Chi Brewski

February 16, 2010 by  
Filed under chinese herbs

A Brewski with a Difference

Timed to coincide with the Chinese New Year is the debut of “ES Chi Tonic Herbal Ale”, a new beer formulated for “better internal balance.”

The sudsy concoction is the collaboration of Marin Master Herbalist, Dr Yen-Wei Choong and Marin Brewing Company’s Brewmaster, Arne Johnson. Together the two have created an ale “using a synergistic blend of wild Chinese herbs.” The proprietary blend of ten herbs are cooked for several hours, blended and then the whole thing ferments for for two weeks.  

According to Dr. Choong, “regular beer is cold in nature, or too Yin, which slows the metabolism. By brewing ale with these specially selected herbs, which gently warm-up the Yang energy, there is a better internal balance.”

The beer is available now at Marin Brewing Company and at Bay Area beer fests in the upcoming months.


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Chinese Herbs

November 4, 2008 by  
Filed under Featured

Herbology is the Chinese art of combining medicinal herbs.

Herbology is traditionally one of the more important modalities utilized in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Each herbal medicine prescription is a cocktail of many herbs tailored to the individual patient. One batch of herbs is typically decocted twice over the course of one hour. The practitioner usually designs a remedy using one or two main ingredients that target the illness. Then the practitioner adds many other ingredients to adjust the formula to the patient’s yin/yang conditions. Sometimes, ingredients are needed to cancel out toxicity or side-effects of the main ingredients. Some herbs require the use of other ingredients as catalyst or else the brew is ineffective. The latter steps require great experience and knowledge, and make the difference between a good Chinese herbal doctor and an amateur. Unlike western medications, the balance and interaction of all the ingredients are considered more important than the effect of individual ingredients. A key to success in TCM is the treatment of each patient as an individual.

Chinese herbology often incorporates ingredients from all parts of plants, the leaf, stem, flower, root, and also ingredients from animals and minerals. The use of parts of endangered species (such as seahorses, rhinoceros horns, and tiger bones) has created controversy and resulted in a black market of poachers who hunt restricted animals. Many herbal manufacturers have discontinued the use of any parts from endangered animals.