Around 60% of the adult human body is made up of water, with up to 70% for children. Therefore, staying hydrated is very important for your health, especially in summer. Many people reach for sugary juices and sports drinks, but in Japan, herbal Japanese tea is the go-to.
Why Is Japanese Tea Good For You?
Japan is known for its tea, but while you may think of green and matcha teas, there are plenty of caffeine-free herbal teas too. These teas are great for rehydrating in the summer heat. Plus, Japanese tea contains antioxidants, vitamins, and other health properties.
Here are five healthy Japanese teas to try:
1. Dokudami Tea
Dokudami tea has long been known for its health benefits, and it’s an effective way to avoid heat stroke in the summer. Dokudami tea leaves grow in shady areas all around Japan, and they have a rich, peculiar smell.
If we split the word in two, we get “doku,” which means poison, and “dami,” which means stop, so together it means something like “antidote.” These tea leaves have been used as medicine for centuries, and the plant’s name even appears in a few Japanese books from the Edo Period (1603–1863). Today, the medicine is sold at pharmacies under the name juuyaku, which means it has ten different medicinal effects.
The primary components of dokudami that are good for your health are as follows:
Quercetin is a flavonoid sometimes used as a dye because of its yellow color. It is found in apples, onions, and berries, and it is believed by some people to cure cancer, although this has yet to be completely scientifically proven.
Rutin is also a flavonoid and is found in buckwheat, lemons, and oranges. Its former name was Vitamin P. Some people use rutin for strengthening blood vessels.
Quercitrin is found in the plant’s leaves and stalks. Another flavonoid, quercitrin can also be found in sweet peppers. It has a bitter taste.
Pantothenic acid is a water-soluble vitamin also found in meat, fish, and vegetables. Livers, eel, avocado, and nameko mushroom have a concentration of pantothenic acid.
Niacin is also a water-soluble vitamin, known as vitamin B3. The body uses niacin to convert food into energy.
Other components include potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese. As you can see, dokudami tea contains a lot of nutrients. But please note that excessive consumption may cause diarrhea.
When you make dokudami tea, please use lukewarm water, since hot water can damage the nutrients.
Because of its unique and robust smell, many people do not like this tea, but it can help keep you healthy, especially during the hot summer.
2. Biwa Tea
Biwa tea is known for its analeptic effects, offering relief from fatigue, loss of appetite, eczema, diarrhea, heat rash, asthma, and more.
People also say it is useful for strengthening your stomach, reducing edema and diuresis, preventing alimentary intoxication and summer heat fatigue, improvement of shoulder discomfort, amelioration of lower back pain and diabetes mellitus, and improvement of immediate allergies.
In addition to that, people who have an allergy to pollen also may also want to drink this tea because it is excellent for disinfection and killing allergens.
This tea should also be brewed in lukewarm warm to contain the nutrients.
If you are interested, be aware that it may take up to a month to notice the health effects of this tea.
3. Sugina Tea
Sugina tea is made from dried horsetail (also known as puzzlegrass), and it contains a lot of minerals. It’s found easily when in season from April to May all around Japan.
This plant is known for its tenacity: when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, horsetail was the first plant to regrow. Our bodies can also benefit from the nutrients that make it so strong.
Compared to spinach, which is also known for containing lots of minerals, sugina tea contains five times the phosphorus and potassium, 155 times the calcium, and three times the magnesium.
It contains silica as well, a mineral known for making your blood smooth and preventing cancer.
As with the other teas, using tepid water for preparation is recommended.
Though it contains many nutrients, you should be careful not to overconsume this tea, as it may also cause a thiamine deficiency when consumed excessively.
4. Soba Tea
Soba, which means buckwheat noodle in Japanese, is a favorite food in Japan, but buckwheat is much more nutritious if you drink it as a tea. This is because some nutrients are water-soluble, and these are lost when the buckwheat noodles are boiled.
Soba tea is often served at soba restaurants. Benefits of soba tea includes the improvement of blood flow and prevention of high blood pressure. The tea contains minerals, vitamins B1, B2, E, iron, and rutin. There’s also a special soba tea called “dattan soba” which contains 100 times the normal amount of rutin.
Unlike some other teas, soba has no negative side effects, though take care to ensure you do not have a buckwheat allergy before drinking.
5. Bitter Melon Tea
Bitter melon tea contains linolenic acid which is great for burning fat, and the amount of vitamin C it contains is three times as much as cabbage.
If you drink bitter melon as a tea, it has 15 times more potassium, 18 times more calcium, and 27 times more iron compared to raw bitter melon.
The bitter tasting component in the tea helps treat stomachaches, so it’s a recommended drink during summer when people are susceptible to stomachaches from cold drinks or food poisoning.
Which Japanese Tea Will You Try?
These five teas are great to drink all year, but they’re especially ideal in the summer. These Japanese teas do not contain caffeine, so you can drink them in the afternoon and without disrupting your sleep at night.
If you get sick in summer, how about trying some new teas to improve your health?
Let’s get through the hot summer with some healthy tea!
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Aika Kaise / Japan