Let’s Go For A Cup of Tea! – 5 Teas to Brighten Up your Day
In movies and dramas, the convention is to brew (or buy) a cup of coffee to start the day. The caffeine keeps you awake, the aroma leaves you in a good mood and you feel pumped up at work. But one thing an early morning coffee cannot do is prevent you from getting stressed out throughout the day. Deadlines, personal matters, traffic jams, tempers – too many sources of stress for one cup of coffee to handle.
But luckily for us, coffee has a counterpart that not only staves off the stress, but also keeps anxiety at bay and provides health benefits for our body – tea. Like coffee, tea comes in a variety of options, but not all options provide said benefits for our body. Another thing to note about tea is that the temperature of water and steeping time – time required to infuse tea leaves – varies according the type of tea used. Steep it for too short or too long, and the tea becomes bland or bitter.
Scientifically and historically proven, here are five teas to help you get rid of stress and discomforts plus the best ways to capture their flavours. Steeping times given are based on tea bags, not full leaves.
1. Chamomile tea (Steeping time: 5-7 minutes; Water: boiling point)
Physically similar to daisies, dried chamomile flowers can be infused in hot water to produce tea that is not only fragrant, but also possesses anti-anxiety and sedative effects. Chamomile contains antioxidants that may help prevent complications from diabetes as well as stunt the growth of cancerous cells.
Drunk on its own or with a slice of lemon, chamomile tea is generally safe for consumption, with the exception of pregnant women – for whom chamomile may trigger uterine contractions – and people with ragweed allergies. On a side note, chamomile tea is also a great hair rinse to lighten hair naturally, create highlights or eliminate dandruff!
2. Green tea (Steeping time: 1-3 minutes; Water: short of boiling point)
Made from steamed tea leaves that have undergone minimal oxidation, the most common types of green tea come from China, Japan and to a lesser extent, Sri Lanka. Green tea contains high concentrations of EGCG, an antioxidant with potential in treating some types of cancer. It also increases mental alertness due to its caffeine content. If you don’t consume caffeine, consider decaffeinated versions.
If you’re using full leaves to prepare green tea, steep it for about 2-4 minutes. Green tea should be drunk in moderation at ALL times, or you might risk going overboard on caffeine. People with anemia or osteoporosis should avoid or minimize the amount of green tea they consume as it may worsen their condition.
3. Lavender tea (Steeping time: 5-7 minutes; Water: boiling point)
A popular fragrance in aromatherapy, lavender tea also provides calming benefits when consumed. It relieves stress and promotes relaxation by slowing the nervous system activity (cited from University of Maryland Medical Centre). Lavender tea is traditionally used for digestive issue relief as well, the validity of which has been backed up by modern studies.
The steeping time of lavender flowers are similar to that of chamomile. It’s relatively safe for drinking, but there are concerns that it may interfere with medications that depress the central nervous system. Consult a doctor if you’re not sure about the side effects of drinking lavender tea if you’re under similar medication.
4. Ginger tea
Another great digestive aid, ginger can be used to curb nausea, vomiting or an upset stomach. If you’re in a dizzy spell, ginger can help to reduce its symptoms. It can possibly help with flatulence issues as well. Diabetic patients may want to consult a doctor before consuming ginger as it can lower blood sugar and affect the dosage of medications needed. It should be taken in moderation but is likely safe for most people.
To make ginger tea, bring some water to a boil and simmer a few pieces of ginger in it for 10 to 15 minutes (depending on the intensity of flavour desired). Toss in some white rock sugar (bing tang) for added sweetness. You can add some fresh lemon juice and honey when you have a cold to help boost your recovery.
5. Lemon Verbena tea (Steeping time: 5-7 minutes; Water: boiling point)
With a high antioxidant concentration comparable to black teas (and minus the caffeine), lemon verbena helps to protect cells against oxidative damage and plays a role in curbing stress. It can possibly help with digestive issues as well. You can grow your own lemon verbena plant and use fresh leaves to make the tea. Steeping time is the same as when using teabags or dried leaves. Add just a bit of honey if you’re looking for a sweeter taste.
Lemon verbena might cause skin irritation in some people, but is safe for most people in moderate amounts. It’s not currently known to interact with any medication, but to be on the safe side, if you’re on medication you may want to get your doctor’s opinion.
The rule is pretty simple – drink in moderation to reap the best benefits!
Feature photo – http://elhuertodelucas.com/mercado-organico/
Lavender tea – http://edesviz.hu/hu/ezo_magazin/cimke/Term%C3%A9szetgy%C3%B3gy%C3%A1szat