Recent news has been filled with suggestions that men are concerned about declining masculinity. Because this may be fueled by some media hype, I chose a bit of wordplay that I usually avoid – substituting “tea” for “ty” and poking a bit of fun at some of the people promoting various extreme treatments. But, on the serious side, some of the suggested treatments for loss of masculinity are untested and possibly dangerous. But increasing one’s daily tea intake is a safer and more reliable option, based on medical research and the history of tea culture.
“The End of Men” – Tucker Carleson Originals on Fox News
A promotional video for a new installment in a video series by Mr. Carlson describes a “total collapse of testosterone levels in American men,” positing an explanation for what he and many conservatives see as a creeping loss of masculinity in contemporary society. While this may be politically hyped media content, it’s an opportunity to explore another health benefit of tea.
Some of Carlson’s recommendations are eating raw egg yolks, intense physical workouts, and exposing genitalia to red lasers. Surprisingly, he failed to include a daily tea-drinking practice or tea ceremony with his recommendations. We can look at what some of our ancient ancestors knew from experience even before we had modern scientific evidence.
Masculinity and the Samurai Warriors
Some of the most masculine men in history are the Samurai warriors. One crucial part of their preparation for battle was a tea ceremony. Many Samurai had a personal tea master. The most famous relationship between Samurai lord and tea master was between Lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi and tea master Sen No Reikyu. The tea master developed the mindful focus of the tea ceremony that is recognized as a way to intensify focus. Like the Buddhist monks who valued tea for giving them alert focus, it is also a critical aspect of the warrior spirit.
Samuari and Genmaicha Tea
Another story of a 15th-century Samurai warrior and his tea maker resulted in the creation of a popular tea – Genmaicha. The legend is told that a servant who regularly made the warrior’s tea accidentally dropped some kernels of toasted rice from the sleeve of his kimono into the cup he was serving.
The warrior chose to ignore what could have been a fatal accident. It is said that the other Samurai witnessing the scene expected him to execute the servant. But, valuing the skill of the servant in making his tea, the warrior chose to drink the tea with the rice and proclaimed it delicious.
The twist on this story of the warrior being confident enough in his manhood to be forgiving and also to appreciate the role played in his life is always appreciated by tea lovers.
Samuari Legacy at Wakamatsu Tea and Silk Farm in Northern California
Tea was considered to be an important survival tool for the last of the Samurai warriors in 1869 who fled Japan and established the first colony with their families and servants to grow tea and raise silkworms. They arrived in California with ships loaded with tea and mulberry plants and silk works and the intention to begin a new life in North America.
Even though their conflicts with gold miners and ranchers in the area they chose, some of the tea plants they brought with them continue to be part of the agricultural history of tea in the U.S. Wakamatsu Farm is a fascinating historic site and is in the process of restoring the original tea farm.
The original members of the colony are remembered as survivors who remained loyal to their shogun but also wanted to maintain the lineage. At Wakamatsu in Northern California is the grave of the first Japanese immigrant to die in North America. She was a servant girl, Okei, who became a symbol of dignity and sacrifice for future Japanese immigrants.
Sri Lankan Gold and Silver Tip Tea for Testosterone Enhancement
Even outside Japan’s Samurai connections with tea, Sri Lanka produces gold and silver-tipped versions of rare teas that are believed to enhance testosterone and masculine qualities. These teas tend to be somewhat rare and very expensive.
And the idea tends to be catching on with several tea companies blending and marketing their products as “. . .energizing for male sexual performance.” While there is no science that proves these claims, there is some research that explains why the chemistry of Camellia sinensis benefits men.
Some of the Science Explaining the Relationship Between Tea and Testosterone
While there are many causes for men to suffer drops in testosterone production, including injury, side-effects of some medications, and complications with other diseases, it is often times seen to be associated with inflammatory conditions. And scientific research includes many studies into the relationship between Camellia sinensis moderating inflammation and a few studies into the potential for tea extracts to stabilize hormone production. In general, the benefits of drinking tea may offer more general benefits for overall health that contribute to hormone balance and a sense of well-being.
One article recently published by Dr. Rachelle Herdman, MD, ND of the Center for Naturopathic Medicine begins with:
For LOW TESTOSTERONE, green tea extract can act as an adaptogen to preserve healthy testosterone levels, and its catechins inhibit the enzyme 5-alpha reductase, resulting in a rise in circulating Testosterone. Green tea is also anti-inflammatory, protecting testicular cells from damage so that they secrete Testosterone more efficiently. An adaptogen is a botanical that can encourage or slow the activity of an organ or gland as needed, to maintain optimal function. For Testosterone, green tea can boost output if it has dropped, and will also curb excessive levels.
Other interesting studies that add to our appreciation for tea supporting men’s health are:
- Green tea polyphenol EGCG blunts androgen receptor function in prostate cancer. The FASEB Journal, 25(4), 1198-1207. Siddiqui, I. A., Asim, M., Hafeez, B. B., Adhami, V. M., Tarapore, R. S., & Mukhtar, H. (2011).
- Protective effect of green tea extract on sperm parameters and FSH and LH levels in mice treated with anti-cancer drug paclitaxel. Iranian Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 12(6), 81.Zaminpeyma, M., & Kouchesfehani, D. (2014).
In conclusion, I recommend that Tucker Carleson consider a tea project by a U.S. Military Veteran who recommends tea for warriors and a quote from an article written by Sarah Sicard published in Military Times.
By Sarah Sicard
Veteran creates tea company. Rakkasan Tea Company
“In America, we tend to view tea as a proper drink for proper people, but in reality it was the foundational drink for a lot of great warriors and thinkers throughout history,” said Diesel Jack Media and Ranger Up founder Nick Palmisciano, one of Rakkasan’s partners.