Warm Up this Winter—Wellness in a Cup—
Discover the Benefits of Tea for Your Body and Mind!
By Cal Orey
5 Tea Home Cures from Your Kitchen
One autumn day I found myself getting up at 2:30 A.M. to catch a 6:00 A.M. plane to Salt Lake City, then to Atlanta Georgia, to Montreal, Quebec. Waking up without adequate sleep felt odd and it was the wrong hour to brew coffee. So, I made a cup of my own blend: black and green tea. It gave me enough energy to get on the shuttle bus without acting like a zombie from a sci-fi film.
But while tea offers home cures, including beating sleepiness, it can also keep you calmer than java. At the first airport counter café, I ordered a cup of hot water and used my own chamomile tea bag to keep me calm enough for the next fear factor: flying out of the Sierra and into Salt Lake City—two airports known for turbulent flights.
There is a growing trend of at-home tea cures (like I used to achieve my final destination), that’ll wow you with their potential healing powers. I sprinkled in tea wisdom from tried-and-true folk remedies, scientific studies, medical experts, and my own home tea and tisane cures. It’s tea time! Read on.
1. COLDS (Warm Up Baby.) During the fall and winter months, cold season hits more frequently. Also, though, if you are under stress a cold can pay you a visit year-round, especially if traveling or contracting a virus from someone else. If your immune system is under attack—a cold can be prevented or the severity lessened with tea.
What Tea Rx to Use: Drink one 8-ounce cup of black tea (hot or iced) with or without 1 teaspoon honey two to three times per day.
Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific: Tea researchers believe it’s the compound antigen in black tea that bolsters the body’s immune system and may help guard against colds. Also, the tannins may help to stave off viruses like a cold. I recall one doctor’s story about how he turned to tea for comfort. He was traveling in the Alaskan wilderness. While in a van traveling with a lot of people, one had a cold as he did. The doctor had tea and drank the liquid. And it helped the good doctor heal.
2. COUGHS (Cease the tickle.) Coping with a cold can be annoying, but coughing which can be caused by seasonal allergies, or linger after a cold, a bout of bronchitis, or other things, can be pesky and make your throat and even chest ache.
What Tea Rx to Use: Opt to brew 1 12-ounce cup of black or white tea. For an extra throat soother, add 1 teaspoon of honey. Repeat as necessary.
Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific: Tacking a cough takes a bit of sleuth work to discover why you are coughing—and then it’s time to be proactive and deal with the problem. If allergens are the issue, for instance, it’s time to get an air purifier, vacuum and dust more, and add tea with honey to your diet repertoire—soon you’ll be doing the happy dance without stopping to cough.
3. FLU (Say good-bye to germs.) Catching the flu, which can come on suddenly, drags you down and into bed. Viruses come in all forms and can give you anything from a 24-hour flu bug to a super bug that’ll spook you to the point where images from sci-fi films like Outbreak and Contagion will haunt you as you try and shake it.
What Tea Rx to Use: Take 2 cups of tea and you won’t be calling the doctor in the morning. Mix it up and sip 1 cup of tea (black, green, or white) and 1 cup of your favorite vitamin C-enhanced herbal tea such as hibiscus.
Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific: It’s no surprise that the functional food tea is chock-full of antioxidants—the good guys that can keep your immune system healthy and stave off germs you could encounter from your local grocery store to a vacation stop. By drinking tea and a vitamin-rich tisane teamed with a nutrient-dense diet, you’ll be keeping your immune system strong.
4. SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER (Blast the blues.) Feeling down and sluggish with SAD, coined by Dr. Norman Rosenthal, is another monster to face. I have tackled the symptoms with an arsenal of remedies—and tea is on the list come late fall through early spring.
What Tea Rx to Use: Brew 1 cup of hot water and use 1 teaspoon green tea leaves or tea bag. Steep for 3 minutes. Repeat 2 times per day.
Why You’ll Feel Tea-rrific: Green tea has 45 milligrams of caffeine (which can give you a physical and mental burst of energy). But also, green tea contains L-theanine—a compound that enhances brain chemicals including serotonin and that can give you a calming sense of well-being.
5. SORE THROAT (Treat the pain.) Before a cold you can get a telltale sore throat. Not to forget allergies and even talking too much. Rather than run to the doctor for an allergy medication, why not take an alternative route and turn to tea?
What Tea Rx to Use: Dried oolong leaves combined with rose hips or hibiscus can be a perfect pairing. Put 1 teaspoon of tea leaves and 1 teaspoon of the herbal tea of your choice in 1 cup of hot water. Steep for a few minutes, then strain. Add honey to taste.
Why You’ll Feel Tea—rrific: Oolong tea my reduce swelling and inflammation, due to flavonoids. Also, honey boasts anti-inflammatory benefits, too.
Ginger Lemon Honey Tea
Ginger and lemon go together like salt and pepper—two of nature’s finest superfoods with an immunity booster that can keep you healthy this winter and all year-long.
2 cups water
10 thin slices gingerroot, fresh
1 lemon sliced
3 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup lemon juice
Bring water, gingerroot, and lemon slices to a boil for 1 or 2 minutes. Remove from heat, steep 10 minutes, strain. Stir in honey and lemon juice. You can also add apple peel, a piece of onion, and one or two tablespoons of chamomile.
(Courtesy: Gemma Sanita Sciabica)
Excerpt from The Healing Powers of Tea 2018. All right reserved. Reprinted with permission from Kensington www.kensingtonbooks.com .
— Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, and Tea) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Her website is www.calorey.com .