“Where there is tea, there is hope”.
I grew up in an Irish Chinese family, where a cup of tea was present in any situation. My mother almost always put on the kettle as soon as someone came in the door. Waking up, warming up on a cold day, winding down after a long day, resolving a fight, sitting with a friend and sharing a laugh… a cup of tea is the best medicine for the body, mind and soul.
My father lives on Earl Grey tea, and my kind mother must have made him at least a million cups by now. Visiting my mother’s family in Malaysia, is when I first started to understand that tea was also very beneficial for health. Most Chinese food is quite greasy, so a cup of green tea was often served before eating.
Green tea is produced from the same plant as black tea. The difference is that green tea is not left to ferment after harvesting and before drying, which means it still contains most of the active ingredients. One of my fondest memories from my teenage years in India is from when my best friend, Esther, and I would sit on a ledge overlooking hills full of tea bushes. Beautiful green tea bushes as far as the eye could see. It was breathtaking. We would occasionally roll on top of the green bushes as well for a laugh!
Green tea contains large amounts of catechins, which is a group of polyphenol flavonoids (antioxidants) that have many health benefits. You may have heard of the catechin epigallocatechin-3-gallate, or EGCG, which helps to reduce cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, has anti-cancer properties and aids in weight loss.
Matcha powder is also a green tea, but it contains the whole leaf and is much more concentrated. 1 serving of matcha gives you the nutritional equivalent of 10 cups of green tea. Matcha has 137 times more antioxidants than your normal green tea. Isn’t that brilliant!
Chamomile flower tea is a common household item. Perhaps your mother made you a cup of chamomile tea with some honey in it when you were little, to help with that tummy ache. It contains a flavonoid called chrysin, which is good for anxiety and helps you to sleep. It has an ocean of benefits due to the anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-fungal, antispasmodic, anti-ulcer and astringent healing properties.
I read that it has been found to contain 28 terpenoids and 36 flavonoid compounds including the bioactive components – coumarins, flavonoids, terpenoids and mucilage. All these many properties mean that this delicate little flower has a wonderful healing touch. Makes you want to drink a cup doesn’t it!
I enjoy drinking ginger tea, not only for the deliciously spicy taste but also for the many benefits it has to offer. It aids in digestion and relieves bloating. It can curb hunger pangs hence aiding in weight loss. It helps to relieves muscle pain after that gym workout, and the anti-inflammatory properties means that it can reduce inflammation in muscles and joints. Furthermore, ginger increases your immune system, relieves congestion and relieves nausea – so it’s great if you are sick. Try drinking a cup the next time you have a headache.
Nettle tea is another good tea. It has been found that nettle has antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-ulcer, astringent properties. Nettle has a very high mineral content, as well as containing lots of chlorophyll. It can relieve pain too. It’s a great help if you’re suffering from allergies or asthma. Nettle may reduce hypertension, and helps with diabetes and arthritis. It is commonly known as a diuretic, so it’s good for your kidneys too.
Herbal teas can be enjoyed hot or cold, and taste absolutely divine when combined with other herbs, or fruits and spices. At the moment, my favourites are from Pukka and YogiTea. They both have naturally caffeine free herbal teas. YogiTea has inspirational messages on the tag, which I enjoy every time!
Remember, don’t drink tea with your meals if you can help it. The tannins and caffeine mess with your body’s ability to absorb iron.
When enjoying your next cup of tea, take time to count your blessings and let it bring that radiant smile to your lips!
Hannah – Anni’s Vital Shop, Carrefour, Mijas Costa