Tea Wellness from The Garden

Making a tea garden as part of your garden is a fun and easy project! I love tea for its flavor and health benefits. Although soda gets a lot of attention, tea is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world after water! All true tea comes from the Camellia sinensis bush but for thousands of years herbal teas have also been a mainstay for natural health. Herbal teas are actually considered tisanes or herbal infusions but for our purposes, I will refer to them as herbal teas! Herbal teas are usually made from dried herbs and spices and do not generally contain polyphenols.  Most people have a favorite tea and choices range from black, green, oolong, red and white.  All true teas contain polyphenols and are filled with health boosting antioxidants.Some teas, like Matcha Green Tea, are known to have a higher ORAC score than many fruits and vegetables! ORAC score measure the potential antioxidant benefits in plant based foods.

Black tea is simply fully fermented tea, green tea is unfermented,white tea is unfermented in bud stage and Oolong is semi-fermented tea. Each tea has a unique chemistry and so some have different health benefits according to their chemical compounds.  White tea is the least processed of all teas and research shows that it may contain the highest levels of polyphenols. It also has lower caffeine that green or black tea. Red Rooibos tea actually comes from an African shrub plant and although is not a true tea it is high in antioxidants and rich in flavor. Red tea is also caffeine free. I am a big fan of Red Vanilla Tea from The Republic of Tea because of its rich warm flavor! My favorite White tea is White Peach Tea from Davidson’s Organics. Davidson’s also sells my favorite Tulsi Spicy Green Tea. There are many tea companies and types of teas to try these days so have a tea tasting yourself with 3-4 once a week and find what matches your taste buds and your health needs.

Tea is considered to have multiple health benefits when consumed 4-6 times daily.  This delicate beverage can potentially reduce the risk of some cancers, lower cholesterol levels, strengthen bones, prevent tooth decay, strengthen immunity, lower the risk of heart attack and stroke etc.  There are multiple research papers on the many health benefits available on Pub Med.  Aside from all of the health benefits and positive aspects to drinking tea for wellness; tea is just an amazingly relaxing yet revitalizing beverage. I can’t imagine my life without tea!

In my garden I grow a variety of herbs in the summer to dry and add to my stock teas.  My tea garden consists of Lemon Verbena, Lemon Balm, Lavender, Rosemary, Orange mint, Apple mint, Rose Geranium,Peppermint, Spearmint, Lemon Thyme, Lavender Thyme, Oregano, and Sage. Whenever I feel like I am getting a cold, stomach upset, or other ailment I can add a few leaves of dried herbs from my garden to one of my favorite commercial tea blends. I also make herbal tea from the fresh or dried leaves alone.  Additionally, I use some organic local honey (plain or herbal infused) and it helps me feel TEA-RRIFIC in a day or two.  Tea also helps me quiet my mind. I have never been sensitive to its low caffeine count and so I generally find it relaxing. Sometimes tea inspires my meditation and I linger over the warm aromatic vaporswith eyes closed and heart open….seeking peace to the beginning or end of my day.  Tea time always causes me to pause and take a moment for reflection, gratitude and a moment to count my blessings.  I starteddrinking tea with my Dad when I was about 4 years old and it is something I hope to do everyday of my life.  For me tea is a tradition, just like gardening and it encourages our hearts to blossom and our souls to soar.

“Tea is quiet and our thirst for tea is never far from our craving for beauty”  James Norwood Pratt

Drink in beauty and Live in Peace,  Cheers to your cup….Sara


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