If you live in a major city or have been anywhere near a yoga studio, you’ll know what Kombucha is: that Japanese, fizzy, fermented, probiotic drink that doesn’t always taste as delicious as we hope, is often packed with more sugar than we need… It’s benefits are numerous however which may explain why we see people chugging down bottles all the time.
But here’s where us westerners have slipped when it comes to using this eastern concoction: many people drink Kombucha ice cold, and straight out of the fridge. Eastern medicine, both Indian and Chinese, tell us that consuming things at cold temperatures can literally extinguish our internal fire; that is, our digestion.
A little counter-intuitive, huh? Guzzling down a drink for digestive health whilst also weakening our digestive function…
If you’re a Kombucha fanatic, that’s great! But consider letting it warm up a little closer to room temperature before consuming. If you’re not a fan – that’s great too. China has a tea that can help solve many of your problems instead.
I introduce to you,
China’s huge on the tea culture, and amongst the many strains that are celebrated and consumed, this is one of the country’s most powerful teas. Pu’erh is a renowned tea in China that’s been used for nearly 2000 years, but it looks a little different from what we perceive as ‘tea’: you will find it pressed in to cakes.
It is aged and fermented, so drinking this tea is one way to get all the healthful benefits of probiotics from fermentation, but in a natural way! Back in the really old days, there were no pharmacies selling probiotic pills, so people looked after their gut by consuming naturally fermented sources like this. Translation: it’sreally good for your gut, and digestive system health! Modern science has confirmed that a gut full of healthy bacteria can be essential in preventing and treating issues like Candida, acne, weak digestion, weight loss, high cholesterol and many more… Plus it works wonders as a hangover cure.
One of the best parts is that consuming this tea hot is actually soothing and strengthening your digestive system, according to Chinese Medicine. Before, during or after a meal, it is said to increase your ability to digest the food because a warmer tummy is going to have to use less energy to heat up and ‘burn’ the food to turn into fuel.
Where to find:
Chinatown, or any well-equipped health food stores.
Which to buy:
If you ever find Pu’erh in a tea bag, walk away. You must buy this in ‘cake’ form. Like wine, it gets better with age – so if you are able to purchase the ‘oldest’ one in the shop, do. Yunnan Pu’erh tea is often considered one of the best kinds. Organic would be ideal, but if Chinatown is your only source, then use the technique below a couple times to rinse your tea before steeping!
How to use:
Boil water at 200 – 210 F degrees, rinse the tea cake with hot water to clean and loosen, then pour out. You can do this a couple times depending on how dense the tea cake is. Pour fresh hot water again and steep for 3-4 minutes.
By Isabella Gucci-Ruffalo