Winter Favourites

Tea

Winter Loves!

IN THIS ISSUE:

  • Favourites in East and West language – Tea!
  • Upcoming New Year
  • Clinic news

Happy Winter! Whether you love the snow or not, winter is here. In the Chinese calendar, Winter began on November 7th this year – makes sense doesn’t it? We had the start of the cold trend in November.  The Winter Solstice, is the height of the cold and winter, not the start of winter in the Chinese calendar. Either way, there is no denying the beauty of the snow.

We continue on our series focusing on My Favourite Things and Why from the East and West perspective.  This month, I’d like to tell you about how much I love tea!  

The perfect drink, not just in winter, but year round in my opinion is tea.  Let me tell you why from East and West health perspectives.  The Chinese and many Eastern cultures, have enjoyed tea since 200 CE when the tea plant Camellia sinensis was first found.  The earliest use of tea in Chinese culture appears to be as medicine, and became widely drunk for pleasure. The medicinal benefits from the Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) perspective are numerous. Western medicine has recently also discovered tea benefits with contents such as alkaloids, anti-oxidants and more.   If there is one thing I’d like you to remember about tea, it is digestion and cardiovascular health!  Let’s break it down:

All 3 types of tea:

  • EAST: Cleansing and clears toxins – in TCM we call this accumulation of toxins or ‘waste’ dampness and if also inflammatory, damp-heat or damp-cold.  This ‘waste’ or dampness, over time or stagnation, can transform to be more coagulant, and become ‘internal/invisible phlegm’, which looks like things like fat, cysts, and cholesterol.  Tea clears dampness, damp-heat and damp-cold. This is a big reason why tea is consumed at meals, because it helps break down the fats and grease of the foods, and ease/aid the digestive process.
  • WEST:  Contains alkaloids which when combined with fat, reduce the absorption of fat. Contains anti-oxidants, which reduce overall inflammation and cellular degradation and hence protective against cancer.  Contains flavonoids which have been found to have good evidence in reducing cardiovascular events.  In a recent long-term, peer-reviewed study of over 6,500 multi-ethnic individuals, moderate tea drinking was found to slow the progression of coronary artery calcium and reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, versus coffee that had a neutral effect (Miller 2016).

Green (& white) tea:

  • EAST: Least oxidized, as a result, the tea keeps most of its original chemical constituents of the fresh leaves, typically contains the most caffeine of the 3 types of tea. In TCM, green tea is cool in nature (has a cooling effect on the body), so it helps reduce ‘heat’ in the body, such as inflammation. Green Tea is generally more cleansing than black tea.
  • WEST: In addition to what has been mentioned above, green tea contains the amino acid l-theanine has several studies have shown the l-theanine derived from green tea, is useful for stress reduction, improving subjective alertness, and cognitive function such as with ADHD, to name a few (Giesbrecht 1999). L-theanine promotes relaxation and reduces caffeine edginess due to its role on the GABA functioning of the brain).  Green tea contains more anti-oxidants than oolong and black tea. A six year study of 14,000 elderly residents in Japan found those who consumed more than 7 cups of green tea a day, had a 55% reduced all-cause mortality and 75% reduced CV disease mortality compared to those who drank less than 1 cup per day (Suzuki 2009).

Oolong & Black (known as Red tea in China) tea:

  • EAST: Half to fully oxidized respectively, tend to be more tonifying and help strengthen the digestive process. Is warm (has a warm effect on the body), so helps warm our digestive fire better than green tea.
  • WEST:  Not as much studies have been done simply due to less researchers choosing to study oolong or black tea, and not due to any lack of health benefits.  The fermentation process is thought to have an effect on the ability to aid digestion with the microbiomes generated from fermentation, in particular with Pu-Er tea. Pu-Er is considered the only truly ‘fermented’ tea. Many studies have shown drinking tea regularly can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, Alzheimer’s, dementia, reduce breast cancer, promote healthy bones and teeth, and more.  These extraordinary benefits are thought to derive from the anti-oxidant catechins tea contains, principally gallocatechin (GC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin (EC) and epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC).

A mention about caffeine. Although tea contains more caffeine per dried weight than coffee, much smaller quantities are required in brewing, therefore you end up consuming much less caffeine.  One cup of percolated coffee typically contains 100 mg or more of caffeine.  A cup of black tea will contain about 33 mg of caffeine.

Some people fear than because of the diuretic effect of caffeine, tea drinking can lead to dehydration.  However a number of studies have indicated this is not the case and only likely to do this in caffeine-naive individuals or in doses of at least 360mg at a time.

So while you having the joys and delicacies of the holiday food delights, drink up a cup of tea to cap off your meal, or simmer and sip throughout the day.  Ate too much?  Digestion feeling stuck? Grab a cup of tea to help move that stagnation.  I personally love and drink tea daily, all day long during my work week.  It has become a personal peaceful ritual as I inhale aroma and taste a delicious cup of tea.

Look for our Annual Lunar New Year celebration in early February.  We are excited to celebrate you, our patients, and the Lunar New Year, in our new clinic, and look to try out our Acupuncture Happy Hour!

Need a little more help to get you through the holidays?  Did you know that as a patient of Red Tree Wellness Inc., your consent on file allows you to see any of our practitioners at the clinic?  So if you can’t get in with your usual practitioner, you have the flexibility of booking with someone else, so you don’t have to wait to long to get in.

Did you also know you can add yourself to a practitioners Wait List? After you sign in, look for the option “Add to Waitlist” on the bottom of the calendar on the right.  Feel better sooner!

Lastly, we will be offering Naturopathic medicine services this Spring and have hired an exceptional Naturopath to our clinic!  Dr. Katherine Chung is currently finishing her residency and is aiming to begin May of 2017.  However, if you can’t wait, look to our Lunar New Year celebration and other public seminars we’ll be offering to help answer your questions you may have on the ‘green allopathic’ approach. We look forward to offering you additional natural and holistic health services, and also provide a place of collaborative health!

We hope you have a lovely holiday season!  Seasons Greetings!

Yours in good health and happiness,

Sonia & the Red Tree Wellness team

 

References:

  1. Miller, P.E., Zhao, D., Frazier-Wood, A.C., et al. Associations between coffee, tea, and caffeine intake with coronary artery calcification and cardiovascular events. Am J Med 2016; DOI:10.1016/j.amjmed.2016.08.038.  http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(16)30925-1/abstract
  2. Giesbrecht, T., Rycroft, J.A., Rowson, M.J., DeBruin, E.A., (2010) The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness. Nutritional Neurosciences, 13(6): 283-290.
  3. Suzuki, E., Yorifuji, T., Takao, S., et al. Green tea consumption and mortality among Japanese elderly people: the prospective Shizoka elderly cohort. Ann Epidemiol. 2009; Oct 19(10): 732-9.
  4. Deadman, P., In Praise of Tea. Journal of Chinese Medicine 2011; Oct 97: 14-18.
  5. Other tea health research: https://www.journalofchinesemedicine.com/news/the-journal/tea-health-research/
Sonia Tan

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