The Healing Benefits of Tea

Cha’s Ayurvedic Tea line. | Priya Hutner

Whether loose, bagged or steeped, tea has been brewed around the world for thousands of years. Tea originated in China and was drunk for hundreds for years before being discovered by European explorers.

Worldwide, tea is drunk for many reasons including enjoyment and for its health benefits. For many, tea might be a morning beverage or evening ritual. Tea drinking is a way to be in the moment, slow down and relax.

Tea is drunk for many reasons including enjoyment and for its health benefits.

The healing benefits are numerous; teas are loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols. There are more than 3,000 teas that are categorized into four main types: white, green, black and oolong. Green tea leaves are oxidized more than white tea leaves, but less than black and oolong. Green tea is said to help reduce risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation and help with memory.

Black tea perks us up and helps fight fatigue and aids mental alertness. It also assists with healing bruises and burns and has antiviral and antibacterial properties.

Oolong tea has a caffeine content between green and black tea and combines the benefits of both. Oolong tea is often recommended for weight loss.

White tea contains the same types of antioxidants as green tea. It delivers a more calming effect on the tea drinker. It also has been purported to help with cardiovascular health, cholesterol levels and is good for skin and wrinkles.

Third generation, family-owned Davidson’s Organic Teas in Sparks, Nev., has been brewing tea for more than 40 years and has more than 300 tea-bag and loose-leaf varieties. The company has recently introduced a line of ayurvedic infusions with Indian ayurvedic physicians Dr. Suhas and Dr. Manisha Kshirsagar. The new line provides stability for the mind, body and spirit. The Sleep blend prepares you for a restful night’s sleep. Energize aims to provide a natural, balanced rejuvenation with lasting power. The flavor of the brewed tea was quite pleasant — yerba mate, green tea and ashwanganda. Turmeric-infused De-Congest tea helps reduce congestion. It was not only delicious, but the turmeric along with ginger and black pepper flavor was rich and healing. The Ayurvedic line also includes Digestive, Laxative and Detox blends.

Davidson’s Tea Ayurvedic wellness variety. | Priya Hutner

Cha’ Fine Teas in Truckee offers 80 types of teas for every taste. Owner Tina Peek says, “Drinking tea requires us to slow down. The caffeine in tea is released slower than coffee and keeps you steady longer. You don’t get the coffee crash.”

Aubrey Armitage, Peek’s cousin, sources teas from around the world and blends them for the store. Many of their blends are excellent for health and wellness, such as Brave Dreamer made from lavender, chamomile and catnip. It helps promote a restful sleep. “Catnip has the opposite effect on humans than it does on cats,” says Cindy, Peek’s mother who helps manage the shop.

The Sleep Tight tea blends chamomile, lavender and spearmint and is one of their top sellers. Tummy Tamer helps ease digestive issues with a blend of fennel and peppermint and Get Well Soon blend is great for people feeling under the weather. Cha offers Ayurvedic blends, as well, designed for individual constitutions.

Another local company, Tahoe Teas, offers a bundle of beautiful teas and is owned by Alenka Vrecek. She came up with the idea for her business during a winter storm while driving over the summit. Teas come naturally to her since her grandmother used to make tea for drinking and healing when Vrecek was a child. Tahoe Teas are available in stores such as New Moon Natural Foods and Tahoe House, as well as restaurants and area hotels.

Too Soul Tea Co. in Reno, Nev. offers a large selection of healing teas. The shop carries an organic Body & Soul collection. The herbal collection offers selected handcrafted teas with blends of ingredients designed to aid and nourish the body and soul.

Priya’s Healing Tea
Looking for a tea to help cure what ails you? Try this to help with cold and flu symptoms.

¼ C elderberries, whole
1 nob of turmeric root, sliced
2- to 3-inch piece of ginger root, sliced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 lemon, juiced
Local honey
1 t cayenne, optional

In a medium pot, add elderberries, turmeric, ginger and cinnamon to 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 45 to 60 minutes. Add lemon and cayenne, if desired. Sweeten with honey.