January 9, 2010

Wanhua, “Herb Alley”. “Life-Saving Street”- was named by the last generation

位於台北萬華的龍山寺旁,有條短短不到五十公尺的小巷子,歷史悠久的數間青草店毗鄰而居,各家店內門前不是堆滿一袋袋的乾燥藥草,就是擺滿了一籃籃新鮮脆綠的青草,或者垂掛著林投果、蘆薈及仙人掌等,一般人都認得卻不知它們也是屬於藥材的一種。這些堆積如山的藥草,種類高達三、四百種以上,熟門熟路的人都管這裡叫做「青草巷」。

Next to the Long Shan Temple in Wanhua, Taipei, there is a small alley with a length of less than 50 meters. This alley is full of door to door herbal shops. Each store is full with sacks of dried herbs, or filled with baskets of fresh green Herbs, or hung with aloe and cactus…etc. We recognize them but we did not know they have medical functions. The piled-up medical herbs contain 300 to 400 different kinds of spices. This alley is known as the “Herb Alley”

在台灣早期,西醫尚未普及、中醫師難尋的年代,人們遇到身體不適或大小病痛時,大多仰賴口耳相傳的草藥祕方,或到廟裡求取藥籤,再依藥籤抓取青草藥來熬煮服用。起初,先是載著藥草的流動人力車在龍山寺的周圍聚集,後來改以店面的形式營業,而慢慢形成了青草市集。龍山寺的藥籤十分靈驗,信徒絡繹不絕,青草市集經常被擠得水洩不通,這樣熱鬧的光景流傳了有一、二百多年之久。民國七十年間,藥政單位以妨害醫藥條例,禁止寺廟提供藥籤讓民眾求取,市集的熱鬧盛況才逐漸消褪。

In the early year of Taiwan, the western medicine was not popular, and the Chinese medicine patricians were hardly found. When people felt ill or painful, they most likely relied on the word-of-mouth herbal recipes or went to the temple to ask for medical swab, pick up then boil the herbs based on the swab they received. At the beginning, rickshaws were used to carry herbs and gathered around the Long Shan temple. Later they established the stores, and then become the Herb Market. The medical swabs in Long Shan temple were very efficacious. Lots of believers came and packed the Herb Market. The lively custom has lasted for one to two hundred years. Until 1981, the government medicine unit banned the swab from the temples; the lively market gradually faded.

(攝於艋舺龍山寺, Photo was taken in Monga Long Shan Temple)

註:艋舺龍山寺是台灣的國家二級古蹟,其寺廟建築與裝飾,具有高度的藝術價值,相當值得介紹,但我目前涉略的還不夠深,將來多造訪幾次後,再分享給大家!

PS: Monga Long Shan Temple is the second class historical site. The architecture and decoration of the building have high artistic value and are very worthy to be introduced. After I go to visit the temple more times, I will share it with everyone. Currently, I don’t have enough information yet.

「龍山寺早已見不到藥籤的蹤影,這張照片是在高雄內門紫竹寺拍攝的。這個具有時代背景意義的藥籤,越來越難可以見到了。」

The medical swab has no longer been seen in Long Shan Temple. The above photo was taken in Nei Men, Tz Zhu Temple, Kaohsiung. It is very difficult to find the historical medical swab now.

國民政府撤退來台後,都市計劃改建,而將龍山寺周圍的青草店家集中於西昌街224巷。2001年,經臺北市政府文化局整修後,形成了現今的「青草巷」面貌。

After the Nationalist government retreated to Taiwan, through the urban planning reconstruction process, the Herb stores near Long Shan Temple moved to Xi Chang Street, Lane 224. As part of the renovation by the Taipei City Government Bureau of Cultural Affairs in 2001, the “Herb Alley” was formed

為了讓青草藥能夠保持新鮮度,減緩腐爛或乾枯的時間,街巷內的光線與濕度是整修時重要的考量。故政府採用透明的頂棚設計,注意巷內空氣流通,以達到店家的基本需求。

In order to keep the herbs’ freshness and not to get dried quickly, the street lighting and the humidity were the important factors for the refurbishment. The transparent roof design and the alley air circulation were implemented to meet the stores’ needs.

「青草巷」內的青草藥材大多來自台灣北部,貨色齊全且真材實料,不管是想要消暑退火、驅寒保暖或強健保身,都可以在這裡找到合適的草藥。

The Herbs’ supplies came from northern Taiwan. With abundant supplies here, no matter whether you need the herbal medicine to reduce heat, to keep warm, or to keep healthy, you can find them all.

每種青草藥材依功能及屬性不同,處理的方式也不盡相同,有煎煮、燉熬、研磨成粉或搗爛外敷等,十分複雜。我對青草藥的認知,大概除了帶有特殊清香味,喝起來微甘微甜的青草茶外,其他的可以說毫無概念。不過,面對「青草巷」內琳琅滿目的藥草毋須太過擔心,這裡的每間青草店都是代代相傳,老闆個個都是藥草專家,無論你是要詢問藥草特性、應用或是處理方式,大概都難不倒他們。

The handling methods for each herbal medicine are different depending on its function and type. The handling methods are complicated, such as boiling, stewing boil, grinding, or smashing for external application and so on. I am only familiar with Green Herb Tea that has a special freshness smell, with a sweet taste. I have no idea about the rest. However, you don’t need to be worried when you have questions for all these variety herbs. All owners of the stores are the specialists. They can answer all your questions no matter whether you want to know about the characteristic, function, or the handling methods.

草藥的學問太過複雜,腦筋動的快的店家,將調製好的各種不同保健功效的藥草茶包包裝販售,並附上成分、功效及使用說明等,果然大受消費者的青睞。其中,賣的最夯的,當然是給時下愛美女性減肥用的消脂茶囉!

Since the knowledge of the herbal medicine is very complex, the fast thinking store owners packed the already made herbal tea bag to sell along with its composition, efficacy, and user instructions... etc. They have become very popular to the customers. Among all those, the hottest selling bag is the weight losing tea for women.

每逢周一是「青草巷」最忙碌的時候。在此時到來,或許老闆忙著進貨補貨無暇招呼,但可以看到店家秤重、打包等處理乾燥藥草的繁忙景象。而這天的藥草也最為新鮮,想要買到"尚青"的藥草,挑周一來就對了。

Mondays are the busiest time for the Herb Alley. At this time, the owners of the stores are busy with weighing and packing with the arriving supplies, and they may not have time to say hello to the customers. The supplies are so fresh on Monday; it is the best day to come to get the freshest supplies.

註:周日是青草巷是公休日!

PS: All stores in the alley are closed on Sunday!

到「青草巷」除了買草藥、看草藥外,當然也要喝一杯才行!清涼退火的青草茶,是許多台灣人童年的夏天回憶,我每次到這裡,總不忘喝上一杯過過癮。

Beside buying and watching Herbs in the alley, don’t forget to enjoy a cold tea drink! The heat reduced Green Herb tea brings lots of childhood summer time memories for most of the people in Taiwan. Every time I come here, I would enjoy a cup.

「青草巷」不僅是傳統庶民文化的體現,還代表著先人智慧的結晶。中國草藥的精華與學問,在這條短短的百年街巷中流轉、散布,持續地傳承給下一代。

“Herb Alley” not only represents the local culture, but also the wisdom of the ancestors. The knowledge of Chinese herbal medicine has flown in this short alley for a century. It will spread and continue to pass on to the next generation. Read More

14 comments:

dennis said...

i love 青草茶, when i was little my parents used to take us to this 青草茶 shop in kaohsiung's Leo-Her night market.

1ondoncalling said...

我小的時候有喝過用蘆薈煮的涼茶。
非常的苦!不好喝。

kristen and micki said...

To Dennis- When I was little, my mom always made a pot of 青草茶, and put it in the refrigerator during summer time for us to drink. However, it rarely happens now.

kristen and micki said...

To londoncalling- 我沒喝過蘆薈涼茶吔!我只知道蘆薈可以拿來外敷,敷臉或敷傷口,但根本不知可以食用,是去了青草巷才知的。

dennis said...

青草茶有分厚薄厚的是苦的薄的是甜的飲料

Fili An said...

Great writeup and beautiful photos. ^_^
(Tweeted)

kristen and micki said...

To Dennis-第一次聽到有濃薄茶之分,上網查了一下,"高雄六合夜市賣的青草茶有濃薄之分,薄茶清肺潤喉,濃茶清肝降火"....濃茶想必很苦吧!

kristen and micki said...

To Fili- Thanks for tweeting this article!

dennis said...

記憶中只有喝過一口因為是小時後所以有一次喝了一口苦的就不喝了可能爸爸或媽媽幫忙喝掉了吧 ^^

kristen and micki said...

To Dennis- Thanks for sharing your childhood experience! We know now we will need to buy the 薄茶 next time! :)

Grean Herbz said...

Nice post, thank you for sharing your real life experience. I like your post. It s very informative for healthcare system
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