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Time for Tea

The Powerful Benefits of Tea

by Ilissa Palmer in Ilissa's Blog
October 21, 2017

No matter what season it is, you will find me drinking tea. There’s nothing like a warm and snuggly mug of tea, hands cupped around the smooth ceramic radiating its warmth, face hovering over the steam rising up to greet you. It tells you to let your cares all fall away while you savor this moment. I’m not even trying to be dreamy; this is honestly how I feel about enjoying a cup of tea, and I want you to feel the same! It gets even better. Not only can tea make you feel comforted and as if all is right with the world, it also has medicinal benefits that do your body a whole lot of good, in plenty of ways.

At Fruit of the Spirit Nutrition, we are constantly talking about the power of plant foods and how they serve as natural medicine. Well, teas are made from plants (leaves, flowers, stems, roots, bark), so it only makes sense that they have special health benefits too. Each type of tea comes along with an exciting resume all its own. Here are a few of my staples and what they can do for you.

Peppermint
I probably drink peppermint tea more often than any other kind. I am in fact, drinking some now as I write this!  It’s invigorating while being simultaneously relaxing, lending something of a relaxed energy. It helps with focus and sharper brain function. A great choice to sip on early on in the morning for help waking up, at times when you need a little extra help with focusing on a work project, when the afternoon post-lunchtime energy slump hits, or when sugar cravings arise. It’s a feel-good treat to enjoy a cup of peppermint tea accompanied by a piece of good quality dark chocolate in the middle of the afternoon, or after dinner for dessert. Peppermint is, of course, a stomach settler, making it a great digestive aid after meals or during those times you’re just feeling a little uneasy. (I drank a whole lot throughout a cruise around Europe)! Mint tea after meals is a common practice in other countries like Morocco. Note: It’s wonderful for indigestion or gas, but may be irritating to acid reflux.

Ginger
An old Indian proverb simply states, “Everything good is found in ginger.” Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory with the ability to relieve inflammation all over the body. It can ease headaches, muscle aches, and joint pain. It can dilate the blood vessels for healthy blood pressure and smooth flowing circulation, or it can clear out respiratory congestion and open up the airways of the lungs for someone suffering from allergies or a cold. It’s probably best known for its ability to improve the digestion and absorption of our food. Popular among pregnant women struggling with morning sickness, ginger is powerful for relieving nausea and bloating. It has antispasmodic properties that calm spasms in the stomach and other muscles. If you’re that person who is constantly fighting with others to turn up the thermostat settings, ginger has natural heating properties that can help to warm you up and take the chill out of your body. It’s excellent for taking along on your travels, especially if you need help with avoiding motion sickness. We are a fan of Yogi Teas; we love their inspirational messages!

Lemon Balm
Said to be nourishing for the brain, lemon balm promotes relaxation, while keeping the mind clear and sharp. It’s perfect for drinking before bedtime to prevent insomnia and promote restful sleep. Also feel free to sip some first thing in the morning or at any point throughout the day (especially on highly stressful days) to calm stress and anxiety. I am personally not a big fan of the flavor of chamomile, so this is a good one to drink in its place.

Lemon balm can also uplift one’s mood, assisting the body with producing more of our happy hormone serotonin! Studies in children with ADHD found that when using lemon balm, hyperactivity, focus, and impulse behaviors all improved significantly. I first learned about this plant from a retired Holistic Registered Nurse who was selling potted plants at a farmer’s market. When her children were young, she would brew a large pot of lemon balm tea, chill it in the refrigerator, and have it ready to go when they got home from school. Instead of bouncing around the kitchen while she was struggling to prepare dinner, the kids would enjoy a glass of “mommy’s lemonade” and took to quietly reading or sitting down to calmly work on their homework. Now that’s a testimony to lemon balm’s calming benefits! It’s also a digestive aid, helping to ease bloating, gas, and indigestion. Although it’s a member of the mint family it has a very mild citrusy flavor. We love Traditional Medicinal’s Lemon Balm Tea as an organic, trusted source. 

Raspberry Leaf
This tea is especially good for the ladies. Touted for benefiting women’s health, it’s been used for centuries to support a healthy menstrual cycle, ease menstrual cramping, decrease heavy flow, and prepare the womb for childbirth. It’s used to relax and strengthen the smooth muscles of the uterus and pelvis with the hopes of an easier and less prolonged delivery. I like to keep it on hand for the hormonal high-times of the month. It can also be used as an astringent and soothing gargle for sore mouths and throats. On the digestive side, it may help to ease diarrhea. Like the other teas listed above, this is also an herbal tea free of caffeine, although it tastes like a fruity black tea. It is made from exactly what it sounds like- the leaves of the raspberry fruit plant. 

Matcha Green
Green tea is something special to be sure, but matcha green tea deserves to be in a category all its own. As an important part of a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, this tea is prepared and sipped on in a meditative manner. What is matcha exactly? Matcha means, “powdered tea” which is then dissolved in water. With traditional green tea we steep the leaves and drink the essence that leaches out of the leaves into the water, but with matcha, it is equivalent to eating the whole leaf, and so we reap the health benefits of consuming the entire plant in all of its green glory! The process of growing these tea leaves allows them to produce higher levels of caffeine as well as a compound called L-Theanine. L-Theanine promotes the production of alpha waves in the brain which induces relaxation without causing drowsiness. This nervous system calming effect counteracts the stimulating properties of the caffeine, while also enhancing the caffeine’s ability to keep us alert. While all green tea contains energy-giving caffeine (unless of course, it is decaffeinated), this combination in matcha provides its drinkers with a special sort of calm but sharp energy, without the energy crashes or jitters often caused by coffee. To further illustrate this point, Japanese Zen Buddhist monks drink matcha green tea while meditating, while the Samurai warriors of history past were known to drink it before charging off into battle.

Green tea is an impressive cancer fighter and preventer thanks to its EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) phytochemical, which can prevent cancer cells from growing, kill off existing cancer cells, and repair cell damage. Matcha green tea contains triple the amount of EGCG that regular green tea does. Woah. That is stunning! Matcha is a great detoxifier as well. It is very rare to find true matcha tea in the U.S. and the quality of products definitely varies, so pay extra attention to the ingredients and source of what you’re purchasing. Rishi Matcha tastes very grassy and green. I like to brighten up and mellow out the flavor by adding fresh lemon juice, which only adds more health-enhancing benefits.

Once you make tea-drinking a regular part of your routine, the health perks will be evident and you will only want to enjoy more and more. Meanwhile, your use of pharmaceuticals should become less and less. Your collection of teas will grow and you’ll become a regular connoisseur. Welcome to the club!

Here’s your rundown on the caffeine content of teas – (number of milligrams of caffeine in one 8 oz. cup):

-Most of the teas I’ve listed here are herbals and are therefore caffeine-free. (0 mg)
-Black tea (I haven’t listed any here) is highest in caffeine of the teas (60-90 mg) and compares closest to a cup of coffee which has 150-200 mg
-Green tea has about 1/3 of the amount of caffeine in a cup of coffee (35-70 mg)
-White teas are mild in their caffeine content (30-55 mg)

Enjoy any of these teas with smooth shopping on Amazon!

Rishi Matcha

Yogi Teas

Traditional Medicinal’s Lemon Balm Tea

Traditional Medicinal’s Organic Raspberry Tea

Single Herb-Organic Peppermint Tea Traditional Medicinals 16 Bag (Pack of 1)