Tea Time: Your guide to loose-leaf tea

In my eyes, tea time is the best time. Besides the usual espresso at my day job (ah, the duties of a barista), hot tea is my go-to beverage of choice. Besides being significantly less caffeinated than most other drinks, it also has a wide variety of health benefits that you wouldn’t believe! All teas contain unique antioxidants that help against free radicals that contribute to cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries.
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Depending on the time of season, growing conditions, and a few  other choice factors,  the levels of polyphenols and oxidizing power differ from tea variety, (Green, Black, White or Oolong) yet are still the highest of most things we drink daily.

I was living in Austin a few years ago when I gained my first real interest in loose leaf tea. I met a couple who had a fully self-sustainable garden in their backyard that was complete with fruit trees, herbs, flowers and tons and tons of tea. They dried and bagged their own herbs and would send me off with different blends when I’d come by. Each would have a little note listing what herbs they had thrown in, and what the tea was meant to do for me. This was all I needed to fall head first into loose leaf culture.

            

I loved learning about the individual characteristics, health and mental benefits, and uses for different herbs, and from there making a customizable tea. For example, instead of drinking ‘Sleepy Time’ tea before bed, I’ve found a mix of lavender, lemon  balm, and Valerian soothes my nerves and instantly relaxes me. Not to mention, all three of those herbs are widely used to treat high anxiety, insomnia, and stress.

Below I’ve listed a few of my favorite herbs that, in addition to having awesome health benefits, should be fairly familiar to your taste buds. I encourage you to delve into the world of tea and open yourself up to some of Mother Nature’s awesome benefits!

Your mind, body, and soul will thank you for it  (:

///Echinacea is most commonly used for prevention and curing the common cold. It’s a powerful herb known to increase your immune system, relieve pain, reduce inflammation and also has antioxidant effects.

///Rosehips are the fruit of the rose plant and are one of the best plant sources of vitamin C, which is important for the immune system, skin and tissue health and adrenal function. Because of this, rosehips is an awesome herb for a health boost.

///Green Tea contains potent antioxidants which help suppress free radicals. It also is credited with stopping certain tumors from forming. Besides lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels and thereby promoting heart health., Green tea also lowers blood pressure, prevents and fights tooth decay and dental issues. Can you see why its called the Miracle herb by some doctors and researchers?

///Lemon balm is a very effective tonic to calm nerves and anxiety. Cold lemon balm tea bags help relieve cold sores, or genital sores caused by the herpes simplex virus. Mix lemon balm leaves with Valerian to treat anxiety, stress and insomnia.

Composed by Tai Carpenter

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