Health Benefits of Tea in Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) literature states that finding a balance between the body’s needs and the different qualities of food and medicine is key to optimal health. Food and medicine is viewed as having deliberate and distinct effects on the body and organ systems - ranging from warming, cooling, moistening, or drying, to name a few. According to TCM, food and beverage choices should be made to balance your body’s specific state and constitution.
Choosing a tea to warm or cool your body
Low oxidation teas (such as a green tea or lightly oxidized oolongs) have a cooling character, therefore are more fitting for warm body types (often signified by inflammation). They are also abundant in vitamins and minerals due to minimal processing, but note that the higher level of unprocessed phytochemicals may cause digestive irritation in those with a sensitive stomach.
Highly oxidized oolongs and roasted teas have the highest concentration of digestible polyphenols and support fat metabolism in the body. They are not particularly warming or cooling, therefore are a neutral choice that may suit the most people.
Black tea warms the body by stimulating blood flow, therefore is a fitting choice for cooler body types. This genre of tea is also less irritating for the stomach and may be a good choice for those with sensitive digestive tracts.
Drinking tea by season
Greener style oolongs (Baozhong: Expert’s Pick, high elevation such as Valley of Dragon and Phoenix, #2028) that yield a golden or pale green infusion are the most fitting for Spring. This family of teas brightens the spirit as activities increase with the rise in temperature.
Green tea (Green Sanctuary: Vert, Oriental Green) is a cooling tea that offers relief from heat on hot summer days. Higher levels of protein and caffeine content in the tea leaves of green tea (from high bud content) also provides vibrancy and energy for summer activities.
Higher oxidized oolongs (Oriental Beauty, Ruby Brew) with amber-colored infusions are fitting for the Fall season. They are fuller in flavor and body, which provides warmth as temperature lowers. Roasted teas (Frozen Summit, Green Sanctuary: Roast) are also lower in caffeine, which slows down the pace from the summer season with ease.
Black teas (Jade Rouge, Blossom Dearie) or heavily roasted oolongs (Iron Goddess, Frozen Summit ‘11 Vintage) are warming in Chinese Medicine and improve circulation in our body. The darker infusions and full-bodied aroma further enhance the heating characteristic, providing comfort for our spirit during the cold climate.