Xi Hu, called "West Lake" in English, is probably the most famous lake in China and the centerpiece of Hangzhou... It is a huge lake, which includes islands and causeways, approximately 3 km by 3 km in dimensions... In this photo, Becky (VT member coral0317), stands next to one of the stone bridges that cross West Lake, at night...
MeiJiaWu LongJing Tea Plantation
The famous Dragon Well Tea - LongJing Tea comes from Hangzhou.
Dragon Well Green Tea suppose to help in lowering Cholesterol and Diabeties. You have to store the green tea in a cool and dry place in an air-tight container.
Meijiawu Long Jing has very light nutty aroma but made up for it with its very smooth and delicate taste and a pleasant flowery aftertaste. This tea is recommended to tea drinkers who prefer light and delicate flavored tea.
A bottle of green tea will cost 230 yuan (Gu niang Cha).
They have sales talk which teach you how to identify the tea leaves.
Tea leaves are pluck early in the morning before the sun rises.
The better qualities tea leaves are Ya She Cha (duck tongue) and followed by Gu Niang Cha (Miss/Lady). Xi Fu (daughter in law) leaves and Ah Ma (grandmother) tea leaves are lower graded tea leaves.
Qing He Fang, Traditional Chinese Herb Musuem
"Welcome to the TCM Herb Museum"
Hefang Jie was one of my favorite places in Hangzhou. It can be crowded and is a bit touristy, but there are many interesting cultural spots here, including this herb museum my class went to. As we were in Hangzhou studying traditional Chinese medicine, it was a very fitting field trip. This museum used to be a private herb factory. Now you can read (in English too) about the history of Chinese herbal medicine, see live herbs growing, see dried and prepared herbal products, see artwork of famous TCM doctors, etc. There also is an herb shop built in where you can buy some beautiful herb wine as well as your typical patent medications, plasters, and loose herb formulas. Fans of Chinese archetecture will also enjoy the museum, with its grand entrance hall (the room was so tall, my camera couldn't get a whole shot of it)
"Origin of Herbal medicine"
The herb museum has many posters that explain the history of Chinese herbal medicine. This poster talks about the legendary Shennong (kinda like the patron saint of herbal medicine) who, as legend goes, tried every herb to see its properties and functions. It is this long history of experimentation in China that has enabled the Chinese herbal materia medica to keep expanding and become more accurate. Even today, modern clinical research helps justify ancient experience, and also helps us to refine our knowledge.
"Entrance lined withfamous herbal formula plaques"
As you walk down the long entranceway to go into the herb museum there will be benches to your left where old men congregate to take a nap, chat with friends, play a tune on an Erhu, or read a paper. To your right will be these tall wooden plaques painted black with carved Chinese characters painted with gold. What a better way than to study formulas by relaxing on a bench and viewing these beautiful pieces of art. Unfortunately, I can't edit my picture right now, so it is sideways :-( but I think you can get the idea.
You can see some herb samples such as these, in cases. Other herb samples are stored in liquid in large jars. Still others are mounted in artwork on the walls, while others are growing live in the garden area. In this picture is the most expensive herb in the Chinese material medica: Cordyceps or Dong Chong Xia Cao ("winter worm, summer grass"). It is a caterpiller that is invaded by a fungus, which envelops it. You can imagine, this doesn't happen so often or in so many places, which is why this herb costs well over US 100$ per ounce. It is the bottom right herb shown here.
"Some of the Stranger Items in the Herb Museum"
A deer out in the garden/coutyard. Is he tanning? Sleeping? Drunk?
This is one of the unexplained mysteries of the museum.
"Chuan Shan Jia or What the heck is a Pangolin?"
There was hot debate in my herbs class regarding where this herb, chuan shan jia, comes from. Our textbook said chuan shan jia is "pangolin scales." What the heck is a pangolin, we asked. "Anteater," someone shouted. Mmm, well, maybe is is an anteater's cousin.
Whatever a pangolin is, here is its picture. Looks like a nice little animal. Too bad his scales make such a nice herb. Chuan shan jia is used to eliminate wind-damp bi pain, reduce swelling, drain pus, and promote lactation.
However, I have no idea what this porcupine is used for.
"Development of Ginseng"
Since I haven't made it to Wisconsin yet, I haven't had the pleasure of seeing wild ginseng growing. The herb museum filled me in on what I have been missing. One exhibit shows about 6 different stages in the life of a ginseng plant. Very interesting. Study the picture well, becasue if you can find any of these plants growing wild, you'll make youself some nice dough. (Or some nice herb wine!)