Health: Tea Talk

Take some more tea,” the March Hare said to Alice, very earnestly.
“I’ve had nothing yet,” Alice replied in an offended tone, “so I can’t take more.”
“You mean you can’t take less,” said the Hatter: “it’s very easy to take more than nothing.”
“Nobody asked your opinion,” said Alice.” – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

tea3I’ve been planning to have a ladies tea party for the longest while.  Mostly because it’s a good idea (nobody does that anymore), I have lots and lots of bags (but I’m more of a loose women when it comes to tea) and a large box of beautifully mismatched china cups and saucers from my Irish grandmother sitting in storage waiting to be useful.  And I can make little fancy sandwiches.   A grown up tea party on the deck when the weather gets warmer…whenever that happens.  And I don’t have to worry about them getting home safely.

Which brings me to….

Have you been down the tea aisle lately?  Doesn’t it seem that there are more assortments than ever before to choose from? Crazy considering there are really only five basic categories: white, green, oolong, black, and pu-erh (a variety of fermented and aged dark tea produced in Yunnan province, China). And all types of traditional tea begin with a tea leaf from the same plant, Camellia sinensis.

What about Rooibos then which is red? Turns out that Rooibos is not a true tea, but an herb. I just found that out.  (There are hundreds of herbal teas – too many to be discussed in this post, for another time). You learn something new every day – even something as basic as a tea fact.

We’ve all heard about the many health benefits of drinking tea.  Apparently all kinds of teas even black tea is good for us to drink, although some are more potent than others at fighting off disease…so we are told.  In any event it’s always nice to enjoy a cup of tea.

It seems that almost every country you visit has their own kind of specialty tea with claims of medicinal benefits and the custom is usually to welcome you with a cup of the hot stuff.

Tea is taken seriously in most countries you know.

The English love their black tea, in Peru it is mate de coca (or coca tea made from the leaves of the coca plant), In India it’s Darjeeling, in Africa it’s Rooibus, in the Orient it’s types of green tea and in Egypt it’s Hibiscus.  I’m sure there are others but these are the most common kinds.

What about the health claims?

There has been less research on herbal blends than on traditional teas, but one study published in thJournal of Nutrition found that drinking three cups of hibiscus tea daily could help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. And evidence suggests that chamomile tea may promote sleep and that peppermint tea may calm the stomach.

Hibiscus

Hibiscus

I’m focusing on Hibiscus right now because the red flowers are so pretty, the scent is sweet and floral but not overpowering….and I have several jars of the stuff brought back from Egypt.  Good thing that dried tea keeps for a long, long time.

Hibiscus also goes by the names Sorrel and Roselle.  It is said that that the properties  can help ward off major diseases due to it’s high content of polyphenol antioxidants.

Other health benefits of hibiscus tea include relief from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as digestive, immune system, and inflammatory problems. It helps to cure liver disease and reduces the risk of cancer. It can also speed up the metabolism and help in healthy, gradual weight loss. Hibiscus tea is rich in vitamin C, minerals and various antioxidants, while also helping in the treatment of hypertension and anxiety.

A cup of hibiscus tea is a simple, effective, delicious way to increase your antioxidant intake!  I better get those jars out of the cupboard and into the pot.

So a tea party is in store!

“In Ireland, you go to someone’s house, and she asks you if you want a cup of tea. You say no, thank you, you’re really just fine. She asks if you’re sure. You say of course you’re sure, really, you don’t need a thing. Except they pronounce it ting. You don’t need a ting. Well, she says then, I was going to get myself some anyway, so it would be no trouble. Ah, you say, well, if you were going to get yourself some, I wouldn’t mind a spot of tea, at that, so long as it’s no trouble and I can give you a hand in the kitchen. Then you go through the whole thing all over again until you both end up in the kitchen drinking tea and chatting.

In America, someone asks you if you want a cup of tea, you say no, and then you don’t get any damned tea.

I liked the Irish way better.” – C.E. Murphy, Urban Shamantea2

What’s your favourite cup?

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