Monday, January 15, 2007

Thai Traditional Herbal Beverages

Herbal Drinks
Thai people have, over the centuries, adapted their living conditions in the hot and humid tropics through their housing, clothing, foods, and beverages. Traditional herbal beverages, the subject of this paper, have played an important role, not only in quenching the thirst, but also in providing therapy for common ailments.

Thai traditional herbal beverages can be classified into six groups, viz.
(i) herbal teas,
(ii) herbal drinks,
(iii) herbal juices,
(iv) herbal milks,
(v) toddies, and
(v) coconut water.
Herbal teas are obtained by infusion of fresh or dry plant material. Popular Thai traditional herbal teas are made from Roselle, chrysanthemum, safflower, and bael fruit. Herbal drinks are obtained by decoction or concoction from flowers, fruits, leaves, and roots/rhizomes; popular traditional herbal drinks are made from roselle, pomegranate, sugar apple, tamarind, lime, carambola, longan, mulberry, native apricot, and bael fruit.

Herbal juices are obtained by expression from fruits (e.g. mandarin, orange, and pineapple), and stem of sugarcane. Herbal milks are obtained by expression of plant materials; most popular ones are soybean and young-rice milks. Toddy, a special kind of herbal beverage, is a sweet aromatic sap exuded out through root pressure from cut surface of the inflorescence of the coconut and sugar palms. Coconut water is unique in that it is the only beverage in which the water is obtained by decanting from fruit cavity of the coconut.
Through the use of traditional and local wisdom and knowledge of local plants, the Thais since ancient times have developed effective methods of preparing traditional beverages with healthy and refreshing properties.
Herbal Drinks

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