The new trend has emerged in the last few weeks with growing numbers of internet users sharing pictures of their versions of what they are calling an “iced Chineseno”. The drink is made by mixing a small bottle of a Chinese herbal liquid named Huo Xiang Zheng Qi Shui with water and ice cubes. Others have been pouring Huo Xiang Zheng Qi Shui straight into a cup of ready-made iced Americano, in the belief it will have the dual effect of “cooling both the head and body”.
This drink, hailed by fans for combining Chinese and Western culture, was created in response to China’s ongoing heatwave.
However, the brown liquid which is bitter tasting and pungent is mostly known as a treatment for heatstroke. Sold cheaply over the counter, it can be found in almost every Chinese household.
Some are taking the drink further and blending it with another TCM product called Xiao Chai Hu.
Jin Hui, a doctor from Zhongda Hospital affiliated with Southeast University in Nanjing of Jiangsu, eastern China, said it’s not safe to drink Huo Xiang Zheng Qi Shui as an everyday drink.
“Firstly, this drug’s label warns people not to drink it with cold food. So it’s not in line with the instructions to mix it with iced water,” Jin told Jiangsu TV. “Secondly, they also should not regard this medicine as a health enhancement product, as we don’t advise the public to have this drug when they want to prevent themselves from having heatstroke,” she said.
“It’s quite likely that internet users will have an excessive amount of this drug. It’s risky and they could experience side-effects.”