This week the Northeast coast has been hit by a snow blizzard, and of course — many of us reached for something warm. Something hot. Tea! Granted, most of us tea heads drink tea all year round, no matter the outside temperature. Although undoubtedly, there's something exceptionally satisfying about warming yourself up with some hot tea while the weather is chilly.
When the weather gets colder and colder, it's also good to know which teas will heat you up from the inside out. Which teas will increase your internal qi, your inner fire. All according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. We've already discussed which teas, although hot, will cool you down in the summertime. So let's take a look at which loose leaf teas are best to reach for when you want to get really warmed up.
Let's Recap. What's Traditional Chinese Medicine?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has existed in China for over 2500 years. It combines drinking various herbs and teas, acupuncture, massage, and exercise like qi gong. Instead of quick cures and medications that we are used to in the west, Chinese medicine targets the origin of the disease in the body and implements a long holistic method of healing.
An essential part of Chinese medicine is qi (energy) and the heating (yang) and cooling (yin) properties of foods and drinks.
Yin — cold energy. You may get cold easily, feel weak, and prone to colds.
Yang — hot energy. You may feel hot, sweaty, have dry skin, and easily irritable.
Qi is your vital life force or energy. If your body has too much yin or yang, it can drain your qi and create health problems. Traditional Chinese Medicine practice strives to balance both energies within your body to create harmony and good health.
Everyone's body is different. Even during the colder seasons, your body still might have an abundance of yang, hot energy. Pay close attention to how your body feels if you want to create a balance in your body and drink suitable teas. However, naturally, most people will have an increase of yin energy during the wintertime, as it's a cold, damp, and dark time of year.
Which Teas Have Heating Properties According to Traditional Chinese Medicine?
The heating properties of a specific tea will be closely related to the amount of oxidation the tea leaves underwent.
The more oxidized a tea is — the more it is a heating tea. An easy rule of thumb is that these teas are generally darker and often undergo roasting.
Dark Oolong Teas — the more oxidized the oolong tea is, the higher the heating properties. Dark oolong teas are exceptionally roasty, and many have a pronounced mineral taste. Perfect for increasing our internal heat.
Black Teas — these teas are fully oxidized and possess strong heating qualities. Many black teas are robust and toasty, although some are light and floral.
Warming Herbs and Tisanes
Some heat increasing herbs include ginger, turmeric, ginseng, cinnamon, jujube, burdock root, and spearmint. These tisanes can be enjoyed on their own, or the roots and herbs can be added to any camellia sinensis tea to further increase the warming properties. For example, our Ginseng Oolong tea is absolutely great at increasing internal heat as well as energy!