A Cup of Tea, Slow and Reverent

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves—slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”
– Thich Nat Hahn

Tonight, as I brewed up my last pot of tea (Moroccan Mint), Thich Nat Hahn’s words struck a chord with me. While rushing through the bedtime routine at our house, I thought about how so many of these precious moments (getting to rock my daughter to sleep, for example) won’t last. The days are flying by fast, and I’m afraid that I’ll miss something in my race against the clock.Teapot

Slow Down

Tea invites us to slow time down a bit. There is never a 2–5 minute time period that I am more aware of than the 2–5 minutes it takes my first cup of tea to steep. Sitting down to enjoy it is automatically time carved out of the day for reflection. And reflection on life’s little moments and tiny blessings is what helps seal them in our memories.

Your Invitation

There will always be excuses to hurry and bustle, but this is your personal invitation to pause. Sit down, enjoy a pot of tea, and take inventory of your day, your blessings, your highs and lows, or whatever else you want to remember and cherish. Don’t let the rush toward the future cause you to miss the present. Enjoy it while it’s here!

Sun Tea, What You Need to Know

Warmer days are coming soon! For some of us they are already well established and leave us looking for a cool, refreshing drink. Sun tea has been a popular and relatively inexpensive way to keep hydrated for many people, but there are a few things you should know.

The Risks

The nostalgic look of tea bags cooking away in a glass jar on the front porch is definitely a welcoming sight. However, that glass jar creates the perfect environment for bacteria from tap water to thrive. The water typically keeps to a steady temperature of 130°F. To actually kill bacteria, the tea needs to get to 195°F. Of course, this bacteria probably adds a little to make sun tea taste just the way you remember it, but there are a few precautions to keep in mind if you choose to take the risk of enjoying it this summer.

  1. Wash out the glass jar and spigot (if your container has one) very carefully with warm, soapy water before putting in water for tea.
  2. Don’t leave the jar in the sun for more than 3-4 hours.
  3. Don’t make more tea than you plan to consume in a day.
  4. Refrigerate the tea as soon as it is brewed and keep it refrigerated.
  5. Discard if the tea appears thick or syrupy.

A Safe Alternative

With a little more planning ahead, iced tea is just as easy to make and definitely safe from bacteria by brewing it cold. Simply fill your jar with cool water, add tea bags as you would for sun tea, and place the jar in the fridge overnight. This way, bacteria doesn’t have a chance, and your tea will have a longer refrigerator shelf life. Give it a try! As simple as this method is, you may want to stock up on a few favorite flavors this time of year such as Mango Mayhem Black Tea, Lychee or Ginger Peach.

DIY Tea Spa

We know that tea is packed with health benefits as a beverage. Here’s something you may not have realized: when tea is in beauty products it makes for fantastic results! There are plenty of existing beauty products that claim to have beneficial tea leaves ground up with several other ingredients, but they can get expensive. We’ve gathered a few recipes here that are simple, budget-friendly and use only a few ingredients. So whether you’re looking to get rid of puffiness under your eyes, deep clean your pores, or brighten your smile, this is the place to look.

Clean and ExfoliateTea Masque

Making your own facial mask mixture couldn’t be any easier than this. Combine slightly moistened green tea leaves (e.g. Sencha and Dragon Well) with a bit of honey and spread it evenly over your face. Let it set for a few minutes and then wash off with warm water. This should help remove redness and exfoliate. Simple and it smells great too!

Reduce Eye-Puffiness

Here’s another simple remedy that takes only two ingredients: cold water and tea bags. Soak the tea in the water and place them over your eyes for 15-20 minutes. The cool water will soothe your eyes while the caffeine in the tea will take away the puffiness. Caffeine is featured in several beauty products that claim to do this same thing but for more money than you’d be shelling out for tea bags.

Put Shine into Your Hair

Cold water and black tea (for brunettes) or chamomile (for blondes) is a great way to make your hair shine. The pigments in black tea or chamomile will enhance your natural hair color. Just rinse your hair in the appropriate brewed tea or herbal blend, and wrap your hair in a towel for 20 minutes to let the brew soak in. Rinse and continue styling.

These ideas are just a start to creating your own tea-inspired personal spa. Here’s a few more great tea beauty products. You can make them all at home whilst enjoying a cup of your favorite tea.

 

Tea and your Teeth

For daily tea drinkers, here’s a factoid that will brighten your day and possibly your smile: teas contain trace amounts of fluoride that can help prevent tooth decay. That’s right, drinking green teas, black teas and oolong teas can help promote oral health.

You might be thinking that fluoridated water used to brew tea should be getting all the credit, but that’s not the case! Fluoride is naturally stored in the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant, which are later harvested to make tea. Older tea leaves have more fluoride than newer leaves. White teas are made from the newest leaves of the camellia sinensis plant and therefore contain the least amount of fluoride.

Of course, many people are aware of the dangers of ingesting too much fluoride, including a heightened risk for osteoporosis. So does that mean you should be worried about the fluoride content in your tea? Not at all!

Even if you drank a whole liter of green tea in one day, the amount of fluoride would be well below the recommended levels for safe consumption. The amount of fluoride found in your average tea will contain just about the recommended dose for fighting off cavities and ensuring that teeth stay strong and healthy. So kick back, relax with your favorite cup and enjoy the added benefit of healthier teeth!

Incorporating Tea into a Healthy New Year

If you’re looking to improve your health in the upcoming year, tea can help.

  • Tea has almost no calories, and flavorful loose leaf teas do not need caloric sweeteners.
  • Tea replaces other sugary beverages like soda.
  • Tea is full of antioxidants, which have been linked to fighting a number of cancers, including prostate cancer, breast cancer, and other types of cancer.
  • Tea is good for the cardiovascular system and dental health.
  • Tea may fight the flu. A recent study on children in Japan showed “Green tea is known to contain antiviral components that prevent influenza infection.”
  • Tea has some caffeine, which is released slowly for an extended level of alertness without a sudden crash.
  • ECGC, the main antioxidant in green tea, may prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. In 2007, at the Fourth International Scientific Symposium on Tea and Human Health in Washington D.C., Dr. Silvia Mandell presented the results of her study which showed the main antioxidant polyphenol of green tea extract, EGCG, when fed to mice induced with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, helped to protect brain cells from dying, as well as ‘rescuing’ already damaged neurons in the brain, a phenomenon called neurorescue or neurorestoration. The Michael J. Fox Foundation is holding tests in China on early Parkinson’s patients for further research.
  • Due to the inclusion of both caffeine and l.theanine, tea induces a relaxed state of alertness; it keeps you energized without being jittery, so you’re better able to focus and study. It may even be an effective treatment for ADHD.
  • Tea tastes good, and may even help suppress your appetite so you don’t overeat.

It seems no matter what your resolution is this year, tea can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.