Kombucha Fermented Tea

May 30, 2010

Sometimes I wonder about the sanity of most Americans.  It seems they will drink or eat anything that arrives pretty on a plate or in a fancy bottle. I  read a piece this morning that said Lindsay Lohan and other Hollywood types like Madonna, Kirsten Dunst and Halle Berry are into this new (but old) synergy drink called Kombucha.

Kombucha Home Brew

No one knows for sure where this fermented tea originated but recorded history says it started in Russia during the late 19th century. Promotional material says the drink comes from ancient China or Japan. In fact, some say that kombucha, known as the Godly Tsche, dates back to the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC) and was “a beverage with magical powers enabling people to live forever”. Since the first emperor, Qin Shi Huangdi, didn’t live forever, we can discount that claim.

I asked my wife about this tea and she said that as a child she saw it being fermented and that the stuff floating around inside the jar reminded her of dead cockroaches.  Once someone like Pepsi or Coke gets hold of something old like this there is no telling what kind of chemicals will be added. If you want to make this tea, click Kombucha Tea for the home brew recipe.

If you believe the health claims for this tea, you may want to learn about the Chinese “Chong Cao“. Remember, the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA) hasn’t evaluated any of this stuff yet.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the author of the award winning novels My Splendid Concubine and Our Hart. He also Blogs at The Soulful Veteran and Crazy Normal.

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The First Emperor: The Man Who Made China – Part 9/9

April 23, 2010

In the seventh month of 2010 BC, the first emperor’s search for immortality has ended. At the age of fifty, Qin Shi Huangdi is dead.

While China’s first emperor is being buried according to his wishes, a power struggle rages outside the tomb. By tradition, the oldest son should have become the emperor but several ministers want a younger son on the throne. The others are assassinated and there is a slaughter.

The emperor is also not going alone into the afterlife. While his chosen successors are being assassinated, hundreds of his favorite concubines will stay with their master and die with him. The tomb’s designers and builders will be sealed in the tomb too. Everyone who knows the way dies.

Qin Shi Huangdi left a legacy–a unified nation with a single written language and a system of administration that is still used today.

You may return to Part 8, or start with The Man Who Made China, Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


The First Emperor: The Man Who Made China – Part 8/9

April 22, 2010

Chinese alchemists knew liquid mercury as the only substance that could dissolve gold. To the ancient mind, that meant mercury had power that might prolong life. However, the human body cannot absorb pure mercury so the Chinese alchemists made a compound the emperor could digest.

As the mercury is absorbed, it slowly destroyed his nervous system and brain. Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi becomes aggressive, argumentative and paranoid. He goes into hiding. Anyone revealing his location is killed. His kidneys’ are failing and he starts talking to the gods.

Thirty-five years after becoming the king of Qin at thirteen, he goes on another Imperial tour.  But this time, he does not see the nation that is bankrupt and near famine. All the emperor can think about is living forever.

He’s told that giant fish guards the island of the immortals. The emperor dreams that he is a sea god who will kill the giant fish. Near the end of 210 BC, he visits the ocean hunting the giant fish with a crossbow while wading in the surf.

His advisors plan what to do with China once the emperor dies. On the return to the capital, the emperor falls ill and the Imperial convoy stops.

Go to Part 9 for The Man Who Made China or return to Part 7

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too.

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


The First Emperor: The Man Who Made China – Part 7/9

April 22, 2010

By 215 BC, Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi’s tomb is almost finished. The chamber where his body will rest is the size of a football field and will be hermitically sealed.  Then the tomb will be covered with a million tons of earth creating the hill we see today.

View of Qin Shi Huangdi's tomb

However, the Emperor doesn’t plan to die. Seeking advice from his doctor, he is given mercury capsules. At the time, it was believed that mercury would increase longevity.  Having lots of sex with multiple partners was also considered another way to increase life. The emperor follows the doctor’s advice and sends the doctor on an expedition to find an elixir for immortality.

The emperor isolates himself and delegates the power to rule the empire to those he trusts most. These men suppress free thought. Entire libraries are burned. Those who try to hide documents are branded on the face and sentenced to a life of force labor–mostly on The Great Wall. Anyone who resists is buried alive.

Professor Jeffrey Riegel, University of California, Berkeley, says that Chinese archeologists have no immediate plans to unearth the tomb, because there is no way to safeguard the contents from decay.

Go to Part 8 for The Man Who Made China or return to Part 6

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_________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.

 


The First Emperor: The Man Who Made China – Part 6/9

April 21, 2010

The totalitarian philosophy in the new Chinese empire was called legalism. There are rules that govern every part of every citizen’s daily life with the punishment spelled out. Physical punishment could mean mutilation. For example, if two are caught having sex, they will be beheaded. Every aspect of private life is part of Qin law.

In 220 BC, Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi goes on an inspection tour of his empire.  With the major wars over, millions of troops are put to work finishing the Great Wall of China to stop the nomadic tribes to the north from raiding into China, which they have done for centuries.

The Great Wall of China is the greatest engineering project of the ancient world. It is thirty feet high and more than three thousand miles long. At one point, over a million people are working on the wall and about a quarter of them will die.

The emperor makes more demands. He sends hundreds of thousands to build a tomb that fits his rank as the first divine emperor of China. The burial mound, larger than the largest pyramid in China, is at the center of an above ground and underground city. His tomb is made of bronze surrounded by mercury rivers and oceans.

Recently, using ground penetrating radar and other instruments, a three dimensional model is built of the underground complex.

Go to Part 7 for the Man Who Made China or return to Part 5

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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The First Emperor: The Man Who Made China – Part 4/9

April 20, 2010

With this challenge to the throne removed, Shi Huangdi has learned a lesson. He becomes ruthless and rids himself of his mother and his prime minister.

There is a dramatic scene where the prime minister asks for forgiveness for letting the queen mother do what she has done.  The prime minister is exiled and not allowed to see the queen mother again. Within a year, the disgraced prime minister kills himself.

A scholar, who believes in harsh laws, becomes Huangdi’s closest advisor.

By 227 BC, the Qin state has conquered the states of Han, Wei and Zhao.

The state of Yen knows it is next and sends professional assassins disguised as peace emissaries to kill Shi Huangdi.  The emissaries arrive in Xian with gifts.  The assassin strikes.

Since no weapons are allowed in the throne room, there are no armed guards to protect the king. Only the king has a weapon and only the king can call the troops to save him.

Go to Part 5 of The Man Who Made China or return to Part 3

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_________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.


The First Emperor: The Man Who Made China – Part 3/9

April 19, 2010

By the time Qin Shi Huangdi is twenty, he has captured thirteen cities from the state of Han and twenty cities from the other states.  Huangdi’s rival countries send a combined army to stop him but they are repelled.

Some of Huangdi’s success is because of the precision weapons Qin craftsmen make for the loyal, highly trained army.

The capital of Qin

However, while the king of Qin is conquering China, there is an enemy scheming to replace him. His mother, the dowager queen, has taken a lover, who masquerades as a eunuch. The queen has had two illegitimate sons with this lover, who steals two royal seals that gives him authority to mobilize troops in an attempt to replace Shi Huandgi with one of the king’s half brothers.

Qin’s prime minister discovers the plot and a trap is set that destroys the rebel army. The dowager queen’s lover is captured, tortured and his mangled body pulled apart by four horses while the queen mother is forced to watch.

While the death sentence is being carried out, Huandgi has his two two half brothers strangled to remove them as a threat to the throne.

Go to Part 4 of The Man Who Made China or return to Part 2

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_________________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

To subscribe to “iLook China”, look for the “Subscribe” button at the top of the screen in the menu bar, click on it then follow directions.