The Chinese started immigrating to the United States in 1849. They left China in search of a better life. Life in China in the 1800’s was very hard. There wasn’t enough food, money and the cities were overpopulated. They heard about the United States and believed there was an opportunity to start over again. They hoped to find jobs on the railroad or to strike gold. When they arrived in the United States, life was difficult. Laws were made which discriminated against them. However, eventually they became a respected part of our society. They are responsible for many contributions which are part of American life today. This essay will describe three of these contributions: two products, ginseng and tea, and one method of medicine, acupuncture.
Ginseng is a perennial herb grown in China and other Asian countries. It is also grown in North American, but the Asian variety is thought to be more valuable. There are many legends and superstitions surrounding ginseng. The Chinese have long believed that the ginseng is a cure for many aliments and can even make one live longer. However, Western researchers are have been unable to prove this. Today, many manufacturers add ginseng to such products as hair tonics, shampoos, skin creams and even soft drinks. Also ginseng can be bought over the counter in drug stores under such names as “Ginkoba” and “Ginsana”. “Ginkoba” is supposed to increase mental alertness. “Ginsana” is supposed to increase physical energy.
Tea was first used during the reign of Emperor Shen Nung in about 2737 B.C. This was a very long time ago. It is thought that tea was first cultivated in China. Then the China tea plant was taken to Japan in about 800A.D. In Japan, tea was used for medical purposes. When green tea was developed in Chine, tea became a popular beverage. Tea was introduced into England in about 1660. It was a gift from the British East India Tea Company. The Company became a monopoly. It controlled the trade of tea from China and from India. Soon, tea was introduced to the rest of Europe and became a very popular beverage. Tea is made from young leaves and leaf buds of a type of evergreen plant known as Camellia sinensis. The name really means Chinese camellia. The name is because there are so many different types of teas. A Chinese writer said there were “a thousand and ten teas”. Tea is considered black, green or oolong. Most of the international trade today is in black tea. Today, tea is drunk all over the world, including the United States. Tea is produced in about 30 countries, but China is still the largest exporter of tea.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical technique used to relieve pain, cure disease and improve general health. This medical technique consists of inserting hair-thin needles through particular spots of the skin. These spots are called neuroreceptors. The points are then stimulated by twirling, by heat or by use of a weak electrical current. Acupuncture has been practiced in China for over 4,000 years. It was practiced by the Chinese immigrant doctors who first came to the United States. However, it was only in 1972 that acupuncture received publicity. This happened when a newspaper correspondent who was with Nixon his trip to China had to have an emergency appendectomy. The correspondent got pain relief through acupuncture. Since that time, many American physicians and dentists have been trained to use acupuncture and learned about its benefits. The Chinese, like many immigrant groups, suffered difficult beginnings in their new life in the United States. However, many of them eventually succeeded in making a better life for themselves and their families. In addition, the Chinese are responsible for important and lasting contributions to American life. This essay describes three of these contributions. They are ginseng, tea and acupuncture.