I have been a tea drinker since a wee one because I used to watch my mom. Unfortunately to this day my mom still drinks black Tetley tea, which I highly advise against that brand due to toxic plastics in the actual tea bag, and the tea leaves being non-organic, possibly GMO, and sprayed with tons of chemicals. Regardless, she is where I gained my initial love. I've raised my older sons to be tea drinkers, and now our 1 year old is also enjoying the benefits of tea as well. He asks for tea each morning and night when he sees the teapot or his dada or I sipping our mugs.
Tea is a daily experience in our home. There are numerous benefits such as natural stress reduction, healthy sleep support, nourishment to the skin, and immune system health.
Something to understand about tea is that while there is the actual "tea plant" camellia sinesis, you can make tea from just about any plant to include herbs, spices, flowers, and roots. Technically herbal tea is considered a tisane, not tea because it doesn't come from the camellia sinesis plant. There are many different types of tea to be enjoyed. As you would expect from me I will discuss some of my favorite teas due to health benefits. When choosing teas, you always want to go organic because plants over all are heavily sprayed with poisonous herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides that wreak havoc in our bodies creating mutagenic changes and disease. Here is one study speaking about the healthy awesomeness of tea.
Black and Oolong
The most popular tea as far as a category that most people think of would be black teas coming from the camellia sinesis sinesis or camelia sinesis assamica leaves. You won't find me consuming black tea too often these days due to high caffeine content and lack of health value in comparison to other choices due to full oxidation during processing, so it is not in our house. Truth be told there is wonderful flavor to be found in them though, especially Darjeerling, and Ceylon as singles and yummy black tea blends are Earl Grey and Masala Chai. The longer you steep the tea the more the caffeine will increase. If you enjoy black varieties, keep drinking them as an occasional treat, not a daily occurence.
Oolong is only semi-oxidized compared to complete oxidation with black tea leaves. The oxidation process changes the color of the leaves. I remember drinking oolong as a child at Chinese restaurants. If you are transitioning from coffee, and you do not like green tea, this would be a good step away from coffee because the flavor is lighter than green tea and an 8oz cup contains 1/3 less caffeine than an 8oz cup of coffee.
Green and White
From a health perspective shifting from black to green tea is definitely a better choice. Green tea leaves are not oxidized at all, which means all of the chlorophyll, polyphenols, and antioxidants are intact. The leaves are cooked though. Antioxidants are super important components in our daily dietary regimen for fighting an overabundance of free radicals in the body that can create a cancerous environment. I don't over consume green tea due to the caffeine, but on occasion I may enjoy a cup, though rare, and I don't keep it at home. I enjoy matcha green tea the most due to flavor and antioxidant content. It is wonderful for making lattes with coconut milk.
Due to minimal processing and cooking as well as short steeping times white tea is said to have less caffeine than green and some consider it to be an even healthier choice. It's considered the raw tea according to Dr. Axe. In some drinkers it can stimulate a sluggish metabolism.
Now here is my heart. I adore utilizing herbs and roots for teas. You get flavor, health value, and no caffeine. I have several herbs, flowers, and spices on my wall as well as in an herb closet that I use each day.
I greatly prefer loose teas to bag teas because many bagged teas use plastics in their bags as mentioned with Tetley above, you will have to do research and email companies to ask. They do not post this kind of thing on their websites or boxes. We do not want to be pour hot water over plastics and then drink them.
Loose teas also allow me to enjoy the freedom of creating my tea blends as I desire. I use a glass teapot infuser like this one. I feel like I am at a spa drinking them. I choose a special mug and sip it if I can. It is a joy I allow myself daily.
I keep the following dried lovelies in my kitchen always for tea:
- Rooibos (immune support)
- Red Raspberry Leaf (great for female health)
- Rosehips (immune support...safe for little people)
- Stinging Nettles (skin, liver, immune support...safe for little people)
- Hibiscus Flowers (heart and skin support)
- Elderberries (immune support)
- Lemon Balm (health rest support and stress reduction)
- Calendula (skin support)
- Pau D'Arco (immune support)
- Red Clover (female and respiratory support)
- Ceylon Cinnamon Sticks (healthy blood sugar...great for little people, naturally sweet)
- Ground Turmeric (immune support)
- Fresh & Dry Ginger Root (digestive and immune support)
- Slippery Elm (immune and throat support)
I try to mix my blends up, but I will share two of my standing favorites!
Morning Tea Mix
4 Rosehip Buds
1 Tsp Rooibos
1 Tsp Stinging Nettles
Nighttime Tea Mix
1 Tsp Lemon Balm
1/2 Tsp Lavender Flowers
1 Inch Fresh Ginger Root (peeled)
You can steep your teas a variety of different ways. If you don't yet have a tea infuser you can wrap the herbs in unbleached cheese cloth, tie it with string, and then put them into the boiled water.
I don't sweeten my teas, but you can feel free to add a bit of raw unfiltered honey, it is delicious. Sometimes I like to add Young Living Vitality Citrus Essential Oils just before drinking. I get a powerful healthy blast of plant power when combining essential oils with tea.
Are you a tea drinker? What do you enjoy?