From my last blog, Chamomile got me thinking more about tea. How much do we know about the health benefits of drinking tea. Can we include our typical builders tea here not just herbal type? Yes, we can! It turns out that Teas are some kind of wonder drink that we should all be drinking every day, numerous times each day in fact.
I like tea, all kinds of tea. I do struggle with a builders brew unless the tea bag has been just waved over the hot water so it is weak. Mint, Earl Grey & Chamomile are my favourites. I can drink it without sugar, a major achievement for me, something I have not quite yet managed to conquer with coffee.
First, A Potted Tea History
(Hahaha! See what i did there!)
In England we became tea drinkers thanks to a Portuguese princess, Catherine of Braganza. Catherine married Charles II in the seventeenth century. As a child in Portugal, Catherine had always drunk tea. She preferred it to the Ale the English drank at that time. Tea was very expensive. Once the fashion had become established it became the preserve of the wealthiest in society.
The East India trading company was the first major importers to England. Teas was imported via the trading port of what was Bombay, now Mumbai. In the eighteenth century the government removed tea-taxes. More was smuggled into the country than was legally imported. Removing the taxes made tea become less expensive. As such the trend for tea drinking spread to the middle and working classes.
Cafes and coffee shops became established during the nineteenth century. These places served non-alcoholic drinks making them places suitable for ladies to attend alone. It is from these cafes and coffee shops that the fashion for afternoon tea evolved.
Ten Top Teas
The list of herbal teas and their relevant properties is long, too long to list them all one by one. The ten here are some of the most popular and all packed full of goodness. I have condensed some into groups that have the same or similar properties otherwise we will be here all week!
Black, Green & Oolong
- Lower the risk of high blood pressure
- 2 -3 cups per day can lower the risk of a stroke
- All three contain caffeine which increases metabolism
- Long term regular drinking of these can lower fasting blood sugar levels thus lowering the risk of diabetes
Lemon Balm, Mint & Ginger
- All three will aid the digestive system
- Calming and aids sleep.
- Powerful anti-inflammatory properties can ease aches and pains quickly
- They calm stomach acid production and help ease motion sickness or queasiness
- Soothe sore throats and ease coughs
- Promote healthy blood vessels so improving circulation
- Cinnamon helps to lower cholesterol
- It has anti bacterial and anti fungal properties
- Contains powerful antioxidants
- Improves circulation
- It is an anti-inflammatory
- This is a red tea from South Africa that is low in tannins and totally caffeine free
- It is an antioxidant
- Can improve liver function significantly
- It can relieve insomnia with it’s calming properties
- Lower stress levels
- Packed with minerals such as zinc, copper, magnesium, iron and calcium helping to keep bones and teeth healthy
- Caffeine free
- Keeps digestive system healthy and stimulates the liver
- A natural diuretic it will help to reduce water retention
- Dandelion is packed full of vitamins and minerals
- An Anti inflammatory
- Anti-rheumatic properties
- A powerful aid to digestion
- Fennel contains creosol and alpha-pinene that eases coughs and bronchial irritations
- It is very calming and promotes mental clarity
- It can help balance hormone levels during menopause
Now I think it must be time to put on the kettle, maybe there will be a biscuit involved too!
Part 2 of this series will be my next blog and be all things Afternoon Tea related!