High Tea Time

Tea drinking is a holistic health tradition passed down throughout the ages, which spans across the world through all cultures everywhere. When I wake in the morning to drink tea, this activity connects me with the healing power of the tea. The hot liquid warms my soul. I believe the plant or herb brings healing energy to me. I am connected to every person who is also drinking tea, and we are one as tea lovers. Tea lovers unite! Tea has been around as long as humans knew to pick plants and steep them in hot water to reap the benefits of the plant medicine. Hot water allows the healing power  of the plant to unleash. Since I am of English, German, Welch decent with Native American since Europeans mingled so well with the Natives in the New World, I feel that tea is part of those cultures, and this new American culture, tea has meshed well with all cultures. When through London towards India, at the airport there were tea accessories, tea products, and the many snacks to accompany a tea session. I think of the many people who drink tea for it is a cultural tradition with many healing powers. Tea has made it across the world perhaps to every home in the world. I enjoy tea first thing in the morning with a rice cake, almond butter, cinnamon, and honey. All kinds of tea for different occasions, I like tea to be energizing in the morning, so I drink a green or black tea. And in the later portion of the day I drink herbal teas, Rooibos, white teas, or plain boiling water with lemon juice.

  Tea does give me a nice happy buzz. Tea brings people together around a table for conversation, meditation, relaxation, and holy communion with God. What I mean by holy communion with God, I mean when we give our attention and mindfulness to the tea in front of us or the person we sit across from. We are honoring God in every person and everything. Focus is an essential aspect of meditation, and no better way than to focus on the art of tea drinking before, during, and after a meditation session in the early hours when all is still, quiet, and peaceful.

 

The more we remain relaxed and breathing, with a rested mind, we are honoring the divine in each of us.  Tea can be for you whatever you want it to be. For me, tea is a time to honor my body, to give gratitude, to enjoy and experience the simple things in life. I sip my tea from a beautiful tea pot, and have an assortment of teas that keeps me coming back for more every day. Tea can be relaxing, energizing, detoxing, and aid my health in so many healing ways. I have made many friends at local tea shops; it’s a great way to build community. Tea is the most used beverage in the world (Tea and health, 2000.) On any given day, over one half of the American population drinks tea. There are many reasons to love tea. There are many types of teas to choose from and many health benefits. Tea is readily available, healthy, environmentally friendly, hydrating, and affordable.

  Tea originated in China and tradesman spread it around from there, to Japan, India, Russia, Europe, Britain, Unites States, South America, Middle East, Africa, and so fourth (History, 2000.)  As legend has it, tea may have originated in China around 479 B.C. when a Buddhist monk needed to stay alert for meditation and the tea plants magically sprang up around him. Another legend has it that an emperor of ancient China had a cup of hot water, and a leaf fell into his cup; thus the first cup of tea was born. Tea started as a medicinal drink and became artistic around 907 A.D. (History, 2000.)

  Tea has been a gift from mother Earth, for bringing people together, and for bringing many health benefits to those who drink it. Every morning I drink tea with a bit of chocolate to start the day. Every afternoon tea is a way to unwind, and the warm beverage may aid in digestion. Every night tea relaxes me, so I have a restful night of sleep. I drink only hot beverages now, and my body thanks me. Tea is soothing to the soul. The nutritional and healing benefits of tea has helped me in so many ways that life would not be the same. Tea brings so much pleasure and joy to my life. It’s a tradition of all cultures, passed down through the ages and will be enjoyed as long as humans exist. 

I have keen memories of drinking tea in India. They call it chai in India. I loved standing around the chai stand early in the morning waiting for freshly made tea near the Ganges river, with my yoga friends in Rishikesh. Chai wallahs are a popular gathering place in India (Tea, (2009.)  We drank milk from the sacred cow, used fresh cardamon black tea leaves, cinnamon, and other masala spices. I have since made tea many times just like this at home, with special recipes from Indian friends. It’s best made from scratch and with almond milks. I have found the best chai in Minnesota at Avant tea garden in downtown Anoka on Main Street. I have a tradition of walking my dogs to Silver wood park nearby the house to enjoy tea or hot chocolate while soaking up the natural environment.

  I also have fond memories of drinking tea with a friend from the Amazon while camping around a fire in northern MN. He told me stories about the time in China when he did tea ceremonies, he a special pu-erh tea and tea set from China. I began getting into tea a few years ago when I realized how sacred tea drinking is. How many people who have come before me have drunk tea in a sacred way? In Japan, Geisha’s served tea so eloquently. In India, chai stands are on every square mile drinking milk from sacred cows. In England and Britain, tea is served with great sophistication.  In America tea takes on that of the English, with elegant tea rooms to dine in to small shops servicing tea in nice glasswares traditional to that of Japan or China. In Taiwan, tea is drunk artistically. There is always a method for drinking tea across different cultures. In Taiwan, first, tea is steeped, and the first infusion discarded, the second infusion is drunk like liquor (History, 2000.) Every culture has their own way of making tea and drinking it. There is no right or wrong way to drink tea, it is preferential. Different cultures around the world prepare tea in their own way, and we can tap into this knowledge and try out the different ways until we find what works for us. Tea drinking is an art form, culture at its finest, when people come together to drink tea this builds community,  thats why its called a tea party.

Tea came to America when the settlers welcomed the Empress of China in 1784; the first shipment had arrived (History, 2000.) I have English blood in me, and we all know the English enjoy tea time, with biscuits and chocolates during ‘high tea time’ to ward off the afternoon tired time when a nap isn’t always possible but tea time is. Wars have waged over tea. During the 1600’s taxation without representation led to the Boston tea party and revolutionary war (Tea fact sheet, 2013.) It was only a few decades later when coffee would arrive from Brazil to lower the tea consumption in America. Regardless of the competition, tea remains the second most popular beverage in the world next to water (Tea fact sheet, 2013.)  The Tea Association of USA anticipates the dollar value of tea sales in the US will grow from an estimated $10 billion in 2013 to nearly $15 billion by the end of 2016  (TeaUSA, 2014.) With sales increasing, this means more people are discovering the healing power of Earths natural beverages, tea.

Black tea has half the amount of caffeine as coffee (Rossi, Holly, 2014.) Tea can be enjoyed however you like, with fruits, sugar, milks, liquor, plain, in a bag, or steeped from a pot, and there are many pots to choose from. Many teas have little caffeine; herbal teas have no caffeine. There are many tea shops to choose from as well.

There are approximately 43 Minnesota tearooms, and many more to account for (Minnesota tearooms, 2014.) I work at a tea shop, called Healing Elements. We offer healing services, tea, aromatherapy, yoga sessions, and much more. We also have shelves with herbs, so you can include different herbs into your tea infusion. There are books around to let you know the benefits of each tea and herb. I also enjoy Tea source, a local tea shop that has discount days,  sampler days, and many teas to choose from. “Tea that is made the right way, and is not too strong or too weak, has a healing energy. It can keep your body healthy and refresh your spirit” (Rossi, 2014.) Each region of the world produces its own type of tea, with a special name for it. Visit a place like Tea source (Learn about tea, 2014) or visit Traditional Medicines webpage to learn about healing properties of different teas and where they came from and how to prepare different teas (Sadler, 2014.) 

There are many books on the subject, to learn all about tea. The original book on tea from China, called the Cha Ching or “Scripture of Tea” is the oldest surviving tea manual (History, 2000.) There are 93,200,000 results when I google the word tea, so lots of information out there to research. Its important to know that depending on what kind of tea you are steeping, the water has to be prepared to the right temperature and the length time for each steep matters, temperature and time will ruin a good tea. There’s nothing worse than tea that is bitter or not hot enough or too hot. When tea is done right, the tea will be more healthful. A reason to love tea is the health benefits from its regular use.

Tea can be stimulating or relaxing, and it is always good for us. Tea is full of polyphenols, antioxidants, “The chemical basis for the preventative benefits of tea seems to be specific polyphenols in both green and black teas that can act a powerful antioxidants” (History, 2000.) Kombucha provides many beneficial bacteria for mitigation of bad bacterias from the body, great for alternative medicine (History, 2000.) More importantly, tea prevents disease for tea works to decrease inflammation in the body thanks to its antioxidant properties.

There are many healing properties of tea, and each tea has its own blessing. Tea is energizing, relaxing, and staying stress-free is very important for living a healthy life. Tea can lower blood pressure and be restorative. The antioxidants, catechins, tannins in tea are believed to have health benefits including cancer prevention, cholesterol reduction, and protection against stroke and heart attack (Black tea is most energizing tea of them all, for higher caffeine content. It’s also  rich in manganese and potassium and it contains some B-vitamins (Rossi,  2014.)  Green teas are purer than other teas, with no oxidative properties. I do believe green tea has contributed to my fast metabolism and slim physique. Tea drinkers may look younger than no tea drinkers, for antioxidants in tea attack free radicals in the body.  Rooibos tea has no caffeine and is a great substitute for black tea when you make chai. Rooibos has many healing properties.  It can  be used for skin ailments, as an immune system booster, a way to slow the aging process and a remedy for conditions from insomnia to headaches to anxiety.  (Rossi, 2014.) Rooibos does not contain oxalic acid, the compound found in some other types of tea that can cause kidney stones, (Rossi, 2014.)  When the concentration of inorganic oxalic acid is high in your body, it may precipitate out in crystalline form and these tiny crystals can irritate the human tissues, and get lodged in the stomach, kidneys and bladder as “stones,” (Ding, Sara, 2014.) Oxalic acid is beneficial as long as it’s not cooked than it becomes harmful or inorganic oxalic acid. This may be of concern to some. When things accumulates in the body it may cause health problems. I recommend doing regular liver, gallbladder, and kidney or Ayurvedic flushes couple times a year so you stay free and clear of crystals and stones from becoming a problem (What is the liver flush? 2014.)  I am not sure oxalic acid is worth worrying about, that the pros of tea drinking outweigh the cons. Tea may be the best thing for prevention of kidney stones for all we know.

Tea has too many benefits to count; I recommend tea for any ailment. Its best drank in the morning time on an empty stomach. Hot water is very stimulating and detoxifying for the body, hot beverages are recommended in Ayurveda healing as well. Tea has many healing properties, especially social and spiritual ways. To drink tea is to connect with your roots. Our ancestors drank tea ceremoniously, we should to. Tea can heal the current American cultural problems, social isolation and depression by bringing deeper sense of meaning to our lives. To drink tea is to connect with our higher power, to connect with the energy of mother earth, and to connect with ourselves and others at a deeper and more spiritual level. I think tea opens our minds to infinite wisdom of the ages.

What is the Liver Flush?  What is the Gallbladder Flush? Cure zone. Retrieved from: http:// curezone.com/cleanse/liver/default.asp

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Healing tea. (2000) Malay Mail, Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/ 326183640?accountid=26879

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Sadler, Drake (2014). Press. Retrieved from: http://www.twincities.com/ci_16761481 Retrieved from: http://www.traditionalmedicinals.com/articles/11-plants-wellness/

Tea and health. (2000). In Cambridge world history of food. Retrieved from http:// search.credoreference.com/content/entry/cupfood/tea_and_health/0

Tea. (2009). In The deluxe food lover’s companion. Retrieved from http:// search.credoreference.com/content/entry/barronflc/tea/0

Tea fact sheet. (2013). Tea Association. Tea council USA. Specialty tea institute. Retrieved from: http://www.teausa.com/14655/tea-fact-sheet

TeaUSA 2014. Retrieved from TeaUSA.org

Learn about tea (2014). Tea Source. Retrieved from: http://www.teasource.com/teas/learn-tea.html

Minnesota Tearooms. (2014). Retrieved from: www.teamap.com/states/state_MN_Reviews. html

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