January 9, 2010

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


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”


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)


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


“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


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.

Anonymous said...


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...


Fili An said...

Great writeup and beautiful photos. ^_^

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! :)

Unknown said...

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

Unknown said...

Interesting and important information. It is really beneficial for us. Thanks
Rated #1 Herbal Incense Super Store - LegalAromaTherapy.com

Legal Herbal Bud said...

Interesting and important information. It is really beneficial for us. Thanks
Rated Top Herbal Incense Potpourri - legalherbalspice.com

Super Strong Incense said...

Nice blog. It inspires me a lot. Thanks for publishing such useful information.
Welcome to Super Strong Incense - SuperStrongIncense.com

Unknown said...

I love all details that you give in your articles.
herbal incense

jawad haider said...

Hello! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great info you have here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon. diablo incense

jawad haider said...

Wow, absolutely fantastic blog. I am very glad to have such useful information. Thanks. Fashion Clothing

Unknown said...

I honestly love your blog. It was very useful and it inspired me a whole lot. Thanks for sharing
Smoking Incense

RLM said...

Hi would you know if the sellers speak english? I see the labels are written in Chinese. 😁🙏✌

Unknown said...

The best in shopping entertainment. herbsandliquids gives you an endless stream of the best herbal incense products online!

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails