September 26, 2014
This world famous oolong comes from the Fujian province in China, where it is prized for its floral and fruit like aroma.
The tea name is derived from an old legend in which a poor tea farmer faithfully maintained an old delapidated temple dedicated to the goddess “Guan Yin” ( Buddhism’s Bodhisattva of compassion). Every day, on his way to the tea fields, he sweeps the temple, and honors the goddess with fresh flowers.
Grateful for his watchful care, the goddess appeared to him in a dream and offers him a gift, which is to find behind the temple. She promises him that if he took good care of this gift, the gift would take good care of him, his family and his village. The next day, the tea farmer searches behind the temple and finds a unique tea bush. He takes the bush, plants it in his fields and carefully tends to it. The tea he receives from this special bush, is remarkable in flavor and character and quickly becomes a sought-after product which brings wealth to the farmer and his village. To honor the goddess Guan Yin, the tea was named after her.
Since the tea leaves are tightly rolled and therefore feel a little heavier, like iron, the tea was hence forth called “Ti Guan Yin” – Iron Goddess Of Mercy.
Ti Guan Yin’s dark jade curled leaves brew up into an amber liquor with a delicate and smooth, peachy, and sometimes slightly nutty flavor.
Ti Guan Yin can be infused several times and is truly a delightful oolong!
September 22, 2014
Green tea sure gets a lot of attention in the media. It’s health benefits are widely promoted and we learn about new research on its chemical compounds every day. Meanwhile black tea has become the “cinderalla” of tea and is often considered the less healthy option.
Move over Green Tea!!! Research suggests that drinking black tea regularly may have distinct benefits on cardiovascular health:
Black Tea Helps Lower Blood Pressure
Drinking a cup of black tea as few as three times a day lowers blood pressure a significant 2 to 3 points, according to researchers of the University of Western Australia. These findings were puplished in the Archives of Internal Medicine. There is already mounting evidence that tea is good for your heart health, but this is an important discovery because it demonstrates a link between tea and a major risk factor for heart disease, writes Dr. Jonathan M. Hodgson, a professor at UWA’s School of Medicine and Pharmacology. The results bear further study, according to the authors, but if they are sound when spread over the entire population drinking tea could lead to a 10% drop in prevalence of high blood pressure and 7% to 10% decrease in the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Heart Attack Risk Falls With Three Cups of Tea
A study of 40 research papers linking black tea and disease prevention suggests taking three cups a day can slash the risk ofa heart attack by 60 percent and reduce the threat of diabetes. According to a research study in the U.K., people drinking tea (3-6 cups /day)lower their risk of contracting heart disease by 30-57% compared to those who drink little or no tea.
The review also found evidence of a link between black tea consumption and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes when one to five cups of tea were consumed daily.
If you are a black tea lover, this news should make your heart beat faster! More important than wondering which tea varietal has the most health benefits, it is the regularity with which you consume tea. It seems like 3-4 cups a day may just keep the doctor away!
source: UK Nutrition Bulletin
September 21, 2014
Life seems to be much more faced paced than it used to be. When I try to meet with friends for lunch or plan a get-together for the weekend, it often takes several attempts and hours of calling, texting and emailing back and forth because everybody has to check the calendar, shuffle engagements around to make it work. We all are busy, constantly bombarded with information via TV, cell phones and internet, always in “on” mode and often pushing ourselves beyond mental and emotional limits. The result is chronic fatigue, exhaustion, digestive problems, salt and sugar cravings, headaches, frequent colds and depression.
While skeptic in the past, even Western science recognizes the connection between chronic stress and chronic illness. The holistic approach to healing has always acknowledged the interconnectedness between the mind and body as well as the importance of including mind in the treatment of the whole being.
There are many ways in which herbs can benefit the nervous system. Nervines, as these herbs are called, are divided into different categories: nerve tonics, nerve relaxants or sedatives and nerve stimulants.
Nerve Tonics are herbs that feed, nurture and strengthen the nervous system. They nourish the nerve tissue and are generally rich in calcium, magnesium and B-vitamins. While they are effective, they tend to be mild and therefore need to be taken regularly over an extended period of time. Herbs that belong in this category are chamomile, skullcap, valerian, hops and lemon balm.
Nerve relaxants/sedatives directly relax the nervous system. They help reduce pain, ease tension and help with sleep. These herbs have a more immediate effect and are therefore indicated for acute exhaustion or to alleviate stress and bring relaxation and calm. Valerian root, catnip, passionflower, hops, skullcap and California poppy are all great to soothe your frayed nerves quickly.
Nerve stimulants gently nourish and stimulate the nervous system. They activate the nerve endings and increase vitality. However, they neither provoke nor agitate the nervous system, but rather work in subtle and gentle way. So when you find yourself stressed, depressed and simply worn out, don’t reach for coffee, chocolate and cookies. Instead, have a cup of lemon balm, spearmint, ginseng, sage, or peppermint tea and curl up with a good book!
Consistency is the key to healing with herbs. While herbs and natural remedies may not provide the strong immediate effects of allopathic drugs, they will over time rebuild they nerve connections and create a vibrant health and well-being without deadening our senses.
Sweet Dreams Tea Blend
3 parts chamomile
1 part oats
1 part passionflower
1 part lemon balm
Combine the herbs and prepare an infusion. Take 1-3 tbsp. of the herb blend for each cup of water. Bring water to a boil and pour over the herbs. Cover and let steep for 30 to 60 minutes. Then strain the herbs and take small frequent doses starting about 3 hours before you go to bed.
September 12, 2014
Labor Day marks the end of summer …..and the beginning of flu season! Prepare yourself and fight those nasty bugs with an this wonderful herb:
Botanical Name: Echinacea (E. angustofolia, E. purpurea, and E. pallida)
Parts used: Roots, leaves and lowers
Contra indications: Echinacea is not recommended for people with autoimmune diseases
Echinacea is among the most popular and well-researched herbs in the modern world. It is native to the American continent and had been used by the native people for hundreds of years to treat bug and snake bites, gastric problems and diphteria, Â before research studies supported its medicinal value and established it as a very potent immune system stimulant, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory.
There are three species of this plant, also called “purple cone flower”: Ecinacea angustofolia, E. purpurea and E. pallida. Herbalists argue over which species is best, however all of them possess phytochemicals that help improve immune system function. How exactly does it do this?
- the plant’s phyochemical “inulin” improves the white cell blood cells’ ability to travel to the infection
- it increases the number of white blood cells and activates them
- it signals the body to release interferon, a powerful anti-viral agent
Ecinacea is a first-line defense against cold and flus, yeast and respiratory infections. Even though very potent, it is absolutely safe for children and older people. To maximize the benefits, it is best used immediately at the onset of cold and flu symptoms. Echinacea should be used for a short period of time only, since its effectiveness will decrease if it is used continuously.
Dosage: You can make an herbal infusions using the leaves and flowers. Take 1-2 tsp per 8oz of boiling water and steep for 15 minutes. Drink 3 cups per day. If you prefer a tincture or extract, use 30-40 drops in juice or water 3 times daily.
While Echinacea is an excellent herb to ward of a cold or shorten its duration, there are many other herbs which can be taken as tonics to strengthen your immune system so that you may not even need Echinacea .
If you want to find out which herbs those are, sign up for our 2 hour class “Immunitea” on Sunday, September 19th and taste 5 immune-boosting herbals, learn about their use and make your own blend. You will also learn how to make other herbal remedies, such as lozenges, syrups and tinctures and take come some great samples and recipes!
September 11, 2014
September 10, 2014
September 9, 2014
September 8, 2014
Some herbs to boost
your immune system
Great blend to get you
through cold and flu
season. Pleasant tasting,
it supports your natural
Widely used in Traditional
Chinese Medicine herbal
formulas. Astragalus is
known to tone and
strengthen the immune
Chase that cold away
with the immune system
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Wrapping up Summer
Just read a column in the Wall Street Journal that pointed out how August has changed from a relaxing month to one of back-to-school preparations and other hustle bustle. In Europe, August is still a popular vacation time but here, school seems to start earlier and earlier and the traditional Labor Day end-of-summer milestone is a faded memory that is now a month into the school year. The heat drags the energy out of us and it seems only our dogs know that it is best not to fight it and just slow down a bit.
Coming up in September:
Stay Healthy Through the Cold and Flu Season with elberberries!
This week I saw the first signs advertising “Flu Shots” reminding me that the season for cold and flu is just around the corner. According to the Center for Disease Control, flu season starts to peak in November and continues to peak through April. Therefore, it is a good idea to start strengthening your body’s immune function now so that it can better fight of those nasty viruses later.
While there are many herbs to help treat cold and flu symptoms and to shorten the duration of an illness, one deserves special attention:
Elderberry (Sambuccus nigra) is Mother Nature’s version of the flu shot and may actually help prevent you from contracting the virus. Elderberry syrup is Europe’s most esteemed formula for colds, flu, and upper respiratory infections.
Just how does elderberry keep the cold and flu at bay?
Flu viruses are primitive organisms that need the body’s cells as a host to replicate themselves. They puncture the cell walls with little enzyme-coated spikes called hemaglutinin and so break into the cell. Research has shown that elderberry has chemical compounds that disarm these spikes and prevent the virus from entering the respiratory cells thereby working in a prophylactic way. Growing up in Germany, my mother got us through the winter by making sure we got our daily dose of elderberry Syrup. (The adults, on the other hand, preferred a glass of elderberry wine!) She would make many batches of the syrup and I have kept up with this tradition in my family as well.
In recent years, Elderberry syrup has been gaining in popularity here in the U.S. too and can be found in many health food stores. But why spent a lot of money, if it is so easy and fun to make in your own kitchen. All you need is:
½ cup of dried Elderberries
3 cups of spring water
½ -1 cup of honey *
In a saucepan, bring the elderberries and water to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover and let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Strain the liquid, making sure you mash the berries in order to get every drop of the decoction. Add the honey to the warm liquid and fill in a glass bottle. The syrup will keep in the fridge for 3 months. Take 1-3 tbsp per day for as a preventative remedy.
Alternatively, elderberriescan be taken as a tincture which is also very easy to make. Important is to start the tincture early since it takes six to eight weeks before it is ready for use.
2 cups dried Elderberries
80 proof or higher alcohol (I prefer vodka)
Quart size Mason jar with tight fitting lid
Place the dried berries in the jar and add enough alcohol to cover the berries. Macerate the berries until they are quite soft and the liquid is dark purple. Finish by adding enough alcohol to fill the quart jar until an inch from the top. Place the lid on the jar and label it with name of herb and date. Gently shake contents and keep in a dark cabinet for six to eight weeks. Strain the alcohol from the berries using a cheese cloth. Fill the liquid into tincture bottles, label them and keep them in a cool dry place.
Take one dropper full 3 – times per day to give your immune system a boost!
* Elderberries are safe and can be taken over extended period of time, however due to the use of honey, refrain from giving the syrup to children under the age of 1
Dear Souvia: I understand that there can be naturally occurring fluoride in Tea. Do I need to be concerned?
Not, really. The good news is that you would have to drink 100’s of cups of tea – Dr. Weil article on the topic here. http://ow.ly/nnVni
Does tea contain caffeine?
Yes, tea contains caffeine, but even though a pound of tea contains the same amount of caffeine as a pound of coffee, less tea is needed to brew a cup of tea and, therefor,e the caffeine content per cup is considerably lower than that of coffee. According to a Canadian Health report, a 6 oz cup of regular coffee contains approximately 100mg of caffeine, while 6 oz of tea contains only about 24 mg of caffeine. The amount of caffeine can vary significantly depending how long it is brewed and the style of leaf.
Is High Tea the same as Afternoon Tea?
No. The Afternoon Tea Tradition started in the 1800’s when Lady Bedford had an Afternoon snack prepared to tide her over until dinner. High Tea was so-called due to the high tables it was often served on. It was a full meal and not like anything served at a typical Tearoom. Many people use these terms interchangeably, but they are very different things.
Thanks for Reading…
Thanks for reading this month. We hope you’ll visit us in the store, at one of our partners or online soon. If you can’t get in, remember… we ship orders over $50 for free the same day and your tea will arrive quickly!
Modern science is discovering the wealth of potential health benefits of tea and while researchers examine the individual constituents, giving them fancy names like Epigallo chatechin Gallate (ECGC), Japanese Buddhist priests described the healing nature of the tea plant in much simpler terms. the following poem is attributed to the Japanese Buddhist monk Myoe (1173-1232) who had it inscribed on his teakettle.
Tea has the blessing of all deities
Tea promotes filial piety
Tea drives away all evil spirits
Tea banishes drowsiness
Tea keeps the five internal organs in harmony
Tea wards off disease
Tea strenghtens friendship
Tea disciplines body and mind
Tea destroys the passions
Tea grans a peaceful death
It is simplicity in which the true healing lies!
September 5, 2014
Tea is healthy – we all have gotten the message and hopefully include tea into our daily lives. With over 3000 varietals, not including flavored options, this isnt’ a boring exercise at all. If you are one of those people who is stuck on that English Breakfast that you have been drinking for years, or cannot quite get what the fuss is all about this grassy tasting green tea, then it is time to branch out and experiment – try something new – and who says tea is just for drinking either?
I found this “Smoky Tea-Spiced Pecan” recipe for a delicious cocktail snack and hope you’ll give it a try some time!
1tbsp loose-leaf Lapsang Souchong
6 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp smoked sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon, ground allspice and cayenne pepper
1 egg white, 1tbsp water
1 pound pecan halves
Finely grind the tea leaves in a spice grinder. In a small bowl, mix together the ground tea, sugar, salt, cinnamon, allspice and cayenne. In a large bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy then add the water in.Â Add the tea mixture and whisk everything well. Let it rest for 15 minutes so that the sugar can dissolve.
Preheat oven to 300F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.Â Â Whisk the mixture briefly and then add the pecans. Spread the nuts on the baking sheet and put in the oven. Reduce temperature toÂ 250F and bake for 45-60 minutes until the nuts are crisp and toasted, rotating them halfway through.
Once they are have cooled, store them in an airtight container at room temperature or in the freezer.
They nuts are yummy and pair will with a Mart-tea-ni!
Try it out yourself….