Chinese Assorted Herb

publickmanMay 26, 2012

Here is a scan I made of one of my purchases from 99 Ranch last week-end, showing the front of the package. On the long sides are the captions:

"This Product Contain Sulfur Dioxoide"




plus some Chinese characters that I cannot read.

On the back, it has the following instructions:

"User warnings (mainly used for soups)

1. Raw foods - cook before serving

2. It may be hazardous to your health to eat before cooking.


1. Soak in a pot of water until soft,

2. Rinse with tap water 2 to 3 tones.

3. Boil herbs for at least 40-45 minutes in high temperature

4. Mix with your favorite meats (chicken or pork) and let simmer for another hour.

5. Do not reuse herbs. Please discard after serving."

I have a feeling that "radix" means mushroom, and "rhizoma" must be some kind of root. Anyway, I expect to be making soup with them in the next week or so and hope that the sulphur dioxide will not taste as bad as it sounds - at least it smells okay.

There were a lot of strange items on the aisle where I found this package, but I was only brave enough to try one at a time. I really need help shopping at that market because I would not know what to do with many of the ingredients sold there.

I'll list the other items I bought there later this week-end.


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Here is the ingredient list again - some of it got chopped off somehow:


I probably should have scanned that side of the package as well, but it's late now, and it's difficult enough to copy the text.

The back of the package says that there are 3 servings per container, and there are four packages inside the box, but I think it means that the entire box will make three servings of soup. I'm a little disappointed that I should discard it after serving it, but I might disregard that instruction. I'm not even convinced that I have herbs.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 2:34AM
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It's late and the no-see-ums are biting... So I'm playing online. I think that radix means root - rhizoma means rhizome-like... ginger root is a rhizome.

So you have:
1. the root of Angelica sinensis = dong quai
2. rhizome of ligusticum - also known as Szechuan Lovage another umbelliferous plant
3. roots of some kind of peony
4. roots of rehmannia - I think that maybe a relation to what I know as chinese foxglove - pretty flowers

All in all I'd rather grow them for flowers than eat them. They all sound like medicinal rather than culinary herbs.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 3:12AM
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Lars " ---There were a lot of strange items on the aisle where I found this package, but I was only brave enough to try one at a time. I really need help shopping at that market because I would not know what to do with many of the ingredients sold there. -----"

AS I had posted sometime ago, one of the major component of Chinese cooking is about health and medicine, but is generally unknown to us here. That is one aisle full of folk medicine where I seldom visit.

I forwarded your picture to a friend, she replied with this:
" The Siwutang (Four-Ingrediant Broth)" prescription of traditional Chinese medicine have been handed down, the earliest recorded in the Song Dynasty "Peaceful Benevolent Dispensary Bureau. Siwutang rehmannia, peony root, angelica and Chuanxiong these four Chinese herbal medicines. In general, it has the effect of the blood to regulate menstruation, and can slow down the female menstrual pain. "

How regular is your period? PMS? LOL!


    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 8:14AM
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That is TOO funny! Sorry but I'd discard before using.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 12:04PM
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"... hope that the sulphur dioxide will not taste as bad as it sounds ..."

Dried fruit, such as raisins, peaches and apricots, are treated with sulphur dioxide to prevent oxidation. Sulphur dioxide doesn't have the bad odor we associate with sulphur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide. In fact, burning a few matches can produce sulphur dioxide which can help to household odors. Nothing to worry about.


    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 12:34PM
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Sulphur dioxide is a problem if you are allergic to it. It can cause asthma like reactions. I am mildly allergic and unless there is a LOT of it in something I eat (like some dried fruits) I will simply get a stuffed up nose. But I have had more severe reactions which are painful and scary.

It looks interesting, Lars, if not all that tasty! Does the mix smell good?


    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 1:28PM
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For what it's worth, I'm too old to have a period or menstrual cramps, and so I'll have to hope that the herbs have an interesting flavor. I'm not allergic to sulfur dioxide, but I will be a bit more careful when shopping in Chinese markets in the future. I know now how to identify the medicinal aisles and will not go there again without assistance.

Here are some of the other items I bought there:

Dried asparagus lettuce cut
Roxy dried black fungus-strip
Daiei chuka salad (seasoned seaweed salad)
Tuna Saku (sashimi)
Hidaka dry cut wakame (I buy this often)
Cherimoya (good price for this)
Asn/Tas org blk fungus jar
KC vinegar (black)
Wri C los salt soy sauce
O/Champ crab paste w/bean jar
Excellence black rice vinegar
Red flower su wu soup mix
Aroy-D tom yum paste
Aroy-D green curry paste
A chili paste w/ holey basil
Tung chun sesame sauce
Jia na trad.sauce-veg
Sunvoi Inst Tom Yum soup paste

So you can see that I plan to make Tom Yum soup in the near future, but I thought that was Thai instead of Chinese.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 2:32AM
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When I was a child we would occasionally go to a chinese grocery store in Bangor - over an hour's drive from where we lived. This is where we could get exotic foods as well as things like ginger and garlic. Grocery stores in central Maine were very limited at that time. I remember going to that store and picking out tiny little greasy jars of mysterious brown pastes to add to our rice. They also had these lovely dolls of in period costumes with brightly colored fake silk clothes. It was a big day for me when I finally got one.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 8:01AM
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There are plenty of "strange" items to try at the Chinese market ie dried daylily blossoms, goji berries, water lily roots, assorted fungi, dried jellyfish...just be careful with the herbal stuff if you don't want any weird side effects!

My mother gave me something for cramps years ago. It was in a tiny bottle with Chinese writing on it. I was desperate, so tried it. Burned as it went down and tasted SO foul! Surprisingly, it worked. I later read the directions and it said something along the lines of: if you take any more of this stuff it will only result in harmless intoxication.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2012 at 11:35PM
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