Using the Five Elements of Tea for Health

Using the Five Elements of Tea for Health

Tea is more and more drank for it’s health related purposes. One of the things I have realized during my time in China is that the way people drink tea for health in the US is often times very different than the reasons why the Chinese drink tea for health benefits. In order to understand how the Chinese view tea in relation to health we must understand how they see tea in relation to medicine. One of the foundational theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine is the Wu Xing or Five Element Theory.According to the Five Element Theory each element is related to an internal organ, the time of day, season, temperature, sound, taste, direction and sense (see the table below). According to the Chinese each tea has a temperature. For example, green tea is related to the Wood element. Wood is related to the liver, the gallbladder a sour flavor, the color green, the season of the Spring. This might sound confusing as you might ask how does sour apply to green tea?

How do you use the Five Elements of tea for healing?

Green tea is not a sour taste, but if you have a sour taste in your mouth green tea will turn this to a slightly bitter. Green tea tends to be more on the bitter side of tea tastes. If you drink too much green tea without balance it can disrupt your Earth element which is related to the digestive system. This is why many Chinese preach not to drink green tea if you have digestive troubles. Instead drink more fermented puer tea which is related to the Earth element. The Chinese commonly drink fermented puers to ease and soothe digestion. Just go to any dim sum in Guangdong and you will see most people drinking fermented puer with their meal.

Black tea is actually translated in Chinese as hong cha which literally means red tea. Red is also under the Fire element which is exactly where black tea belongs.

I have grouped most of our teas at Wild Tea Qi according to their element on our website(also see below). I have been researching the subject of teas and the Five Elements for the past 7 years and have discovered a lot of differing opinions on the subject. I have consulted with Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors, Qigong masters, I Ching masters as well as extensive research in books and on the web. I have seen people place different teas to different elements creating some confusion. My own conclusion is based on the actual Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors and Qigong masters who also do the tea business that I know, along with my own study of Chinese Medicine.

(Image From Tea Book – The Wild Truth of Tea)

My recommendation of teas according to the Elements:

Wood- Ancient Artisan Bi Luo Chun Tea which is associated with birth, new beginnings, and healing for your heart (Wood create Fire, Heart belongs to fire element). I recommend drinking this in the Spring through early summer.

Fire-Ancient Artisan Yunnan Black which will get your heart pumping and your juices flowing. This is a great winter drink as it will warm your body and burn the cold right out of you and healing for your Stomach and spleen ( Fire create earth, Stomach, and Spleen belongs to earth element).

Earth-Ancient Phoenix Fermented Puer Tea it will improve your digestion leaving you with a feeling of centeredness, also it will healing for  your lung (Earth create metal, Lung belong to metal element), speak specific, earth tea is actually suitable for drinking in the whole year, as it will center, ground and root your energy with the calming energy of the earth.

Metal-Wild Gynostemma and Wild Schizandra is really good for your skin and hair and chops right Metal is cleansing and this herbal is renowned in China for its many cleansing benefits. And it’s healing your Kidney (Metal create water, Kidney belongs to Water element) Although Metal is recommended in the fall, I personally recommend this as a summertime drink as it is cooling and refreshing too.

WaterAncient Moonlight White as the water element is associated with the colors black, blue and purple. It also can be cleansing for the Liver, which is the Yang organ associated with Water (Water create Wood, Liver belong to Wood element).

You can also get our 5 elements Tea to heal different organs

This subject only gets deeper as there is also a destructive and creative cycle for each element, if you would interested in to get more details how to drink tea based on 5 elements, Yin Yang and 4 seasons theory, you check our tea book The Wild Truth of Tea to dig in more.

So, what are your thoughts, experiences, discoveries and or research brought you on using tea for healing with the Five Elements?

In Good Tea,

JT Hunter




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