Tag Archives: Cool

Three Faces of Nature

The temperatures in Kyoto are at a rise. June, extending into July, is typically the rainy-season. The continuous downpours raise the humidity in the country, adding to the allover heat. This year, for a change, June hasn’t been very wet, and temperatures have been at an average of about 30 degrees Celsius in the Kansai region, which is still manageable. It is only since the past few weeks that weather conditions have begun to transition into a standard ‘tsuyu’- season.

Murinan is a traditional Japanese garden in Kyoto, selected as one of the few registered cultural landscape heritages by the city. The garden was constructed in the 19th Century by an elite government official, and today the care-taking company of the garden is endeavoring to not only open the garden for sightseeing, but also to allow visitors to partake in cultural activities, in a similar way as was envisioned by its original founders. As one of the first activities held in this fashion, I was invited to teach a 5-section course on Japanese tea, which is held in the main building, gazing out over the garden itself.

Not only is it an honor to share my knowledge and vision on Japanese tea in such a traditional environment, it is also the most suitable atmosphere to speak about one of Japan’s oldest cultural heritages, tea, while in a relaxed way savoring tea and a moment with different people in a way that is likely to be similar to how the facilities were used after their initial construction.

When yesterday’s session commenced, the mid-day sun was strong. The previous days too had been dry, and the moss in the garden was about to turn crisp showing signs of dehydration. It was indicative of the heat that we all had to endure, and thus the perfect atmosphere to begin the lesson with a cup of cold-brew Japanese ‘wa-kocha’ black tea. The session was themed around Japanese ‘fragrant’ teas with a focus on Oolong-type and black teas manufactured in Japan. By the time we had reached a second kind of oolong, suddenly lightning and thunder struck, followed by a long awaited intense squall.

The rain was a gift from the heavens. For an instant, it cooled the air, but what was more important, was that it provided the nourishment that the garden was in sore need of. With all participants standing perplexed at the mystical appearance of the garden in this heavy summer rain, we paused the lesson briefly to gaze out. The care-keepers of the garden complementarily explained that the originator of the garden, Yamagata Aritomo, too enjoyed looking at his garden most when it was raining. In this sense, it was one of the most unique experiences, and a valuable addition to our cultured afternoon.

After approximately an hour, the air had cleared. The garden, bathing in a revitalized green with thick raindrops on the surface of the leaves, sent a scent of wet but warm plants upward into our classroom; a pleasant addition to the delicious aromas of the teas we at the time tasted. This made me realize that the aromas and flavors we experience with a cup of tea are not always strictly from the brew itself. The scents of the surroundings do too play a large role in how we taste an experience a tea, and in addition, make it only possible to have the same cup of tea once.

In just two hours, we had tasted 5 teas, and watched 3 different gardens. I couldn’t have thought of a more unique tea tasting myself. The taste of the teas we savored may never be the same again; and the occasion, shared with all attendees, will never return. This afternoon has turned into a treasure to be kept in our hearts forever.

7 Reasons Why Hot Tea Cools Your Body Better Than Cold Water In Summer.

Why we should drink hot drinks instead of chilled drinks on hot days? 7 reasons that will change how you look at that chilled glass of water in summer.

1. HOT TEA COOLS YOU DOWN.

This may sound like the biggest paradox: ice actually triggers your body to heat up. When we drink cold water in summer, our bodies have to compensate for the difference in temperature by heating up more, which leads to even more overheating and related conditions like sunstroke and dizziness. Drinking warm drinks allows the body to relax, calm down, and cool itself down to a normal homeostatic temperature (equilibrium) without needing to compensate for the difference in temperature.

Drinking a hot drink does result in a lower amount of heat stored inside your body, provided the additional sweat that’s produced when you drink the hot drink can evaporate. The increased rate of perspiration is the key. Although sweat may seem like a nuisance, the body perspires for a very good reason. When sweat evaporates from the skin, energy is absorbed into the air as part of the reaction, thereby cooling the body. A larger amount of sweat means more cooling, which more than counteracts the small amount of heat contained in a hot beverage relative to the entire body.

The caveat is that your sweat must fully evaporate in order to produce the desired cooling effect. If you’re exercising hard, or wearing too many clothes, or in a very humid environment, you may produce sweat more quickly than it can evaporate, in which case it is no longer desirable to ramp up your sweat rate further.

2. WARM DRINKS HELP YOU DIGEST.

In hot, humid, summer weather, our bodies can accumulate too much internal ‘heat’ and ‘damp’ energy that can become pathogenic and cause illness. The digestive organs are particularly vulnerable to this.

Drinking ice water or cold water hampers the process of digesting food as it causes your blood vessels to shrink. This restricts blood flow to the digestive system, in effect weakening our digestive function. Sipping warm tea during and after meals helps to keep your digestive organs fully functional.

Moreover, as the food is not digested properly, the nutrients are lost or not absorbed by the body.

3. IT HELPS YOU TO ABSORB MORE NUTRIENTS.

When due to the intake of cold beverages, the activity of your digestive system is lowered, the amount of nutrition you receive from the food you ate is harmfully decreased. Moreover, since the body’s temperature is 37 degrees Celsius, drinking something at a very low temperature, your body has to spend energy to regulate its temperature. This spent energy is otherwise used to digest food and absorb nutrients, thereby leaving your body short of nutrition.

4. IT KEEPS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM STRONG.

Warm beverages promote circulation and nutrient absorption in the body. Consuming cold drinks speed up the gastrointestinal tract, so organs cannot properly absorb nutrition. Over time, if the body isn’t receiving sufficient nutrients needed for growth and repair, organs become more vulnerable to coldness and related illnesses.

5. IT KEEPS YOUR LUNGS HEALTHY.

Yes, a warmer body means healthier lungs. Lung disease is not just related to smoking and genetics. Long term accumulation of cold in the body can really weaken lung function to the point of developing chronic dis-eases like sinus infections, allergies, hay fever and asthma. The stomach is the ‘mother’ of the lung; a strong stomach is needed for healthy lung function. On a more immediate level, excessive cold entering the body also causes blood vessels in the throat to constrict. This is caused by the buildup of respiratory mucosa, which is a protective layer of the respiratory tract. When this layer gets congested, the respiratory tract is exposed and becomes vulnerable to various infections and hence the chances of your throat turning sore are raised.

6. IT PROMOTES A HEALTHY BLOOD FLOW AND REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM.

Drinking warm beverages promotes healthy blood flow. Excessive consumption of cold water can negatively affect the reproductive system, causing menstrual disorders, cramps and eventually impaired physiological functions like infertility. Over-accumulation of cold also creates moisture and dampness: the perfect conditions for things like bacteria, Candida, and parasites.

7. COLD DRINKS DECREASE YOUR HEART RATE.

Drinking ice water or cold water decreases your heart rate. Studies have shown that drinking ice water stimulates the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the 10th cranial nerve and is an important part of the body’s autonomous nervous system that controls involuntary actions of the body. The vagus nerve mediates the lowering of the heart rate and the low temperatures of ice-cold water act as a stimulus to the nerve, which causes the heart rate to drop.

 

As an all-over conclusion, I think that we can state that, while chilled drinks are simply more harmful and place a larger burden on the body, a hot cup of tea on a hot day can be refreshing, while it is also gentle to your body.

Are you open to try a refreshing cup of hot tea with me?