In the west most people think that there is no especially good time or season to drink different types of tea – perhaps with the exception of avoiding high caffeine teas in the evening. However in China, teas form an integral part of Chinese traditional medicine and that suggests that there are definite benefits from drinking teas that are appropriate for each season.
Spring – scented teas
Summer – green teas
Autumn – Oolong and White teas
Winter – Black and Pu'erh teas
If you are interested in the thinking behind the role of teas in traditional Chinese medicine, we give you a short outline below of the thinking behind why the different teas are best suited for different seasons, plus the general thoughts on the individual benefits of each tea.
The mild and floral nature of scented teas is refreshing and helps relieve fatigue and so is a good drink to wake you up after summer, or if you feeling upset, feeling irritable or under stress. It is also thought to improve your vision and nourish the skin, especially jasmine and osmanthus scented teas, and so is great for people with sensitive skin or to drink on bright sunny days. Generally its recommended to drink scented teas about one hour after you finish a meal.
The hot weather of summer, when drinking lots of fluids is required, is best suited to the refreshing, slightly astringent taste of green teas – which are also great to drink iced. Green tea is also rich in vitamins, amino acids and minerals, so not only does it have a great refreshing affect in hot weather, it also keeps your body healthy in this season when you're likely to be more active. Green tea is best drunk during, or immediately after, a meal or with food, as it can cause some stomach upsets on an empty stomach, especially for people who rarely drink teas.
In Autumn the weather turns drier, and so people often feel thirsty and dehydrated. In this climate, Oolong and White teas are recommended. Oolong, falling between black and green teas, is neither “cold” tasting like green teas, nor too warming like black teas, and so is perfect for the milder temperatures of Autumn. Oolong helps sooth and moisten your throat and skin, and is also thought to be good for your lungs, again helping you in cooler, drier weather. Oolong is best drunk about an hour after a meal. It is thought to be a warming drink – increasing your metabolism so warming you and helping burn off fat.
The cold winter of weather, coupled with a reduction in peoples physical activity and increased appetite, means that black or pu'erh teas are the drink of choice. Black and Pu'erh teas are thought to help warm the body, by increasing your metabolism and improving your digestion – so helping keep at bay the winter chills, especially for people who especially feel the cold. Its recommended as a great tea for woman to drink.
Black tea is best drunk an hour before or after a meal, as it helps both with appetite and digestion, while Pu'er is recommended half an hour before a meal. Both teas help you keep your weight down, through the increased metabolism rate and improved digestion benefits they bring.
Black and Oolong teas – due to their benefits for digestion and metabolism – are recommended for people who work mainly in offices or jobs where you don't get a lot of physical activity. Green teas are recommended for jobs where you need to be as alert as possible, due to it helping keeping your mind as sharp as possible.
If your work or life is stressful, or you don't get regular sleep or a good diet, green teas are the best teas to drink. The nutritional benefits of these teas, their ability to relieve tension and high antioxidant levels mean they really help people in this situation.
For teenagers, especially girls, its suggested they drink green teas, while older women approaching menopause are usually given scented teas, to reduce stress and keep the body healthy. For younger children its suggested that black teas are the best – especially considering they can be flavored with a small amount of milk or sugar.
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