Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Is tea a medicine?

This article continues the conversation I started in this Sunday's class about 'Good tea and a healthy life #7'. (Watch above if you've missed it or read the article directly if you prefer).

Here's a quote A from a paper published in the National Library of Medicine, an official website from the US government: "Overall, green tea has been found to be effective to reduce the risks of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, liver cancer, colorectal cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer, oral cancer, etc"

Quote B comes from the Cancer Council (in Australia) : "There is no clear evidence that green tea can help to cure cancer."

So, is tea a medicine?

It all depends which kind of medicine you have in mind! If you reason in terms of Western medicine, which is about curing illnesses, than tea isn't medicine (see quote B). However, if you consider medicine from a traditional Chinese or holistic approach as a way to maintain a healthy body in order to prevent diseases, than tea is a medicine (see quote A). 
Green tea harvest in San Hsia

This helps us better understand what tea does and how it can help. And while many benefits of tea are for the long term, this doesn't mean that all teas have the same short term effects. A green tea is particularly thirst quenching and refreshing. A high mountain Oolong is cooling and brings energy. Fully oxidized tea are warming and go well with sweets. Roasted Oolongs have intense flavors that open the appetite and go well with many meats. Shu puerh is very soothing and goes well in fall and on an empty stomach. A young sheng puerh, on the other hand, is powerful and goes well with cheese and certain seafood... 

This is a very rough overview of how tea can should be chosen according to your body's status, which is subject to the time of the day, the season, your energy level, the food you want to match... So, even if you are drinking tea without pairing it with food, you are still trying to pair it with your mood, with what your body tells you is now the most suitable tea! So, in a sense, if you are drinking tea seriously and pay close attention to the leaves you are brewing, how they taste, how they impact your throat, your stomach, your hands.. you are already using tea in a way that brings comfort to your body!

So, one of the idea behind the tea pairing is to build on this habit of finding tea that resonate not just with how we feel, but also with the food we eat. This helps us to pay more attention to both the tea and the food we take in and how they affect our well-being. Good tea can help us make healthy food more palatable, especially if we are able to find a good pairing. The other benefit is that while we are drinking good tea, we are not drinking soda, sweet juices or alcohol! 

But, the same way that tea needs to be brewed well in order to taste good, a good tea and food pairing is what will enhance your pleasure (instead of reducing it). Finding the right pairings takes experience and knowledge (about food and tea, obviously!) That's why I do these weekly classes!

Note: the Spring 2024 BiLuoChun from San Hsia is available and amazing! Also check the latest promotions and discounts on tea-masters.com! Replenish your stock now!

No comments: