If you’re ready to become a tea drinker the first step is getting your supplies. You’ll need a tea strainer, ideally a tea kettle with a temperature control and a nice mug or cup to enjoy your tea in. You’ll want a source of filtered water. You may or may not want a natural sweetener like stevia or honey. And of course you’ll want some good quality teas.
The teas I am going to recommend are not just about getting a good tea but they also have health benefits you might not be aware of. Teas and tisanes have been used for thousands of years to treat minor health concerns and promote overall health and vitality. I would rather turn to cup of hot tea and honey for a sore throat over throat spray any day. Relaxing at the end of the day with an herbal infusion is much better for you than a glass of wine or a pill. Think of tea not just as a beverage but as a part of your wellness plan.
I am going to recommend specific brands of tea to try because I have personally tried and enjoyed them. I have not been compensated by any of these companies. (Although from these companies I would accept tea as “payment”.) Some of them can be purchased locally and others you will need to purchase online.
Black tea is where many people start their tea experience but few would think of it as having medicinal properties. There is some evidence it can actually help lower blood pressure. A 2013 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure from consuming black tea daily. I also love to recommend chocolate black tea to satisfy a chocolate craving. My pick for your enjoyment is Chocolate Coconut tea from Maui Rainbow Tea. I discovered their teas on our Maui trip and have made several orders for more since then.
Green tea has many well known health benefits including cancer prevention and improved insulin sensitivity. But many people complain about the taste. The secret to great tasting green tea? Don’t brew it too long. For most greens the recommendation is only 1-2 minutes. My favorite kind of green tea is jasmine and it’s also a great introduction to green tea. Try the Organic Jasmine Green from Samovar Tea Lounge for a real treat.
For the current coffee drinker, I recommend a cup of pu-erh tea It’s a bold and rich tea. It also might do good things for your cholesterol. According to WebMD pu-erh tea naturally contains small amounts of a compound called lovastatin, which is found in prescription cholesterol lowering drugs. A cup or two a day could help lower your triglycerides and LDL. Just don’t stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor first! I get my pu-erh (a variety called Scottish Caramel) at Tea Drops in Kansas City MO. If you don’t live in the area, they do ship.
Peppermint tea is an easy way to soothe an upset stomach or aid digestion after a heavy meal. It can also be a useful tool in dealing with morning sickness during pregnancy. You want to look for a brand that is 100% pure peppermint. For a simple tisane such as peppermint you can get away with a bag tea. Twinings makes a good pure peppermint tea that you should be able to find in your local grocery store.
Chamomile and Valerian
Are you stressed out and having trouble sleeping? A cup of hot tea with herbs like chamomile or valerian can help. Plus the act of stopping, breathing and sipping tea can have it’s own relaxing effect. In another exception to my tea bag rule, try Yogi Bedtime tea to help promote a better night’s sleep. It has stevia leaf so no additional sweetener should be necessary.
Welcome to the club to all the new tea drinkers. I’d love to hear your experiences if you try any of these teas. To long time tea drinkers, what teas do you love? What other tea topics would you like to learn more about?