I’m usually pretty open to alternative medicine, but i rarely actually employ them when i should. Ku Ding is one such example. There are a great many traditional Chinese medicinal uses for Kudingcha (苦丁茶, literally “bitter nail” tea), a non-tea alternative herbal drink, mainly found native in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region (广西壮族自治区) that borders Vietnam. As borrowed from Subhuti Dharmananda’s white paper they include:
To disperse wind-heat, clear the head and the eyes, and resolve toxin, thus being used for common cold, rhinitis, itching eyes, red eyes, and headache. In addition, it is said to calm fidgets and alleviate thirst, especially when one is suffering from a disease that causes fever or severe diarrhea. It transforms phlegm and alleviates coughing, thus used in treating bronchitis. Finally, it is said to invigorate digestion and improve mental focus and memory.
As you might imagine, i can’t really speak to much of this. I’m not remotely as attuned to my body as herbologists and practitioners of traditional medicine would be. Since I’ve found kombucha (another oriental traditional medicine) to be highly effective in treating my IBS, I wouldn’t necessarily ignore any of those claims on the surface (though i personally would probably use something more closely resembling Western medicine in addition to Kuding to treat bronchitis). I am qualified to describe Ku Ding as a beverage and compare it to Chinese teas in terms of “alleviating thirst”. ;)
In aroma, Ku Ding expresses a highly vegetal, wet grass or what I’ve come to think of as a “lilypad” note in the sense that I usually only encounter this smell in the wild with lilypads or lotus. To say that Ku Ding is bitter tasting and astringent is to vastly understate things. I wouldn’t recommend drinking Ku Ding without milk and sugar, it sits on the tongue like bitter medicine (no surprise there). I have little doubt that Ku Ding alleviates thirst, but if you were to give it someone emerging from a desert journey, I’d probably add aloe. Ku Ding does have a bit of a tart aftertaste that reminds me of Chanoyu matcha, which is nice. Ku Ding is fairly thin, with occasional tea-like particles present. In terms of its effect on me, Ku Ding feels similar to kombucha’s diuretic attributes, but it doesn’t settle on the tummy as well. *shrugs* Dunno.
- Aroma – 93
- Taste – 82
- Texture – 86
- Spunk – 90
- Price – 92
- Availability – 97 (i guess it depends on if you live near a Chinatown)
- Appearance – 95
Mean score – 91%