One of the undeniable pleasures of the cold-weather season is warming up with a cup of steaming hot tea. And while enjoying the warmth and flavors of one of the worlds most popular beverages, tea-drinkers also can reap many health benefits from their daily cuppa.
As a native of England, where the Tea Council estimates that at least three cups of tea are consumed per person daily, Linda Binns, owner of Harmony Inside & Out, which provides holistic health and Feng Shui consulting services, can be considered somewhat of a tea expert. Not only can she brew an authentic pot of strong, English tea, but Binns often recommends tea for its many medicinal benefits.
A natural beverage that contains about half the caffeine of coffee, tea has no additives, artificial flavors or colors. Black and green teas are the most common types with red and white teas recently gaining popularity. While these teas are primarily products of the plants leaves, herbal teas are often made from the flower, root, bark or seeds.
There are plenty of good reasons to drink hot tea, Binns says. Weve known for some time that tea is rich in antioxidants, but many people dont know that specific herbal teas can counteract some common and troublesome health problems. With virtually no side-effects or drug interactions to worry about, tea can offer many benefits without the drawbacks of drugs or some supplements.
Teas benefits have long been touted by traditional and holistic health practitioners, but the scientific community is just beginning to study and understand teas health effects. According to a recent study in the British Journal of Cardiology, Whilst there is no evidence from population studies of positive cardiovascular benefit from tea drinking in the UK, tea is still contributing flavonoids to individual diets and these may well be beneficial. Tea drinking can safely be encouraged as part of a healthy diet.”
Earlier this month, Reuters reported that Japanese researchers have identified a component of tea that could block the spread of the AIDS virus. Other studies have found that tea may lower blood pressure and cholesterol in certain patients and may improve blood vessel health.
Binns often helps clients identify health problems that can be eased by consuming various teas. (A list of her recommendations follows.) Certainly, tea is not the only remedy for many illnesses and their symptoms, but we know that drinking tea can help us feel better in many ways, she says. As part of an overall approach to treating illness, whether chronic or acute, tea has a definite place.
Green Tea: Contains antioxidants; may increase metabolism; decreases inflammation, which makes it a good drink for people with arthritis.
Black Tea: Contains antioxidants that may slow or reduce tumor growth; helps prevent clogged arteries, decreasing the risk of strokes and heart attacks; boosts immunity.
Red Tea: Contains very high levels of antioxidants along with calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, fluoride and iron; may help prevent cirrhosis of the liver; eases allergies; prevents premature aging.
Chamomile Tea: Encourages relaxation and aids sleep; improves digestion; useful as a remedy for bladder infections, colds, asthma, colitis, diverticulosis, fever, headaches, hemorrhoids, muscle cramps and pain; often recommended for people with rheumatism, arthritis, worms or jaundice.
Peppermint Tea: Eases nausea and improves digestion; increases stomach acidity; used to remedy chills, colic, fever, diarrhea, heart problems, rheumatism, seizures, spasms and headaches.
Pau DArco Tea: Contains a natural antibacterial agent that makes it a powerful blood cleanser; used to treat candidiasis, infections, diabetes ulcers, rheumatism, allergies, tumors, AIDS, leukemia, cancer and liver disease.
Burdock Tea: Improves skin disorders and gout; purifies the blood; restores liver and gallbladder function; stimulates the immune system.
Dandelion Tea: Cleanses the blood and liver; increases bile production; works as a diuretic and benefits the pancreas, spleen, stomach and kidneys; used as a remedy for anemia, gout, rheumatism, jaundice, cirrhosis, hepatitis, abscesses, boils, cramps, fluid retention, constipation and breast tumors.
Ginger Tea: Often used to treat colitis, diverticulosis, nausea, vomiting, gas, indigestion, morning sickness, hot flashes and menstrual cramps; cleanses the colon; stimulates circulation; reduces spasms.
Licorice Tea: Cleanses the colon; promotes adrenal function; decreases spasms; recommended to treat hypoglycemia, bronchitis, colitis, diverticulosis, gastritis, stress, colds, nausea and inflammation.