Either you are sorting it out, or you are full of it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

开水 or Hot Water

I’ve been trying to find an answer as to why Chinese people always drink hot water, regarding cold water as bad for health. My results thusfar have been poor (except for the awesome picture of the Chinese kettle lady), but here they are nonetheless.

1) Yahoo Answers! gives you a range of answers from the daft to the commonsensical, although none of them seem particularly compelling.

The best sounding?

in chinese medicine, they believe that drinking cold water will drain your energy because your body will have to use energy to warm it up. Where if you drink water that is body temperature, there is no energy loss.

I believe that and I dont like cold water. I drink at room temp and if you give me real cold water it feels like a shock to the system. Its only when you drink cold water a lot that you prefer it.

My favorite?

Hot water is good for you. It helps wash the food down. Cold water is not good for you.


2) has this to say in relation to Chinese women giving birth:

When asked for a drink of water, women were offered ice chips instead of warm water that they prefer. Most Chinese women will endure the thirst for fear the cold water from ice chip will upset their internal hot/cold balance and subsequently increase their risk of developing arthritis in old age.

3) Jim Conrad’s Musings On Water and Chinese etymology make a nice, yet admittedly impressionistic connection between water and the Chinese psyche.

4) This Breaking News suggests that hot water prevents heart attacks, but also sounds as if it were written by a seventh grader. (Note first sentence proclaiming, “This is a very good article.”)

5) The best part to this small epiphany is framed by the blogger’s description of himself: “With a keen eye and a penetrating mind I bring to you collections of my random thoughts that I believe are so clever and original that you might have thought them yourself and hence relate to this blog.” (italics mine)

6) Perhaps the best source I’ve found (I think in part to my still developing Chinese), is this article from the Gansu Daily where I found Miss Teakettle. As far as I can tell, the article has something to do with drinking water only once after it’s boiled, and not reusing it again or later due to the possibility of contamination. It begins:


As best as I can translate: “Everybody knows in their everyday lives how drinking hot water is good for your health, but how should you boil it? How should you drink it? There are many things to be concerned about.”

It’s the first part of that sentence. “Everybody knows.”

For the time being, I’m willing to keep on thinking that this connection between health and drinking hot water, like most conventions, is a matter of everyone accepting it’s true.

“Everybody knows.” Of course, they do.

posted by ferret at 7:44 am  

Powered by WordPress