014 “Tea-riffic” knowledge: Let’s have a cup of tea

  • Find joy in discovering the therapeutic value of tea

I am not an expert tea drinker. At best, a new convert. 

    • In the mornings, for a long period of time, I drank neither tea nor coffee at home. Just plain water. Not tea.

      In the weekends, even when I had breakfast with my kids at the McDonald’s, my choice of drink was always ice milo. Not tea.

      Occasionally, when I visited Starbucks or any other cafes, my choice was often Cappuccino, and sometimes Latte. Still, not tea.

      Now, tea has triumphed over all other beverages to become my number one choice drink. Yes, give me tea anytime.

      The reason? I have found joy in discovering the therapeutic value of tea.  Every sip of tea I take is a deliberate choice for healing and healthy living.

      • Is brown rice tea really a tea?

      Those who are familiar with my blog know that I drink brown rice tea daily for gastrointestinal well-being. You may read post 010: Homemade remedy: Tangerine Peel Brown Rice Tea (TPBR) if you are interested in making your own concoction. 

      It is really no trouble at all to make your own TPBR tea, but I guess my detailed documentation of the process over-amplified the efforts required unintentionally. In a nutshell, all you do is just mix two ingredients and fry them, that’s it. 

      Too bad many of my friends find it an hassle to prepare their own tea mixtures, but they were intrigued enough to buy ready-to-use tea bags from the shelves.

      The picture above is a brown rice tea that a friend M recently recommended me. I find it robust with roasted rice flavour. I started making the same, minus the tangerine peels. The taste is good but I cannot achieve the same roasted aroma. Time to start some experiments, I guess.

      This picture above depicts  a cup of brown rice tea served in a Japanese restaurant that I went with my wife yesterday. It is known as Genmaicha, 玄米茶, which is the Japanese equivalent of Caomicha 糙米茶 in Chinese. 

      Strictly speaking, however, brown rice tea is not a tea. It is called a tea simply because the public has generally named all kinds of herbal concoction as tea. In that sense, all kinds of beverages that are concocted from botanical plants are now known as teas, or more commonly known as “herbal teas”.

      • Similar health benefits, but varied flavours

      Experts in the tea industry tend not to see brown rice tea as real tea. They maintain that there are only five types of tea, namely black, oolong, green, yellow and white, all originate from the same plant, a kind of camellia (Camellia sinenis and Thea sinensis). 

      The health benefits of these five different types of tea are similar because they come from the same bush. Their benefits, evident by an abundance of scientific researches, include treatment of a variety of ailments such as headaches, heart disease, disgestive problems, immune system disorders, respiratory problems and nervous system issues. 

      Their difference lie in their processing techniques, which alter the health benefits slightly, but significantly change the amount of caffeine each tea contains and their taste. So, you may choose one tea over the others based on your personal preference.

      • The After-Meal Choice: Green Tea

      Probably influenced by my liking for Japanese culture and food, I prefer green tea over the other four teas for its subtle aroma and light grassy taste.

      Green tea is most reputed for its weight loss effects. It increases fat oxidation by thermogensis (heat production) in the body. It also lowers LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels, which make it a perfect choice for after-meal consumption. Here are some green teas I consume. They are quite affordable.

      As you probably know, LDL cholesterol, also known as bad cholesterol, clogs arteries and is culpable for raising the risk of heart attacks. Medical researchers have found that a cup of green tea contains as many antioxidants as one cup of blueberries! Antioxidants are substances that protects the body from cancers. So, even if you are not drinking for weight-management, drink it for your health.

      • For Better Sleep: Chamomile 

      Chamomile is the tea I drink before sleep. I find it very useful for improving sleep quality because of its sedative effects. Those who struggle with insomnia may benefit from the effects of chamomile tea. 

      On sleepless nights, chamomile tea can help me fall asleep faster and wake up feeling rejuvenated.Chamomile tea is fragrant, but it carries an unique taste that took me some time to get used to. You might need to give your tastebuds some time to adjust too.Other than its effectiveness in aiding sleep, the anti-inflammatory properties in chamomile also help to soothe emotions, as well as stomach discomfort.

      For women, chamomile has the added benefit of bringing much relief to menstrual discomforts. But it should be noted that for precisely this reason, pregnant women are generally advised to refrain from chamomile.

      For most people, chamomile is generally fine unless you have a known allergy to pollen. After all, chamomile is a daisy-like herb.

      • Teas for longevity and health

      Teas are not a cure-all for any ailment. But they can stimulate a person’s natural defence against diseases if taken wisely.

      Since ancient time, people have known that tea promote longevity and health wellness. It is such a waste to ignore such time-tested wisdom, don’t you agree?

      Let’s have a cup of tea together.

      William W K Tan

      11 October 2017

      Personal notes:

      From the readership and responses I received so far, it is clear that articles written on the topic of health and wellness are most well-received. 

      A supportive friend J always forward my blog to her other friends each time I write about health and wellness. I was so delighted the other day when she asked a question about fennel (post 003:) on behalf of one of her friends. 

      I really hope that my sharing helps people in their health in some ways. It is my way to telling you that I care for your health, my friend.

      Interested to find out more about tea? Try this book “The Healing Power of Tea” written by Caroline Dow. An easy-to-read book that is not overly technical and yet covers all the relevant know-how.

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