As the end of year festivities come into full swing so too does the season of excess. And whilst the Christmas spirit might be willing, the flesh could maybe do with a little less cheer. Everything in moderation as they say but if you’ve already crossed the point of no return, then the curative power of Hangover Tea, from The Tea Centre’s Chinese Herbalist Range, might be just the thing to get you back.
The following information is courtesy of Marie Hopkinson, the Chinese Herbalist behind our Chinese Herbalist Range. In it she discusses the symptoms associated with eating and drinking to excess from a Chinese Medicine perspective and how Hangover Tea addresses these ailments.
Hangovers in Chinese Medicine (CM) usually relate to a pattern of disharmony between toxic heat, food stagnation, or a combination of dampness and heat. Basically all alcohol is somewhat heating and over-ingestion causes a toxic build up of heat. This heat stagnates and can lead to a disturbance of the digestive functions (mostly the Spleen in CM), otherwise referred to as dampness.
The concept of dampness is unique to CM and describes a pathogenic influence on the body. As mentioned, dampness occurs when digestive functions fail. The Spleen becomes overwhelmed and may have a harder time breaking down food to send down to the rest of the digestive tract to be absorbed or eliminated.
Overwhelming the Spleen may result from:
- Overeating and not allowing for any room to digest
- Eating hard-to-digest foods
- Eating whilst getting upset or whilst engaging in intense mental activity, especially on a regular basis
- Eating irregular meals — fluctuating between too much, too little, or missing meals
The feeling of dampness is akin to the idea of being weighed down in a muddy marsh. Limbs and muscles feel heavy and sluggish from the weight of dampness. In terms of consuming alcohol, beer, wine, and spirits have proportionately different heat and dampening effects on the body from a CM perspective.
If a person is already “hot” or has the propensity for their own body’s heat (Yang energy) to easily rise up, then consuming more “heating” foods and fluids will only make more heat rise. Conditions like acne breakouts, redness on the skin, and being emotional especially angry, resentful, and frustrated are exacerbated when heat rises up and out of control.
If skin conditions or acne are pre-existing, then “heating” foods and alcohol should be avoided. People with acne should at the very least stay away from spirits. Spirits are much more warming and "hot" in nature than beers and wine. The more heat that exists in the body the stronger the odour of the bowels, sweat, and breath will be.
On the other hand, the dampening effects of alcohol are responsible for those feelings of haziness in the head that usually occur in a hangover. People who have a low tolerance for alcohol and get sick quickly from drinking may have existing impairments in their bodies.
Beer and grain-based alcohols cause more dampness — nausea, cloudy headed, heaviness, bloating. The over-working of the Spleen and Stomach results in depleting the Spleen function and can lead to poor digestion, bloating and diarrhoea.
There are many warnings about negative effects of over-consumption in the ancient writings of Chinese Medicine. As with many foods and beverages, alcohol has a different effect on the body according to the amount consumed. The feelings of heat and dampness that pertain to CM theory, which are associated with excessive consumption of alcohol, are also experienced from excessive eating. Foods that are rich, greasy, and sugary can play particular havoc with the system.
The herbs in Hangover Tea were selected for their properties in aiding the body’s normal digestive and eliminative functions. This includes clearing toxic heat and dampness. Heat and dampness can occur from any kind of diet imbalance, not just alcohol-induced hangovers, so this blend needn’t be limited to just “morning-after” moments.
The ingredients in this tisane include a range of traditional Chinese herbs such as medicated leaven, forsythia fruit, poria, radish seed, tangerine peel, hawthorn fruit, ginger, and pinellia. They work together to detox and purge the system of toxins. Herbs like hawthorne fruit and poria target food stagnation and dampness.
The herbal flavour of Hangover Tea is quite strong. Marie, recommends starting with a smaller serve of herbs than what is required of the other teas in the Chinese Herbalist Range. However, extra can be added if more strength is required.
If the brew tastes bitter, too strong, or unpalatable, then tip out the remaining water from your teapot or cup, leave the herbs, and pour in fresh boiling water. Remove the herbs from the teapot or cup after a minute (don’t let it steep for too long). As with the other Chinese Herbalist blends, up to three to five infusions can be drawn from Hangover Tea. As long as there is still colour and flavour in the brew, the herbs are working to create an effective tea.
The festive season is a time when people tend to overdo it in lots of ways, so Hangover Tea also makes a great gift for health conscious friends. As over-indulging becomes an understatement during the holidays, Hangover Tea is the perfect tisane to enjoy in between those days of celebration. Try some today.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: This information is provided in public interest of keeping people as healthy as possible. Common sense should always be applied. Too much of anything can be hazardous to health. This information is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or diagnosis by a health practitioner. If you have a health condition, you should check with your health care practitioner before using foods as medicine treatments like herbal teas, if you are in any way unsure about the suitability of the food agents, herbs or recipes for your body. In a medical emergency always contact emergency services, call 000 in Australia.
Chinese Medicine organs and some words are capitalised to indicate they are different to the biomedical understanding of the organ. In Chinese Medicine each organ represents the system of function according to ancient principals of understanding, including the channel system, spiritual, mental and physical functions. The traditional understanding of Chinese Medicine organs is actually a functional system often encompass many now biomedically defined aspects such as lymphatic and endocrine (hormone) functions that are attributed to that organ. A lower case letter of an organ will indicate its reference to the biomedical organ, e.g. Kidney (the Kidney functions of CM) and kidney (biomedical/physical kidney).