How do you prefer to drink tea, hot or iced? While people world-wide drink hot tea, many people in the southern United States prefer iced tea. William Ewart Gladstone, a British liberal statesman is quoted to have said, "If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are too heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you." Linda Solegato, poet, naturalist and gardener, said, "Iced tea may not have as much wisdom as hot tea, but in the summer better a cool and refreshed dullard than a steamy sweat-drenched sage - leave sagacity to the autumn!"
All teas come from an evergreen tree called Camellia Sinensis. Black and oolong tea go through a drying and fermenting process, while green and white tea are promptly steamed. Black tea is the most processed tea. Ah, you do not believe that all tea comes from the same plant? Well, remember that herbal tea is not really tea, although quite nutritious, it is a blend of herbs.
The first history records people drinking tea originates in China. China increased tea trade with the western nations during the 19th century. Tea is only second to water as the most consumed beverage on Earth. To prepare tea, pour boiling hot water over cured tea leaves. Some people prefer lemon, sugar or honey in hot or ice tea. Many teas are blends containing flavored variants and herbs, such as bergamot, vanilla, chamomile, and others.
After a bad day at work, try a cup of black tea to reduce cortisol, also known as the stress hormone. Tea can lower blood pressure and thwart the chance of a blood clot, which may lead to strokes and heart attacks. Tea may mean fewer trips to the dentist because of its ability to reduce cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. Be sure to drink tea after a meal as a digestive aid or to relieve menstrual cramps. White, green, oolong and black teas all contain antioxidants, which aids in cell regeneration and repair, slows the aging process, improves cognitive abilities and some studies suggest that it may help prevent cancer. Studies suggest that green tea can enhance the bacteria fighting effects of antibiotics and may improve the body's immune defenses.
So next time, consider tea:
- On a cold day to warm the body and the soul.
- On a hot day to cool off.
- After a stressful day to wind down.
- To halt menstrual cramps.
- At the end of a meal to aid with digestion.
- To slow the aging process.
- For your health and well being.
*Image courtesy Flickr creative commons.