Join Me for a cuppa Tea

2014-03-17 — 15 Comments
Artist Unknown (please inform me if you know who painted this)

Artist Unknown
(please inform me if you know who painted this beauty)

Any time is a good time for tea, that’s what I always like to say. I’m delighted that tea houses are booming in popularity. In a trendy artist village within the city where I live, my sociable twenty-something elder son loves hanging out with his fellow Art College students and friends in a popular tea house drinking Oolong, drawing and visiting.

Also, I love tea cups. From china painted with delicate roses and leaves, to handle-free pottery which allows the steamy goodness to warm my hands and my belly. And tea pots! It’s true… I have a thing for both cups and teapots. But as I live in a small house my storage capability has capped my collection at six, with half being somewhat utilitarian yet still lovely for daily use, and the others for more special occassions. Like a tea party! I will be doing a post soon with photos and details on how to throw a tea party that every one will enjoy (even with sons as I have!).

For today I’d like to focus on how tea goes beyond filling us with warmth and flavor, to how this simple-seeming beverage packs a wallop of incredibly healthy side benefits. Let’s pour another cup!

Health Benefits of Tea: Green, Black, and White Tea

Tea is a name given to a lot of brews, but purists consider only green tea, black tea, white tea, oolong tea, and pu-erh tea the real thing. They are all derived from the Camellia sinensis plant, a shrub native to China and India, and contain unique antioxidants called flavonoids. The most potent of these, known as ECGC, may help against free radicals that can contribute to cancer, heart disease, and clogged arteries. All these teas also have caffeine and theanine, which affect the brain and can heighten mental alertness.
The more processed the tea leaves, usually the less polyphenol content. Polyphenols include flavonoids. Oolong and black teas are oxidized or fermented, so they have lower concentrations of polyphenols than green tea; but their antioxidizing power is still high.

cuppa green tea

Google.com

Here’s what some studies have found about the potential health benefits of tea:
Green tea: Made with steamed tea leaves, it has a high concentration of EGCG and has been widely studied. Green tea’s antioxidants may interfere with the growth of bladder, breast, lung, stomach, pancreatic, and colorectal cancers; prevent clogging of the arteries, burn fat, counteract oxidative stress on the brain, reduce risk of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, reduce risk of stroke, and improve cholesterol levels.
Black tea: Made with fermented tea leaves, black tea has the highest caffeine content and forms the basis for flavored teas like chai, along with some instant teas. Studies have shown that black tea may protect lungs from damage caused by exposure to cigarette smoke. It also may reduce the risk of stroke.
White tea: Uncured and unfermented. One study showed that white tea has the most potent anticancer properties compared to more processed teas.
Oolong tea: In one study, those given antioxidants from oolong tea were found to have lower bad cholesterol levels. One variety of oolong, Wuyi, is heavily marketed as a weight loss supplement, but science hasn’t backed the claims.
Pu-erh tea: Made from fermented and aged leaves. Considered a black tea, its leaves are pressed into cakes. One study showed those given pu-erh had less weight gain and reduced LDL cholesterol.

Health Benefits of Herbal Teas

Made from herbs, fruits, seeds, or roots steeped in hot water, herbal teas have lower concentrations of antioxidants than green, white, black, and oolong teas. Their chemical compositions vary widely depending on the plant used.
Varieties include ginger, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, hibiscus, jasmine, rosehip, mint, rooibos (red tea), chamomile, and echinacea.
Research has been done on the health benefits of herbal teas, but claims that they help to shed pounds, stave off colds, and bring on restful sleep are largely unsupported.
Chamomile tea: Its antioxidants may help prevent complications from diabetes, like loss of vision and nerve and kidney damage, and stunt the growth of cancer cells.
Echinacea: Often touted as a way to fight the common cold, research on echinacea has been inconclusive.
Hibiscus: A small study found that drinking three cups of hibiscus tea daily lowered blood pressure in people with modestly elevated levels.
Rooibos (red tea): A South African herb that is fermented. Although it has flavonoids with cancer-fighting properties, medical studies have been limited.
Please exercise caution, or avoid, using teas/supplements containing:
Aloe; Buckthorn; Chaparral; Comfrey; Ephedra; Germander; Lobelia; Senna; Willow bark
At the very least, when using plants do your research and learn all you can.

Art by Osborne Lorlinda

Art by Osborne Lorlinda

My teapots are absolutely repurposed as a vase-holder for flowers (I tuck a smaller vase inside). Like the tulips in this delightful painting by my equally delightful friend Lorlinda.
As with all images shared here in my blog, please click the link provided embedded in the image or at the bottom of the post to visit the source and learn more about the artist (unless the source cannot be located as with the shamrock teacup painting).

My favorite tea of choice is Green tea, made in one of my favorite teapots to be enjoyed in abundance. Today it has also been poured into my special green teacup, perfect for Saint Patrick’s Day. Have a great one, and let’s drink up! Cheers!

Related reading at artist and writer Patricia Saxton’s blog post on her love of tea:
http://saxtonstudio.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/black-tea-with-milk-please/

Also may you enjoy this article by Diana Chaplin on 7 Awesome Reasons to enjoy tea:
http://www.wellnesstoday.com/7-awesome-reasons-to-enjoy-a-cup-of-tea

15 responses to Join Me for a cuppa Tea

  1. 

    I loved my afternoon cuppa with you Gina.. and as a mainly herbal tea drinker myself.. I enjoy nothing better than a nice cup of Nettle tea.. I loved reading your post and enjoyed the artwork by your friend… A truly excellent combination brew! 😉 xxxx Hugs and have a good week . Sue xxx

    • 

      A “combination brew”! I love that, Sue. Thanks so much for your as-always delightful cheer of support. And I’m so glad you enjoyed sharing a ‘cuppa tea’ with me. Big hugs, Gina xox

    • 

      I’m going to be optimistic Sue and assume that you’re referring to my painting 🙂 and say Thank you. Also, I think you’re art (and blog) are pretty awesome. Lorlinda

  2. 

    Thanks for posting, I enjoyed reading about that.

  3. 

    Gina, I had a cup of lemon Chamomile tea while reading this. 🙂 I love my teas, with the exception of black tea which tends to play havoc with my kidneys. I too had a tea pot collection, small one like yours but decided to pass them on to my daughter-in-law who takes loving care of them. One of the ones I passed to her belonged to my grandmother, from my earliest memories she and I would drink tea daily from that glass tea pot. It’s not all that decorative but the memories I will have forever.

    I appreciate all the information about tea you shared and your warnings on some of the varieties. One I cannot drink (or take in any form) is echinacea. There is some component in it that makes Multiple Sclerosis and Muscular Dystrophy (which I have) symptoms worse.

    • 

      Thanks Lois! I’m so glad we had our tea toegther. 😉 I too have fond memories of drinking tea with my Grandmother. I’m glad you enjoyed that I included some warnings. It is important people be aware of how powerful plants are, and watch for symptoms. I do wish brightest health for you always my friend, and am glad you’ve noticed which drinks aggravate your symptoms. Be well dear Lois! You have that grandson to get all excited about lima beans! Cheers

      • 

        Gina, I am doing fine. it took me the first twenty years of my life to learn which things would cause me problems, since then I have been very healthy.

        Yes, I do have a lot to live for yet. 🙂

  4. 

    Hi Gina, We must be kindred spirits. I’m also a tea lover and a collector of tea cups and pots. My hutch is filled with tea cups and pots that have no partners. Maybe they’ll become an art project someday. The painting you chose is an earlier still life of one of my tea pots, and of course it doesn’t have any matching cups. (LOL) Love you lots SS, Lorlinda

    • 

      Hi Lorlinda my dear! You’re back home and at your computer 🙂 hooray! This lovely painting of yours is De-light-ful. I love tulips in a teapot and you’ve captured it perfectly! Just about one of the sweetest things ever. Ah yes, the oddball collection of tea cups and pots without partners, together making a charming country chic collection. Love it! Great to hear from you. Lotsa love and hugs SS, Gina xo

  5. 

    You can find me most afternoons at 3:00 with a cup of tea. I have too many cups, and too many pots and I love them all. The shelves are overflowing, so then I turn them into garden art, bird feeders and wind chimes. The birds might as well enjoy my collection too. Right now my favorite tea is white, second to blood orange. Cheers! kim

    • 

      Oh I just know I’d have a blast hanging with you at your overflowing-with-teapots cottage! And you’re so right, they can be turned into so many treasures. Of course vases but also birdhouses (I’ve seen them hung from the handle) as well as sweet holders for early spring pansies and more. Cheers! Gina

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