While it is prized in many cultures around the world, tea is much more than your average beverage. With its rich history and timeless traditions, tea has been involved in important events for nearly 5,000 years.
It’s no wonder that this botanical blend has made its way into many different culture’s daily traditions. From the ancient Chinese and their herbal remedies, to an afternoon treat in England, herbal infusions are known around the world.
If having a fragrant cup of tea is a part of your daily ritual, you may have had the chance to stop and think about what you are drinking. The plant from which our beloved tea comes from is known as camellia sinensis. This species originated in central Asia, and is classified as green, black, white or oolong. The people of Central Asia knew the medicinal properties of the various types of teas, and used their effects to treat various ailments and disorders.
The brew then made its way to England in the 1600’s, and then came across to America at the turn of the eighteenth century. Westerners have learned of the many health benefits of this historical drink, and they have become a part of American tradition as well. In fact, Americans consume over 55 billion servings of tea annually, including hot tea, iced tea, and bottled tea beverages.
Studies show that some teas contain special antioxidants called flavonoids, which are a member of the polyphenol family. These flavonoids have been shown to fight free radicals in the body that contribute to heart disease, cancer, and clogged arteries. They also work to lower cholesterol, accelerate weight loss, and bring about mental clarity.
Tea leaves that have been processed more have less polyphenol content. Using loose tea leaves that have not been processed into tea bags are more potent and contain a greater amount of antioxidants.
There are also herbal teas, which are actually not classified as true teas. Herbal teas are made from a combination of dried leaves, flowers, barks, seeds, and other botanicals. While some herbal teas have actual tea leaves infused within the mixture, making them caffeinated, many herbal combinations are caffeine free.
Many people believe that drinking specific blends of tea will help to relieve certain symptoms and may prevent diseases. Here is a list of some of the most common teas and their corresponding effects:
- Peppermint Tea: Great at treating nausea, and building immunity.
- Green Tea: With a high concentration of flavonoids, green tea is thought to stop the growth of several different types of cancer. It is also believed to play a role in preventing clogged arteries, burning fat, and reducing the risk of contracting Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Green tea can reduce the risk of stroke, improve cholesterol levels, and help foster healthy brain tissue.
- Black Tea: Studies show, that black tea may reduce the risk of stroke, as well as protect the lungs from potential damage due to cigarette smoke exposure. Since it has a higher caffeine content, black tea is great for stimulating mental clarity.
- White Tea: Is believed to have the most potent anti-cancer effects when compared to other teas. White tea is also known to kill viruses, fungi, and bacteria in the body.
- Oolong Tea: May have an effect in lowering your LDL, low density lipoprotein, cholesterol levels. Oolong tea is also thought to drop the levels of sugar in the blood, reducing your risk for diabetes.
- Chamomile Tea: Known as the calming tea, chamomile can induce sleep, reduce menstrual cramps, and relieve the symptoms of a common cold.
- Hibiscus Tea: While this tea is made from the Hibiscus flower instead of traditional tea leaves, it still claims to have certain health benefits, such as reducing cholesterol, blood pressure, and sugar absorption.
- Rooibos Tea (Red Tea): This amazing beverage is thought to slow down the aging process, while relaxing muscles and reducing cramps. It also builds immunity, and has calcium in it which is essential for building bone mass.
- Cinnamon Tea: Is known for its calming effect, and is also used to support healthy digestion and circulation.
- Ginger Tea: Treats nausea, indigestion, colds and migraine headaches.
- Raspberry Leaf Tea: Helps to treat sore throats, colds, diarrhea, and canker sores. Raspberry leaf tea may also play a part in keeping bones, nails, skin, and teeth healthy and strong.
Next time you are indulging in your favorite brewed tea beverage, you may actually be helping to make yourself healthier as well. Tea is a delicious way to promote good health.
This is a guest post. Lawrence Reaves is a contributing author for Solstice Medicine Company, a tradtional Chinese medicine company offering eastern and western remedies for bone health, immune support and pain relief. Go here and see the products they offer for your health.
Image courtesy of zirconicusso / FreeDigitalPhotos.net