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the weekly tea
tianjian fuzhuan
from white2tea
The weekly tea: tianjian fuzhuan
In my twenties, I thought I knew about classifications of teas: white, green, oolong, black. Everything fit into one of those kinds. Right?
In the last year, I’ve been exploring post-fermented teas, also called dark teas. Puer (both ripe and raw) is one kind of post-fermented tea. Another kind, though, is the heicha (dark tea) used to make fuzhuan. This tea is fermented with a fungus of the scientific name eurotium cristatum, which sounds terrible, so we’re just going to call them “golden flowers.” Who doesn’t love golden flowers?
This tea is heavy in flavor and can brew bitter quite easily if you don’t watch brewing times and amounts. It also has quite the caffeinated punch if you need help getting up in the morning. But that’s not the main reason I’ve found myself drinking heichas this week.
That’s because this has been…

The week of terrible back pain heicha
My toe is healing well, I’m back to using it properly when I walk, my gait is returning to normal, walking is back to normal—everything should be great, right?
No. A few weeks ago, I started having back pain. I tried to rest; it got worse. This last week, it hit the point where I became deeply dramatic about never being able to walk my dog again. I tried a bunch of different things, which had some temporary but not lasting degrees of success, and finally, in consultation with my resident ER doctor (aka Mr. Milan), I went to see a physical therapist.
My layperson piecing things together explanation is this: in the accident that broke my toe at the beginning of January, I apparently also sprained my left hip flexor. I did not consciously notice this at the time, because everything else hurt more, but I do remember in retrospect feeling like I had to manually lift my leg in and out of the car, which I somehow mentally wrote off as “things are weird because my toe is broken.” Does this make sense? No. The toe is literally not involved in lifting my leg. But let’s ignore past Courtney’s logical failings. Walking without using my toe meant I was overusing the muscles on the front of my leg, so my hip flexor got inflamed, which impacted all the other muscles in my hip.
This hurt, so I rested. In fact, I rested so much the last month that the muscles around my spine started getting lazy, and my spine stopped getting the support it needed. Hence: the back pain. That made me rest more, which made the problem enter the vicious cycle stage. (Also, I went to see skating, which meant I was sitting for extended periods of time, and while I was out of town, I stopped my regular swimming sessions.)
The PT gave me exercises to do and told me that there had been too much resting, and I needed to move. So I have been moving, and the pain has gone from excruciating to mild. Hopefully we will get it to nonexistent.
But let’s go back to tea, because the back pain is boring and the tea is not. I got the aforementioned tianjian fuzhuan in my white2tea tea
club shipment on Thursday of this week, brewed it up for breakfast on Friday, and discovered that drinking it made my back feel better. Is this scientific? No. Is this placebo effect? Maybe. Do I care? No, if a placebo makes me feel better, I still feel better.
The letter accompanying the tea club shipment said, and I quote, “Fuzhuan are tea bricks with jinhua or golden flowers (eurotium cristatum) which are coveted in Chinese medicine as something beneficial to drink for health. It’s not very white2tea to blah blah blah about health benefits, but I just like drinking these teas.”
So I looked up blah blah blah health benefits, and it turns out there are peer-reviewed studies that show that some of the compounds in jinhua are in fact anti-inflammatory.
This week has thus become the week of heicha: tea that has (perceived, this statement has not been evaluated by the FDA) anti-inflammatory effects that temporarily relieve pain enough for me to move and relieve pain more permanently.

The Duchess War (on sale for 99 cents!)
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This book is available for 99 cents right now, which is an amazing deal.
Speaking of pain: this was a very hard book for me to write, largely because I wrote it in a time of upheaval. In the midst of writing it, I quit my job as a law professor and moved 1,300 miles (about 2000 km), and I felt like everything depended on this book: if it failed, I failed. Also, I was dealing with a chronic injury at the time that flared up to the point where I could barely walk—there was a point in the October before this book was published where going a hundred yards was impossibly painful.
All the pressure and all the pain made it hard for me to see whether I was writing anything that was worthwhile, and for years after I published it, I couldn’t go back and look at it simply because the time I wrote it in was so hard.
Last year, I started looking through books for promo quotes and started reading bits and you know what? I actually love this book. It’s funny in parts and touching in parts. I did a good job.
I just couldn’t see it at the time.
Buy The Duchess War on:

Until next week!
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