Holistic Healing

5 Things About Tea I Wish I Knew Earlier

We Indians love our tea so much, we tend to think we know all there is to know about tea. Isn’t that right? We drink tea with cardamom, ginger and sometimes other spice mixes every day, round the year, and our Indian teas have made it across the globe to the shelves of speciality gourmet stores in the West, adding to our popularity.

Even then, we bet there are so many things you probably didn’t know about tea, despite the fact that it is an indispensible part of your daily lives.

To clear up some of the mystique that clings to the tea we drink for socializing, our health, for warmth and for its refreshing abilities, we have for you 5 facts that you didn’t know about tea.

All tea comes from the same plant

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If you thought that drinking oolong tea or white tea makes you seem more sophisticated because these are probably made from some ‘imported tea leaves’ that are very different from the tea bushes that produce the famous Indian Assam teas and Darjeeling teas, you couldn’t have been more wrong! No need to feel silly now….this one is a very common misconception. However, in reality, all kinds of tea are made from the very same plant – Camellia sinensis.  Simply put –  green tea, black tea, white tea and all other varieties of tea come from the single source, but what changes is the way the tea is picked and processed to achieve different flavours, aromas and even colours. Green tea is toasted to make it refreshing, black tea is oxidized to make it stronger and white tea is untouched and unprocessed to keep it delicate and fine. That’s the only difference, not the plant they grow on!

Having green tea can bring down your healthcare bills

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We all know that green tea is healthy – it has antioxidants that fight off scavenging free-radicals and can also delay aging and promote weight loss. But if you find yourself sitting outside the doctor’s office a little too often, green tea could be the answer! Forget the dermatologist – green tea can soothe irritated skin, especially if it is sunburnt and irritated. Simply steep a green tea bag, fill up the liquid in a spray bottle and apply generously to affected areas. You will find instant relief.

Same goes for those who cannot seem to get enough sleep and as a result have red puffy eyes. Soak a cotton pad in the green tea liquor and place over your eyes for about 5 to 10 minutes to reduce the puffiness, giving you a fresh and bright look.

Green tea also is the perfect remedy for a sore throat; its natural anti-viral properties making it a superstar when it comes to battling the symptoms of colds and flu. Its nature’s way to keep your gums healthy and teeth shiny because of the high fluoride content in it, not to mention it works like the perfect breath freshener too.

It’s delicious and healthy and it also promotes good bone health because it’s high in minerals that enhance bone density, and it can also be the perfect remedy to fight off fungal infections, especially those of the feet. Now, didn’t we say this one tea can totally change your life and reduce your visits to the doctor every year?!

It takes more than just good quality tea leaves to brew the perfect cup

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“Why doesn’t that tea taste great? Probably the quality is poor” – if that’s what you think every time you order a new pack of tea that fails to impress you, it is time for you to understand that it takes more than just the quality of the loose tea leaves or tea bags you use to brew the perfect cup. Make sure that you also check for quality of water and brewing time and technique, because chances are those are the real culprits for that horrendous cup! When you make tea, you should use fresh clean drinking water out of a tap. Water that has been previously brought to a boil loses its oxygen content and that’s why the tea made from it tastes bad.

Now for the brewing – the technique used and time will vary from one variety to other. Black tea needs to be brewed for longer and brought to a boil. If you are using a tea bag – let the hot water sit in the cup for about 4 to 5 minutes for all the flavours to be released.

On the other hand, the boiling water will kill the delicate flavours of green tea and that’s why you need to let boiled water sit for about 5 to 8 minutes before you pour it in to a cup with green tea bags and let it sit for 3 minutes before drinking the cup. If the tea in question here is white tea, the water should be only lukewarm and the tea bag should steep for no more than 2 minutes.

Natural herbs added to tea make for great home remedies for common ailments

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We know that hot tea can be great for a sore throat or a runny nose; its warmth and soothing properties will bring relief from congestion. But did you know you could make many potent home remedies using tea as the base? If you aren’t a big fan of allopathic medicines and love holistic healing methods, then you need to try more herbs infused teas to find relief from common ailments.

For example – cinnamon is great when added to a cup of black tea. It reduces inflammation, can normalize blood sugar levels, can treat stomach ulcers and also brings relief from arthritis. Another great herb is peppermint, especially for tummy problems. It helps in digestion, can treat colds and headaches and also helps with an irritated bowel syndrome because it soothes the muscles in the stomach while improving the flow of bile to aid in proper digestion.

If you are more adventurous, try adding nettle to your tea as this can bring relief from seasonal allergies, urinary tract disorders, chest congestion, pimples and acne and also works like a natural cleanser and detoxifying agent for the liver and kidneys. Ginger too is great, which we Indians already know because we love our Indian ginger tea. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it great for patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis while it also aids in natural digestion and works like the perfect remedy for nausea and motion sickness.

Tea makes you feel as well as look good

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Want to look good and feel smarter? The answer could be as simple as more tea! If you have a sweet tooth and just cannot live without dessert, then green tea can be perfect for you. Some research studies done at Penn State University point out that those who have their dessert with a cup of green tea can reduce the spike the dessert causes in their blood sugar level by 50%! Also, if you are packing on some weight and are scared you are soon going to stop fitting the same dress size, then green tea again is the right answer because it slows down the rate at which you gain weight. Looking good has definitely been made easy by green tea, don’t you think? But that’s not all…..it’s also great for your IQ.

Tea boosts memory and partial learning because of the EGCG compound in it. It also has Theanine that works like a dopamine booster and keeps you feeling calm and composed, so that you are always on top of your game. Tea can promote mental clarity without giving you that adrenaline buzz which cannot be avoided when you have coffee. It can stimulate relaxing alpha brainwaves, much like what meditation does for you. So you see, tea can change your life in more ways than one!

So these were 5 facts we bet you didn’t know about tea! And if all this tea- talk has inspired you to try some new organic tea varieties that will help you change your life for the better.

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