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  • Ben Heathcote

Citrus Peel Tea - Chen Pi

Citrus peel tea (called Chen Pi in Chinese) has been used in China for hundreds of years for its health benefits. The main reasons I recommend Chen Pi are for excess phlegm and mucous in the nasal sinuses and/or lungs, digestive disturbance and weak digestion.

Citrus Peel Tea may help with the signs and symptoms associated with the following problems:

  • Abdominal distension

  • Excessive belching

  • Weak digestion

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Bronchitis

  • Chronic cough

  • Sinusitis

  • Allergies

  • Food intolerances

In Chinese medicine, Citrus peel regulates Qi of the Spleen and Stomach, moves Qi blockage in the abdomen, clears Dampness from the abdomen and clears phlegm from the lungs. Citrus peel is referred to as Chen Pi in Chinese and is usually made from tangerine peel, mandarin peel or orange peel. Tangerine peel is considered the stronger of the three but mandarin peel is most commonly used since it is readily available.

There are a number of ways in which Chen Pi can be obtained. You can make it yourself at home, you can purchase it at a Chinese grocery store or you can buy it in a processed form similar to a supplement from a health food shop.

If making your own Chen Pi it is best to buy a whole bag of mandarins to make a large batch at once. Take your washed peels and scrape most of the white pith away with a spoon. Place them on a wire rack and leave for a few days in a warm room. You can then leave the peels in large broken pieces or cut into thin slices for faster drying if you prefer. Once completely dried they should be stored in an airtight container in a cool dry place. Some people dry the peels using an oven on a very low temperature which is also okay. The peels tend to shrink and darken once dried. In Chinese medicine, we consider the older dried peels to be more potent than the fresh ones.

To make Chen Pi tea take about a 1/4 to 1/2 a dried mandarin peel and place it in a mug of boiled water. Let it sit for 10 - 15 minutes before drinking. It can be taken 10 minutes before each meal to improve and stregthen digestion or taken three times per day to clear mucous and phlegm from the sinuses and lungs.

To make much stronger Chen Pi 3 - 4 whole peels can be placed in a saucepan with 2 litres of water. Simmer until half the water is left (do not boil). Once cool enough it can be taken 100-200mls a few times each day.


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