Chinese medicine practitioners frequently prescribe herbal teas to their patients for medicinal reasons. There’s a long history of teas for medicinal reasons, and cultures around the world utilize medicinal tea to some extent.
For some patients, though, their first tea experience is with the medicinal tea their doctor prescribes. If this is the case for you, too, don’t worry. Brewing Chinese tea is easy and can be done in minutes.
Brewing Chinese Herbal Tea is Quick and Simple
The point of brewing tea is to get desirable compounds out of the herb or leaf and into the water. At home, the most effective way to do that is by steeping the tea in hot water. Heat breaks down tough plant material and unlocks the valuable nutrients inside. In the case of Chinese herbal tea, that means unlocking the valuable medicinal properties inside the botanical.
To do that, follow these instructions:
- Check the dosing instructions – First, check the bottle your botanical mixture came in. Your practitioner will provide precise dosing instructions along with the herbal blend. In most cases, the prescription will be for a spoonful or two, and medicinal blends come in granules for easy handling. Scoop out the tea and place it in a cup.
- Heat up some water to boil – To thoroughly steep the tea, you’ll need some hot water. A good old-fashioned tea kettle can get this job done, or simply use a pot. Ideally, though, the water will be at a simmer, not a rolling boil before pouring.
- Pour the water over the granules and stir – Once the water reaches a boil, take it off the heat and pour it in the cup with the tea. Give it a stir while it’s still hot, as this helps with dissolving herb solids into the tea.
- Give it some time to cool, and then drink – It’s not necessary to drink your tea right away – it will be just as effective at room temperature. After stirring, allow the tea to cool until it’s comfortable enough to drink. If desired, you can add a little honey for sweetness.
That’s all there is to it. In all, it takes five to 10 minutes to brew the tea, and another several minutes to let it cool.
How Do Herbal Teas Work to Support Health?
Herbal teas have been used as a medicinal support for millennia. It’s no secret that plants contain an abundance of health-improving nutrients and compounds – in fact, western medicine derives a large number of pharmaceutical compounds from them.
These compounds include polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamins, peptides, and many other bioactive substances.
Of course, early Chinese medicine practitioners didn’t know that the herbs they used were packed with polyphenols or antioxidants – they just knew that when their patients took the botanicals, their health improved.
Over the centuries, practitioners tracked the effects their herbal prescriptions had on patients. It was a painstaking trial-and-error process, but one that identified which herbs had medicinal value, and which herbs didn’t. The findings of these early herbal explorers were recorded and incorporated into medical texts that are still referenced today.
The Many Health Benefits of Drinking Chinese Herbal Tea
With centuries to explore and study various herbal blends, Chinese medicine practitioners have discovered an incredible array of medicinal uses for herbal teas. Some of those medicinal benefits include:
- Reduce inflammation – A variety of plant-based compounds are effective in controlling inflammation, and these compounds are found in many Chinese medicinal herbs. While inflammation is a vital immune system response, chronic inflammation can lead to other health issues.
- Combat free radicals – Free radicals are highly reactive atoms that emerge in the body as a result of various chemical reactions. These free radicals are hungry for electrons and will rip them away from atoms as a result. Over time, this process can cause oxidative damage at the cellular level.
Chinese herbal teas contain antioxidants, which donate electrons to free radicals and prevent oxidative damage from affecting cells.
- Help control weight – Some herbal teas – green tea most notable among them – can promote fat burning and boost metabolism. Caffeine and a variety of antioxidants are behind these effects.
- Balance insulin levels – Polyphenols and antioxidants can also promote higher insulin levels, which helps lower blood glucose and the risk of developing diabetes.
- Support better cognitive function – Some studies also show that herbal tea can improve cognitive function – likely a result of the enzymes found in the plant material. In particular, herbal teas have been shown to improve memory function.
- Help with gastrointestinal or gynecological function – A common reason for prescribing herbal therapy is to treat GI or gynecological conditions. This includes diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel, menstrual pain, endometriosis, and menopause symptoms.
- Improve immune system performance – In addition to their antioxidants, Chinese tea also has anti-pathogenic properties that can support the immune system. In fact, Chinese tea’s antibacterial properties are so significant that drinking it can kill off bacteria in the mouth and improve oral health.
- Improve muscle performance during activity – Chinese medicinal tea is rich in catechins, a type of polyphenol (a flavonoid) that also helps with fat burning. This burst of catechins can improve energy availability to muscles during activity and improve performance.
This is not a comprehensive list, as research is always revealing additional applications for Chinese herbal teas.
Why it’s Important to Get Your Herbal Medicinal Teas from a Licensed Practitioner
While Chinese herbs are available at some marketplaces, the safest and more effective way to acquire your herbs is through a Chinese medicine practitioner. Licensed Houston practitioners are trained in the proper formulation and dosing of medicinal herbs, which means they can develop herbal treatment plans with a particular patient in mind. That means the Houston practitioner will consider their patient’s overall health and any existing health conditions.
With a licensed Houston practitioner handling formulation and dosing, all patients have to do is brew and drink and their tea.