This wild vine, related to mistletoe, grows in a symbiotic relationship with tea trees throughout Yunnan, China. It is often used by tea lovers as an additive to Sheng Puerh to bring out aged qualities in the tea and also to balance the astringency, tartness or sour notes found in some mid-aged Puerhs. The vine has a pleasant, soft, smoky herbaceousness that seems to open the tea and yield a deeper quality to the broth. We also find this "herb" very nice on its own. In Chinese medicine, Crab's Feet or Crab's Claw supports lung and large intestine function, treating chronic coughs and digestive issues. Twigs resemble limbs and are often used to open the meridians and dispel dampness from the joints, thus alleviating joint- related pain such as arthritis. Also, vines are often used as blood movers to break up blood stagnation and pain associated with trauma or injury. Therefore, this herb should NOT be used by pregnant women.
We suggest trying a pinch of 3-5 twigs per tea session, either added at the beginning or later, to bring out the aged quality in later steepings.