All Things in Moderation…Even Tea?

There is an idiom “Moderation in all things” which is usually taken to mean roughly “do not do anything too much or too little” — it’s one I turn a bit sideways to “All things in moderation.” And that includes tea…or does it?

Moderation in tea? Perish the thought! (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)
Moderation in tea? Perish the thought! (Photo source: A.C. Cargill, all rights reserved)

The trick here, of course, is how you define “moderation.” That definition varies greatly when you are speaking of imbibing tea versus sugar and fat intake, non-water-soluble vitamin consumption (especially vitamin A), aerobic exercise, body piercings, TV viewing, and various contact sports played on a non-professional level. Briefly, the threshold for tea consumption is much, much, much higher. Of course, some heights are so high as to be virtually insignificant in any kind of limiting factor way. So why bother even discussing them? Well, why not?

Actually, the idea was sparked in my brain by a posting on Facebook claiming that sugar consumption was bad. Certainly overconsumption was bad, but then that is true of a lot of things. So my mind traveled down this pathway for awhile and came up with more and more items that should be enjoyed in similarly modest fashion. But tea never made it on that list.

Except for those who have a hypersensitivity to caffeine, I have yet to hear of someone actually overindulging in this fabulous and varied beverage. Even when engaging in multiple infusions of a nice sheng (raw or uncooked) pu-erh, as one of my Facebook “friends” prefers, the amount of liquid being taken in is actually rather small — less than if you were to share a bottle or two of wine, for instance. I tend to steep up a 6-cup potful of tea and finish it off fairly quickly. So far, no ill effects. Of course, that’s just anecdotal evidence. A site specializing in green tea drinking for health does caution that too much green tea can cause you to consume too many of the minerals that naturally accumulate in tea leaves such as aluminium, manganese, and fluoride. But they do imply that you’d have to drink excessive amounts such as 20-30 cups per day for many years.

One article claims that 3 to 5 cups of tea per day is harmful due to excessive caffeine. If that’s the case, I’m in big trouble since my daily intake regularly exceeds that. Stomach upset has also been reported and attributed to excessive tea drinking, but I have never experienced it even after doing taste tests (not the kind where you swish and spit, but the kind where you actually drink the tea) of oolongs, green teas, black teas, and even pu-erhs. Again, anecdotal evidence. Sigh!

Which brings me to the conclusion that “moderation” is a very personal matter. You’ll know when you’ve had too much tea — that is, if there really is any such limit. Cheers!

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6 thoughts on “All Things in Moderation…Even Tea?

  1. When I was living in China, going to markets to buy tea, I would invariably drink tea all day, tasting all the wonderful teas I could find. On more than one occasion I would leave the market and feel the effects of being “tea drunk”! Wobbly legs, inability to speak coherently and being escorted back home by my ever patient husband:) There are definitely instances where drinking too much of a good thing, tea included, can be bad. I will say however that being tea drunk is way more fun than being alcohol drunk! I would get home and have so much energy!! Let’s just say that my house never got a better cleaning than after I visited a tea market!

    1. A.C. Cargill

      Interesting. I have heard the term “tea drunk” before. It seems to mean merely and excess of caffeine, based on your description, and yes, much better than being “alcohol drunk”. Glad you had a patient hubby to get you back home safely. 🙂

  2. Judy Trapp

    It is funny, not the ha, ha type of funny, that you wrote this article today. My husband had kidney stones removed today or I should say blasted by laser! He was told no tea or coffee as these contribute to stones. How terrible is that! What is a person to do?? Anyway, he was not as big a tea drinker as I. But I never knew that tea could contribute to stone development. What could be in the tea leaf to cause this? Would you know? Thank you for your time. Judy

    1. A.C. Cargill

      It’s the first I’ve heard of this (but then, I’m not a doctor). Hm… will look into it. A friend years ago had kidney stones and was advised to drink cranberry juice but was not told to stay away from tea and coffee. Curious. Hope your hubby is doing better now. That can be a very painful condition.

  3. Sadly, I am one who must watch their tea intake because of tummy troubles, but up to my limit, there is no limit and I have been known to quote “Damn the torpedos, full (tea) ahead!”. Tea ia always a celebration, a comfort, an inspiration and really, one cannot have too much.

    1. A.C. Cargill

      Yes, there are those with delicate tummies. I am one but fortunately not where tea is concerned. You might try pu-erh, since it is very mild on the tummy. Green tea tends to be harshest. Yellow tea is fairly rare but also rather gentle for your tummy as well. 🙂

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