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Intangible Cultural Heritage

- List of Macao S.A.R. Intangible Cultural Heritage

Herbal Tea

Herbal Tea, also known as herbal tea, is a kind of tea drink made from purely Chinese medicinal herbs by people from Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, in accordance with local weather and environmental conditions. Guided by Chinese medical healthcare theory, Chinese Medicinal Tea has been developed in the long course of disease prevention and healthcare studies and has antipyretic and antitoxic effects, while quenching thirst and dissipating heat and humidity in the body through consumption.

Around the year 306, Ge Hong, a Taoist pharmacist from Eastern Jin moved south to the Lingnan region and dedicated himself to the study of different epidemic febrile diseases in the region. As a matter of fact, his book on Chinese medicine and the conclusions drawn from the rich experience of curing working people by later Lingnan doctors from the school of epidemic febrile disease gave rise to the formation of Herbal Tea imbued with the profound culture and knowledge of Lingnan. It is through this book that the prescriptions and terminology of Chinese medicine continue to be passed down through the generations.

The prescription skills of Herbal Tea have centuries of history and are a hereditary succession from ancestors to offspring. During the Cultural Revolution, the culture of Herbal Tea suffered serious depridation, which led to the closure of herbal tea shops; very few cultural relics related to Herbal Tea, such as its tools, historic sites and remains, historical records and photographs, are left in China. Fortunately, Herball Tea was able to survive in Hong Kong and Macao. Today, the 54 prescriptions and the herbal tea culture formed by the 16 herbal tea brands – Wang Lao Ji, Shang Qing Yin, Jian Sheng Tang, Teng Lao, Bai Yun Shan, Huang Zhen Long, Xu Qi Xiu, Chun He Tang, Jin Hu Lu, Xing Qun, Run Xin Tang, Sha Xi, Li Shi, Qing Xin Tang, Ji Lin Chen and Bao Qing Tang – enjoy wide popular appeal.

The long history of the Herbal Tea culture and its extensive inheritance among people has helped the annual production of herbal tea reach two million tons (including Hong Kong and Macao). It is now sold in nearly 20 countries, including China, America, Canada, France, England, Italy, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. In an era of rapid industrial development, Herbal Tea, a constituent element of Chinese food culture, has certain practical significance in preserving and carrying forward its culture.

Herbal Tea was included in the Tentative List of Macao S.A.R. Intangible Cultural Heritage Items and the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2006.




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