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Benefits of Tea

Studies have shown that teas are high in the antioxidant Polyphenols, which have anti-carcinogenic properties among other health benefits such as lowered cholesterol levels.


Healing Herbs and Spices

Fresh or dried herbs and spices can be brewed into a soothing tea to treat various health conditions.
  • Nettles help build blood and are also beneficial to treating urinary tract infections.
  • Ginger and mint are helpful for digestion and upset stomachs.
  • Rosemary is good for treating headaches.
  • Dandelion leaf and root are excellent liver tonics and help clear toxins from the body.
  • Chamomile and valerian are relaxants and promote sound sleep.
  • Lavender is soothing to the nervous system and relieves stress.
  • Wild rose hips are high in vitamin C and good for treating cold and flu.
  • Sage tea is excellent for treating infection and inflammation. It is also said to be calming to the nervous system and to help control night sweats during menopause.
  • Raspberry leaf supports the female hormonal system. It promotes healthy menstruation and is recommended to strengthen and tone the uterus in preparation for pregnancy.
  • Fennel seeds are very effective for digestive problems such as gas, cramping and acid indigestion.
  • Dried lotus root powder helps dissolve and clear mucus congestion from the lungs and bronchial tubes. Its action is enhanced with the addition of a few drops of fresh ginger juice.
  • Lemongrass is commonly brewed up as a tea in Thailand. It is a diuretic and is said to have antifungal properties and benefit the digestive system, reducing gas and bloating.
  • Cornsilk is a well-known tonic for bladder and urinary tract infections. It is also diuretic and helps clear toxins from the body.


Brewing Tea

When making white or green tea, it's important not to add boiling water, as it will make the tea bitter. You can bring the water to a boil and let it sit for about a minute before adding it to the tea leaves. Alternatively, you can add a little cold water and top up with boiling water.

Herbal teas can be soaked for anywhere from three to 10 minutes. For more therapeutic benefits, I like to soak them for longer or simmer them lightly. I also like to use a glass pot for brewing my tea, as I love to see the color of the tea as it brews!


In general, I prefer to use loose-leaf tea and truly enjoy when I can pick fresh herbs and flowers from the garden to whip up a magical brew. Tea to me is alchemy—a way to transform my moods, lift my spirits and share with friends. For a special treat, accompany your afternoon tea with a slice of my Fruity Spiced Tea Cake, which as been created especially for my readers on Oprah.com.

Oh, and in case you were wondering —my favorite tea-and-herb combination? Silver needle white tea with rosebuds.

Enjoy!

Aine

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