“Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”
October is Healthy Living Month at Deltona Regional Library and my presentation was on “The Uses of Tea” with an emphasis on the use of tea internally and externally for healthy living plus an overview of some other uses too!
TEA FOR HEALTH
THE TEA PLANT
All tea comes from the same plant – Camellia sinensis – the different types are a result of the processing. All types of tea – green/white, oolong, and black/pu’erh – have general health benefits. Tea is completely natural and has numerous health benefits when it is taken internally including providing a calorie free beverage that contributes to hydration, containing vitamins and minerals such as B vitamins, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, panthothenic acid, magnesium, potassium, manganese, fluoride, carotene, vitamin C, iron, zinc, chlorophyll and calcium, caffeine as a stimulant of the central nervous system for high level of concentration, less reaction time, general alertness as well as improving memory and phytoestrogens which are known to increase bone density. Tea is also the only source for the amino acid L-Theanine.
In order for a preventative effect on health, the daily intake of tea must be 3-5 cups. However, it’s not just about the tea, but the soothing, therapeutic feelings as well as the brewing process which takes time and provides a break to revive your body and refresh your mind, reducing stress which is destructive to our immune system. We all need to drink more hot drinks with meals and after since cold drinks solidify the oily foods, slow digestion and line the intestine!
Remember these tips too – the higher the quality of tea, the higher the health benefits, fresh brewed teas have more health benefits than instant or bottled teas, and adding milk negates the benefits since caseins, a group of proteins in milk, react with the flavonoids in tea to cancel out the benefits.
GREEN TEA & WHITE TEA
- highest in antioxidants to protect the body from the ravages of aging and the effects of pollution and neutralize free radical damage to tissues and cells
REDUCES RISK OF CERTAIN CANCER
- high in polymerized polyphenols which are linked to burning fats and flushing carbohydrates from the body
- increases resting metabolism greater than any other tea type
3 CUPS/DAY = - 80 CALORIES
- helps improve cholesterol levels & lowers blood fat
LOWERS LDL & TRIGLYCERIDES,
- high in catechins which promote fat oxidation, also known as “Slim Tea”
- lower in tannins that can sometimes cause digestive problems and affect the absorption of iron
Any plant material that is infused in boiling water that is not from the Camellia sinensis plant is referred to as a “tisane” or infusion. Two of the most popular are Rooibos (Red Tea) and Honeybush, both from South Africa, because they have the body of a black tea and the versatility of the best herbals. They both also have some general health benefits: caffeine free, low in tannins and rich in antioxidants.
ROOIBOS (Aspalathus linearis)
- rich in vitamins and minerals: iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, fluoride and sodium
GREAT ISOTONIC SPORTS DRINK
- no oxalic acid for people who suffer from kidney stones
- used to relieve indigestion in adults plus colic in infants
- contains zinc and alpha hydroxy acid, which promote a healthy skin plus relieves itching and certain skin irritations such as diaper rash, eczema or acne
HONEYBUSH (Cyclopia intermedia)
- rich in vitamin C and minerals: iron, copper, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, fluoride and sodium.
GREAT FOR COLDS/FLU
- contains phytoestrogens used in the treatment of menopausal systems plus reduce the risk of osteoporosis
- contains pinitol, a substance useful in regulating blood sugar in diabetes
In addition to its use internally, tea may be used externally throughout our bodies.
· reduces the amount of oral plaque, dental cavities and gingivitis plus counters bad breath after a meal better than mint, parsley or chewing gum
· tea strengthen the body's natural immune system to fight viral infections like colds and flu and is strong enough to kill disease causing bacteria
· use a cool tea bags for an eye soothing remedy to reduce swelling and redness.
EYE TEA: Combine 1Tbs ground green tea and 1Tbs ground chamomile. Fill 2 tea bags with 1Tbs of the mixture in each. To use to soothe sore, tired eyes and help relieve stress immerse tea bag into warm water. Place one over each eye. Lay back, relax and enjoy!
· cleans oily hair very effectively and makes your hair shine
· tea rinse enhances the color and highlights
· tea stuffed in shoes in “tea socks” can be used as deodorant
· refreshing anti-fungal foot soak and to slough off dead skin & calluses
RELAXING FOOT SOAK: Combine 2Tbs green tea, 1Tbs lavender, 1Tbs rosemary, 1Tbs sage and 1Tbs thyme. Place 2Tbs mixture in a muslin bag. Boil 3 or 4 cups of water and drop in the herbal bag. Remove the pan from the heat and steep for about 15 minutes. Add the herb infused water with warm water in a tub. Soak your feet for 15 minutes.
· use in a scrub for a mini facial or splash on tea as a skin freshener and a wrinkle preventative or as aftershave to soothe shaving cuts
HERBAL FACIAL SCRUB: Combine 1c grated soap with 1/2 c old-fashioned oatmeal, 1/4c loose leaf green tea and 1/4c lavender blossoms. For each scrub, place 1/4c mixture in the center of a washcloth, gather up and tie tightly with a yard of ribbon. Tie ribbon in bow. Use in tub or shower to remove dead cells and stimulate circulation, then hang to dry over faucet or shower head with the attached ribbon between use.
· for mild sunburn, abrasions or rash plus relaxing & refreshing bath
Combine 1/4c lavender, 1/4c green tea, 1/4c chamomile, 1/4c calendula and 1/4c old fashioned oatmeal in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Fill a large tea bag or muslin bag with 1/4c tub tea blend. To use, steep in boiling water for 15 minutes, then add everything into tub and enjoy!
HERBAL TUB TEA:
· to cool off during the summer months, use a refrigerated tea spritzer
: Boil a cup of spring water, then add 4 tsp of loose green tea leaves and 1 tsp mint leaves. Let mixture stand for 10 minutes then strain, cool and pour into a small spray bottle. Store in fridge and use as a face & body spritzer.
GREEN TEA SPRITZER
· dry tea leaves in muslin bag added to pillow can reduce blood pressure, relieve insomnia & soothe headaches
TEA FOR . . .
· Tea may be used as an herb or spice for rubs, seasoning, sauces and dressings; as a marinade/tenderizer for meat; as a broth for braising, poaching, soaking dried fruit & cooking rice; as an aromatic instead of wood chips in a smoker; as a green with earthy, spinach-like taste; as soup stock and to perk up stews & chili; as a garnish for crunch and flavor on salads or omelets and last but not least as desserts like sorbet since it takes sugar well or in cakes, cookies and puddings.
BASIC BUTTER COOKIES: Cream 1c butter and 1c sugar, then add egg and mix well. Add 2½c flour and 1tsp baking soda, then 1tsp vanilla. Roll into two logs, wrap & refrigerate overnight. Slice, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 10 mins.
Genmaicha Butter Cookies: Add 1Tbs ground GENMAICHA GREEN TEA to butter mixture and replace vanilla with almond extract.
Earl Grey Butter Cookies: Add 1Tbs ground EARL GREY TEA to butter mixture and add 1Tbs grated orange rind.
· In the home, tea leaves may be used to absorb odors especially from cooking but also in the fridge, with flower petals in a potpourri or steeped as a deodorizing spray. Leaves can also be scattered on pet beds to ward off fleas, on floors and carpets to attract dust before vacuuming or placed in areas to absorb moisture. Brewed tea can also be used to dye fabric, paper, or plastic to give an antiqued look, as a non-toxic wood stain or as a good cleaning agent for any kind of woodwork, black lacquer pieces as well as mirrors or chrome.
· Tea is also useful in the garden especially for watering acid loving potted plants, but the leaves are highly biodegradable and may be added to compost or sprinkled around plants for extra fertilization. Mixed with seed and set in the refrigerator for five days, tea also accelerates germination.
Finally these tea bricks were originally made to be used as currency!