Digestive Herbal Teas
- February 10, 2015
- Natalie Chiko
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An increasing awareness is emerging about gut health and it’s integrity being essential for our overall wellbeing and health. Prebiotics, probiotics, fermented and cultured foods are all being promoted by nutritionists and health foodies alike as an important part of being on the path to optimum health. A great thing to realise is that simply drinking certain teas can also contribute to good gut health.
Teresa Cutter (The Healthy Chef) a well known recipe developer and health writer, in her newest publication “Perfect Digestive Health” dedicates a section to digestive herbal teas. She points out which teas are best for aiding digestive health and on her list are the herbs which are favourites of mine that I used to formulate two of the wellness blends in The Tea Cake Company’s Herbal Tea collection;
1. Detox Your Day
2.Happiness is Good Digestion.
The Yin & Yang of Tea
My herbal medicine training is in Chinese Herbal Medicine so my ideas and philosophy about health and wellbeing are heavily influenced by this. In Chinese medicine there is the fundamental understanding of the polar opposites yin and yang. Yin and Yang are intertwined, mutually dependant and in a dynamic balance, and all things in the material universe fall into this division. Basically all things in existence are to some degree yin or yang or transforming from one to the other. A seemingly simple concept with profound application and has kept many a wise sage contemplating over the millennia.
So herbal teas can either be yin or yang in nature. Let’s look at one of the basic divisions, yin equals cool and yang equals warm. Cooling herbs according to Chinese medicine are cleansing in action and warming herbs are tonics. So for instance if a person has a sluggish liver, in Chinese medicine we describe this as having heat and congestion in the liver organ system, so naturally the remedy for such a condition is to move the energy of the liver and reduce heat with something cooling. Yin herbs from natures pharmacy that have a cooling and cleansing action are dandelion and peppermint.
Detox Your Day
Detox Your Day herbal tea blend features dandelion leaf and peppermint as it’s main ingredients which are on Teresa. Cutters list of digestive health teas. This blend has a gentle cleansing action and is balanced by the warming tonic herb ginger.
Why is warmth essential for good digestion?
In Chinese Medicine the stomach is viewed as a receptacle for food which “rots and ripens” what you eat, ready for the small intestine to separate the “pure from the turbid.” The “pure” which I like to think of as nutrients being transformed into “essence” (pancreatic enzymes) by the spleen and the large intestine taking the waste and absorbing the fluid content and expelling it out of the body. Now anyone who has done some garden composting knows that nothing will break down in that compost heap if there is not some heat. The heat is required to set of the action of the micro organisms that “rot and ripen” and transform kitchen scraps and garden waste into beautiful rich composted soil. This same principle applies to our digestive system without warmth there is no transformation of our food to nutrients.
Happiness is Good Digestion
Fennel and ginger are both warm herbs that are excellent at promoting good digestion. Since our digestive systems are the pivot of good health I always add warm herbs like these into my blends even the detoxing blend Detox Your Day. If your detox regime is too cooling then you are at risk of putting out your digestive fire, just like a compost pile that is too cold becomes smelly sludge.
How To Use Our Digestive Blends
1. Brew up a cup of Detox Your Day and allow to cool, then add to your favourite fruit or vegetable juice.
2. Accompany your meal with a warm pot of Happiness Is Good Digestion tea.
3. Brew up a warm cup of Detox Your Day and enjoy it when your feeling sluggish in the morning or fatigued in the afternoon around 3 pm which is the time when the energy of the liver is active according to Chinese Medicine.
4. Brew Detox Your Day or Happiness is Good Digestion and allow to cool add to your water bottle when at out and about.