|Common Name||Yellowroot, Pineflower, Gingerroot|
|Common Use||Culinary, Medicinal|
|Origins||The Fast East|
Kian is a plant that sees widespread use in the lands of The Far East, both as a medicinal item as well as an indispensable culinary good. It remains one of the most commonly traded goods found aboard merchant ships departing from Dexai due to how long it takes to perish. Outside of Sihai Culture, Kian is known mostly as an exotic medicinal plant, used as an Alchemy ingredient to alleviate various common ailments.
Sihai scholars have concluded that Kian was first cultivated somewhere in the Ancient Kingdoms Period for its medicinal applications. It was commonly brewed or ground into herbal teas and used to remedy ailments ranging from digestion issues to poisoning. As a cooking ingredient, it was sparsely used due to its early limited cultivation and monopolization in the field of medicine. The insularity of the early Sihai people ultimately prevented its spread from southern and western lands on Sheng. Soon after the formation of the Sheng Empire which ended the Kingdoms Period, Kian was exported to lands beyond its homeland as tribute demands and new trade links flourished. The Imperial Court soon noticed the humble root and boosted its popularity further, leading to new uses for the root, making it into a spice, consuming it as an appetizer when pickled and soaked, or even as unique candies. This increase in popularity began the cultivation of the root throughout all of Sheng and was also brought with the Sihai in their settlement of Zhong. It was only with the Altalar that Kian began to reach wider Aloria, and this has only increased since the Cataclysm and the modern Eastern Craze. More commonly known as “Yellowroot” in Regalian marketplaces and Sihai restaurants as an exotic spice and cure-all medicine, Kian is now a growing staple in many urban, wealthy areas of the world.
Kian is a thick plant with knobby rhizomes and tuberous sections capable of reaching a foot long in the soil, growing to be as thick as one’s fist. Thick roots grow from these rhizomes and anchor the plant to the ground with each section able to send up a new shoot that grows into another stem. The root’s skin is a rough pale brown or yellow, with clear lines and other marks of its growth, but once it has been cut into, it has a pale yellow hue, sometimes approaching a golden tone. Above ground, the plant is simple and grass-like, with a thin stem reaching up to about three feet, with thin, unremarkable leaves that fan out sideways, creating the image of a wide but flat plant. The Kian blossoms with a tight cluster of small white flowers at the top of its stem.
Uses and Abilities
Kian roots are the primary component for most of its applications. In its mature form, it can be used in soups and stews, or steeped in hot water to make a variety of herbal teas to provide a special tang. It is also often used to flavor oil in stir-fried dishes and is known for its sharp flavor. Most non-Sihai cooks often disparage the use of the root in cooking, but this is because the sometimes intense flavor from the plant can take time to become accustomed to in cooking. Though few are repulsed by its sharp flavor, only talented cooks are able to forge their own dishes containing Kian outside of the cultural recipes that have been tried and true for generations in The Far East. The leaves of the Kian can also be used in cuisine, as in the northern regions of Zhong, they are usually chopped up and added to vegetable dishes.
Then there are its direct medicinal uses, which are common household knowledge in The Far East but less well known in wider Aloria. Common remedies involve either chewing on the root or consuming meals that contain the ingredients, such as herbal teas or dishes containing a high volume of the root. In Regalia, it is commonly ground up into small olive-sized pills that come in various shades of orange-brown. The pill is made by grinding Kian roots and other herbs into a fine powder that is combined with water and starches to bind the ingredients together to keep the pills in shape. These are then shaped into round pills and allowed to dry and be flavored. It is usually chewed rather than swallowed whole. The pills are known to calm stomach aches and heartburn. It can also relieve vomiting, bloating, excessive gas, diarrhea, and a host of other digestive problems. The effects begin minutes after consumption and relief can last for hours. The pills are sometimes found in sweet teas and other drinks in eastern restaurants without the expensive herbal ingredients. These pills are referred to as “ginger bubbles” for their coloration and are mostly consumed by those able to afford the services of an alchemist.
- Kian pills have a sweet, earthy flavor with a lot of bitterness. The plant's natural spiciness is also present though less pronounced. Different recipes for the pill create slight variations in taste, though the color remains the same. In fact, this is why the plant is sometimes called “ginger” by Alorians.
- While pills have been the traditional method of application, modern alchemists have experimented with liquid remedies that more strongly concentrate the effects of the root and can be absorbed by the body more easily. This method has not become widespread yet due to traditional medicine makers being very defensive of their practice.