Winter tips: Learn about living in harmony with the Water element.


  • Winter health tip – Chai! A Kidney Yang warming tonic
  • Did You Know
  • Clinic news


It’s not just that deep chill that reminds us Winter is here, but also the change in light, and that urge to cozy up hibernate. That’s natural law.  In Chinese Medicine, we encourage more sleep, warm and slow cooked food at this time of year – don’t push too hard.  Winter and the Water element are the time to nourish and generate, not expend.  The more you can follow natural law with your own body, the better your health.  More on Winter and Water tips further in newsletter with Dr. Samantha Jennings.

This is also the time of year where I personally begin to reflect on the year past, and the year ahead.  What did I accomplish, and what would I like to do to contribute to the world?  It’s not an easy task, but  I can tell you I take it seriously.   I write and reflect, I consult my own Chinese Astrology full birth chart, and I explore, learn, and most of all, take leaps.  I’m striving to make this a great life, which also means a great life for you, our patients.  We have some things planned in the upcoming year to help guide your pathway to health, but do please let us know your topics of interest.  We strive to continually improve how we can help optimize your health.

It’s time now for Dr. Samantha Jennings’ inspiration on health tips for the Winter season!

By Samantha Jennings, Dr. TCM, R.Ac.

Welcome to the season of Winter and the Water Element.  “It’s cold out there!” A favourite beverage in winter time is Chai tea, known for its warm, stimulating effects. Traditional in Ayurveda, the indigenous medicine of India, Chai has many components that are familiar to us in Chinese Medicine. Whether you’re buying a commercial tea or making your own, Chai will warm you and provide a great “tonic” for your Kidney energy.   

Chai tea is a mixture of many compounds acting and reacting together to create harmony.  As with soup, the ingredients, when simmered in water, enhance the flavours of each other before coming together to form one wholesome beverage.

Traditional ingredients include black tea, cinnamon, clove buds, green cardamon pods, black peppercorns and ginger. It is served with milk and sweetened with honey. The cinnamon, cloves, and cardamon all have expansive, drying, warming qualities and all improve digestion. All the spices identified as being pungent have the action of promoting circulation of Qi (energy) and increasing metabolic rate, and so can be used in a weight loss program. A person with Heat signs (let’s say you just feel too hot), should probably avoid Chai and go for a more cooling beverage, such as peppermint, spearmint or chamomile.

Black tea is an excellent source for anti-oxidants, with science showing that it may protect HDL (good) cholesterol, helping to prevent cardiovascular disease as well as promoting general good health and well being. Black tea also has anti-viral properties and may prevent cancer.

Cinnamon has wonderful digestive properties, calming the stomach, and may also help balance blood sugar. Research shows that it has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial antioxidant effect.  Pungent and sweet it boosts the immune system, reduces chronic inflammation, stabilizes blood sugar and strengthens the heart.

Clove warms the kidneys and the body and is revered for the ability to kindle the digestive fire, supporting digestion. It also has pain-relieving analgesic properties as well as being antibacterial.

Green Cardamon pods are found in virtually every Tibetan medicine formula, aiding digestion and supporting the immune system. Cardamon helps detoxify the body, improves circulation and may also fight respiratory allergies. Its pungent and sweet flavour supports digestive fire (metabolism) and activates peristalsis in the gut as well as being soothing. On the mental level it is said to bring clarity and focus to our thoughts and in Ayurveda is known as a cardiac tonic.

Black Peppercorns also warm the Kidneys and stimulates a warm flow of energy throughout the body.  Being pungent, antibacterial and antioxidant, it benefits the lungs and helps protect the body against viral infections causing colds and flu. It is known to stimulate our taste buds and thus stimulate metabolism and the breakdown of existing fat cells as well as preventing fat accumulation. Yogis consider black peppercorns to be one of nature’s most perfect foods and useful to not only cure disease but also as a preventative.

Ginger aids digestion, improves blood circulation, boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation, which can be especially helpful for people suffering from arthritis. It offers antioxidant support, and some research has also shown that ginger can help fight cancer cells.

While many people are avoiding cow’s milk, here it is an important ingredient as cow’s milk will bind with the tannins in the black tea so it can be excreted from the body. The milk softens the flavour of the many potent herbs. If you’re going to use milk, then I suggest you use organic and preferably from grass-fed cows. When cows are fed a natural, organic diet, raised without drugs or antibiotics, and have access to grasses their milk is quite healthy and delicious to drink.

Ah and now the sweetness of honey, sometimes referred to as the “Perfection of Sweetness”, balances the spices. Used for centuries for medicine, honey is said to neutralize toxins, nourishes the lungs and moistens the intestines as well as relieving pain.

Enjoy this healthy beverage and stay warm this winter.

~ Dr. Samantha Jennings, Dr.TCM, R.Ac.


Did you know…

  • We have a new homeopathic product to help stop snoring! (And yes our sources have said it works) Ask about it next time you are in!
  • We have re-stocked on our favourite cold and flu remedy! This combines immune boosters with anti-virals and is a formulation that has been used since 500 A.D.. Ask about these ‘Dragon Herbs’ next time you are in.
  • We are open Saturdays! Dr. Katherine P.S. Chung can see you for your Acupuncture and Naturopathic medicine needs.

Lastly, you will see a new smiling face next time you are in as we wish Rosalind good luck as she leave us to take care of family matters, and warmly welcome Nuala Twigg as our new Clinic Coordinator!


We wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!

Yours in good health and happiness,

Dr. Sonia F. Tan, DAOM and the Red Tree Wellness team



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