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Tea is good for you. Now that’s a pretty blunt statement but – as you may have noticed if you’ve been reading some of the articles published in these pages lately – there have been a number of studies released over the past decade or so to support this assertion.

One of the more noteworthy of these studies – at least if you judge these things merely by size and scope – is the so-called ww, a Japanese project more properly known as the Ohsaki National Health Insurance Cohort Study. In this study, which got underway in 1994, Japanese researchers looked at the effects of green tea consumption on 40,530 Japanese adults who previously had no history of stroke, coronary heart disease, or cancer.

The objective of the research was to investigate the associations between green tea consumption and all-cause and cause-specific mortality, specifically with respect to cardiovascular disease and cancer. Results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2006.

Participants of the study were followed up for up to 11 years (1995-2005) for all-cause mortality and for up to 7 years (1995-2001) for cause-specific mortality.

Over 11 years of follow-up, 4209 participants died, and over 7 years of follow-up, 892 participants died of cardiovascular disease and 1134 participants died of cancer. Green tea consumption was inversely associated with mortality due to all causes and due to cardiovascular disease.

While other research has found that the high antioxidant levels in green tea helped to reduce tumors, the Japanese study found no clear connection between tea consumption and lower death rates from cancer. The researchers did discover, however, that people who drink green tea are less likely to die from cardiovascular disease, particularly stroke.

For more information on The Ohsaki Study, refer to this abstract from the Journal of the American Medical Association.

If you found this article by Googling “tea and weight loss,” you also had nearly 21 million other hits. These days, the topic of tea and weight loss is hotter than your cuppa. But is there any truth to these claims?

Sencha

Maybe, maybe not. Green tea might ward off weight gain, according to a study on WebMD. But that’s only based on preliminary studies on mice. On the other hand, these mice were getting a heavy dose. Even assuming that green tea had the same effects on people, a tea drinker would have to consume seven cups of green tea per day for the same effect. As much as I love tea, that’s a lot of green tea. And, I’m very aware that I am not, in fact, a mouse. Many of the claims about tea and weight loss come from manufacturers.

On the other hand, if you’ve been guzzling sodas and sugary fruit drinks, switching to unsweetened tea probably will result in weight loss, simply because you are replacing beverages filled with empty calories with a zero calorie beverage. Not to mention, tea does seem to be a rather healthy beverage.

My real problem with these claims is that they turn tea into a health drink. Tea is perfectly delicious whether or not it is a miracle infusion. Drinking tea should be about pleasure and relaxation, not about losing weight. Unfortunately, our society puts a lot of pressure on what a scale says, and people become desperate to try anything to make that number go down. Don’t let that pressure take your enjoyment out of life. Being healthy is one thing, taking desperate measures to fit a standard is another.

So go ahead, eat healthy and drink healthy. Go for a walk. But above all, enjoy your cup of  tea, and love yourself no matter what.

Stephanie offers up healthy scoops of tea information daily on her blog, The Tea Scoop.

[Editor's note: Our blog is chock full of great articles on this topic. Use our search feature to find them!]

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

If you have yet to sample the pleasures of the South African herbal beverage known as rooibos (Aspalanthus linearis) it might be time to give it a whirl.

Rooibos is also known as redbush, for the distinctive red color of the needle like leaves and the deep color of the finished beverage. This caffeine free “tea” has soared in popularity in recent years and a wide range of potential health benefits have been attributed to it.

Though widely praised for these various and sundry health benefits, actual research on the rooibos/health connection has lagged considerably behind that of real tea. In 2008, the results of a groundbreaking study that claimed to be “the first-ever human clinical trial” on rooibos were released.

The study took a look at rooibos to see whether the beverage might help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. The trial was conducted by researchers at the Oxidative Stress Research Centre at Cape Peninsula University of Technology in Cape Town, South Africa.

Research was carried on 40 men and women aged 30 to 60, with two or more of these cardiovascular disease risk factors: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, and/or increased body mass index. Study participants drank six cups of rooibos daily for a period of six weeks.

Results from the study indicated that rooibos protects against oxidative damage, as evidenced by a 21% decrease in conjugated dienes in the blood. Conjugated dienes are formed in large numbers during the early stages of oxidation of cellular components like fats. As researchers noted, the beneficial antioxidant chemicals in rooibos, black and green tea, and chocolate are called flavonoids and those in tea and chocolate differ somewhat from those found in rooibos.

Readers seeking more information on historic and scientific publications about rooibos can look to a summary published in the American Botanical Council’s quarterly journal, HerbalGram (issue #59) in 2003.

Don’t forget to check out William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks!

Chinese Black Tea

Chinese Black Tea

There’s certainly no shortage of assorted and sundry wondrous claims for the potential health benefits of tea. Among these, the possibility that drinking tea might help lower your cholesterol level.

One study suggested that drinking black tea might result in lower levels of low-density lipoprotein, a “bad” cholesterol, in a test group. The study was conducted by the Agricultural Research Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency.

Researchers looked at the effects of black tea consumption on blood lipid concentrations in adults with mildly high cholesterol. Test subjects consumed five servings of black tea daily for a period of three weeks. The results in this short period of time were impressive. Blood lipids were lowered anywhere between six and ten percent, with no change to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good” cholesterol.

Using tea extracts might not be as appealing as drinking a cup of tea, but the benefits obtained from these concentrated dosages are worthy of note. Another study, results of which were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, discovered that supplements containing green and black tea extracts helped subjects with moderately high cholesterol to reduce their LDL levels by up to sixteen percent.

The study looked at 240 men and women in China who maintained low-fat diets. For 12 weeks they were given tea extracts in capsules. Each capsule contained theaflavin and catechin in amounts equal to 35 cups of black tea or seven cups of green tea.

In a study conducted at the Chinese University of Hong Kong on hamsters with high triglyceride and cholesterol levels, various groups of hamsters were fed epicatechins from jasmine green tea, green tea and water. Groups given epicatechins and green tea showed the same result – lowered blood levels of triglycerides and cholesterol. Hamsters who consumed the equivalent of 15 cups of tea a day saw triglyceride and cholesterol levels lowered by up to one third.

Additional research, noted in the Harvard Women’s Health Watch, found that flavonoids in tea – and those in blueberries, grapes, oranges, and hibiscus flowers – helped lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol.

Learn more about tea on William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks!

Decaf Tea

Thus far in these pages, we’ve reported on a number of studies suggesting that there is a link between tea and improved health. Among them are several studies that have examined tea’s affect on various types of cancer, including breast cancer and lung cancer.

Ovarian cancer isn’t nearly as well known as the types of cancer mentioned above, but it’s a serious matter even so. According to the National Cancer Institute, 21,550 new cases of ovarian cancer were reported in 2009 and 14,600 women died from the disease in that same year.

The fact that tea might have some benefits for ovarian cancer patients has been documented in several studies. One of these found that women with high consumption of dietary flavonoids could have a reduced risk for ovarian cancer. The data was taken from the Nurses’ Health Study, which looked at 66,384 participants. Foods with high flavonoid content include red wine, soybeans, fruits, vegetables – and tea.

A study by researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle discovered that herbal, decaffeinated, or black teas were not associated with a risk of ovarian cancer and women who drank green tea had a 54% lower risk of contracting this disease.

A study conducted at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, in Buffalo, New York, examined black tea and coffee consumption with regard to the risk of ovarian cancer. Study participants who drank two or more cups of black tea a day experienced a 30% decline in risk of ovarian cancer.

Australian researchers at the Curtin University of Technology concluded that “that increasing the consumption of green tea post-diagnosis may enhance epithelial ovarian cancer survival.” Findings were based on a study, conducted in China, that “comprised 254 patients recruited during 1999-2000 with histopathologically confirmed epithelial ovarian cancer and was followed up for a minimum of 3 years.”

Looking for more in-depth tea information? Check out William’s blog, Tea Guy Speaks!

Tea has many well-documented health benefits. One tea company even declares this in the name of its tea — “Typhoo,” from a Chinese word meaning “doctor.” It’s a tea that’s been around since the early 1900s and is still enjoyed daily by millions.

Modern medicine has only been around a relatively short time in man’s history. Many of the products in pharmacies and drug stores didn’t exist back in the early 1900s. So, what did people do when they had an upset stomach? Mary Augusta Sumner, sister of John Sumner who ran the family grocery business after his father retired, had indigestion problems. There was no pink liquid in a bottle, no pills to take a half hour before you eat, or ones to take right after. She tried a tea made from tiny leaf pieces, an alternative to teas brewed from full-leaf and broken-leaf teas popular at that time, and found it aided her digestion. Her brother started producing this tea for his store, packaging and naming it (“Typhoo Tipps Tea,” now simply “Typhoo Tea”) so his customers would know this tea was more than just great-tasting.

Typhoo Tea, Ltd., was incorporated in 1905 after Sumner had sold off his grocery business to pay some debts. This proved to be one of the better decisions for tea drinkers worldwide. The company made a profit in its first year, something that many businesses cannot boast. Sumner further reduced production costs, and passed his savings on to the customers through lower prices, by instituting changes in his business operations. He cut out some of the middlemen by dealing directly with a buying/blending agency in Ceylon that bought the teas that went into Typhoo directly at tea auctions and then started having those teas blended in Ceylon.

The company survived two World Wars. During the first one, they overcame government restrictions that would have doomed them, and retained the loyalty of their customers. During the second one, their factory was bombed, the government confiscated their tea supply, and they had to farm out production of their tea to other companies for awhile. In between the wars, Sumner had to deal with a quality control problem when he discovered that the agents in Ceylon were buying inferior quality tea but charging the same price for a higher profit. Eventually, tea blending operations were moved to England so they could keep a better eye on things.

Typhoo Tea, Ltd., carried on through the years, continuing to blend the finest teas, using only the leaf edges to get more cups of tea to the pound and avoid the stems which include tannin that can cause indigestion. Company ownership changed in the 1960s, again in the late 1980s, and once more in the late 1990s. Finally, in 2005 Typhoo and its associated brands were acquired by one of India’s largest tea producers, Apeejay Surrendra Group. Along the way, they continued to produce their wonderful, gentle-on-the-tummy tea but added some items to their product line: Typhoo One Cup, Typhoo Q Tea instant, the first green tea blend introduced to the UK market, and Typhoo Fruit and Herb.

Today, not only are Typhoo and similar teas very popular in England, but 95% of the tea Brits drink is bagged. Interesting to know, considering the increasing promotion of finer, full-leaf teas. Typhoo Tea’s Executives and Blenders are mostly like me — they like their tea strong with milk and sweetener. Smart people!

Time to steep up a potful and enjoy a cup or two with my hubby. Enjoy!

Learn more about the wonderful world of tea on A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill.

Chai Green Tea

Chai Green Tea

Tea is good. Tea is good for you. Some shrewd tea merchants tend to exaggerate the latter point in the service of selling more tea, but there’s strong evidence even so to indicate that tea has numerous health benefits. We’ve reported on a number of these potential benefits thus far. Here are a few more bits and pieces of tea-related health info that didn’t merit a full-length discussion.

Green Tea Whips Superbugs
The list of potential health benefits we might realize from drinking green tea is a long one, for sure. In 2008, a group of Egyptian scientists added another point to the list. They announced the results of a study that suggested that green tea fights drug-resistant superbugs. Researchers said that whenever green tea was tested in combination with antibiotics it “enhanced the bacteria-killing activity of the antibiotics.”

Green Tea Facial
Apparently you don’t have to drink green tea to benefit from its health-giving qualities, although that’s the preferred method for most of us. In 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported on Lina Tanaka, the co-founder of Tokyo-based skin-care company Medical Research International. Tanaka swears by the restorative properties of the polyphenols in green tea, which she applies directly to her face, skin and eyes.

Einstein’s Tea Leaves
Quick – what’s the connection between Albert Einstein and tea? And what’s it all got to do with health? Well, it’s not a health benefit in the strictest sense of the word, but a phenomenon Einstein first looked at nearly a hundred years ago – the tendency of tea leaves “to accumulate at the center of the bottom in a stirred teacup” – has been useful to Australian scientists devising a new method to separate blood plasma.

Too Much Tea?
Is it possible to drink too much tea? Hardcore tea drinkers might find it difficult to even consider such a question, but moderation is probably a good in all areas of life – including tea consumption. A Chicago Tribune article published some time back pointed to some potential drawbacks in drinking too much tea. Among them, fluid overload, caffeine sensitivity and anemia – the latter a result of tea binding with iron. For other viewpoints on this notion, check out this thread from some of the avid tea drinkers at the TeaChat forum.

Chinese Black Tea

Chinese Black Tea

Tea is delicious and is also healthy for your body. However there are also many aspects of tea that can help to beautify you and your skin and hair.

For example tea can be used as a beauty rinse for your hair. If you have dark hair, use black tea, concentrated (use approximately 2 teabags per cup of water you use) by brewing the tea strongly then allowing it to cool. Use after shampooing, rinsing isn’t necessary. This will darken your hair slightly and add a shimmery shine. If you have lighter hair, brew concentrated chamomile herbal tea as a rinse to bring out the highlights in your hair.

Used tea bags (especially black tea bags) are high in tannins, which has an astringent effect, much like Witch Hazel. Place used teabags in the fridge for a few hours before placing them directly on your eyelids to reduce puffiness and help shrink pores as well as blood vessels for a soothing feeling. And speaking of soothing feelings, used and cooled teabags are also extremely soothing to burns on your skin. It can also make a toothache feel better until you can see the dentist – apply the used and cooled teabag directly to the affected area.

Use cooled tea as a facial rinse to help reduce acne with it’s skin toning, astringent and anti-bacterial properties. Those same properties also make it an excellent foot soak. Make a hot tea bath for your feet using the 2 bags per cup method mentioned above, and allowing the tea to cool to a temperature that is comfortable for your feet. Epsom salts can be added to this foot bath for added benefit. Peppermint leaves make an enlivening natural deodorizer for your tea foot baths as well – just add peppermint leaves to the tea leaves when you are brewing the foot bath.

Tea, especially green teas, are well-known for their ability to fight bad breath while tasting delicious. You can even make your own homemade green tea toothpaste!

Pour 1 cup boiling water over 3 ounces of green tea (Matcha tea is ideal for this), and allow to infuse for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes have passed, add that liquid to as much baking soda as you need to make a thick paste from it. Use as you would any other toothpaste, only this one is all-natural, child-safe, and extremely good for your teeth!

Stephanie is the publisher of the Tea Review Blog. Check it out today!

[Editor's note: Our blog is chock full of great articles on this topic. Use our search feature to find them!]

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tea Field

Tea Field

The love affair that many people have with drinking tea is one that has grown slowly over time. What starts off as a casual acquaintance blossoms into an amorous fascination. There have been many lists created with reasons as to why you ought to drink more tea, but love has so little to do with logic.

  1. Fall in Love over and over and over – There are so many teas to try, that this romance never need grow tiresome. Should your love’s light start to dim, rekindle the flame with a new type of tea or a new tea company.
  2. Tea Brews Lasting Friendships – the next time your friend is sick, don’t just bring them tea – show them how much you care by brewing them some tea. It doesn’t take long, it just takes love.
  3. Tea Loves the Planet – Imagine fields of tea plants assisting in creating breathable oxygen. Tea is the 2nd most consumed beverage (after water) and that means lots of plants, exchanging carbon dioxide and supporting a healthier environment. Mother Earth says to drink your tea!
  4. Calm Minds = Open Hearts – Use the steeping time to practice meditation. For 3-5 minutes close your eyes, inhale slowly and gently exhale. Repeat until tea is steeped. Continue on your way with renewed calm, presence and energy that come from conscious breathing meditation.
  5. Love Sets You Free – Even The National Cancer Institute suggests drinking tea (and conscious breathing) as a way to help you quit smoking. Drinking tea can help you overcome addiction to cigarettes and alcohol. Being able to live your life free from these substances will greatly improve your quality of life. Possible side effects may include being addicted to tea. ;)
  6. Live and Breathe With Love – Studies show that the fluoride in tea assists in preventing cavities. Antioxidant material found in tea can also help to prevent halitosis by killing bacteria in the mouth.
  7. Love is For Everyone – If you have tea then you have what you need to throw a party. Whether 3 people or 23 people, tea adds to any gathering. Invite a new neighbor, catch up with an old friend, enjoy the warmth of family, celebrate someone’s birthday or just because it’s Monday! Show your love by sharing it with others.

Madam Potts blog, Mad Pots of Tea!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

[Editor's Note: This is an old article and appears to contain some unsubstantiated and inprecise information. "Chai" means "tea" - the author is obviously referring to a version of tea that has spices added to it and is more correctly called "masala chai" or "spiced tea."]

Disclaimer: This is not intended as medical advice. Please consult your physician for your particular needs.

One of the most popular teas in the U.S. today is Chai. There’s just something about its fragrant and rich mixture of spices that relieves bodily tensions, lifts our spirits, and sets minds at ease. This makes sense, seeing as how the roots of Chai can be found in an ancient and influential form of medicine stressing just that: the collective well-being of the mind, body and spirit. It’s called Ayurveda, has been practiced on the Indian Subcontinent for thousands of years, and is often used as a form of alternative medicine in the West.

In Sanskrit, the term “Ayurveda” is made up of the word for “life,” āyus, and the word for “related to knowledge” or “science,” veda, making Ayurveda the “Science of Life.” Now I don’t know about you, but it makes perfect sense to me that Chai, along with tea in general, should be a part of the Science of Life. For what is the act of enjoying a warm cup of Chai if not a sweet science? Even its preparation, if done by traditional means, could be considered something of a science. Maybe even an art.

Those that practice Ayurveda believe that a balance between the bodily Humors or Energies – ata (wind/air), pitta (bile) and kapha (phlegm) – is important to one’s overall health. In order to achieve this balance, ancient practitioners of Ayurveda developed a vast array of surgical procedures and medicinal preparations. These medicinal preparations are thought by many to contain the roots of Chai. Others say Chai was created by a royal king in the ancient courts of India, but this is probably not true.

Along with surgical procedures and medicinal preparations, Ayurveda promotes exercise, yoga, meditation and massage as ways of balancing the bodily Humors or Energies. Practitioners also stress the building of a healthy metabolic system, the attainment of a healthy digestive system and proper excretion, as they believe these things lead to vitality. Anyone that drinks Chai on a regular basis knows first-hand that it can be of some aid when it comes to being, shall we say, “backed up,” and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it promotes a healthy metabolic system as well. After all, Chai is good for so many things!

The God of Ayurveda is named Dhanvantari. It is said that Dhanvantari was an early practitioner of medicine and the world’s first surgeon. Dhanvantari, who is regarded as being the source of Ayurveda, brought many herbal-based cures and natural remedies to perfection. Who knows? Maybe Chai was one of them. He is also credited with discovering the antiseptic properties of turmeric and the preservative properties of salt, which he incorporated into his cures.

If you’re interested in learning more about Ayurveda, there’s more information available of the Internet than one could ever read in a lifetime. So get yourself a nice hot cup of Chai, sit down in front of the computer, and have at it! If you learn anything that might of interest to rest of us, especially if it concerns the origins of our beloved Chai, please let me know!

© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this article’s author and/or the blog’s owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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© Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog, 2009-2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Online Stores, Inc., and The English Tea Store Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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