 芭蕉叶 (bā jiāo yè) – Banana Leaf

 

314753662_bambooleaves2.thumb.jpg.62aa1beefdb1d889f8e99a98dcc9c649.jpg

Bamboo Leaves

Bamboo (zhú) is wonderful! It is used in so many ways. We eat it; we cook in it; we serve food in it; we eat with it (bamboo chopsticks); we make clothes with it; we make houses with it; we use it as scaffolding and props in building houses; I have seen bamboo keyboard and mouse sets which I could use to type and post this; and much more. It is also a beautiful plant.

 

And yet, it is a type of grass in the Bambusoideae family. Not all types of bamboo are edible though and even those that are require special treatment to make them safe as many contain toxic taxiphyllin which turns to cyanide in the gut.

But it is one herbal use that I am thinking about here. Bamboo leaf - 箬叶 (ruò yè).

 

1381624908_bambooleaf.thumb.jpg.14428f734ada709ee58e75b8b0abe7c9.jpg

Bamboo Leaves

The leaves are regularly used to wrap dumplings, especially 粽子 (zòng zi), the glutinous rice dumpling favourite which is mainly eaten around the Dragon Boat Festival which usually takes place in June by our calendar. It falls on the 5th day of the 5th month by the traditional Chinese lunisolar calendar. In fact, so associated with the festival are they, that they are often just called 粽叶 (zòng yè), meaning ‘zongzi leaves’.

 

1085167403_bambooleaf2.thumb.jpg.a64117e13d597707fe6bcc2ce120b67c.jpg

"Zongzi Leaves"

The sticky rice and flavourings are wrapped in the leaves and then steamed. The leaves, of course, hold the dumpling together while the are cooked, but also impart a delicate bamboo flavour and aroma to the contents. The leaves are not eaten.

 

zongzi5.thumb.jpg.122726a0c15d0918319445d909f0f07a.jpg

Zongzi

 

zongzi4.thumb.jpg.4771fcb35c051e460ea8d605d923cab4.jpg

Zongzi

 

Bamboo leaf is available in every supermarket year round, but especially June.

 

Bamboo stems are also attractive fodder for Omphisa fuscidentalis, the bamboo worm, known in Chinese as 竹虫 (zhú chóng). They eat their way into the stem, then are harvested by people in SE Asia and China’s Yunnan province as a delicacy! They too take on the bamboo flavour. Yes I’ve tried them! I'll spare you the pictues!

 

Banana leaves (蕉叶 - jiāo yè) from the herbaceous species Musa are used in the same way but, of course, impart a different flavour and fragrance. They are also used as serving dishes in places.

 

  • Like 6
  • Thanks 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

36. 当归 (dāng guī) – Chinese Angelica – Angelica Sinensis

1255231882_AngelicaRoot.jpg.80e0c15c40df51a4c8a441bad2c34f13.jpg

Angelica Sinensis Root

 

 

There are over 60 types of angelica, which is a tall herbaceous plant that grows at high altitudes across the northern hemisphere, even being found in Northern Greenland and Iceland. Most, however, is to be found in China.

 

The plants are noted for their floral fragrance, but that varies from species to species. Most angelica is used in medicines. The species that most people are familiar with is Angelica archangelica which is used in many alcoholic drinks, such as gin, absinthe, Chartreuse and Bénédictine etc. while the stems are often candied and dyed to decorate cakes etc.

 

But it is Chinese angelica which concerns us today. This is 当归 (dāng guī) or Angelica Sinensis. Less fragrant than A. archangelica, this is again mainly used in TCM, but the dried roots are also used in Chinese cuisine by being ground and used in some spice mixes such as the 13-spice mixture I mentioned before.

 

The roots are also dried and served in slices or small pieces to be added to hotpots and soups etc. It has a slightly floral, but bitter flavour and is reminiscent of juniper berries.

 

1229030168_angelicasinensis.thumb.jpg.b9cbdf03fdb98426560609d62edb884c.jpg

Dried sliced Angelica sinensis root

 

It is important for me to note that Angelica sinensis should not be eaten during pregnancy or by anyone planning to become pregnant as, according to this 2020 report from the US Library of Medicine, there is evidence that it can affect the muscles of the uterus, so inducing miscarriage.

 

Another species used in China is 白芷 (bái zhǐ), Angelica dahurica. This is also aromatic but bitter. It has a nettle-like smell and is mainly used in distilled liquors. I know of no kitchen uses nor do I see it very often. Many other species are used only in TCM.

 

Edited by liuzhou
added link (log)
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

37. 黄芪 (huáng qí) – Milk vetch – Astragalus membranaceus

 

1242152324_Astragalus-MilkVetch.thumb.jpg.62acbc596a2517f16d596724271a66c0.jpg

 

This is more of a warning than a recommendation.

 

Astralagus is another plant common to the northern hemisphere, but found in the temperate zone. There are over 3,000 species in the family. Not all are edible and some are downright dangerous. As with wild mushrooms, never consume any anything unless you are 110% sure what species it really is.

 

In China and Mongolia, 黄芪 (huáng qí) or 北芪 (běi qí) refers to the root of Astragalus membranaceus aka Astragalus propinquus. It has been used in traditional Mongolian and Chinese medicine (TCM) for over 2,000 years, but there is no scientific evidence it does any good for anything. In fact, most scientific evidence points away from that.

 

The dried root is sliced and sold in my local supermarkets to be added to soups and hot pots, but it is most commonly used here in so-called food supplements such as Lectranal, popular with shamans, food faddists and ‘wellness’ experts idiots who believe it can ‘cure’ hay fever’ a form of allergic rhinitis. The only wellness those people are interested in is the wellness of their bank balances. /endrant

 

Quote

What Do We Know About Safety?

 

Astragalus may be safe when used orally and appropriately. (Doses up to 60 grams daily for up to 4 months have been used without reported adverse effects.) Some possible side effects with oral use include rash, itching, nasal symptoms, or stomach discomfort, but these are uncommon.

 

Astragalus may interact with medications that suppress the immune system.

 

Some astragalus species, usually not found in dietary supplements, can be toxic to livestock. Several species that grow in the United States contain the neurotoxin swainsonine and have caused “locoweed” poisoning in animals. Other species contain potentially toxic levels of selenium. Too much selenium can lead to diarrhea, irritability, nausea, skin rashes, and nervous system problems.

 

Little is known about whether it’s safe to use astragalus during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Some research in animals suggests that astragalus can be toxic to the mother and fetus.

.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

 

So my sincere advice is to have nothing to do with it. Try horse de-wormer instead!

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 2
  • Haha 2

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've covered most of the important herbs and spices (and a few obscure ones), but there are hundreds more. I have some non -eG stuff I need to work on over the next few days, so I'm going to pause my new posts in this topic for a bit, although I'll still be popping in and will happily answer any questions or respond to any comments.

 

In the meantime, I leave you with this image of a typical herb shop round these parts. This one is in Nanning, the capital of Guangxi, where I live. Most of the herbs inside are dried foraged examples. The fresh stuff, equally wild picked, is out on the sidewalk. Also, most are for medicinal rather than culinary use, but there are exceptions. Nothing is labelled in any language! All great fun!

 

686230890_HerbShop-Nanning.thumb.jpg.0eb0a19cd03b07b1fa75ba87519612c5.jpg

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 6
  • Thanks 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

But.

 

Before I go, let me say that I bought some banana leaves today after being inspired by writing about them a few days ago and steaming a fish yesterday. Here they are.

 

They are sold rolled up and covered in plastic wrap.

 

519091688_bananaroll.thumb.jpg.6bd129369beba9c6977bf9cf42640ec2.jpg

 

Unrolling them reveals these

 

1270526327_Bananaleaf.thumb.jpg.0638d3cf31a0b2129db8df3f636d7ee1.jpg

 

The longest segment of leaf is 107 cm / 42 inches long. The floor tiles are 30 cm / 1 foot square.

 

longest.thumb.jpg.bd3805fda42f1bff904ec15c644a1cde.jpg

 

I'll be steaming more fish soon in some of them. Thai style, probably, but could be Chinese, too.

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 6

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

38. 草鞋板 (cǎo xié bǎn) / 球兰 (qiú lán) - porcelainflower or wax plant - Hoya carnosa

 

Hoya_FR_2013.thumb.jpg.981b8418cc90355f2f1e0a39d406176b.jpg

 

球兰 (qiú lán) is a real outlier, even here. Hoya carnosa is native to East Asia and Australia and is a popular house plant around the world, noted for its fragrant flowers and waxy leaves. In the UK it has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. Here it is more or less a weed, albeit it pretty one.

 

It also has succulent shoots, 草鞋板 (cǎo xié bǎn), which are what we are interested in here. These are foraged then dried and used both medicinally and, in some places, cooking. I have only ever seen or eaten it once in a village just north of Liuzhou city. It was used in a chicken soup made in a bamboo pipe. That meal is documented in detail here.


182623160_.thumb.jpg.91bdada08b71d54a528db1ae449025b7.jpg

 

Although Google shows many sites discussing the plant, none seem to know it is used either medicinally or in cooking. One site did lead me to the information that it is not considered to be toxic to humans or pets. Oh good!


Hoya flower image by JLPC, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

 

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 2

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 9/2/2021 at 10:59 PM, liuzhou said:

 

It has that reputation worldwide. Unfortunately perhaps, there are no studies that back up that reputation.

 

For turmeric itself, perhaps, but in vivo studies on curcumin supplements for humans have demonstrated significant effects in several areas, including as an anti-inflammatory and as an adjunct treatment for Type 2 diabetes.

  • Like 1

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

"Imagine all the food you have eaten in your life and consider that you are simply some of that food, rearranged."  -Max Tegmark, physicist

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

"...in the mid-’90s when the internet was coming...there was a tendency to assume that when all the world’s knowledge comes online, everyone will flock to it. It turns out that if you give everyone access to the Library of Congress, what they do is watch videos on TikTok."  -Neil Stephenson, author, in The Atlantic

 

"In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual." -Galileo Galilei, physicist and astronomer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Alex said:

 

For turmeric itself, perhaps, but in vivo studies on curcumin supplements for humans have demonstrated significant effects in several areas, including as an anti-inflammatory and as an adjunct treatment for Type 2 diabetes.

 

Cite one that actually comes from a peer reviewed academic source.

 

 

  • Like 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, heidih said:

Of interest to scientists. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3535097/ I have it around for the kitchen uses.

 

That article does not prove anything. It merely demonstrates that curcumin may do something or has the potential to do something. It uses the word may 18 times and potential 28 times, then concudes by saying it is worth investigating. That's all.

 

It is not peer reviewed evidence.

 

  • Like 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, liuzhou said:

 

Cite one that actually comes from a peer reviewed academic source.

 

 

Here are a couple for you; there are more: 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5637251/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22773702/

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

"Imagine all the food you have eaten in your life and consider that you are simply some of that food, rearranged."  -Max Tegmark, physicist

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

"...in the mid-’90s when the internet was coming...there was a tendency to assume that when all the world’s knowledge comes online, everyone will flock to it. It turns out that if you give everyone access to the Library of Congress, what they do is watch videos on TikTok."  -Neil Stephenson, author, in The Atlantic

 

"In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual." -Galileo Galilei, physicist and astronomer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It is fairly clear that these studies involve much larger dosages than is ever likely to be ingested by throwing some turmeric into your curries or whatever.

 

 

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

39. 胡芦巴 (hú lú bā) – Fenugreek – Trigonella foenum-graecum

 

 

1101685732_FenugreekSeeds.thumb.jpg.aeea803930123f09ea58a4d3a08686b8.jpg

 

I’m posting this as an example of one of the problems I am up against. The same story applies to many spices and herbs.

Fenugreek, as I’m sure everyone here will be aware is most associated with Indian cuisine. India and China have had a fractured relationship for decades – this mainly manifests itself in the ongoing border disputes played out on top of bleak, barely accessible mountain tops in the Himalayas. It frequently breaks into actual shooting at each other.

 

It also results in there being very little chance of me sourcing ingredients associated with India. I have, for example, never seen basmati rice in any store, supermarket or market. I can but it online but it comes from Pakistan. So, the choice of spices is also limited.

 

Fenugreek, known as methi in India, is one of my favourites, either the leaves as a herb or the seeds as a spice. But it is unavailable here – or so I thought.

 

I was in a local traditional pharmacy yesterday (looking for something non-eG related) and spotted something I thought I recognised. Yes, turmeric seeds! And they are grown in China’s Anhui Province. It turns out they are used in TCM to cure everything except gullibility!

 

The only problem is that I can only buy them in loads of 500 grams. So, I broke my usual rule of only ever buying spices in small amounts and grabbed a bag (it was only $2.30 USD equivalent). I have planted a few to see if they germinate, but I’m not confident. Still, I’m happy with the seeds.

 

Edited by liuzhou
changed image (log)
  • Like 2

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, liuzhou said:

39. 胡芦巴 (hú lú bā) – Fenugreek – Trigonella foenum-graecum


655915457_fenugreekseeds.thumb.jpg.ac204c706515416d19ce828b97e3456a.jpg

 

I’m posting this as an example of one of the problems I am up against. The same story applies to many spices and herbs.

Fenugreek, as I’m sure everyone here will be aware is most associated with Indian cuisine. India and China have had a fractured relationship for decades – this mainly manifests itself in the ongoing border disputes played out on top of bleak, barely accessible mountain tops in the Himalayas. It frequently breaks into actual shooting at each other.

 

It also results in there being very little chance of me sourcing ingredients associated with India. I have, for example, never seen basmati rice in any store, supermarket or market. I can but it online but it comes from Pakistan. So, the choice of spices is also limited.

 

Fenugreek, known as methi in India, is one of my favourites, either the leaves as a herb or the seeds as a spice. But it is unavailable here – or so I thought.

 

I was in a local traditional pharmacy yesterday (looking for something non-eG related) and spotted something I thought I recognised. Yes, turmeric seeds! And they are grown in China’s Anhui Province. It turns out they are used in TCM to cure everything except gullibility!

 

The only problem is that I can only buy them in loads of 500 grams. So, I broke my usual rule of only ever buying spices in small amounts and grabbed a bag (It w as only $2.30 USD equivalent). I have planted a few to see if they can be germinated, but I’m not confident. Still, I’m happy with the seeds.

 

 

I have fenugreek seeds that I bought a couple of years ago but have never known what to do with them. Of course, I've never actually looked up what to do with them either.  : )
But they look exactly like these in your photo. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 hours ago, liuzhou said:

The only problem is that I can only buy them in loads of 500 grams. So, I broke my usual rule of only ever buying spices in small amounts and grabbed a bag (It w as only $2.30 USD equivalent). I have planted a few to see if they can be germinated, but I’m not confident. Still, I’m happy with the seeds.

 

 

 I had good luck with growing fenugreek, and the bonus is that you get leaves to cook with.

  • Like 1

~ Shai N.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've grown it successfully from seeds purchased at the bulk-food store, so it's not out of the question. I got about 50 percent germination, which isn't great but I considered it acceptable in the context.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, shain said:

 

 I had good luck with growing fenugreek, and the bonus is that you get leaves to cook with.

 

That's what I'm hoping for, but I'm happy with the seeds, too.

  • Like 1

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, liuzhou said:

It is fairly clear that these studies involve much larger dosages than is ever likely to be ingested by throwing some turmeric into your curries or whatever.

 

 

 

True, but as I said in my first post about this, which agreed with your statement above,

Quote

For turmeric itself, perhaps, but in vivo studies on curcumin supplements for humans have demonstrated significant effects in several areas, including as an anti-inflammatory and as an adjunct treatment for Type 2 diabetes.

 

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

"Imagine all the food you have eaten in your life and consider that you are simply some of that food, rearranged."  -Max Tegmark, physicist

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

"...in the mid-’90s when the internet was coming...there was a tendency to assume that when all the world’s knowledge comes online, everyone will flock to it. It turns out that if you give everyone access to the Library of Congress, what they do is watch videos on TikTok."  -Neil Stephenson, author, in The Atlantic

 

"In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual." -Galileo Galilei, physicist and astronomer

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For sprouting, fenugreek likes a good drink of water to soften the seed case. Not a full soak covered, but a rinse in a mesh colander, rinse again a couple hours later. A tsp of peroxide in a 1/2 cup of water for the final rinse. Pea and sunflower like a full overnight soak. Sunflower benefits from a peroxide soak as well. (the shells can often harbor some bacterial molds). 

I get about 95% germination in all seed as long as it is relatively fresh...2-3 years stored properly. A few like to be grown in darkness. Keeps them tender...like corn, 😂

 

sweet corn microgreens.jpeg

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

15 hours ago, liuzhou said:

It is fairly clear that these studies involve much larger dosages than is ever likely to be ingested by throwing some turmeric into your curries or whatever.

 

 

 

There are simple, and possibly common, additions to a dish/meal that can significantly enhance the bioavailability. From the paper cited above:

Quote

 

Despite its reported benefits via inflammatory and antioxidant mechanisms, one of the major problems with ingesting curcumin by itself is its poor bioavailability [15], which appears to be primarily due to poor absorption, rapid metabolism, and rapid elimination. Several agents have been tested to improve curcumin’s bioavailability by addressing these various mechanisms. 

[...]

For example, piperine, a known bioavailability enhancer, is the major active component of black pepper [16] and is associated with an increase of 2000% in the bioavailability of curcumin [17]. Therefore, the issue of poor bioavailability appears to be resolved by adding agents such as piperine that enhance bioavailability, thus creating a curcumin complex.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

40. 罗勒 (luó lè) – Sweet Basil – Ocimum basilicum

 

997379417_basil2019.thumb.jpg.8e1eb6f4b33799091b8b2809e6ab1e49.jpg

Balcony Basil

 

Native to SE Asia and parts of Central Africa, basil is actually a group of closely related plants and cultivars, the most commonly used worldwide being 罗勒 (luó lè) or “sweet basil”. Others include but are not limited to “Thai basil - Ocimum basilicum thyrsifolium” and “holy basil - Ocimum tenuiflorum ”. The only one I’ve ever encountered in China, unfortunately, is the sweet basil, and that rarely. With Vietnam just next door and Thailand only three hours away, it is very frustrating.

 

The seeds can occasionally be found in a couple of local supermarkets. However it is not being sold for culinary reasons, but as an insect repellent! That said, I ignore that advice and grow several pots of the herb on my balcony. I also smuggled in a load of seeds from England in 2019.

 

The only time I’ve seen it in any culinary setting or product was in these bizarre beef sausages in the supermarket! Still, they justify it being used here as a Chinese herb. I didn't buy the sausages.

 

1792748507_beefsausageswbasil.thumb.jpg.49b1f8756788e3089e47e94673b40c59.jpg

 

By the way if your basil goes to seed as you grow it, don’t worry. Leave it alone and you get these rather pretty flowers! They are also edible.

 

1448194945_basilflower.thumb.jpg.b7c5ee5ce22c545c3d875a1fa5a13215.jpg

 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 5
  • Thanks 2

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

41. 淫羊藿 (yín yáng huò) – Barrenwort – Epimedium

 

1024px-Epimedium_versicolor01.thumb.jpg.78e6cb7c9ea0bed618f50ce94fe1e9a0.jpg

Epimediom versicolor  - Image licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.

 

I think I’m pretty much done in this topic, unless something unexpected turns up, but I feel I couldn’t leave you without this.

 

Epidemium is a group of flowering herbaceous perennials growing from a ginger-like rhizome. There are over 60 species in the group, most of which are native to China. It is not, I am happy to say, a herb that I have ever personally encountered or sought out.

I have however heard of it. The Chinese name, 淫羊藿 (yín yáng huò), is what first drew my attention out of linguistic interest. That first character (yín) appears in many words, nearly all referring to licentiousness, particularly derogatorily towards women. The second character (yáng) means ‘sheep’ or ‘goat’ and last, (huò) means ‘weed’.

 

English names include the above mentioned ‘barrenwort’ along with bishop's hat, fairy wings, and the delightful ‘horny goat weed’.

 

I’m told that the leaves are much appreciated as an aphrodisiac, not something I have any use for. The last English name mentioned comes from its flowers supposed resemblance to crushed goat testicles. Never having knowingly seen such things, I can’t attest to the accuracy of the nomenclature.

Thanks to @Tropicalseniorfor prompting me to start this whole spicy and herbal topic in the first place. It has been fun for me to explore and hopefully the same for some you out there, too.
 

Edited by liuzhou (log)
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 2

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

A terrible thing is ignorance, the source of endless human woes, spreading a mist over facts, obscuring truth, and casting a gloom upon the individual life. - Lucian of Samosata (born 120, died after 180 CE)

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

Link to comment
Share on other sites

×
×
  • Create New...