January is National Hot Tea Month. I like tea and drink it often – both hot and iced. Here is some general information about tea that I hope will be helpful.
Tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world after water. According to the Tea Association, in 2012, Americans consumed over 3.6 billion gallons of tea. Tea is enjoyed both for flavor and for health.
BLACK, GREEN AND WHITE TEAS are all from the same plant, Camellia sinensis. The variation in color and flavor comes from processing. All of these teas contain antioxidant compounds that protect cells from damage, but green and white teas have higher concentrations of antioxidants than black tea. Due to these antioxidant compounds, tea has become a true health beverage. Potential benefits of drinking tea include lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, warding off cancer and helping with weight loss.
HERB TEA (TISANE) is not true “tea”, but an infusion made from herbs and plants. Caffeine free Red Tea, or Rooibos, falls under this category. Herbal tea has become popular because of the variety of exotic flavors and the health benefits. Here are just a few of the herbal teas available and their uses:
Holy Basil - stress
Hibiscus - blood pressure
Elderberry – immune health
White Mulberry Leaf – blood sugar control
Lemongrass – stomach soother… and the list goes on and on.
Teas are available as whole leaf, in tea bags, or pre-brewed and ready-to-drink in a bottle. If you live near an Akin’s or Chamberlin’s store, check out the incredible variety of teas they offer. They are sampling a different hot tea every Tuesday in January. Enjoy a cup!