Like with anything else, the safest method is to consume everything in moderation.KaiRong wrote:What is considered to be the "normal" daily tea intake, and what is an excessive one?
I have been drinking Chinese and Japanese teas regularly for five years now. My body can't tolerate coffee, so I drink tea for the daily caffeine intake, and of course for the taste as well However, my girlfriend (Chinese) said that I drink too much tea and it's not a good habit, as according to TCM tea exerts your body, especially your kidney and can cause irreversible damage on thr long term. I understand her reasoning, however I don't think that I drink too much. I usually start the day with a matcha (usucha - for me, 110 ml water with 3 grams of tea works the best), and if I have time to est breakfast at home (which I usually don't do - bad habit, I know) I also drink a sencha, gyokuro, Longjing or other milder Chinese green after the matcha, brewed for four/five times (let's calculate with half litre in total). In the office I only have time for a quick green after lunch, prepared in a very Western way (0.35 litre of water with 4 grams of green brewed twice). If I have to work overtime or prepare for some exams, presentations, etc. I tend to drink a roasted oolong or shu puerh late evening. So I drink a little more than a litre of tea every day, accompanied by 2-2.5 litre of water. I hate Coke, sweetened juices, sodas, etc., so my fluid intake consist only of tea and water.
What do you think about it? How much tea do you drink on a daily basis?
If you're looking at tea from a TCM perspective, tea should definitely not be consumed like water. The vast teas have a cooling property, where cooling is more of a TCM term. I don't have Chinese input so I'll edit the post later with the characters. It is due to this cooling that science has found that tea is anti-inflammatory. The tea is basically cooling inflammation and as a result, it helps to put the body back in balance.
Your girlfriend is not totally off when she says kidneys can be damaged by over consumption. Even more likely possible when the tea itself is not the best quality.
With that said, green and oolongs tend to be much more cooling on the overall spectrum of tea types. It does well to balance Western diets which tend to more easily cause inflammation simply due to the way food is cooked (most foods are fried, grilled, etc.). This is the reason why it's a little less easy for people who eat a Western diet to over do the green teas compared to people who do other diets.
Too much of the green tea can contribute to the gastric problems that I've seen being mentioned. It can also cause headaches, feeling cold, etc. Emphasizing that this is all still from a TCM perspective.
Now back to your question. It is still very possible for everyone to drink too much tea but the health effects vary from person to person due to a variety of factors. i.e. lifestyle, genetics, etc.
The safest tea is always puerh for year round consumption. It's not as cooling as green, oolongs. And its properties actually warm the body and encourage blood flow. When combined by its digestive and other health properties, it makes it an ideal and very safe tea to drink more of.
Another thing, I'm not a doctor but this is still pretty basic knowledge in Chinese society, maybe slightly less with younger people nowadays. Feel free to take it all with a grain of salt.