Learn the benefits of tea for your health. Tea is the ancient, natural preventative.
During the Tang Dynasty (618-906 AD), tea became China's national drink. In 1644 sailors began bringing packets from the Far East to the United Kingdom. This replaced ale as the national drink of England. Tea bushes arrived in the United States in 1799 and by 1901 Thomas Sullivan of New Your had developed the first tea bag.
Leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant are dried for stability and shelf life. This particular leaf is rich in manganese and potassium and may provide up to 45% of the recommended daily requirement. Blood cholesterol, pressure and clotting all related to coronary function and disease, decreases as tea consumption increases.
Also rich in vitamins C and E, two cups of green tea provides as much nutrition as one cup of orange juice. It is well known that these vitamins plus the beta-carotene also found in green teas provide the same antioxidant effects as broccoli, spinach and tomatoes.
Teas are differentiated by color, grade and method of processing. Fermented leaves yield Black and Oolong teas, which are more hearty. Green tea requires less processing, hence its green/gold color and delicate aromas.
As for caffeine content, full flavor coffees average 110mg per cup, while most teas deliver only 50 mg. Those who find decaffeinated coffee lacking, may refer to tea for its naturally reduced caffeine content. Like coffee, it too is a natural diuretic.
Studies have shown that estrogen-like compounds in tea has increased bone mass by five percent in tea drinkers, thereby reducing fracture risk by ten to twenty percent. The comforting qualities of tea is no old wives tale either. A natural bioflavonoid found in green tea has been found to significantly increase endorphin levels, which in turn, reduce pain and anxiety.
Black tea is no slouch either. There is evidence that it has greatly reduced the incidence of cancers of the digestive tract, lungs, urinary tract, and skin among regular tea drinkers. White teas, which are very rare and derived from the buds of the tea plant and are produced almost entirely in China. This variety is known for protecting DNA, which in essence, fights cancer.
Tea is also a natural source of fluoride, which everyone knows is a preventative for tooth decay and gum disease. Each cup of tea can provide 0.1 mg, which is far more than fluorinated tap water.
Did you know that herbal teas are not true teas? They are a combination of fruits and herbs and contain no tea leaves. Though they do play a part in health, they do not afford the same benefits.
The United States Tea Association has conducted a survey and found that 85 % of tea consumed in our country is iced. Though you may think grabbing that bottled tea from the cooler at your local mini-mart will offer benefit, be aware that in order to maintain clarity of the tea, processing has removed much of the natural disease preventative antioxidants. For the most beneficial results, tea that is steeped in water that has reached boiling and then iced is the way to go.
With over three thousand varieties to choose from, chances are you will find several favorites while drinking to better health.
Herbal teas for the bath: bathing in a tub of water juiced with herbs can be an almost mystical experience. Soothe tired muscles, ease a tired mind.
Herbs, or combinations of them, have been used for centuries. At one time, in fact, they were the only form of medicine and the only material available to create scents. Depending on their special properties, they were used to soothe or tone muscles, to ease a tired mind, or to just make people feel beautiful. Bathing in a tub of water juiced with herbs can be an almost mystical experience. There are hundreds of herbs and probably thousands of combinations that can be made of them, so the recipes I have chosen are only a small taste of what the possibilities could be.
There are two methods for using the herbal baths you prepare. One is to mix the dried herbs and then tie them up in a square cloth about 5x5 inches. The bag is then hung over the hot water faucet, where the water will pass through it. The bag can also be dropped directly into the tub along with your body, and stay there during your bath. (Herbs floating free can clog up the drain so be sure to keep them captive). If you want to make up bags of herbs to give away, use different colored fabrics to act as a key to the contents. A red striped fabric can indicate a spicy mixture. Yellow can be used for a calming chamomile brew.
The second method of using herbal teas is to simmer the herbs for 5 minutes, steep them for 10 minutes, and then pour the mixture directly into the tub through a strainer. This method is much more satisfactory than the first. The "tea" is stronger and does a better job, plus the fact the fragrance created by simmering the tea is a beautiful bonus. You can also add a complimentary dropper full of essential oil to a quart of material if you want.
Mix equal parts of peppermint leaves, pine needles, and alfalfa mint leaves. Complimentary oil is 1 dropper of rosemary or bergamot to a quart of dry material.
A partially wholesome, partially sensuous combination for people who want a little of both worlds.
1/2 cup sweet woodruff
1/2 cup sweet cicely
1/2-cup angelica leaves
1/2-cup hyssop leaves
1/2-cup patchouli leaves
Complimentary oil: 1 dropper of bergamot or 4 drops of patchouli oil.
Bath in Bay:
This mixture is for those tired and strained muscles, after a hard day's work. Or this one is great for a real pick-me-up.
Simmer 1/2 cup of bay leaves in 2 cups of water for 5 minutes. Steep for 10 and strain directly into a hot bath.
1/2-cup lavender flowers
1/2-cup chamomile flowers or you may use 4 chamomile tea bags
Complimentary Oil: 4 drops of ylang-ylang oil and 1 dropper of lavender oil
To complete your herbal tea bath, take a carrier oil like sweet almond oil, add three drops of the complimentary oil from the recipe and massage your feet, then feel the tensions drain from your day.
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