Archive for the ‘Health Tips’ Category

I used to have acnes-prone skin when I was young. Nowadays not any more (maybe partly because I’ve grown older? ;-).


Throughout the years I do have learned from my own experience that acnes might result from many reasons such as the diet, habits, hormone changes, stress, skin types, etc, or simply just genes.

Some medical opinion points out that most of the acne cases are related to genetics and manifest during teenage years. The reason for this was a study that was done with twins (identical vs normal). It showed that identical twins had similar acne situation while normal twins had big differences with their acne.

That being said, the typical western diet with processed foods, sugar and various industrial fats is also said to be the biggest external cause for acne. Smoking is the second biggest external cause for acne.

For some reason acne is very rare in cultures which consume little white sugar. Sugar increases insulin production and leads to insulin resistence and increased chance of diabetes as well as affects to the production of androgen. (Archives of Dermatology 2002;138:1584-1590).

If I add the Chinese medicine point of view on top it, it is said that acnes have something to do with the general body conditions. For example acnes in the chins of women often indicates that her hormones are not currently functioning in a balanced way. If you pay attention, sometimes especially just before or during the menstrual cycles one might be more prone to have acnes especially in that area.

Although many factors may result in acnes-prone skin, I do believe the concept of wholeness health and believe that adequate sleep, regular exercise, relax mood, healthy diet can improve the skin condition.

As you know, we are in the wild herb/berry business so we also like to tackle acne from the perspectives of nutritions.


First, make a general list of foods to avoid. Yes, it is always more difficult to take away from diet than to add into diet. Ok, here goes, milk related and fatty products because they stimulate oil glands.

Foods with lots of processed sugars are also on the ban list for the reasons mentioned earlier. This includes sugar as such and various industrial sweets like candies and juices but also simple carbohydrates like white bread and pasta.

Second, take natural healthy gentle food is a kind gesture to your body and skin.

Here is comparison of different berry powders’s nutrition in view of combating acnes.

Lingonberry: it contains mostly easily extractable proanthocyanidins by percentage among wild berries. Proanthocyanidins have been used in many products that try to alleviate acne symptoms. Lingonberry includes also high percentage of Omega 3 compared to most berries.

Rose hip: it contains most proanthocyanidins by amount among berries. Finns all know that rose hip soup are great for skin.

Buckthornberries: this is the berries that contain most Vitamin C and Vitamine E. It also contains certain amount of proanthocynanidins. Buckthornberries have also some other nice surprises in their contents, like Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids which will help with skin and membranes. Also Buckthorn is just generally an excellent source of flavonoids and has vitamins C and E in it both of which are regarded as “skin” vitamins.

Bilberries (wild blueberries): although not being “marketed” as berries for skin, it has been our own all-time-favorites! Not only because it tastes great, growing all over Finland in summer time as Finn’s collective memories of summer, but also for its especially high contents of flavonoids, polyphenols and antioxidant. For a general improvement of health, we always recommend to add the Finnish wild blueberries, aka bilberries into your meal!

More figures and charts can be checked from the Finnish online resource:

I confess that I do eat wild berries regularly everyday, but I wouldn’t go so far to say that simply by taking berry powders and wild berries one can tackle completely the acne problem. To treat your skin, first of all you need to take care of yourself well. Only after your holistic health is in a good condition, the acnes would have nowhere to stay on your skin. It might sometimes sound like a long way to go, but it can also starts from a simple little change, such as to sleep half hours earlier, to stop smoking, to exercise regularly, and to love yourself and learn to relax. Of course, if on top of this some spoonfuls of berrypowders are added to the diet, you are really on the right track!

Buy from our shop: Bilberry powdersBuckthornberry powdersLingonberry powdersRose hip powders.

Lingonberries- many Finn’s favorite in the autumn

Buckthronberry – vitamin C, E, omega 3. the real power berry!

Bilberry – our all-time-favorites from the wild forest

Rose hip- berries for your skin


When we travel our immune system comes under stress. Changing climate conditions and time zone changes are challenging but the major stress comes from different bacteria we come in contact in our new surroundings. Food especially can turn our stomachs upside down. There are only few things nastier than having to run in and out of toilet on your dream vacation. How can you protect yourself?

Aching stomach makes me bad bad company on a vacation. It feels like a bleached black and white photograph.


We can easily pay attention to our own behavior but we can’t change the behavior of others. Everybody knows that good hygiene is the starting point against bacteria inflicted stomach problems. This is what our moms have been telling us since we were toddlers, don’t put that into your mouth, you can’t eat that, let’s wash those hands… So what are those two things you didn’t know yet? Believe it or not – tea and bilberries – and you can combine the two by drinking bilberry infusion.


While on holiday we often pay attention to the place where food is made. We don’t go and buy whatsoever from every street vendor, but we do buy refreshing drinks from left and right. These sweet drinks are perfect home for bacteria as there is lots of sugar available and surrounding conditions tend to be quite warm (yes many of us like to have our holidays on skiing slopes).

If you limit yourself to only boiled drinks like coffee and tea your chances to catch a stomach problem on a holiday will greatly diminish. Boiling the water will kill bacteria and as tea leaves and coffee beans are dried they are safe from harm too. Tea especially is a drink that enjoys wonderful rejuvenating qualities and you will get a long-lasting boost from your cup so try to sit down and relax in a local tea room instead of a juice stand.


Bilberries calm the stomach and can ward off mild stomach problems like heartburn after a heavy meal. Combining boiled water and bilberry will result into a bilberry infusion free of nasty bacteria and a traveler’s self-help stomach medication via increased fluid intake and acidity soothing tendencies. No wonder your grand mom asked you to eat some bilberry soup when you had a stomach ache. While travelling I keep a little pouch of bilberry powder close at hand. It makes a nice drink and keeps me going.

Airplane image by Kitty Terwolbeck

As mentioned in the previous post, the garlic tea was excellent in relieving my son’s cough.

Another great natural remedy for coughing is Manuka honey. Many know that honey has certain antibacterial functions which have also been proved in the latest related research in Finland.

image source:

Manuka honey is produced in Australia and New Zealand specifically from the Manuka flower, which has especially strong antibacterial properties compared to general honey.

The way to use it is simple:


One spoonful of Manuka honey


Before going to bed, take one big table spoon of Manuka honey, let it naturally melt in your mouth and swallow it. It soothes the night cough. If needed, you can take it in the same way two to three times a day.

When my son had coughs caused by the cold last month, I used both Manuka honey and garlic tea to help him. Both natural remedies proved to be efficient.


You can find many Manuka honey products from I have personally chosen the Comvita Manuka Honey UMF 10+ and I am very satisfied with it. The higher UMF number is, the stronger antibacterial properties it has.

Comvita Manuka Honey UMF 15+ 250 gr/8.8 oz


– to be labelled as Manuka Honey, at least 70% of its pollen contents should come from manuka flower (Leptospermum scoparium)


. There are different product rating for Manuka Honey in the market, such as UMF, MGO, ACTIVE.

I found a very good page that explained the difference very well. Here I cited some of the paragraph here:

“UMF stands for “Unique Manuka Factor.” It tells you what the full non-peroxide antibacterial rating of the Manuka honey is. Since Manuka honey’s antibacterial nature comes from many factors, the UMF rating takes them all into account and gives you a final rating. The most common UMF ratings are UMF 5+, UMF 10+, UMF 15+, and UMF 20+. The “+” after the number just means that it could be more than the number given, but that it won’t be less.”

“ACTIVE means that the honey in question has some sort of peroxide activity, but it doesn’t guarantee any antibacterial quality.”

“MGO stands for a substance called Methylglyoxal (pronounced meth-uhl-glahy-ok-suhl). It sounds fancy, but it’s just an organic substance found in Manuka honey that has one part to play in Manuka honey’s antibacterial properties. While MGO plays an important part in Manuka honey’s antibacterial properties, it isn’t the only component that makes Manuka honey such a powerful natural antibacterial.”

(contents above are cited from NZMANUKANATURAL)

Based on this information, I recommend you to choose Manuka honey product that has a clear UMF rating.

Garlic is nature’s antibiotics.

It’s a common herb used in the kitchen for adding flavor in cooking, on the other hand, it is also one of the most effective herb for fighting colds and respiratory infections.

There are many ways of using garlic to relieve coughing. Here I share one of them which I just used today for relieving my child’s (3-year-old) coughing.

Photo Source:


1. garlic cloves, 30g (approximately 1 whole garlic bulb) 2. brown sugar, 10g (approximately 1 big spoonful) 3. water, 200ml (approximately 1 small coffee cup)


1. Put all the ingredients together into a kettle. 2. Boil the water, then let it simmer for 5 minutes.

That’s it! Simple, isn’t it? After the tea is slightly cooled, serve it warm for the coughing kid. In no time you will notice the difference!

This morning upon waking up my kid kept having some dry coughs from his cold, after drinking this simple garlic tea, suddenly he just coughed much less! The sweet taste of brown sugar balances well with garlic so there is no difficulties to temp little kid to drink it.

Besides, brown sugar has often been used to warm up body’s circulation system in Chinese medicine theory to fight against colds, by combining brown sugar and garlic, you get the most natural remedy from kitchen for fighting cold and relieve coughing.

Autumn, a cold season, I guess many will agree with this.

Luckily, we don’t have to settle with it, there is a special tea that can help us prevent the cold, or if you have already caught one, it will help you relieve the syndrome and possibly recover sooner. The best of it: it’s so incredibly easy to make, and I bet you have already all the ingredients in your closet!

Ginger Black Tea


– 1 black tea bag (any flavour you like, we use the ordinary princess tea)

– 1 tea spoon of ground ginger

– some honey or brown sugar

– some lemon


1. Make ground ginger ready, put them into your tea cup

2. Add black tea bag, pull in boiled water.

3. add in some lemon juice and honey/brown sugar with the amount you prefer.

Remember to drink it all, including the ginger!

You will be surprised to notice that how the cold syndrome relieved after only one cup of ginger black tea, at least that’s what happen to me! Not to say that this tea is actually very tasty!

Drinking ginger black tea as a health promoting/cold fighting method has been promoted by a well-known Japanese doctor 石原結實. According to him, you can drink 3-6 cups of ginger black tea everyday.

p.s In the Japanese doctor 石原結實’s book, he uses brown sugar instead of honey because brown sugar can warm up the body, by raising up the body temperature it will help to fight off diseases or discomfort. I myself use honey simply out of personal habit with tea. I do like brown sugar and use it in various herbal tea too.  

Just not long ago I noticed that some readers have questions about the proportion of ingredients from my previous post on Red Date and Longan tea, sorry that I haven’t got time to write anything on this site so I didn’t answer the questions yet, sorry for that!

I have to admit that since my son was born I have been often of “forgetting everything else but him”, and been spending all day/evening long with him, thus making very little progress (almost nothing at all?) on our Tea Emperor site.

But, better later than never! Here are some ingredients I have often used for this tea. Actually, comparing to this post I skipped one of the ingredients from  for a reason I will explain in the end of this article, also for the day of photo taking I happened to use brown sugar instead of Longan. (in Traditional Chinese Medicine it is said that brown sugar can “warm your body up”, and it is especially good to add them during menstruation days for women) therefore the ingredients in the photo are not exactly, 100% the same as the previous post, though very similar. But as the herb tea goes, you can always freely add what you like and skip those you happen to have not.

In the photo there are three ingredients: Red Date (left), Longan (top), and brown sugar (right)  You could of course replace brown sugar with Longan as shown in the post. If you add both of them (brown sugar and Longan), the taste of tea will be quite sweet and nice, of course you can always lesson the amount.

The propotion is very simple: starting with equal amount of all of them (as shown in the picture on top), then try to adjust accordingly to your preference. There is no absolute standard or “correct” way of doing it.

So, the ingredient that has been intentionally “missing” here, is Astragali radix (HuangQi in Chinese, written as 黃耆). This herb is very good for the health, but personally I can not use them at the moment because it is NOT GOOD for a person who have myoma in the uterus to eat HuangQi (yes, another important wisdom from Traditional Chinese Medicine, and we should get to more of those later)

I recently read an article from Common Health magazine (Taiwan) about interviews of eight famous traditional Chinese medicine doctors. All of them have lived really long and many of them are still healthy and active in their 80s. The reporter summarised some of their advice on how to live healthier and longer. Although there is probably never a common truth on this topic, some of the points do worth mentioning and sharing:

1 Sleep for 7-8 hours per day, regularly Especially between 11:00-03:00, you’d better be in deep sleep. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, during this period of time your blood circulation flows through the liver and gallbladder meridians respectively, therefore it is important to sleep well to have liver rested, from which the whole body system will benefit significantly. 2. Drink teas, with some cautions Tea is no doubt a drink that promotes your health (otherwise this blog won’t exist!) However, you need to remember some important points to really benefit from drinking tea:

– water temperature. It depends on what kind of tea you drink, but for green teas, 80℃ is the most suitable temperature. if the water is too hot, some effective nutrients will be destroyed or lose its functions. – brew only for limited time: you brew your time according to you own taste, of course, but never brew it for too long, and after brewing you should always take leaves out. If the leaves are in the tea for over 8 hours, it will release tannic acid which is harmful for your stomach. (Actually, for this point Teaemperor had learnt his own lesson: one night he brewed tea and left the leaves there until next morning, then he continued drinking the same pot of tea. The result? he lied in the bed for stomach ache for the whole day!) – don’t drink strong tea after meal: how strong is strong, this depends from person to person, but the idea is so that when the tea is strong enough, tannic acid inside the tea will combine with protein in the food and interfere with your digestion. – caution of caffein? Despite of being very healthy drink, tea does contain some caffein which some people might need to avoid it, or at least limit the amount of consumption if you are health-conscious, for example, mother-to-be and those who have stomach infection or sleep disorder. 3 eat more vegetable, less meat. Especially less red meat. I don’t have personal experience on this, but in general we don’t eat too much meat at home. Part of the reasons is that Teaemperor has decided to stop eating meat (except for fish), because his body feels “healthier” in this way. Actually, I have heard that some people who practice Chi-Kong stop eating meat naturally at some point of time, because “their body just don’t want to take it any more”. Personally, I always think that listening to you body can give you the most depth truth about how to be healthier, so, maybe one should just try it out, then you will see, whether having less meat really bring some changes to your health and life. 4. exercise and massage Everybody knows that exercising regularly is important for health. One Traditional Chinese Medicine doctor also mentioned in the interview conducted by Commonhealth magazine that when he wakes up, the first thing he does is to rub his hands, make it warm, then massage his own face and ears, especially on some acupuncture points. Well, not all of us know where those acupuncture points are, right? Never mind, you don’t need to know them either. You can just use your index finger and thumb to massage through your ears. If some areas feel especially painful, massage them even more! In this way you can clear some “blocked” meridians in your body system which will improve your circulation. 5. slower down Find any activity which can slow you down, be it writing, gardening, baking…or anything. Slowing down can lessen pressures from daily life and a calm heart is essential for living a healthy life. 6. keep learning something new A curious heart never feels bored about the world. Just like a young kid, everyday is a new day, everything is interesting. This attitude will help you go a long way in pursuing a mind-body balanced healthy, happy life. If you are interested, you could check the original article from below link. Reference source: Common Health magazine: (only in Chinese)

In this post I introduced the winter’s “must-have-tea” – ginger tea for Chinese people, now I will introduce you another winter’s classic: Red Date & Longan tea.

As its name indicates, the basic ingredients are red date and longan, in addition Chinese often add other herbs in such as goji berries (Lycium Barbarum, goji is the way to pronounce it in Chinese) and astragali radix to enhance the effects. All ingredients have their different functions for maintaining health, but in general they help strengthening one’s Chi and make the blood circulation better.

Therefore, almost all Chinese women know that during the last part of their menstruation circle it is good to have some Red Date & Longan Tea with brown sugar, because it can smoothen the pain of menstruation and help the blood flow in a way that it doesn’t “stuck” inside. In other words, a healthy cycle help women get rid of waste in the body and Red Date & Longan Tea is helpful during the process.

Here you can see the ingredients in my kettle:

Red Date -The red big fruit-like ingredient

Goji berries – smaller ones from the kettle, orange colored berry

Astragali radix – the long-shaped one that looks a bit similar to ginseng

Longan – the black round dry fruit. From the picture you could see two longan.

Besides, I also added in some slices of gingers as well as brown sugar. As Finland is really cold now, -10 to -20 everyday, so I sort of cooked the Red Date & Longan tea and ginger tea together to keep myself warm and healthy.

The ingredients are very common for Chinese, but it could be a bit challenging to get it if there is no Chinese grocery stores nearby in your area. Let me list Chinese names of those ingredients here, which you can print it out and bring with you to stores in case you are in need of them. I don’t know how it is in the States or Canada where many Chinese reside, but in Finland, those ingredients are always big “puzzles” for many Finns. : )

Here you go:

First of all and most important of all, the Red Date & Longan tea in Chinese: (pronounced as guei-yuan-hong-zao-cha)

Longan in Chinese is: (pronounced as long-an)

You might have noticed, the characters of Longan look different from the name of the tea above, right? Actually, longan (龍眼) and guei-yuan (桂圓) refer to the same fruits. When guei-yuan has been dried up, we call it longan.

So, if you go to Chinese grocery store to buy ingredients for the tea, you should buy longan (龍眼) , but to name the tea, you should call it guei-yuan. : )

If you are enthusiastic to know all the ingredients in Chinese, here you go:

Guei-yuan in Chinese:

Goji berries in Chinese: (pronounced as goji)

Astragali radix in Chinese is: (pronounced as huang-qi)

Voila! Now you know one more “tea” Chinese drink for their health!

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According to Chinese ancient wisdom, one of the best drinks during the wintertime is Ginger Tea. Ginger has always played the role of warding off colds and flu in Chinese herbal medicine system, because colds and flu are considered as “coldness” from outside, while ginger can enhance the “warmness” from within.

In fact, it doesn’t take a Chinese medicine practitioner to know the benefits of ginger to human body, because the daily experience has long taught us that ginger always helps when we get cold, and it FEELS good to have many cups of ginger tea during freezing days.

Besides, a Japanese respected doctor and best-seller book author also recommends people to drink ginger black tea for the same reason: it keeps your body warm as well as keeping your whole immune system stronger.

Despite being called as Ginger Tea in Chinese (Jiang Cha), there is not always “tea” in itself. In fact, the most common way of making Ginger Tea, is to peer some ginger roots and slice them into thin slices, add them and some brown sugar into boiling water, wait for 10 minutes then it’s ready. If you prefer, you could also add some real tea leaves such as black tea or green tea, but most of the time Chinese drink it without “tea leaves”.

In next post, we will explain you step-by-step, how to make ginger tea.

Coffee and tea drinkers are less likely to develop type 2 diabetes says a new study that was published in Archives of Internal Medicine. The study shows that people who have three or four cups of coffee or tea a day lower their risk of the type 2 diabetes by at least 20%. It is probably antioxidants like lignans and chlorogenic acids that are involved with this magic trick. One thing is for certain it is not the caffeine, because decaf coffee has the greatest effect.

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