A tea for everything

A tea for everything

CANDIECE KNIGHT

Monday, June 01, 2020

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AS almost every Jamaican parent will tell you, drinking tea is good for you. Regardless of your chosen herb, just sitting down for a few minutes to sip on a hot cuppa anything, inhaling the therapeutic aroma, and allowing the steam to caress your face can be quite relaxing.

'Tea' is globally understood to be made with the leaves of the Camellia sinensis, an evergreen plant native to East Asia. Both 'green tea' and 'black tea' are made from this plant, which contains caffeine, giving the drinker an effect similar to that of coffee.

Locally, and in many cultures, however, people have found that other plants can be used to make equally potent and satisfying brews with very little to no caffeine content.

Over the years, herbalists and scientists alike have come to agree that some teas make better remedies for some conditions and ailments than others. Here are some of the most commonly used ones found locally:

Mint

There are various types of mints to choose from, with peppermint perhaps being the most popular. Peppermint has been a favourite for thousands of years for its pleasant, minty flavour, thanks to its menthol content. Peppermint is mainly used for soothing the digestive system and resolving issues such as indigestion, bloating and nausea. Because of its cooling effect, peppermint can also help to relieve mild pains such as headaches and abdominal cramps.

Chamomile

The tea made from dried chamomile flowers has been touted for its use in reducing menstrual pain and other pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. Studies have also shown that it can reduce blood sugar in diabetics and slow down bone loss over time. Chamomile has also been found to be anti-inflammatory and useful in the treatment of cold symptoms and insomnia.

Lemongrass

Also called fever grass, lemongrass has long been sought after for its fever-fighting properties. The stalks can also reduce pain, inflammation and even cholesterol. Lemongrass can also be used as an astringent, and has been known to fight yeast infections in the mouth (oral thrush).

Ginger

As you can probably tell by its harsh yet delicious flavour, ginger is packed with powerful compounds and nutrients. Ginger tea is a pregnant woman's best friend, as it is a great remedy for nausea, morning sickness and indigestion. Ginger is also popular for its use in treating muscular pain, swellings and joint stiffness. It is also believed to improve overall heart health and lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Citrus leaves

Tea made with the leaves of citrus fruits such as orange and lemon are credited for fast relief of anxiety and nervousness, sleeping trouble, and migraines. These teas are also known to help soothe coughs and other respiratory illnesses.

Soursop leaves

The soursop, also known as graviola, is thought to possess strong anti-cancer properties and, despite weak scientific evidence, tea made from its leaves is used by some as alternative medicine to prevent and treat different forms of cancer. The tea is also used to treat parasitic infections, anxiety, and inflammation. Soursop leaf tea, along with the core (heart) of the fruit, are peddled as a guaranteed remedy for bed-wetting.

Garlic

Its taste isn't much to brag about, but tea made with crushed garlic cloves is a strong elixir. Garlic tea is known for easing coughs, pain, swellings and fighting viral, bacterial, parasitic and fungal infections. Although overall studies have been inconclusive, it is a widely held view that garlic can slow down the growth of some cancers.


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