"Tea is hot and getting hotter. From iced to spiced, from austere black tea to sweetened and milky chai, from a flowery pick-me-up to a healing herbal, no other beverage has such a place in the heart of every civilization. No wonder it is the most popular beverage in the world, next to water."
- Sara Perry, The New Tea Book

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday's Tea- Peppermint!

One of my favorite types of tea to drink is peppermint tea. I enjoy it for its delicious, comforting taste and, even more importantly, for its wonderful variety of health benefits. Peppermint tea, which is often referred to as mint tea, is known to be a favorite choice of tea to many. A peppermint stick added to peppermint tea can be a very delicious and warm treat in the cold months of winter. As delicious as peppermint tea is, some people claim that they hardly realize that they are drinking tea when they drink it. There are many health benefits that are known to be associated with peppermint tea. Here, we will take a much closer look at some of the health benefits.

Drinking peppermint tea is an easy, delicious, and inexpensive way to really boost your health. Whether you are suffering from weak digestion, stress, headaches, insomnia, hormone issues, or want to boost your protection from cancer, there isn't much to lose in trying this wonderful natural remedy. There are many health benefits that are known to be associated with drinking peppermint tea which you may want to take advantage of. The first thing most people think about in relation to peppermint is a sweet, striped candy with a refreshing taste. What gives our favorite candies and teas that awesome flavor, however, is actually a plant. This purple flower with bright green leaves boasts more than 30 different species of its kind. According to Greek mythology, Persephone turned Mentha the nymph into a mint. Thus, creating this plant out of raging anger which is a wide contrast to the calming benefits of peppermint. In addition to uses in food, it's also present in medicines such as cold remedies, muscle rubs, vapor rubs, and vapor bathing supplies. Peppermint is a multi-use herb, which can be incorporated into remedies for people of all ages to reap its benefits. There are also many forms which it can be used in, such as the whole plant form, diluted essential oils, teas, and in different skin conditioners. The method one decides to use really depends on which is the most convenient for them.

Peppermint Tea May Relieve Stomach Problems

Have you ever wondered why some restaurant serve mints after you have finished your meal? This is because peppermint is great a stoking your digestive fire resulting in better digestion of your meal. Ever feel bloated, gassy, or just generally uncomfortable after a meal? Then try sipping a mug of warm peppermint tea as you eat. The digestion facilitating menthol will make everything go through you with much more ease. As a result, you can get more enjoyment out of your meals without the fear of after dinner bloating or indigestion. In fact, peppermint is a popular remedy for those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms. Are you feeling a little nauseated? Sip a cup of peppermint tea. Just as peppermint aids in digestion, it also helps calm down an upset stomach.

Peppermint is often recognized as a "stomach healer." If you have stomach problems, you may want to consider drinking peppermint tea. Stomach problems include irritable bowel syndrome, frequent diarrhea or constipation, stomach aches or nausea. Peppermint is often used to flavor foods, as a food itself, or to disinfect. It contains a carminative (an agent that dispels gas and bloating in the human digestive system) and an antispasmodic that relieves stomach and intestinal cramps. Peppermint is widely known for its effect on the intestinal tract and stomach ills. Peppermint can be used to subside gas, nausea, and the stomach pain of an irritable bowel, intestinal cramps, or indigestion. Some use it for too much stomach acid (hyper acidity) and gastroenteritis (nausea and stomach upset that we sometimes call stomach flu), and mothers incorporate it for safe treatment in infants with colic. Stomach ails in babies are treated with either a teaspoon of peppermint tea, or a cloth soaked in it placed on the belly. Pregnant women use it in the form of tea to relieve morning sickness. Many people find peppermint tea preferable to other forms of peppermint which may be used to relieve stomach problems. The main reason is because peppermint tea does not have sugar, at least not until you choose to add it.

Peppermint Tea May Help Relieve Stress

The flavor and smell of peppermint is known to relieve stress. This is why it is not surprising that peppermint tea is said to relieve stress. Many people find that when they drink peppermint tea, they are able to sleep better at night, which is believed to be because of its stress relieving properties. Others believe that the stress relief that you may experience from drinking peppermint tea may be linked to the immune system boosting properties of this tea.

Peppermint Tea May Help Relieve Pain

Peppermint tea has been shown to be a helpful aid in relieving pain. It is particularly helpful for relieving irritating pain of the common headache. Do you feel averse to popping a pain pill every time a minor ache occurs in your head? Then, you should try sipping a cup of hot peppermint tea. Not only will it relax you psychologically, but can actually alleviate the pressure and pain as well.

Peppermint is also a mild muscle relaxant. For this reason, it is a popular beverage to be consumed just before bedtime. However, you do not need to restrict it to the role of sleeping aid. Try sipping a cup of peppermint tea whenever you are feeling a little tense, tight, anxious, or sore and you might just feel a little more relaxed as a result. In fact, peppermint tea just might be the perfect healthy antidote to your mild but nagging stress. Unwind with a few cups of peppermint tea throughout the day and watch as you glide through your activities more calmly.

Peppermint Tea May Help the Immune system

Many people believe that peppermint tea can help relieve symptoms of the common cold or flu. Peppermint tea does contain some very healthy vitamins, including Vitamin B, potassium and calcium. This may be the reason that it helps relieve these symptoms. It also may prevent you from getting sick in the future. Some people believe that peppermint tea can also help control mild cases of asthma, though this is highly debated by medical professionals.

Green tea isn't the only tea that can help prevent cancer. Some studies show that peppermint can stop cancerous growths in animals. So, while the findings aren't definitive, it certainly won't hurt to drink a little more peppermint tea if you want to boost your cancer protection, especially in light of all the tea's other wonderful benefits.

Lastly, it has been speculated that peppermint tea can help control hormone related acne by mildly boosting estrogen levels. In addition, because of this detail, drinking peppermint tea can be a useful remedy for women with low estrogen levels suffering from problems such as excess bodily hair or even simply any of the usual issues resulting from menopause.

Peppermint Tea May Reduce Bad Breathe

If you have bad breathe, you may want to consider drinking peppermint tea. Any type of peppermint is known to reduce bad breathe. When you drink peppermint tea, there is a good chance that your bad breathe will be reduced temporarily. Some people firmly believe that when you drink peppermint tea on a regular basis, your bad breathe will permanently go away, though this is very debatable. If you have constant bad breathe and have tried everything else, peppermint tea may be worth a shot.

Even More Ways Peppermint Tea May Help

There are a variety of others ways that peppermint tea is known to help the body. Some people believe that peppermint tea can aid in weight loss, as it may help suppress your appetite. Peppermint tea is also known to work like a charm when it comes to relieving baby colic. The pain experienced from headaches and migraines are also known to be eased through drinking peppermint tea.

Peppermint can also be applied to the skin for relief of certain conditions. Just remember that you should dilute it when using the essential oils. They are too strong to apply directly to the skin. Itchy conditions such as insect bites, eczema, and other skin irritations, including those of poison ivy can be temporarily relieved by rubbing peppermint onto them. It is also said that you can rub the oils onto the temples or scalp for relief of a headache. Peppermint foot lotions and creams kill the fungus associated with athlete's foot. The pain, burning, and inflammation of muscles will feel relief after rubbing them down with a muscle rub or ice treatment containing the menthol of peppermint. It is absorbed into the skin pretty easily, it has the temporary pain-relieving effect via its relaxing of organs or muscles that spasm. Virus, fungi, and bacteria can be decreased by the menthol in peppermint, but is often overlooked for this purpose. Some mothers give peppermint tea to their babies for treatment of thrush, by coating the inside of their mouth with a little bit of it.

The Health Benefits of a Peppermint Tea Bath

One of my favorite things to do if my body is feeling really achy is taking a soothing peppermint tea bath in warm water. A peppermint tea bath helps relieve sore tired muscles and achy bodies. Peppermint tea baths also provide certain health benefits such as treating inflammation throughout the body.
All you have to do to enjoy a soothing relaxing peppermint tea bath and get the health benefits from it, is by simply filling up your bath tub with really hot water bath water and then by simply place five or six peppermint tea bags into your bath tub. Once you have placed your peppermint tea bags into the bath water you will allow the peppermint tea to soak in the water for about ten to twenty minutes to help release all the natural oils, scents, and antioxidants from the peppermint tea bags. Now once the tea bags have infused your bath water with the wonderful peppermint herb you can get into the tub and relax for a while. You might however want to bring a book or a magazine with you if you plan on spending a while in the tub relaxing that way you have something to keep your mind off things while you are relaxing and enjoying your bath. However, in order to get the full health benefits of a peppermint tea bath you should spend at least an hour in one.

Peppermint tea baths provide a lot of health benefits such as relieving inflammation throughout the body, while relieving pain and aches as well. Peppermint tea baths also help detox your body of harmful chemicals that could cause potential health problems for you later on. Peppermint tea baths are also great to take if you have a cold because the scent of the peppermint really helps open up your sinuses and will relieve some congestion in your chest as well. These baths are even great to take if you have the flu because the peppermint will help sooth your achy body by stopping body chills and easing headaches and nausea. You can even take a peppermint tea bath if you are feeling a little sad or depressed because the peppermint will help rejuvenate your body, mind, and spirit leaving you happy, relaxed, and smiling afterwords.

*As with any herbal remedies, you must still use caution with dosages and frequency in using peppermint. If you experience nausea, rashes, or headaches after consuming it, then you most likely have an allergy to peppermint. If this happens, continue all use immediately. People with gallbladder problems, GERD, stomach obstructions, or liver diseases should not use it, as it will worsen the conditions. It is believed by some in health care that peppermint may relax bile ducts, promoting the bile flow. Others report it as an aid in gallbladder disease, which can dissolve gallstones when combined with other acid therapies. Peppermint can slow milk production in nursing women from a slight amount to a much larger scale depending upon consumption. The essential oil should not be used in the eyes or open wounds, and never use essential oil of any kind in an undiluted form. Peppermint can leave the esophageal sphincter open in some individuals, allowing stomach acids to rise up the throat and cause severe damage. This is why those with hiatal hernia, GERD, or problems with the esophagus should not use peppermint.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Tea Drinking!

"When the world is all at odds
and the mind is lost at sea,
then cease the useless tedium
and brew a cup of tea.
There is magic in its fragrance,
There is solace in its taste;
And the laden moments vanish
somehow into space.
And the world becomes a lovely thing!
There's beauty as you'll see;
All because you briefly stopped
to brew a cup of tea."

Tips for Preparing Loose Leaf Tea:

To begin, allow yourself the time to enjoy tea. Engage the ceremony of brewing loose tea. Brew with good clean water, recognize what’s happening as the herbs release their unique essence into the water. Taste the bold and subtle flavors that Nature has imbued into a myriad of health-promoting herbs. Sit back and indulge in each warming sip letting it heal you from the inside out!

The art of using loose tea is nice because you are more involved with the preparation and brew. As you scoop out the herbs get to know them by taking a moment to look at them — each one has it’s own character and health promoting properties. You can tailor the strength and taste by varying the amount of tea you scoop into the tea ball and how long you let it steep.

When filling your tea ball, leave enough room in the tea ball to allow the herbs to ‘swell’ as they steep. This will allow for a better release of herbal properties.

To make iced tea, just brew as you would when making hot tea, let it steep at least 15 minutes, longer if you prefer it stronger, then chill and enjoy.

Add natural sweeteners like organic Agave Nectar, Honey, even Maple Syrup if you like!

Keep tea fresher longer by storing in airtight containers, keep free of moisture and out of sunlight.

Water quality affects how tea will taste. We recommend pure spring water. The mineral content and lack of pollutants like chlorine and fluoride, simply tastes better with quality organic herbs.

Herbal Infusions:

Infusions are the most medicinally potent water based herbal preparations. Infusions are steeped for a longer period of time then a cup of tea. Resulting in a much darker, richer and thicker beverage.

To prepare an infusion, start with a pint or quart canning jar or a French press.

An infusion is a larger amount of herbs brewed for a longer time. Typically, one ounce by weight (about a cup by volume) of dried herb is placed in a quart jar, which is then filled to the top with hot water, tightly lidded and allowed to steep for 4-10 hours. After straining, a cup or more is consumed, and the remainder chilled to slow spoilage. Drinking 2-4 cups a day is usual. Since the minerals and other phytochemicals in nourishing herbs are made more accessible by drying, dried herbs are considered best for infusions.

Making your Infusion:

Brew it with good clean water, and recognize what’s happening as the herbs release their special properties into the water. Taste the subtle flavors that Nature has imbued these health-promoting herbs with – sit back and sip – recognize the life in love!

It’s essential to start by using pure water; water quality will affect the flavor and quality of your infusion. We recommend pure spring water. The mineral content and lack of pollutants like chlorine and fluoride, simply tastes better with natural organic herbs.
It may be helpful to make infusions at night before going to bed that way they are ready in the morning.

Place a large handful of herbs into a jar, at least enough to cover the bottom of the jar. Turn your teapot on until it just about boils, pour the hot water up to the rim of the jar, cover with a lid, in the morning strain the herbs out. Drink your Infusion throughout the day! You can add a touch of fresh lemon or a dab of honey to enhance the herbal properties in your infusion.

Make sure to store any left over infusion in the refrigerator or you could use even use it as a face rinse or to water your houseplants!