Tea and Illness


So the past few days have had me feeling under the weather, and I’m still not out of the woods yet. But one thing I discovered is that hovering my face over a hot cuppa tea is almost as healing as consuming a bowl of chicken soup. Being the ever-curious woman I am, I found myself researching to find out why this is.

Chicken soup, say the doctors, has healing properties. So your mom and grandma were right – when you’re sick, eat some chicken soup. While professionals are divided on why it’s healing, the majority agree on one thing: sipping it from a mug is more beneficial than eating it from a bowl, largely because the steam and moisture is concentrated in your face.

But this isn’t a post about chicken soup; it’s a post about tea. So how does it all apply?

Doctors have often said that keeping hydrated is important when fighting a cold, and if the steam and moisture from chicken soup is good for us, then the steam and moisture from tea is also good for us. It’s not so much what creates the steam as much as it is the principle of being in the steam. This is why you feel better after a hot shower; the steam helps to loosen chest and nasal congestion, allowing you to breathe more freely.

I like all sorts of tea when I’m sick; sometimes I focus on green teas, simply for their increased levels of antioxidants and polyphenols, but this time I’ve been reaching for my black tea. My tastebuds are not functioning as they normally do, and the fruit-infused Twinings teas I have on hand are more pleasant to me right now.

Put your tea in a mug and as it steeps, hold the mug in your hands, under your nose. Inhale the steam as it steeps and every time you take a sip, hold it in your mouth and keep your nose in your mug to get the most of the moisture. The antioxidants in the tea will help to boost your fighting immune system, and the steam and moisture will help your mucous membranes heal more quickly.

Of course, colds are a part of life. For me, I try to make sure they don’t go in to bronchitis or pneumonia, as I’m prone to those more serious illnesses. But if I can make the symptoms of a cold a little more tenable and shorter-lived by sipping tea and burying my nose in my mug, you’d better believe I’m going to do it.

Sue also blogs at A Mother’s Heart. Stop by and give ‘er a read 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.

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