ok, so it doesn't make the blood BOIL, but it does support movement of the blood, which can only happen with heat and warmth (as cold constricts movement)...
This week's Tea Class about Circulation went extremely well and I was excited to see so much local interest. While teaching science is not my forte, talking about teas and herbs in relation to the science made for a fun discussion.
Circulation is not something we readily think about unless we are hampered by poor circulation. The more profound examples of poor circulation include varicose veins, hypertension, Raynaud's or Buerger's Disease, or stroke. Other common symptoms of poor circulation are found in cases leg pains, joint & muscle aches, hearing/vision problems, headaches, as well as forgetfulness, poor memory or lack of mental clarity or focus.
Now if you walk down the tea aisle of your natural health food store (or anywhere that has more than the Lipton/Celestial/Bigelow selections)...you will not see a tea that states "Enhances Circulation!". Face it, as a marketing concept, it's just not very sexy. What you will see is "Improves Mental Performance!" and other such brain-boosting statements...which really is just more blood to the brain -- a product of overall increased circulation.
Why is Circulation important - and doesn't that just happen naturally? (you ask)... Basically circulation is the act of blood moving from cell to cell. In so doing, it is the system that nourishes the health of each cell, which make up every tissue and organ and system in our body. Taking care of yourself on a cellular level is to attend to the smallest living part of our bodies in an effort to take care of the whole body.
And while yes, it happens naturally, it can be impeded. By strengthening the blood vessels and encouraging them to be open (science word: vasodilation) it allows a greater amount of blood into the far reaches of your body = more nourishment and waste elimination=healthier cells=optimum functioning!
Warmth gets things moving. Consider a tray of ice vs a pot of boiling water. Add heat and liquid becomes more viscous, allowing more movement. So the warmth of tea inherently helps, as does the anti-oxidant properties of white, green or black teas (anti-oxidant again is protecting the very nature and health of the cells). In addition, anything spicy warms the blood, so consider adding spices to your tea: cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, cayenne, black pepper -- all stimulating properties. Consider drinking more chai or adding a cinnamon stick to your usual cup of tea.
The other superstar in terms of circulation enhancement is Ginkgo Biloba. Containing unique properties that encourage blood to the brain, it is often the main ingredient in products such as Traditional Medicinals Think O2 or Yogi Teas Ginkgo IQ.
So relax with the knowledge that when you are drinking tea, you are drinking to your health!