If you've walked the streets of New York's Chinatown, and you're like us, you've found yourself standing and staring at something and wondering, "What is that?" Hey, Chinese tourists must wonder the same when confronted with apple-bobbing, luxury pet hotels and Hot Pockets®.
Fortunately, Explore Chinatown can lead us off the beaten path.
What is That?
That's Lin Sister Herbs.
Herbs have been an important part of Chinese culture for thousands of years, according to Frank Lin of Lin Sister Herbs.
In the heavy wooden drawers behind the counter of this shop, there are said to be herbs to help every bodily organ or function, and there are concoctions for those who want to strengthen the immune system, increase one's energy, alleviate upset stomach, help regulate blood pressure or relieve muscle pain. Most are brewed as tea or soup.
Next Valentine's Day, why not try Rose tea, which is said to open the heart meridian. Hey, can't hurt, can it?
Chrysanthemum tea, they say, is good for the eyes and for blood pressure. Here's a
tip: at many Chinese restaurants, you can get Chrysanthemum tea instead of the usual, black tea they serve, but only if you ask for it.
According to Frank Lin, the herbal healing tradition dates back over 2,000 years, when an emperor sent 500 men and women out far and wide to search for "magic mushrooms" to build up the immune system and achieve longevity. No, not those magic mushrooms.
Lin Sister also sells books on traditional Chinese healing practices, including the comprehensive "Handbook of Chinese Herbs" by Him-Che Yeung, Ph.D., and offers acupuncture and Tui na massage.