Tea has long been known for its healing and healthy attributes — not surprising considering it was “Divine Healer” Chinese emperor Shen-Nung who is thought to have discovered tea more than 5,000 years ago. From black tea’s ability to increase mental alertness to the antioxidants found in green tea, steaming hot teas worldwide continue to heal and appeal to the masses. Try adding the following varieties to your teapot, and reap a slew of health benefits, from cold prevention to cancer prevention.
If stress-free days are your cup of tea, make it black. Earl Grey, Lapsang, Assam and Darjeeling black teas, mostly originating from Asia and India, have been shown to significantly reduce levels of cortisol, the stress-producing hormone. Drinking black tea can also lower cholesterol levels, encouraging not only a stress-free day but also a stress-free and healthy heart.
In addition to alleviating stress and increasing mental awareness and memory, black tea also serves as a powerful preventive illness elixir. It’s been linked to a reduction in the risk of many types of cancer, including stomach, colon, lung, ovarian and breast cancer. As of now, black tea is the only tea linked to thwarting the progression and prevention of Parkinson’s disease — close to 75% of those in Parkinson’s clinical studies experienced positive results from drinking black tea regularly.
In the tea world, green is the new pink. There is a valid reason for the health-benefit buzz created by green tea varieties, such as Dragonwell, Craigmore Estate and Sencha. Loaded with antioxidants that fight free radicals and duke it out with DNA-damaging compounds, why wouldn’t green tea deserve a day in the sun — or teapot?
A few clinical studies suggest that the polyphenols found in green tea both prevent and kill cancerous cells. In fact, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, “In one study of 472 women with various stages of breast cancer, researchers found that women who drank the most green tea had the least spread of cancer.” Green tea has also proven successful in aiding weight loss and preventing Type I diabetes. On a smaller teacup scale, studies have suggested that green tea is a strong contender in combating the common cold and flu.
This tea grouping, which consists of chamomile, ginger, hibiscus and peppermint teas (to name a few), encompasses a wide-reaching scope of health and medicinal properties. Those experiencing stomach ailments, for example, may appreciate the soothing effects of ginger, milk and thistle, and peppermint teas. Ginger and milk thistle teas aid in the digestive process, while the peppermint tea is helpful in easing nausea.
During cold season, brew a pot of rooibos or rosehips tea; both are high in vitamin C. They can also be of service in healing skin conditions like eczema. Hibiscus tea, while also high in vitamin C, is proven to reduce blood pressure.