African Red Bush, Rooibos Tea …keep reading to explore this mystically healing plant …
In the above picture there are not one, not two, but three tea bags in one cup of tea. In this post we’ll explore why I’ve done this, and also a little bit about the different teas out there.
Let me intro- this by saying I am a tea fanatic, always have been. I grew up sipping Japanese green tea that my parents would make when we had sushi. I didn’t realize how much I loved tea until other people pointed it out with comments like “You’re always drinking tea!” and upon opening my kitchen cabinet “How many teas do you own!” It isn’t something I intentionally did or force into my daily routine. Some people enjoy listening to music everyday because they love hearing it, not because they feel they have to …that’s how tea is for me (and mayyybe music too …definitely music too).
There are many different types of teas, but the most basic way of grouping is into two categories, herbal tea and green tea. If it isn’t herbal, then it started out as a green tea. Green tea (camellia sinensis) leaves can be dried, roasted, oxidized and flavored. This is how we get black tea, oolong tea, white tea, and other variations, through this oxidizing process.
Technically herbal tea is not tea (tea must come from the plant camellia sinensis, green tea leaves) but rather an herbally brewed concoction of goodies. We can brew herbal teas using things like twigs, and leaves, flower buds, and roots. The possibilities are endless and a creative mind is good to have. It is important to have a general understanding of the type of herbal tea you are making and its medicinal properties. Herbal teas have served medicinally for centuries, much longer than allopathic (Western) medicine. We have relied extensively on the powerful healing that our Earth provides to us. Therefore we should treat herbs with due respect and some understanding.
I want to stress the importance of how powerful herbal teas can be. For the Western mind, when you think of herbal teas and their potential to assist your body in it’s natural healing process think of it as the following.
Herbal teas can be as mild as over-the-counter ibuprofen (advil) or as strong as prozac. While ibuprofen may be a mild anti-inflammatory to most, it can wreck havoc for someone with stomach ulcers or those who take blood thinners. I hesitate to mention this because I don’t want to place unnecessary fear in drinking a friggen cup of tea. They can be powerful healing tools if we use them this way, but most of the population does not, and most of the teas sold at the market should be drunken completely worry free …I like to cover all shades of the spectrum to protect our community (ya know, the whole “more must be better!” idea many people assume, let’s debunk that now unless you’re a skilled tea drinking guru practitioner.) In pharmaceuticals we look at side effects, contraindications, method of administration (with or without food for this purpose), dose, etc. Should we do the same with herbal tea?
Yes and no. The beauty of most store bought herbal teas (be it loose leaf or in a tea bag) is that they are mild and for general use. While most teas sold this way gently aid the body in balancing it’s self, they are rather mild, and very safe. Do your research if you have any underlying medical condition/s …this goes for many things beyond tea drinking. An example would be making your own ginger tea. Ginger is so so fabulous I cannot stress it enough. However, it is a natural blood thinner, if you are taking blood thinners, it’s something to at least consider. If you are a pitta dosha and it is summer time, a very warming tea like ginger might aggravate the pitta (ignore this sentence if you are unfamiliar with Ayurvedic dosha systems).
In the photograph at the beginning of the post I placed three tea bags into one cup. I don’t always do this, but truly if you want to use herbs for a more medicinal purpose they’ve got to be strong. As I begin my herbal medicine background I’ve come to know that herbs. taste. gross., but they work. As with herbal tea, you might be thinking “Isn’t that really strong tea?” I’ve become accustomed to it over years, and some plants taste better than others. I would drink herbal tea over taking a pill anyday. With no side effects, few contraindications for most, and no dependency, sign me up!
I am now at a point where drinking tea is more of a preventative measure. Sure I enjoy it, but I will incorporate more or less of one type of tea over another based on factors like the season we are in, the stress occurring in my life, how out of control my allergies are, etc. Become in-tune with your body, and ask yourself what it needs. Overtime knowing which tea to pull off the shelf will become second nature, and as your understanding about herbs grows might even know what to concoct from them as well (I am still learning myself).
Today I am drinking a rooibos. It is also known as African Red Bush Tea. It’s very good for digestion and soothing to the gastrointestinal tract. My stomach wasn;t feeling well and that is why I’m drinking it today.
Unfortunately, most teas bought in tea bags is powdered down, processed, junk (sorry :/), my honestea (get it?, I know, I know ) always got me in trouble. Most of the powerful healing properties have been destroyed or are significantly reduced upon processed and mis-storage. I didn’t have access to the loose tea leaves I would normally brew, so three bags of commercial tea had to do. How well will it work? Well that is hard to say, but it is better than nothing, and certainly stronger than using one bag alone.
I hope you learned something about tea because it is ancient, regal, and really freakin’ neat when you delve into it’s possibilities. If you are interested in how I brew my own tea please feel free to contact me.