macrobiotic teas

Macrobiotic Tea
Macrobiotic Teas

Macrobiotic Teas

macrobiotic teas

Learn about various macrobiotic teas, what they are and what they are good for. Learn the ideal way to make the ideal cup of tea and how to drink it.

Teas have been used in all cultures as the primary traditional method of natural healing. It may be that as we are mostly water, the water of the tea interacts with the water in our body easily. The warmth of the tea helps us relax and accept the beneficial nutrients of the tea.

The act of drinking tea can be very relaxing and a form of meditation. This theme was developed in the Japanese tea ceremony. The teas were considered to be an aid to meditation.

Teas tend to be alkaline forming and very low in the GI making them ideal for improving our immune system and losing weight.

what are macrobiotic teas?

Macrobiotic teas are a range of teas that contribute to health and healing. Each tea has particular qualities that may be more useful, depending on our situation. Some macrobiotic teas will be stimulating, others relaxing and other have particular healing qualities. Most macrobiotic teas are commonly available and ones that you may already be drinking. A few are teas that you specially make at home.

slimming teas

Teas can help us feel full and satisfied for longer as they fill our stomachs and we hold the liquid there for longer than water, to break down the nutrients. They can be a substitute for snacks or drunk during a meal. It is thought that green, jasmine and oolong teas have properties that help us lose weight.

healing teas

Teas like green tea have useful phyto-nutrients like antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea has been shown to reduce cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, help prevent cancer.

chi energy

In terms of chi, teas can be generally classified as yin and relaxing. They are associated with the five elements water. This suggests teas are helpful for relaxation, healing and tranquility.

tea meditation and sensitivity training for cooks

Tea have been used for meditation in Japan from the 1200s. The tea ceremony engages all five senses. We can listen to the sound of pouring the tea. Watch the rising stream and look at the colour of the tea. Feel the cup and warmth of the tea with our hands. Smell the tea and taste it. The more detail we describe each part of the process the more sensitive we become to subtle differences.

tea preparation

There are 3 important variables to experiment in terms of making tea. The temperature of the water, the quantity of tea and the time you leave the tea to brew. These will determine the taste of the tea.

Useful equipment for making tea are a tea pot with internal sieve, thermometer, timer, dish to rest the sieve and cup.

Heat the water to between 60 and 80 degrees centigrade. Put about one teaspoon per cup of loss tea in a sieve. Put the sieve into the hot water and time for between 2 and 8 minutes depending on the tea. See the packet for instructions. The longer the tea brews the stronger and more bitter the flavour.

By making small alterations in the preparation of a tea, we can describe the small differences in taste to develop our taste sensitivity.

Interestingly the taste of the tea will appear to subtly change with each sip as our taste buds adapt to the very faint taste, rather like our eye adjusting to a dark room. The first sip might taste like water, and then by the 3rd sip we start to taste the tea.

Macrobiotic Teas Pouring Tea

Macrobiotic Teas Pouring Tea


Here are some of my favourite teas. There are so many more to try and you can apply the same illustrated preparation method to most teas. Personally I prefer loose teas. It is claimed that the bigger leaves and premium teas are sold loose. You can test your tea by unrolling the leaves and seeing how large the leaf is after brewing. In theory the larger the leaf the better the tea. I have included so special macrobiotic tea recipes.

green tea

There is a wealth of research suggesting that regular consumption of green tea aids better health. This includes research on preventing cancer, reducing heart disease risks, lowing cholesterol, reducing fat in the body, preventing strokes and reducing dementia.

There are many green teas to explore. Varieties commonly come from China, Japan and Korea. They may be steamed or roasted and have different seasons from which they have been picked. Even being picked in the morning or afternoon is claimed to make a difference to the taste.


The green tea leaves are roasted to make a darker version of green tea. It can taste milder, smoother and richer. It is an appealing tea during or after eating and has a relaxing influence on the stomach.


This is a variation of hojicha where the twigs from the green tea bush are roasted to create mild tasting tea with minimal caffeine. For many this is the favourite macrobiotic tea with its mild, soothing influence.


Green tea is mixed with roasted rice to create a more nutty, roasted flavour.


Green or white tea leaves are mixed with jasmine flowers to create a tea with a distinctive perfumed fragrance. Jasmine tea can be bought as loose tea or as Jasmine pearls where the leaves are rolled into small balls. The tastes are sweeter than green tea and the jasmine pearls have a distinct pleasant after taste. Jasmine tea has similar benefits to green tea.


Oolong tea is essentially green tea leaves allow to oxidize in the sun or under strict temperature control so they ferment. This changes the structure and taste of the tea. Oolong tea typically has less caffeine but a greater concentration of polymerized polyphenols, which tell the body to convert fat into energy, and reduce absorption of fats. This makes oolong a popular choice for weight loss, lowering cholesterol and minimising the risk of heart disease.

There are many varieties of oolong tea, depending on the region, variety of leaves, season, and length of fermentation.

black tea / earl grey

Black teas are fully fermented. There are many health benefits to drinking black teas. They are high in anti-oxidants and flavonoids. This is thought to be the reason research has shown that regular consumption of black tea reduces cholesterol and the risk of stroke and heart disease. In addition new research suggests that black tea has many similar benefits to green tea. In addition it is thought to help prevent kidney stones, Parkinson’s disease and ovarian cancer.

There are many varieties of black tea including; Ceylon, Assam, Darjeeling, Keemun and Yunnan. The names donate the region the tea comes from. Black teas can be flavoured. For example early grey is flavoured with bergamot oil. There are many black tea blends.

mint tea

You can use fresh mint leaves to create a tea with fresh, living chi and energy. This can be very refreshing. Try with honey and or lemon. This version is popular for healing sore throats.


Verbena tea was featured in Nicholas Culpepper’s 1650s book on Herbal Medicine and is claimed to help mothers produce milk and the production of sex steroids.

The tea has a light uplifting taste. Another variant is lemon verbena, which has a stronger refreshing taste.


This is considered an ideal tea for good sleep. It has been shown to have useful anti-inflammatory properties.


This tea originated from South Africa and has become popular for its health benefits and lack of caffeine. It is claimed to help with nervous tension, digestion and allergies. The flavonoids in this tea are thought to reduce the risk of cancer. It has also been used to reduce colic in babies.

A popular blend for Rooibos is to add vanilla, giving it a distinctive taste.

lemon and ginger

The ginger provides strong anti-inflammatory properties and the lemon is highly alkaline forming, making this a helpful tea for headaches, arthritis and rashes. Ginger on its own is a traditional Chinese remedy for nausea.

lemon and honey

This is a classic drink for colds and flu. The lemon provides an abundance of vitamin C (as long as it is not overheated).

lemon, ginger and honey

This combination has the influence of being anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and alkaline forming, making it ideal for sore throats. The honey helps the liquid stick to the throat providing a soothing coating.

ume kuzu

This traditional macrobiotic tea is highly alkaline forming and soothing to the stomach. Use for stomach pains and cramps. For more details go to ume kuzu recipe. Add grated ginger to reduce nausea and sooth stomach inflammation.

being creative with your macrobiotic tea

You can play with the tastes of your teas and adjust them with natural flavourings. Try adding cinnamon, vanilla, honey or lemon to create different healthy tastes.

Macrobiotic Teas Cups

Macrobiotic Teas Cups

cups and teapots

To make the experience of drinking more pleasurable look for teapots and cups that you will enjoy. Be aware of the shapes, colours and textures that will enhance the sensory experience of drinking tea and help keep you in the moment. For more ideas read about wabi sabi.

becoming a connoisseur

Your enjoyment of a tea can be greatly increased by becoming a connoisseur and learning all about the tea and different ways to choose and prepare the tea.

learn more about macrobiotic teas with Simon Brown

Simon can help you with macrobiotic cooking classes and an online or in person macrobiotic consultation so you can learn new skills and ways to create your own macrobiotic diet. Call 07543663227 or email to discuss learning more.

macrobiotic sea vegetables

Macrobiotic Sea Vegetables Nori Rice Balls

Macrobiotic Sea Vegetables Nori Rice Balls

macrobiotic sea vegetables

Here we explore the different macrobiotic sea vegetables. The macrobiotic diet is based on those foods eaten by the world’s healthiest societies and includes sea vegetables, as eaten by the people of Okinawa and many parts of Asia. In macrobiotic cooking sea vegetables can be used in soups, stews and salads. They are used to make macrobiotic maki or sushi.

Sea vegetables are highly nutritious and make a helpful addition to a macrobiotic vegan diet. They can easily be added to many common macrobiotic recipes. Macrobiotic sea vegetables are those sea vegetables that are grown, harvested and dried naturally. Ideally they would come from clean waters. Choose the nearest source of macrobiotic sea vegetables to you.

types of macrobiotic sea vegetables

These are sea vegetables typically used in a macrobiotic diet and are a nutritious addition to your macrobiotic cooking practice.


Macrobiotic Sea Vegetables Fruit Kanten


Agar agar is sold as fine flakes or in bars. Agar agar is a translucent white. Agar agar has a very subtle taste and often not noticeable in dishes. It is used to make a aspic or jelly called kanten. It can be used to make fruit deserts or to make a vegetable and or bean aspic.

Suggested serving. 1 tbs for one cup of water.

Macrobiotic Sea Vegetables Arame Salad

Macrobiotic Sea Vegetables Arame Salad


Arame is consists of long dry, fine, black, shafts of sea vegetable. Arame has a mild salty taste with a subtle taste of the sea. Arame has a delicate texture. Arame does not need to be cooked and can be added to salads raw. It makes a colourful contrast to other vegetables.

Suggested serving is about 1/8 cup (small handful) per person.


Dulse is a dry, purple sea vegetable. It is sold in short strips, often with several layers folded into each other. Dulse is commonly eaten wet. Dulse has a stronger salty taste and a more distinct taste of the sea. When wet is has a smooth, slippery texture. You can add dulse to soups at the end of cooking, or moisten with water, and add to salads or any vegetable dish, including steamed vegetables, pressed salads or blanched vegetables.

Suggested serving is about 1 inch or 2cm strip daily.

Macrobiotic Sea Vegetables Hiziki and Millet

Macrobiotic Sea Vegetables Hiziki and Millet


Hiziki is black in colour and consists of long dry strings of sea vegetable.

Hiziki has a strong salty taste with a hint of the sea. It has a more chewy texture.

Hiziki can be added to stews. It is typically cooked with carrots where the contrast in colours make an attractive dish. Hiziki can also be cooked with brown rice and carrots to make a satisfying, nutritious dish.

Suggested serving is about 1/8 cup (small handful) per person.


Kombu is sold dry in strips or broad sheets. It is a more leathery, thicker sea vegetable, that is dark green in colour. Kombu has a mild taste and often not noticeable when added to stews. Kombu is use to make broths, Japanese term dashi, where the kombu is simmered with dried shiitake mushrooms and bonito flakes for about 20 minutes. The kombu help create a savoury umami taste. This relates to metal in the five elements. Kombu can be used in stews, soups and bean dishes. It is claimed to aid the digestion of beans. Kombu can be used to add minerals and flavour liquids, or cut fine and eaten with the dish.

Suggested serving is about 1 inch or 3cm strip daily.

Macrobiotic Sea Vegetables Nori Maki

Macrobiotic Sea Vegetables Nori Maki


Is sold in flat thin sheets, similar to paper. You can buy nori toasted, or untoasted. If you buy untoasted nori you can toast it over a gas flame or electric ring. Nori is dark green. Nori has a peasant dry, toasted taste. Once it is wet it develops a stronger smell and taste of the sea. When dry it has a crisp texture. When wet it becomes slimy. It can be eaten as a snack. Just tear into strip and eat. You can make maki and sushi rolls using nori. You can add it to salads, soups, nabe, noodles, natto and brown rice. Cut into fine strips and add for taste and decoration.

Suggested serving is a half to one sheet daily.


Mixed sea vegetable salads are sold dry, and consist of a variety of sea vegetables pre-cut and mixed together. They are usually eaten moist. Some mixtures will have an appealing mix of colours and textures. When damp they have a salty taste and slippery texture. Some mixtures will have a stronger taste of smell of the sea.

You can soak in a small amount of water, so the water soaks into the sea vegetables, rather than the nutrients dissolve into the water. The wet sea vegetables can be added to raw salads, steamed vegetables, pressed salads or blanched vegetables. You can also add the sea vegetable salad mix to soups dry, at the end of cooking.

Suggested serving is about 1 tsp daily.


Tororo Kombu is pickled kombu / kelp that has been finely shredded. It feels soft with a light pale green colour. Tororo kombu has a sweet taste and disolves in the mouth. Tororo kombu is typically added to noodles in broth, nabe and soups. You can add tororo kombu at the end of cooking.

Suggested serving about one tbs per person.

Macrobiotic Sea Vegetables Wakame Soup

Macrobiotic Sea Vegetables Wakame Soup


Wakame is sold dry in long crinkly strips. It is usually eaten wet. It has a vibrant green colour wet. Wakame has a salty taste and smooth slippery texture. The smell can be reminiscent of the sea. Wakame is typically eaten in soups and salads. It adds a clean, mild, salty taste. If cut fine it is not obvious in soups. Typically cut into small pieces dry and add to soups at the end of cooking.

Suggested serving is a 1 inch or 3cm strip daily.


Samphire is a fresh sea vegetable that is green in colour. Samphire has a salty taste and a crunchy texture. It can be eaten raw in salads, lightly steamed or quickly blanched. If it is too salty you can rinse and wash of the salt.

Suggested serving. Half cup per person.

benefits of eating macrobiotic sea vegetables

Sea vegetables are nutrient rich, alkaline forming and research suggests have the ability to help us eliminate substances that may be toxic to us.

  • NUTRIENTS – Sea vegetables contain a wide variety of nutrients from the sea and are especially rich in iron, calcium and iodine. If used regularly sea vegetables can be a useful source of these nutrients. Generally, it is recommended to eat small quantities of sea vegetables daily, and for this reason they are not typically the prime source for nutrients.
  • ANTI-OXIDANTS – Sea vegetable are a good source of potentially healing anti-oxidants. They contain a range of anti-oxidant alkaloids.
  • ALKALINE FORMING – Sea vegetables are alkaline forming and help us maintain a more alkaline condition. Research suggests this may help prevent cancer and arthritis. In addition maintaining a more alkaline condition is thought to improve our immune system.
  • CLEANSING – Research after WW2 suggested that sea vegetable wakame may help the body cleanse radioactive particles and sea vegetables in general are thought to be have a cleansing influence on our bodies.
  • ANTI-INFLAMMATORY – The anti-inflammatory properties of sea vegetables make them helpful for joins, digestion and pains caused by inflammation.
  • ANTI-CANCER PROPERTIES – Initial research suggests that eating sea vegetables may reduce the risk of colon cancer. In addition sea vegetables may have an influence on estrogens, and therefore estrogen related breast cancer.
  • LOWER CHOLESTEROL – Sea vegetables have been demonstrated to lower total and LDL cholesterol with associated benefits to the heart and circulation.

Chinese medicine qualities of macrobiotic sea vegetables

Sea vegetables have a chi that is associated with the five element water and can generally be said to have a more yin, cooling quality. From this perspective sea vegetables help us feel calmer, peaceful and spiritual. They would aid flexibility, cleansing and sexual vitality.

conta indications

Because of the high levels of iodine, sea vegetables could be a risk for someone with an over active thyroid.

Sea vegetables would, in theory, be helpful for a underactive thyroid, however, if they are used in conjunction with medication, regular medical tests would be advisable.


Store dried sea vegetables in a dry, dark cupboard. Most dried sea vegetables are packaged in re-sealable bags. These help keep the sea vegetables fresh.

history of sea vegetables and human consumption

Archaeologists claim sea vegetables have been eating in Asia for about 10,000 years. They have a long history of being part of a traditional Japanese diet.

Most coastal societies would have found sea vegetables easy to collect, nutritious and a stable food supply. In tidal areas, sea vegetables can be readily harvested when the tide goes out. Sea vegetables would have provided a concentrated source of a wide range of nutrients. Sea vegetables would be available all year.

Sea vegetables were easy to dry in the sun and if kept dry last many years.

If you like evolution theory, and think we evolved from sea creatures, then sea vegetables would be our oldest and most original food. In a sense the sea is our evolutionary mother and eating her foods awakens a very distant biological memory of coming home.

better health with macrobiotics

For help with a macrobiotic diet, and learn to improve your health naturally book a macrobiotic consultation with Simon. Macrobiotic consultations can be in person or on-line and include menu plans, suggestions, recipes and on-going support. Call 07543663227 or email for more information.

fermented foods

Fermented Foods - Macrobiotic Meal with Kimchi
Fermented Foods - Macrobiotic Meal with Kimchi

Fermented Foods – Macrobiotic Meal with Kimchi

fermented foods by Simon Brown

Learn what fermented foods are, how to use them and the many benefits of regularly eating fermented foods. Fermented foods are an important part of many cultural diets and an important source of nutrients. They are an essential part of a macrobiotic diet.

what is the definition of fermented foods?

Fermented foods are foods that have been left in a salty liquid, known as brine, until they develop healthy bacteria, know as probiotics. The healthy bacteria is thought to improve the condition of our instances, the function of our immune system and aid in digestion. The definition of a probiotic is – A live microbial feed supplement, which beneficially affects the host animal by improving its intestinal microbial balance.

foods high in healthy bacteria

  • Miso soup
  • Natto
  • Shoyu
  • Saurekraut
  • Kimchi
  • Salads
  • Pressed salads
  • Live yogurt
  • Gherkins

health benefits of fermented foods

Research suggests that fermented foods help prevent or aid recovery from;

  • Diarrhoea
  • Colon cancer
  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Infectious illnesses
  • The ill effects of stress on intestinal flora
  • IBS
  • Colitis
Fermented Foods Natto with Pepper and Mint

Fermented Foods Natto with Pepper and Mint


Fermenting vegetables started around 4000bc in India where cucumbers were pickled. Pickling was a useful way to preserve vegetables. The use of sauerkraut dates back to Roman times. It became a vital ingredient for sailing ships between the 1500s and 1800s as its high vitamin C content protected sailors from scurvy. Kimchi became popular in Korea from the late 1500s. Russian scientist and nobel prize winner, Élie Metchnikoff, published research on healthy bacteria and its influence on the intestines in 1907. He is considered the grandfather of natural immunity.

the importance of temperature in the growth of healthy bacteria

Healthy bacteria lives between 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) and 40 degrees C (100 degrees F) so keeping foods in the fridge will inhibit the production of healthy bacteria. Similarly heating foods risks killing the healthy bacteria. It is therefore best to keep fermented foods at room temperature or keep them at room temperature for at least 2 hours before eating. Being exposed to the air will expose the foods to spores. Generally the warmer the air the quicker the fermentation and the more healthy bacteria we consume.

Many salty fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, pickles, shoyu and umeboshi will store well at room temperature. To get the best effect from foods like yogurt, natto and salads they need to be left exposed to the air for several hours before eating. In the case of salads they will need to be exposed to the air for the maximum time before adding oil or any dressing. You can wash the salad vegetables before leaving in the air.

Pasteurizing foods kills off the healthy bacteria, so fermented foods will ideally not have been pasteurized. Similarly, cooking foods will kill the healthy bacteria, so adding miso or shoyu to hot dishes may eliminate any benefit in terms of healthy bacteria. A more healthy approach would be to add diluted miso to a soup after the soup has been served and just prior to eating, when the liquid will be cooler. Miso and shoyu can be added to sauces at temperatures up to 40 degrees C or 100 degrees F.

One way to speed up the growth of bacteria in vegetables is to mix them with salt and press them between two plates with a weight on top for an hour or more. This is known as a pressed salad in macrobiotic cuisine.

helping healthy bacteria through our stomachs

Our stomach acids reduce the number of healthy bacteria that get through to our intestines. It therefore helps to keep ourselves more alkaline. This would imply that eating fermented foods with alkaline forming foods helps enrich our intestinal bacteria. So for example acid forming foods like coffee, alcohol, sugar, meats and shell fish may, in some people, reduce our ability to absorb healthy bacteria into our intestines.

As stress can lead to greater acidity, it may help to try a short meditation before eating or to stay in the moment to enjoy a calm state of mind.

examples of fermented foods in the macrobiotic diet

The macrobiotic diet is very high in fermented foods and potentially high in healthy bacteria. Dishes that are potentially high in healthy bacteria include miso soups, pickles, pressed salads, raw salads, sauerkraut, kimchi, natto and dishes seasoned with shoyu or soya sauce.

healthy bacteria in raw foods

In addition to foods that have been fermented, many raw vegetables will grow healthy bacteria on their skins. If we leave a salad exposed to the air, spores in the air will attach to the skins of the leaves and start to breed, forming healthy bacteria. Research shown on the BBC?s Truth About Food, demonstrated that raw vegetables could be many times, more effective than commercial probiotics in encouraging the growth of healthy bacteria in our intestines.

further help

Simon is available for online and in person macrobiotic consultations and courses to help you enjoy foods that will help you feel healthy. Call 07543663227 or email to discuss any health issues.