Tea and Chinese Herbal Medicine

by Boris
(Zagreb, Croatia)

Julian, could you write something about the effect of tea according to Tradtional Chinese Medicine, especially with regards to the different types of teas.


Boris, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine, tea is cold in nature. This, however, refers primarily to tea in its original form or most unprocessed form i.e. green tea.

Different types of tea will have different characteristics according to how it is made.

White tea will be the most cold or ying, because the making process does not uses a lot of heat. Instead, leaves are left to mature at room temeperature to allow chemical changes to take place.

For oolong and black tea, the more roasted the tea is, the warmer or yang the tea becomes.

It is said that consuming too much roasted tea will result in too much fire, that may be bad for the body.

I am not entirely about that, but by leaving the tea leaves to age, it will result in less fire. Therefore it is said aged tea leaves are more neutral and medicinal.

So from here, you can deduced why some people say Pu-er tea has also cold or ying, as it is less roasted and has been left to age.

Now the subject of duality - ying and yang, female and male, water and fire - is totally relative and should not be properly understood in context.

Which type of tea you drink will depend first and foremost on what you like at the moment, and also other factors such as

- Body Types

If you are fiery, full of energy and prone to getting angry easily, green tea may help cool you down.

Conversely, if you feel cold easily, get tired easily, then a roasted oolong helps may impart some fire.

- Seasonality

I would advice drinking white tea for the summer, green tea for spring, and roasted oolong and black tea for the winter.

- Diet

However, the above should be taken into context with you consumption habits.

Generally speaking, if you eats lots of raw salads and vegetables, then a roasted oolong with some fire will be complementary.

But if you eat lots of highly processed food, stir-fry, deep fried or junk food in general, a white tea or green tea will almost certainly help.

- Lifestyle

Same for lifestyle.

If you are too active, cooling tea will be good.

If you are lethargic, warming tea will be good.

Basically feel free to change your tea on a day to day basis, bearing the above principles in mind.

I hope this helps.


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