The Tusu wine is made by immersing Chinese herbal medicines like rhubarb and the rhizome of large-headed atractylodes in wine. It can benefit the vital essence and warm yang, disperse cold, and expel epidemic diseases. It is said that every year in the last lunar month, Sun Simiao, a noted physician of the Tang Dynasty, would distribute a pack of medicine to his fellow villagers, and tell them to soak the medicine in wine and drink the wine on New Year’s Eve to prevent plagues. Sun Simiao also named his house “Tusu House”. After generations, it has become a custom to drink the Tusu wine during the Spring Festival.
In ancient times, the way to drink the Tusu wine was quite special. Generally, the elder shall drink first. But when it comes to the Tusu wine, the order is just the opposite. At a family reunion, the youngest drank the Tusu wine first, and the eldest came last. In the past, this unique drinking order always made people sigh with emotions and impressed them deeply. This custom was still popular during the Qing Dynasty. Although it is no longer prevailing in a large scale, people still drink such medicated wines at festivals or in daily life.