The perfect cuppa: The best teas for autumnAutumn is the season when the energy of the heaven and earth becomes quiet and solemn, from the view of Oriental medicine. Nature becomes calm and clear, and the earth’s energy sinks in preparation for winter. In this season, Oriental medicine practitioners recommend people drink good tea as they believe certain teas can be restorative. Autumn is also the season to gather the ingredients with which to make Oriental teas.
Oriental medicine practitioners say teas, such as omija tea and ogwa tea, can help people avoid catching colds, which are common in autumn. In Oriental medicine, the nature of omija tea, made from the fruit of maximowiczia chinensis, is considered to be warmth.
“In autumn, when the weather is dry, the energy of the lungs can easily become weak and the lungs can become dry,” said Kim Soo-jin, a doctor of the department of Oriental Rehabilitation Medicine at Hanbang CHA Medical Center in Bundang, Gyeonggi province. “Omija tea helps the energy of the lungs strengthen and keeps the lungs moist,” she said. Omija tea also helps the blood to circulate more freely and helps lower blood pressure, she added.
To make omija tea, put a handful of dried omija fruit in a pot with six cups of water, and boil until the liquid turns red.
Ogwa tea, Oriental medicine practitioners say, also increases resistance to colds. To make the tea, put 20 cups of water, 20 jujubes, 10 walnuts, 20 chestnuts, 30 gingko nuts and a ginger root in a pot. Bring this to a rolling boil for about 30 minutes, then lower the heat and simmer until the liquid reduces by half.
For those who have trouble falling asleep when the days get shorter, jujube tea is recommended, said Jo Cheol-joon from the department of Oriental Internal Medicine at Kwang Dong Oriental Hospital. This can be made by placing 70 grams (2.5 ounces) of jujubes in 2 liters of water, and boiling for 15 to 20 minutes.
Gugija tea, made from the fruit of a Chinese matrimony vine, is also good for this season. The tea is recommended for people with backaches and numb legs. Oriental medicine doctors say those ailments are caused by a drop in the kidneys’ function and believe gugija raises the energy of the kidneys.
“Rutin and betaine in the fruit of a Chinese matrimony vine lower blood cholesterol and prevent arteriosclerosis and high blood pressure,” said Lee Gyeong-seob, the head of Kangnam Korean Hospital at Kyung Hee University. “It is also good that one can drink the tea even at night because it doesn’t contain caffeine,” he added. To make gugija tea, boil a handful of gugija in 2 liters of water for about 20 minutes.
by Park Tae-kyun