The healing power of tea
Taking time out for a cup of tea is a wonderful way of stepping out from the hustle-bustle of the day to enjoy a beverage that is good for you. Be it black or green tea, or one of the many herbal varieties or blends that are available; tea truly has the power to heal.
The ritual of tea
“Let me make you a cuppa” my Nanna would say, as I told her about my latest boyfriend woes. “I’ll put the kettle on” my Aunty Wendy would say after we had finished our filling Christmas lunch. For many of us, sharing a cup of tea with our friends or family members is an interaction akin to a ritual. There’s just something about the whistling of the kettle, the pretty teacups and the aroma of a fresh brew that makes sharing tea a special occurrence.
Whatever your type, be it Earl Grey, English Breakfast, Russian Caravan or Darjeeling, black teas are full of antioxidants that help take toxins out of bodily systems. It’s also thought that drinking black tea regularly can reduce the risk of some types of cancers. Tea drinkers also have reduced risks of both arthritis and diabetes. Black tea also contains a small amount of caffeine. This means it can help get you up and going for the day but is a much milder stimulant than coffee.
Green tea and matcha tea
Green tea is made from the same leaves as black tea, however they are treated differently and have a different level of oxidization. Green tea has been proven to be beneficial for brain health and improve memory. Matcha, the powdered form of green tea has been enjoyed by Buddhist monks in Japan for thousands of years. Matcha is believed to be the most beneficial form of green tea and is full of antioxidants, fibre and unique vitamins and minerals. Drinking matcha tea has been suggested to reduce anxiety, improve skin condition and elasticity and even help aid weight loss.
Teas for tummy troubles
The tea most commonly used to calm an upset and irritated stomach has got to be peppermint. Peppermint tea can reduce bloating and soothes the liver. The various oils that make their way into peppermint tea kick start the gallbladder to produce and release extra bile, which your body uses to digest fatty substances. Spearmint and field mint can also be found mixed up in minty blends, giving you more depth and diversity in the flavour with all those tummy calming benefits. Roasted chicory is also used in blends designed to aid digestion.
Teas for mental wellbeing
Chamomile is a calming ingredient, which has been used as a relaxant in traditional medicine for many thousands of years. When paired with vanilla it can help you instantly relax. Lavender flower is also sometimes included in blends designed to help you unwind and prepare for bed. It works by producing the feel good hormone dopamine and reducing the stress hormone cortisol. The soothing scent also helps reduce late night cramps and muscle spasms. Another plant with mild sedative properties that is used in some teas is valerian.
Teas for women’s health
Raspberry has many health benefits for women, so much so that it is often referred to as the women’s herb. Red raspberry leaves contain a compound call fragarine which helps tighten muscles in the pelvic area. This can assist women experiencing menstrual cramping. It is often used in late pregnancy to help tone and prepare the uterine muscles for childbirth. Fennel is an ingredient that can help breastfeeding mothers increase milk production. When used in tea, cranberry can assist with discomfort associated with the urinary tract system. It has been proven to help remove bacteria from the lining of the bladder.
Teas for colds and flu
A lemon and ginger blend can help if you’ve fallen victim to the winter weather. The lemon is good for soothing sore throats, while the ginger will warm you up. Another warming ingredient is turmeric, which has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The flowers and leaves of the echinacea, a small purple flower related to the daisy are often included in teas. It is believed to support the immune system to fight off infections and can be paired with other ingredients such as elderberries, which are high in vitamin C.
Unusual tea blends
You may never have heard of it, but rooibos is an herbal tea commonly available in supermarkets. You may see it marketed as “bush tea”. It is made from the fermented leaves of hardy South African plant and is antioxidant-rich. Other herbs such as aniseed, star anise, cardamom, cloves, and coriander seeds all make their way into spicy, flavorsome blends. One popular and utterly delicious mix is Chai tea, which is a combination of black tea with a selection of fragrant herbs. The cinnamon in Chai is thought to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol.
With all these health benefits, it’s time to put the kettle on right away!