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By Lotus

I just received a bag of Red Tea Rooibos from my "mainland" tea lady. This particular tea has
been prescribed for mild depression, nervous tension, digestive problems, and insomnia. My son-in-law
who hails from Africa, loves this tea. Minerals in Red Tea include iron, potassium,
calcium, copper, zinc, magnesium, fluoride, manganese, sodium, and is also rich in the flavonol
Quercetin, known to increase capillary strength. Natural Journal claims that Red Tea's
antioxidant qualities are as much as 50 times more potent than green tea's.

Earl Grey is a scented blend made with Ceylon and Keemun teas, to which bergamot oil is
added. Bergamot oil is extracted from the rind of the Italian bergamot orange and is used in
perfumes and colognes. This is strictly an English concoction and has a lovely flavor and aroma.
Fenugreek (Trigonella Foenum-Graecum) has been suggested for aiding in digestive ailments as
a source of soluble fiber. Also it's healing properties are used to help combat allergies,
bronchitis, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, emphysema, intestinal gas, headaches, lung
infections, mucous congestion and skin eruptions.

As Fenugreek spread around the Mediterranean, ancient physicians learned that its seeds
contained a great deal of mucilage and when mixed with water provided many health benefits.
The most common uses of Fenugreek today are culinary, such as providing a maple flavor for
confectioneries, an ingredient of curry powders, and as an enhancement for meats, poultry and
marinated vegetables.

Licorice Root is a popular herbal infusion, that helps digestive problems, kills bacteria, fights
cancer and diarrhea, lowers blood sugar. NOT recommended for people with high blood pressure
and pregnant women.

Thyme appears to have several medicinal uses. For coughs and colds, to reduce fevers, and
combined with sage, marjoram and chamomile makes a great calming tea. Use tablespoons of the
fresh herbs chopped or 2 teaspoons of dried herbs. Place the herbs in the teapot. Add 2 cups of
boiling water. Let it stand for about 10 minutes. Strain, and then sweeten if desired with honey or lemon.

It’s that time of year again when I rummage through my stash of papers, scores of articles,
stories, poems etc. I have collected through the years. Amidst all the papers I came across several
articles about the benefits of tea and since I enjoy a cup of tea I found the information interesting
and valuable. Hope you do too.

The Chinese have long known the benefits of drinking tea. According to legend, in 2737 B,C,
Emperor Shen Nung, the first herbalist in China, accidentally poisoned himself after tasting a
number of herbs. He cured himself with a drink made of tea leaves. During the mid-Tang
Dynasty [618-907 A.D.] a man named Lu Yu prepared the first compendium on tea titled Tea
Classic [Ch'a Ching]. This work helped popularize tea drinking in China and made avid tea
drinkers out of everyone from emperor and minister to street hawker and solder. The influence
spread past China's borders causing Korea, Japan and eventually other countries in Southeast
Asia to adopt tea drinking as a custom.

Chinese tea was introduced to the Europeans in 1610 and by the mid-17th century, afternoon tea
became a standard daily routine for the British nobility.

Tea originated in Asia continues to be the world's foremost supplier. Around the world people
have adopted their own tea traditions to suit their customs. Although an available selection of tea
can be found in supermarkets choices can be daunting for even the initiated.

To simplify, there are three basic types of tea, black green and oolong. They all come from the
bush Camellia Sinensis. But from these three types of tee, there are over 3000 derivatives.
Black Tea - most commonly used in North American tea bags. Black tea is made from the leaves
that have been fully oxidized to produce a hearty, deep rich flavor and an amber colored brew. It
is the oxidation process - oxygen coming into contact with enzymes in the tea that distinguish
black teas from green. This process is also known as fermentation.

Green Tea - most popular in Asia, green tea is not oxidized. Once it is picked it is either
withered, immediately steeped or heated to prevent oxidation and then rolled and dried. It is
characterized by a light green color and a delicate refreshing taste.

Oolong Tea - The name oolong translates into "Black Dragon" and is very popular in China.
Oolong refers to partly oxidized leaves which combine the taste and color qualities of black and
green tea. Oolong teas are consumed without milk or sugar and are extremely flavorful and
aromatic. An up-to-date on Oolong Tea as presented by eMedicine. We know that green tea
provides many health benefits; now there's good news about oolong tea. Researchers in Otsu,
Japan studied 118 patients with atopic dermatitis [AD] a chronic skin disorder with an
immunologic basis. Normal treatment involves antihistamines, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories
and allergen avoidance. Patients in the study daily drank three cups of oolong tea, while
maintaining their regular skin treatment. After six months of drinking the tea, 54 percent still
showed improvements. Researchers say the benefits are likely the result of anti-allergenic
polyphenols in the tea.

Blended Teas - These are "real" teas [Carmellia Sinensis], blended with fruit, spices or herbs.
These teas may also be a mixture of different kinds of black and/or green tea.

Herbal/Tisanes - Herbal infusions or tisanes such as chamomile, chrysanthemum, peppermint or
nettle, do not contain any Camellia Sinensis leaves. The term "herbal tea" is somewhat of a misnomer since these
products are not really tea at all. Herbal beverages or infusions can be derived from a single ingredient or a blend of flowers,
herbs, spices, fruits, berries and other plant species.

Flower/Scented Teas - Both green and black tea may be scented and served with fragrant
flowers. When preparing flower or scented teas, it usually requires 20 pounds of fresh flowers
for every 100 pounds of tea. Dried flowers and petals may be added while brewing to give the
tea a light perfume-like flavor. In Asia, the most commonly used flowers for tea are Jasmine and

Traditional Chinese medicine indicates that Jasmine clears the blood of impurities and Rose can
be used to ease menstrual pain, depression or insomnia.

Lapsang Souchong - sometimes known as "Russian Caravan" is a smoked tea from the Fujian
province of China. It can be found in the category of black teas. To get that wonderful smoked
aroma, the leaves are first withered over pine root fires, then pan-fried, rolled and oxidized.
Finally they placed in bamboo baskets and hung on wooden racks over smoking pine fires to dry
and absorb the smoke. The result ... an incredible distinct tea with a smoky aroma and flavor.
Although anxiety may be associated with modern living, it is a common condition as old as
humankind itself. English settlers, unfamiliar with the stress as it is defined today knew anxiety
by a variety of names including "nerves," "hysteria," and "the vapors." Its sufferers were
"worrywarts" and "nervous Nellies." Anxiety is rooted in our flight-or-fight response to real or
perceived threat of danger - how similar we are to all creatures. Sometimes a relaxing cup of tea
can help defuse mild anxiety and provide daily calm.

The most popular ones are:
Valerian - relaxes and provides a sedative quality
Passion Flower - makes a mildly sedative tea
Chamomile - a relaxing tea
NOTE: Chamomile Flowers may cause an allergic reaction in people
sensitive to pollen.

Pampering yourself in an Epson Salts Bath is also a great way to relieve stress and help those
aching muscles. Pour 2 cups Epson Salts into a warm-water bath [not too hot]. Soak for about 15
minutes but no more than 30. The salts cleanse and tone the skin and may lower blood pressure.
There is increasing evidence that drinking tea is full of health benefits. This is because the tea
leaves are full of anti-oxidants. Ongoing scientific research shows that foods rich in anti-oxidants
may reduce the risk of stroke, heart disease and cancers.

Green tea has a high content of vitamins and minerals. It contains ascorbic acid [vitamin C] in
amounts comparable to a lemon. Green tea also contains several B vitamins which are water
soluble and quickly released into a cup of tea. Five cups of green tea a day will provide 5 - 10%
of the daily requirement of riboflavin, niacin, folic acid and pantothenic acid. The same five cups
of gree tea also provide approximately 5% of the daily requirement of magnesium, 25%
potassium, and 45% of the required manganese. Green tea is also high in fluoride.

The polyphenols in tea are naturally-occurring flavonoids which have strong anti-oxidant
properties. Even decaffeinated teas have comparable anti-oxidants to natural tea leaves.
Scientific studies are showing very strong evidence that high levels of polyphenols in green tea
may help lower blood pressure and may also play a part in the prevention of many types of

The anti-oxidants in tea will not replace those found in fresh fruits and vegetables but it is a
complementary addition to healthy living.

The Allure of Jasmine Tea
The unique taste of floral perfume makes jasmine tea memorable. When brewed correctly you
feel like drinking it forever. However, if left to steep too long it becomes bitter and loses its
gentle taste and fragrance. Jasmine tea originated in China's Fujian province. It is a scented green
tea and when it was discovered and introduced, it did not receive favorable reviews. Jasmine tea
became popular during the Ming Dynasty [1368 - 1644 A.D], when adding ingredients such as
gardenias, roses, lotus, plum and jasmine blossoms to one's tea was encouraged.

Christine Moulson of "T" says the best jasmine teas are scented seven times in the following
fashion: "Jasmine blossoms are picked during the heat of the day when flowers are closed tight.
The scenting is done in the cool of the evening when the blossoms open, releasing their
intoxicating scent. They are heaped in piles next to the drying tea leaves which wil absorb the
fragrance of the jasmine. This is repeated up to seven times for the most prized jasmine teas and
only once or twice for ordinary grades. Whole blossoms are often added later for visual
presentation only. Inferior jasmine blends are often scented by adding the blossoms directly to
the tea and mixing them together."

Like all high-quality products, every ingredient must be top-notch and the tea leaves must also be
the best. They are hand-picked while still fairly young and can be identified by the white down
and silvery hairs covering the leaves. As with other teas, jasmine tea has its potential health and
healing benefits. Once again, the natural antioxidants help boost the immune system to aid in the
prevention of colds and flu, lower blood pressure and cholesterol and possible help reduce the
risk of certain types of cancer.

Vitamins A, B, K, and P make their appearance as does a rich supply of fluoride. Jasmine tea
should be amber green in color and the aroma should be intoxicating and sweet. If there is no
aroma, the tea is old. The tea bud or leaf should be visible and have a white or silvery
appearance. A lower grade will have a green appearance but the leaf should still be visible. If the
leaves are broken or ground, then you are looking at an inferior tea that will not have much
flavor or scent. There should only be a few jasmine blossoms in the tea otherwise the tea will
taste bitter. Some well-known jasmines include Jasmine Pearl, Silver Down -[Yin Hao,] and
Spring Wind - [Chung Hao].

When brewing never use boiling water for green teas as it bruises the delicate flavor of the
leaves. Use 1 tsp. of leaves per 12 0z. cup and steep 15 - 30 seconds. Jasmine has traditionally
been popular for its comforting, relaxing and warming qualities, for brightening one's mood, and
as a soothing digestive beverage.

Sarsaparilla has a 500 year-old history as a remedy for a certain social disease ... syphilis.
Sarsaparilla was introduced to European medicine in the mid-16th century by Spanish explorers.
What is so interesting to me, three other plants go by the name "sarsaparilla. The first spikenard
[Aralia racemosa] is also known as American Sarsaparilla. A member of the ginseng family, it
was used by the Micmac as a salve for cuts and wounds. The Ojibwa used the root in a poultice
to heal broken bones.

Closely related to spikenard is wild sarsaparilla [A. nudicaulis] which was used not only
medicinally but, like the Smilax species, as a flavor for root beer.

The third plant, Menispermum canadense, is known as yellow sarsaparilla, Texas sarsaparilla
and Canada moonseed. Like spikenard, it is also called American sarsaparilla. Some still use it to
treat both high and low blood pressure, arthritis, bladder and kidney problems.


Sarsaparilla is a key ingredient in "root beer" and today Sarsaparilla's most controversial usage ...
it is a "natural" way to build muscle, the claim, this herb is a source of anabolic steroid
testosterone. This claim is without merit. The only clinical studies on sarsaparilla are over 50
years old and do not meet today's rigorous research guidelines.

White Tea

Modern-day white teas can be traced to the Qing Dynasty in 1796. Back then, teas were
processed and distributed as loose tea that was to be steeped, and they were produced from
"chaicha," a mixed-variety tea bush. They differed from other Chinese green teas in that the
white tea process did not incorporate de-enzyming by steaming or pan-firing, and the leaves
were shaped. The silver needle white teas that were produced from the "chaicha" tea bushes were
thin, small and did not have much silvery-white hair.

It wasn't until 1885 that specific varietals of tea bushes were selected to make "Silver Needles"
and other white teas. The large, fleshy buds of the "Big White," "Small White" and
"Narcissus" tea bushes were selected to make white teas and are still used today as the raw
material for the production of white tea. By 1891, the large, silvery-white down-covered Silver
Needle was exported, and the production of White Peony started around 1922.

White tea is the purest of all teas, and today is made from the fresh downy buds of the Camellia
sinensis bush. Only the youngest buds, many of which have yet to open and have abundant white
hairs are plucked, hence the name “white” tea.

White tea is relatively rare and quite a bit more expensive than other teas. There is also
considerably less caffeine in white tea compared to other varieties. White teas undergo very little
processing and no fermentation. The leaves are steamed and heated to prevent oxidation but are
not rolled. The result, a delightful sparkling pale golden-yellow colored tea that is absolutely
crystal clear. I like this tea and found white tea to have a delicate yet slightly astringent taste that
is light and sweet without any bitterness or heavy aftertaste.
Health benefits: similar to green tea.

A premium white tea like Yin Zhen (silver needles) grown in China can cost $120 or more a
pound. Ceylon – a silver tip tea grown in Sri Lanka runs about $125.00 a pound. Before I forget
again, the sources and references for the "tea" articles I have been sharing, I have adapted from
the following books:
Chado The Japanese Way of Tea by Soshitsu Sen
The Book of Tea – by : Okakura Kakuzo
All the Tea in China By: Kit Chow & Ione Kramer
Chinese Tea Culture – by Wang Ling
The Art of Tea – by Mariage Frères
Victorian Magazines
Wellness Magazines

This tea is a special blend with over 300 years history. The original tea recipe was a gift to
Charles the second Earl Grey who was one of Britain’s most popular prime ministers. It was
brought to him from China by a British envoy who had saved the life of a mandarin. Earl Grey
was so taken with the blend that he eventually gave the recipe to his tea merchant - the Tyneside
Company, Twinings and today Stephen Twining, President of R. Twinings Tea Limited. says
that their recipe for earl grey tea has not changed since the 1800's.

Earl grey is a scented black tea and has a unique perfumey flavour and aroma. This particular tea
goes well with sweet things including meringue pies and Crème brulés. It also goes nicely with
cheese and in England, a cheese called Leicester which is slightly milder than Cheddar makes a
nice match. Earl Grey is often served as the ideal accompaniment to port. After steeping for
about 3 - 4 minutes, the brew should be golden brown with a slight scent of bergamot [citrus]
although some tea blends overdose on the Bergamot flavoring to hide an inferior tea blend. You
can also find Earl grey scented with lavender, jasmine or other flowers. It is said that a true Earl
grey tea drinker would consider a "spot" of milk but never lemon which detracts from the
Bergamot and changes the overall flavor and aroma.

Addition by Urban4est:

Tea has always been used medicinally. Oolong is one of the most common of the Chinese teas.
Different teas are used in various regional medicines for treating different conditions. Beyond the
chemical constituents of tea the emotional and meditative relationship of tea has been developed
through millennium. The most highly ritualistic tea ceremony is that from Japan. Scents, taste
and sound are combined as guided meditation. There is also a special emotional bond created by
the two people in the ceremony. The psyche melds with the environment. Thus the Japanese Tea
Ceremony is a holistic healing system. I recommend that everyone sample unfamiliar teas
whenever possible. Try them out and take home a bag for later when you find one that suits you.
Then make a strong pot of the tea and pour it into your night time bath. You will find that there is
more to tea benefits than just drinking it.

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