Today is Part 4, the final part, of our Belight Tea Wellness Benefits series. This week we’ve explored how individually the tea and herbs in Belight support total body wellness.
As the final post in this series, we’ll cover the last two ingredients in Belight: lotus leaf and Chinese hawthorn fruit. These two herbs serve many overlapping purposes, which, interestingly, makes them that much more effective in our blend.
Known in Chinese as “he ye” and referred to a Sacred Lotus Leaf, Padma, Kamal, or Nelumbo in Ayurvedic medicine, lotus leaf has a long and storied history as a food and medicinal plant. In Chinese medicine (TCM), it is sweet and bitter in taste, while Ayurveda adds astringent. TCM classifies it a neutral in nature, while Ayurveda considers it cold.
In TCM, lotus leaf targets the heart, liver, and spleen. It is used to clear the excess dampness that is associated with water retention and weight gain, and to clear heat toxicity while strengthening “Spleen Yang.”
Chinese Hawthorn Fruit
Chinese hawthorn fruit is known in Chinese as “shan zha,” and in Latin as Crataegus pinnatifida. Its tastes are sour and sweet, and its property is slightly warming.
It targets the liver, spleen, and stomach meridian. In Chinese medicine it is used to alleviate blood stasis and food stagnation. (It is distinct from English hawthorn in that its traditional usage has been more focused on digestion; however, more recently Chinese hawthorn has also been the subject of research as a cardio-protective herb.)
In animal studies, Chinese hawthorn has been shown to help prevent fatty liver disease; it is thought hawthorn may up-regulate hepatic activity, which improves liver protection (1). Likewise, in a meta study of Chinese herbal formulas, hawthorn was the most frequently and successfully used herb in addressing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (2).
Traditionally Chinese hawthorn has been both prescribed in herbal formulas and consumed casually to support digestion of heavy foods. Even today, during the winter, when the typical Chinese diet switches to heartier fare of meats and fats, post-meal creations of hawthorn abound.
A number of studies conducted in Japan and Taiwan suggest that lotus leaf can prevent or reverse body weight gain in mice fed a high-fat diet (3). One group of researchers posited that lipid-regulating enzymes may be at play, while another found that lotus inhibited absorption of fats and carbs and increased energy expenditure (4, 5). (Author note: Discovering a non-stimulant herb (i.e. not containing caffeine) that increases energy expenditure is a potential gold mine.) Lotus also has a long tradition in India of being consumed by overweight people. Researchers found that Chinese hawthorn contributed to reduce food intake and lower body weight in a study on hamsters (6).
Studies have shown both lotus leaf and Chinese hawthorn help to prevent increases in, or even lower triglycerides, cholesterol, and potential for liver damage in hamsters fed a high fad diet (7, 8). Another study on rats confirmed the effects of Chinese hawthorn on maintaining HDL “good” cholesterol, while lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol (9).
None of these are claims or implied claims for tea and its ability (or not) to treat, cure, diagnose, or prevent disease. This only a summary of the research available online. It is for informational purposes only.
Well, that wraps up our series on the wellness benefits of the Belight Tea ingredients. I’ve tried to draw upon the Chinese medicine understanding, since that’s what the formula is based on, as well as highlight some of the research that been conducted on these herbs and, of course, touch on a few traditional and even common, modern uses of the tea and these herbs. I hope you will be able to see the connections, the overlap, and the greater accomplishment all these ingredients have in working together and why they’re so artfully suited to this blend we lovingly call “Belight.”
I hope this series has been educational. If there’s something else you’d like me to dive into or blog about, please leave a comment below. In the meantime, we’ll keep an eye out for your order. ; )
To your health!