One of the things we learned there that I got really excited about and brought back, was now they have taken the Chinese Wolfberry there and they have extracted the Lycium polysaccharide out of the Wolf-berry, which is the active agent for reversing the aging process and building the immune system and attacking cancer–and we have it!… That began my quest in going after the Chinese Wolfberry and finding ways we could incorporate it into our lives…

My teachers at the School of Natural Healing have taught me that removing the part from the whole in search of a patent is the work of Big Pharma. It is the work of anyone intent on making a buck. Could it be that Mr Young knows that something natural can not be patented?”

Gary Young goes on: Adequate vegetables—most of their vegetables they picked out of their own gardens. Wolfberry every single day and their herbal tea—that was their diet. They call it “Eight Treasure Tea.” What do you think made up the Eight Treasure Tea? One of the main ingredients was Wolfberries!… It was just so phenomenal looking at these people–they were so happy. Here they were living in a country that is poverty stricken, living in mud brick houses, some with dirt floors and some with dirt ceilings–conditions that we don’t see here in America. But these people were so happy. I said to myself, “Gary, there is a lesson to be learned here from these people. They have a secret we have lost and forgotten, and that is how to be happy in the worst conditions, and how not to get all caught up in trying to keep up with the Joneses.

What-the-heck??!! I about spit up all the NingXia Red I’ve ever bought at, like, eighty bucks a bottle.  So these Chinese folks and their Wolfberries you’ve been touting had some special TEA did they?  I’ll bet you that this simple Chinese tea is much cheaper than the Red Ninja koolaid.  HOW in the WORLD did THIS  little detail get dropped??? Hmmmm… let me think…$… $….$…

SO, now, let me get this straight: It’s okay for poor Chinese peasants to be happy and plebeians at the bottom of the MLM ladder to be happy as we live ever-so-simply in our glorious dirt-poor-condition. A condition which was made even more poor by believing in and buying your manufactured NingXia Red in the shiny bottle instead of making our own homemade Ba Bao Cha tea….   UH…   WHAT  lesson was that about the illusion of wealth and affluenza? Tell me that one again.  Oh, and tell me about all the happy poor people as you speak from one of your lavish properties in Utah, France or Ecuador. Yes, as we talk about them living in homes with dirt ceilings and mud-brick walls.

I looked it up. Sure enough, there is a recipe for this Eight-Treasure Tea, better known as Ba Bao Cha, and tons of people willing to sell it to you premixed out of ingredients of unverifiable origin. Therefore, I was even more pleased to find this most awesome link, which has a non-caffeinated recipe for Ba Bao Cha. Yay! Just what this Mormon wanted. Bless you Auntie Helen, and nice niece Virginia! Bless you for giving it to the world for free and for the happiness and lifting of human misery that you spread by your generosity.

[My Auntie’s] ba bao cha only has seven ingredients, and no tea. Determining quantities of each ingredient is something of an art. When you look at the mixture you should be able to see each component, but no one item should dominate. A good ba bao cha is all about balance. Flavor is important too, and quantities can be tweaked to improve taste.

I start craving ba bao cha when my system needs a boost or I simply want a warm, soothing, and nutritious non-caffeinated beverage. Now I blend my own, aiming to duplicate A Yi’s mix, with fresh ingredients from a Chinese market. You can also order ingredients online. It’s possible to buy premixed ba bao cha, but none of the ones I’ve seen look as fresh or potent as A Yi’s.

Once you have your mix, I like to prepare it in a gaiwan. Fill it about one-third full with the dry ingredients, add near-boiling water, and steep a couple of minutes. Continue re-steeping as long as there’s good flavor (increase steeping times accordingly).

Here are the ingredients (all dried) in A Yi’s ba bao cha. If you try your hand feel free to experiment!

  • Chrysanthemum
  • Rosebuds
  • Long yan (sometimes called longan in English—dragon eye fruit. Get the peeled, pitted variety)
  • Go ji (sometimes called wolfberries in English)
  • Hong zao (Chinese red dates—get the pitted variety if possible)
  • Chen pi (dried tangerine peel—break it up into fingernail-sized pieces)
  • Chinese rock sugar (comes in large, tawny rocks that you’ll need to break into small chunks)

NingXia Red, you can take a hike.  I’ll hunker down here with the plebeians and take my Wolfberries the way centuries of traditional herbal wisdom has shown me to take it: with simple living, exercise, plenty of pure water, and a well-rounded fruit-and-vegetable-centric diet.