Most people’s first impression of bitter tea is “bitter”, but do you know what ingredients make it so bitter? Since it is so hard to drink, why has bitter tea been in circulation for so long and why is it still recommended by Chinese medicine? Human nature will not ask for trouble, so the fact that bitter tea can be preserved means that it has nutritional value and can be passed down to this day.
Regarding the elders’ concept of hardship being a supplement, bitter tea is definitely one of the representatives. Although modern bitter tea is mostly used as a punishment tool, the nutritional value of bitter tea is very high! Especially in the hot summer, bitter tea is the midsummer wisdom left by the elderly. Let us take a look at the origin and benefits of bitter tea that people love and fear!
What is Bitter Tea?
Why is bitter tea called bitter tea and what are the ingredients?
Anyone who likes to drink tea must have heard the saying: “If it is not bitter or astringent, it’s not tea”.
The base of bitter tea comes from a variant of Camellia genus Pu’er tea in Yunnan, China, which is a type of dark tea. The base is then matched with different Chinese medicine formulas, and once boiled, the bitter tea is complete.
The proportion of bitter tea ingredients will differ according to each traditional Chinese medicine. The common ingredient bases include Sophora Root, Wandianjin, Andrographis paniculata, Immortal grass, Phoenix tail grass, Cannabis sativa, Mesona herbal, Rabbit grass, Xianfeng grass, etc. These ingredients are all unique formulas that are only found in bitter tea, but the amount depends on the individual’s constitution and the acceptable degree of bitterness.
Most bitter teas contain sophora root and do not contain sugar, so they are considered more bitter compared to herbal teas and other reduced heatiness teas. In the early days, most people believed that “the bitterness of the bitterness is the only way to be a superior person (A person may become stronger by overcoming hard-ship and suffering.)”, thus, some ingredient formulas will intensify the bitterness ratio as the taste of tea is deliberately made to taste more bitter. In fact, the formula of bitter tea and herbal tea is roughly the same, but the proportion and emphasis are different.
Some people regard Leaf of Chinese Holly as the real bitter tea. The ingredients that make up Leaf of Chinese Holly are to adjust the ratio of Light Yellow Sophora to tea leaves is 1:1, but it is generally believed that Leaf of Chinese Holly is a “toxic” tea, so few people in the market will directly sell Leaf of Chinese Holly. Most bitter teas are still based on black tea.
In the realm of bitterness lies a profound beauty, where every sip of Bitter Tea unravels a story of resilience and transformation. As the bitter notes dance on my tongue, they awaken a dormant strength within, reminding me that even in life’s bitter moments, there is a hidden sweetness waiting to be discovered, if only we have the courage to embrace it.
Tea Classroom – Bitter Tea
Chinese medicine suggests long-term benefits of drinking bitter tea
Why do people still drink bitter tea if it is so unbearably bitter? The reason is that bitter tea can relieve bad breath, bitter taste in the mouth, constipation, styes and other symptoms in people who experience built up anger during hot weather. Long-term consumption can also assist in lowering blood pressure. “Compendium of Materia Medica” records: “Southern Chinese boil and drink bitter, flat, non-toxic tea, quench thirst and improve eyesight, reduce inflammation and facilitate bowel movements.” As mentioned earlier, the formula of bitter tea is similar to that of herbal tea. This means that the benefits of reducing heatiness, promoting body circulation and metabolism also apply when consumed during hot weather.
Reasons for recommending bitter tea
1. Reduce anger and heatiness – Bitter Tea Benefit
Although herbal tea is the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of heat-reducing tea for summer, bitter tea is actually cooler than herbal tea. Therefore, if you are prone to oral ulcers or acne in summer, bitter tea will be more suitable for you than herbal tea. The roots of plants and grasses are rich in minerals and have a diuretic effect, so drinking more tea can achieve the effect of urination, which also helps to lower body temperature and promote metabolism.
2. Detoxification and the promotion of blood circulation – Bitter Tea Benefit
Most people who are not in good health will hear people say that they should not replenish the body, but rather, detoxify first. Regardless of tea variant, they can all promote good blood circulation to a certain degree which is essential for the elimination of waste in the body, leading to improved detoxification. In addition, Pteris multifida Poir, which is often added to bitter tea, has the function of clearing heat and removing dampness. For detoxification in summer, bitter tea can be said to be the first choice.
3. Anti-inflammation and lowered blood pressure – Bitter Tea Benefit
Long-term consumption of bitter tea can lower blood pressure. The important ingredient in bitter tea is Andrographis paniculata, which was often used before the invention of Western antibiotics, while tea polyphenols and tannic acid in tea can coagulate the proteins of bacteria to kill bacteria. Therefore, bitter tea has the effect of lowering blood pressure and fighting inflammation in the body.
4. Relieve bad breath, bitter taste in the mouth, and constipation – Bitter Tea Benefit
People with excess heat (in the body) often have the above three symptoms. After drinking bitter tea, the heat in the body can be reduced, meanwhile bad breath can naturally be diminished; bad breath often occurs due to poor digestion in the stomach and intestines, thus, intestinal toxin removal can be the best option for treating bad breath.
Who can’t drink bitter tea?
Bitter tea taboo, who should not drink bitter tea
Although bitter tea has numerous benefits and is considered a must-have tea drink during summer, if you are a person with the following symptoms, it is not suitable to drink bitter tea. Especially herbal teas, since the ingredients are taken from the roots of grass, most of them have a lot of potassium ions, so if you are taking heart or kidney medications, it is better to consult a doctor before consumption.
In addition, as bitter tea belongs to the herbal tea category, bitter tea is not suitable for people with chronic coughs; and bitter tea is also unsuitable for infants as their organs are not fully developed.
When is the right time to drink bitter tea?
- Do not drink bitter tea on an empty stomach
- Females are advised to avoid bitter tea before menstruation
- Bitter tea is best consumed during the day, not at night
- Bitter tea is not suitable for people with weak constitution or cold hands and feet
- Bitter tea is not suitable for patients with chronic gastritis
In the depths of bitterness lies a profound beauty, like the trials of life that shape our souls. As I sip on Bitter Tea, its bitter notes caress my senses, awakening a sense of resilience within me. Each sip is a gentle reminder that even in the bitterness, there is a hidden sweetness, a lesson in embracing life’s complexities with grace and finding strength in every sip.
Bitter tea related products
Refining real bitter tea is very time-consuming, but due to its many benefits, numerous products have been developed. Most of them use bitter tea as a base to create more refined products including bitter tea oil, bitter tea dew (pills) and so on. After the bitter tea is refined, its essence can be intercepted, making people more accepting of the benefits of bitter tea.
Where to buy bitter tea? ABoxTik to give you the best quality tea series.
Compared with the frequency of herbal tea on the market, bitter tea is not a frequently sold item, but it can still be found in ancient shops located in some old streets and nearby railway stations in Taiwan. Bitter tea can also be self prepared by visiting a Chinese doctor at a traditional Chinese medicine store, where he/she can assist you to make an appropriate bitter tea based on your constitution. If you are a person who is particularly prone to acne or anger during hot weather, bitter tea is especially recommended for you.
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