Does drinking hot tea make you cooler?

Years ago, I read that people who dwell in desert climates will drink hot tea or other warm beverages to cool off. The reasoning, as I understood it, was that drinking hot liquids will force you to sweat more, thus making the body cooler.
I have also heard that the Chinese do this. Is
it true, and does it work? Or it is just the perception of being cooler?

No. Taking heroin and going to be-bop clubs in a beret makes you cooler.

Drinking tea makes you a quaint old English lady.

Be careful about what you read years ago. A 1950s edition of “World Book Encyclopedia” said that drinking cold water on a hot day makes you hotter, because it “increases body circulation.”

My guess is that desert dwellers drink warm beverages has more to do with the uncommonness of ice in the desert. You drinks what you gots.

Just whatever you do, don’t eat cold strawberries on a hot day–that felled a president.

But, all kidding aside, this will be an easy enough experiment to try once it warms up. Drink something that’s a few degrees over body temperature and see how you feel a little later.

Well, I live in Florida, which gets fairly warm in the summer. I can tell you that hot tea does not make you feel cooler, but then again very cold beverages are no good either, as you can get cramps. I can think of nothing less appealing to drink on a hot day than a steaming cup of tea. I have heard that it will make you sweat and thus help cool you down. Central Florida in August, you are already sweating profusely, you don’t need a beverage to help you with that. Hot and warm liquid are good if you are dehydrated, as they seem to be absorbed faster (note: I am not a doctor or nurse), but when it is hot out, they can be hard to choke down. Cool liquid is very refreshing and helps to cool you down. Maybe if you are all wrapped up in a sheet, hot tea sounds like a good idea, but at least here in the southern u.s., give me some cool lemonade or ice tea (sweet, of course).

Of course, the opposite question applies, does drinking cold liquids in winter make you feel warmer?

This reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from “Cheers” that went something like this.

Norm (entering bar): Cold beer there, Sammy.
Carla: Norm, it’s 5 degrees outside! How can you drink a cold beer?
Cliff: I’ll handle this one, Norm. See, Carla, the beer, being colder than body temperature, relatively speaking, merely amplifies the temperature differential, thereby making one feel warmer.
Carla: Then why do you drink it in summer?
Norm: What the hell else are you gonna do with it?

I’m fairly sure it was Diane, not Carla, in the above “Cheers” exchange.

If hot tea makes you sweat and cools you down, then why not sit in a furnace? That’ll get you hot and sweaty and cool you down.

But no. If heat in the interior of the body stimulates sweating, that’s because you’ve just heated yourself up more and need to lose that extra heat. I very much doubt that after heating by means of tea and cooling by means of sweat the body temperature will be cooler than it was before. I don’t think the body’s homeostasis mechanisms are going to overshoot by several degrees just becuase you’ve introduced heat to the inside of the body as well as the outside.

I could be wrong, but one thing’s for certain - if you drink hot tea, the first thing that’s going to happen is you’ll get hotter. Nothing breaks the second law of thermodynamics.

You’re going to sweat anyway on a hot day. Drink plenty of water and help the sweat evaporate with a fan or something.

Drinking hot liquids will make your body start cooling mechanisms …and likewise, eating cold foods will make your body start heat conservation mechanisms…irrespective of the weather/current temperature.

The body regulates its temperature by measuring the temperature in several points, the brain & core regions included. Hot fluid such as tea, passes rapidly into the bloodstream but heats the tissues surrounding the gut very rapidly (due to the good blood supply) very rapidly even before absorption.

At this point, the body believes (yes, I know that I am anthropomorphising) that it is overheating and kicks in cooling mechanisms…it dilates capillaries, diverts blood to the surface, flattens hairs and increases sweating to increase the rate of heat loss.

Within half an hour of drinking the hot liquid, you will have lost about (without refernece books as at work, so feel free to correct me) a degree of heat…however, when you first drink it, you will feel even hotter than you were before. there are very good graphs of this available, I’ll try to find some on line later, or scan one of my reference books.

The converse is true with cold substances… but the body reduces sweating, diverts blood away from surface (main cause of frostbite) to both reduce heat loss & maintain vital organs, which are all in the core, raises body hair to trap a layer of still, insulating air, invokes shivering if cold enough and if continued over a long enough period of time, raises the basal metabolic rate to produce more heat energy from catabolysis (these are breaking down chemicals reactions, such as respiring (burning) glucose).

So the thermoregulation mechanisms do overshoot by about a degree?

I was wrong. I’d like to see some graphs - just for interest, though, not because I don’t believe you. I’ll have a look for some online, too.

Thank you, fierra, for the most reasonable explanation.

Since posting the question, I was reminded of the old Police song, “Tea in the Sahara.” It seems that Sting took the lyrics from the book “The Sheltering Sky,” by Paul Bowles. In the book, a character relates a Berber fable about three sisters who wait for a prince to come have tea with them once a year. The prince never returns, possibly because he was from Florida and it wasn’t ice tea.

I’m wondering now if drinking hot tea in the desert is more effective where the humidity is low and sweat evaporates instantly. Perhaps in the Sahara, the body would not have to endure the momentary rise in temperature for the same length as someone who had just mowed the lawn in Florida humidity.

Studies have demonstrated that cold liquid is absorbed faster than hot liquid, and they taste better on a hot day so you’ll drink more. Tea does not sound like a good idea because it is a diuretic and on a hot day, with a lot of sweating, you may be a little dehydrated without the tea. Since you are already sweating, any perspiration induced by the hot liquid will not cool you any more.

Not if you drink decaf tea, which doesn’t have caffeine. Then it’s NOT a diuretic.