My Cup of Tea
By Sharon Tallent
My love affair with tea began 35 years ago when I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia. This life-changing news required sweeping changes in my diet. I wept. I mourned. I love sweets! One of the most tragic losses was sweet drinks–no more lemonade, no more fruit drinks, no more sodas. Back then, there were few artificial sweeteners and the ones I tried didn’t taste the same as sugar (some were downright terrible!) and weren’t good for me. My solace became drinking tea. I drank lots of it then and I still do.
On cold days, there’s nothing quite as enjoyable as sitting down with a cup of hot tea to feel warmed and comfortable. On hot days, a large glass of iced tea hits the spot! What makes tea-drinking even better nowadays is that, through the years, more and more teas have become readily available. Thirty-five years ago, pretty much the only teas you could buy were black or orange pekoe tea (like Lipton’s) and Chinese Black Tea in specialty stores. Now the selections seem endless! There are herbal teas and tea blends that:
- Aid in digestion, constipation, detoxing, and cleansing;
- Help with PMS, pregnancy, and nursing;
- Relieve the symptoms of colds, flu, bronchitis, and allergies;
- Relax the body and help us go to sleep;
- Refresh and provide energy.
Of all the herbal teas I’ve tried, there are very few I don’t like. I marvel at people who research herbs, buy them in bulk, and come up with their own blends. I’ve done that, but mostly I’m happy to leave that work to others and stick to prepackaged bags. Traditional Medicinals is my favorite. They’ve already done the research on which herbal blends really work well, combined the herbs, and then packaged them in serving sizes! Because of their dedication to providing the highest quality organic teas, Traditional Medicinal is a brand I’ve trusted through the years.
During the cold and flu season, I rely heavily on several teas from Traditional Medicinals. Gypsy Cold Care may be my favorite herbal tea (even though it’s hard to pick just one). Everyone in our family welcomed a warm cup of Gypsy Cold Care when they were down with a cold or the flu. Even when they didn’t feel like eating or drinking anything, the patient would drink this minty-sweet tea. The healing magic is in the ingredients:
Elder Flower has an anti-mucous effect and it, along with the Yarrow Flower, can lower a fever. Hyssop is a decongestant and expectorant to clear nasal and bronchial passages. Peppermint and ginger can ease nausea, vomiting and digestive upset. Peppermint can help clear congestion and cough. Cinnamon has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic properties. Plus, it helps reduce inflammation. Licorice Root soothes a sore throat and is effective against certain viruses, bronchitis, and stomach ulcers. Rose Hip (high in vita-min C) and safflower boost the immune system.
To especially target a sore throat, I recommend Organic Throat Coat. Unlike other throat-soothing teas I’ve tried, its clinical tests show Organic Throat Coat is truly effective in treating and relieving sore throat pain. And I know from personal experience that it does! It is soothing and good tasting–even without adding sweeteners. However, since the medicinal benefits of honey are well-known, sometimes I add a bit to this and other teas when serving to the rest of my family. Like Gypsy Cold Care, this tea blend includes cinnamon and Licorice Root. Other featured ingredients are:
Marshmallow Root has anti-bacterial and expectorant qualities and also soothes and softens dry, irritated mucous membranes, making it effective in relieving dry coughs and sore throats. Slippery Elm Bark is very soothing and healing to the mucous membranes of the mouth, stomach, and intestines, helping relieve coughs and bronchitis. Wild Cherry Bark relieves dry, nonproductive coughs and asthma-like symptoms. Fennel fights excessive build-up of mucous in the nose and throat. Sweet Orange Peel is an anti-oxidant and aids digestion – plus, it adds a nice flavor to the tea.
Breathe Easy is amazing for allergies, stuffy heads, and chest congestion. During certain times of the year, especially when the pollen or smog count is high, I am miserable, even to the point of not being able to sleep. One cup of this wonderful tea, though, and I can get on with my day–or drop off to sleep. Breathe Easy actually works better and faster for me than the inhaler prescribed for me for my asthma! This slightly sweet tea contains: fennel, licorice, peppermint, and ginger. Plus, it has Eucalyptus Leaf which helps loosen phlegm, open up nasal passages, and reduce fever and inflammation. It also acts as an expectorant. Eucalyptus is anti-bacterial and has antiseptic qualities. Bi Yan Pian is all-natural herbal formulation in Breathe Easy which relieves congestion in the lungs and nasal passages and reduces inflammation. Calendula acts as an inflammatory and an anti-microbial. Pleurisy Root reduces inflammation in the respiratory system, acts as an expectorant, and it is an anti-spasmodic.
Organic Echinacea Elder
Finally, there’s Organic Echinacea Elder, also for relief of colds and flu. Besides Echinacea, which activates and stimulates immune cells, relieves pain, reduces inflammation and has anti-viral and anti-oxidant effects, this tea contains Spearmint and Lemon Grass, giving it a fresh mint flavor with a hint of citrus.
Spearmint has similar qualities to peppermint but has a milder taste. An anti-spasmodic, it is often more useful than peppermint as a treatment for indigestion, coughs, and hiccups in children. Lemon Grass is effective against bacteria and viruses, is an anti-spasmodic, helps reduce fevers, and much more. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical study, Echinacea Plus was effective in reducing symptoms as well as shortening their duration. I like to add sweetener to this tea–usually the liquid Stevia that Beeyoutiful sells (although lately, I’ve started adding a bag of Beeyoutiful’s Organic Licorice Root to most teas that I drink, just because it is so soothing and adds extra smoothness and natural sweetness).
Being sick with a cold or sore throat is no fun. At those times, perhaps you, like I, can’t stand the thought of food, soup, cough medicine, or anything like that. That’s when you might want to welcome a cup of warm tea. Sometimes I put two or more of the Traditional Medicinals teas in a large container of boiling water to get the full range of benefits offered by each. It works great!
Sharon Tallent is the mother of 3 wonderful adult sons and the grandmother of 3 adorable grandchildren. Through the years, she has spent countless hours researching and trying even more natural and healthy ways to take care of her own health and that of her family. She also enjoys scrapbooking, drawing, traveling, and spending time with her loved ones.