Privet tea has been known in the teachings of Chinese traditional medicine as being especially potent for liver and kidney support. This tea is also known to possess tonic, nutritive and cooling properties.
The privet is an erect, deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub that can be found in many parts of the globe. It belongs to the genus Ligustrum and includes the species of plants most widely used as a hedge in gardens. Some types of privet can grow up to 25 meters high.
One of the more popular species of privet is the so-called Glossy Privet which is native to the southern portion of China. Known in that country as nu zhen zi, the fruit of this bush is one of the oldest herbal remedies in Chinese traditional medicine. It has been in use for more than 2,000 years and is believed to possess rejuvenative properties, although this has yet to be proven scientifically. One of its uses in traditional Chinese medicine is to increase white blood cell count after cancer treatments. It is also believed to help inhibiting the growth of tumor cells.
The privet plant typically has glossy dark green leaves that are arranged in opposite sides of each other. Each is about 6 inches long and about 3 inches wide. They typically fold upward in a ‘V’ pattern. It possesses fragrant flowers that are found in upright panicles and has a whitish color. These flowers appear in the late summer.
The fruit is an oblong blue black drupe that is about 0.5 inches in length and appears on the plant during much of the year. It has a sweet taste with a touch of bitterness. It usually has 1 to 4 seeds and are borne in terminal clusters. The more mature plants are capable of producing hundreds of fruit which are typically dispersed by birds.
This fruit is thought to possess “cooling” properties known to help augment the ‘yin’ or the female (or passive) element of the body system. It is often used with such other herbs as wolfberry fruit, chrysanthemum flower and dodder seed to produce a ‘yin’-tonifying solution.
The herbal effects are imparted by the active constituents of the privet fruit and the most important of these is ligustrum or oleanolic acid. It is believed to be the main immune system booster of the drink. Other active constituents are betulinic acid, ursolic acid, saponins and tannins. This tea is typically made by placing some dried privet fruit in a mug of newly-boiled water and left to stand for about 5 to 7 minutes. Alternatively, granulated or powdered forms of the fruit are placed in hot water and then stirred to make an infusion that can be instantaneously enjoyed.
Following are some health benefits claimed by this brew:
- Considered to support healthy liver and kidneys.
- Marked as helping strengthen and enhance the immune system. As such, this has been recommended for individuals dealing with HIV, AIDS and even cancer.
- Said to combat lower back pain.
- Thought to help battle vertigo and tinnitus.
- Believed to reduce fatigue.
- May assist in the treatment of dizziness and blurred vision associated with stress.
- Believed to aid in combating premature graying of the hair.
- Seen as effective in fighting parasites.