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Properties and Health Benefits of Black Tea and Spices

For centuries in India, and now gradually worldwide, drinking chai is similar to how Americans enjoy their morning cup of coffee. Savoring a delicious cup of chai can be soothing and relaxing and is often thought of as a stress reliever. This balanced combination of tea with herbs and spices has significant health benefits as well.



Black Tea

Recent studies in leading medical journals declare black tea a potential heart tonic, cancer blocker, fat buster, immune stimulant, arthritis soother, virus fighter and cholesterol detoxifier.

"Tea is beating all scientific expectations as the most potent health beverage ever," says researcher John Weisburger at the American Health Foundation. "The many ways tea can promote health is truly astonishing."

Here are some of the ways black tea can potentially benefit your health:
Black Tea saves arteries. Drinking black tea helps prevent deadly clogging of arteries and reverses poor arterial functioning that can trigger heart attacks and strokes.  In a recent test, Joseph Vita, M.D., of the Boston University School of Medicine, had heart patients drink either plain water or four cups of black tea daily.  In a month, impaired blood vessel functioning (a risk factor for heart attack and strokes) improved about 50% in the black tea drinkers.

Black Tea inhibits cancer growth. Tea has long been tied to a lower risk of stomach, colon and breast cancer, although the connection is not proven.  Now lab studies find that black tea chemicals actually may stop cancer growth.  Rutgers University researchers showed that a compound in black tea called TF-2 caused colorectal cancer cells to "commit suicide"; normal cells were unaffected.

Black Tea tames inflammation. TF-2, the newly discovered anti-cancer compound in black tea, suppresses the Cox-2 gene that triggers inflammation, says research at Rutgers.

Black Tea Wipes out viruses. Previous tests prove black tea can neutralize germs, including some that cause diarrhea, pneumonia, cystitis and skin infections.  New research by Milton Schiffenbauer of Pace University finds that black and green tea deactivates viruses, including herpes.  When you drink tea, he says, chances are good you will wipe out viruses in your mouth.


For those interested in minimizing their caffeine intake, black tea has much less caffeine than an equal serving of coffee:

Caffeine content in an 8 oz.cup:
Drip Coffee         55 mg
Black and Green Tea         20-30 mg
Masala Chai         10-15 mg

We use numerous traditional herbs and spices in our Blue Lotus Chai blends, all of which have a variety of healing and strengthening properties.  In both Western and Eastern medicine, they are recognized for their awesome attributes…besides being absolutely delicious!

rooibos

Rooibos

Rooibos (pronounced roo-ee-boss) is an indigenous herb from South Africa, also called red bush.  Delicious, with a nutty, sweet flavor, it is completely caffeine free.  There are few beverages that can compare to rooibos for its wide variety of health benefits.

Here are just a few of the ways red rooibos can benefit your health:

Contains powerful antioxidants – Containing a huge array of antioxidants, which help to protect the body in a number of ways, 2 polyphenol antioxidants called aspalathin and nothofagin are found in high concentrations in rooibos.  These protect the body by fighting free radicals, which are essentially unstable cells that attack healthy cells.  The polyphenols also have anti-inflammatory properties and can safeguard against heart disease.  Due to the high level of dominant antioxidants, some of which have anti-mutagenic properties, rooibos can also serve to defend cells and DNA against damage and inhibit them from developing into cancer..

High mineral content – One of the key health benefits of rooibos tea is that it contains several minerals that are vital to health.  These include: magnesium – essential for the nervous system; calcium & manganese – essential for strong teeth and bones; zinc – important for metabolism; and iron – critical for helping blood & muscles distribute oxygen..

Relieves stomach complaints – As rooibos tea contains high levels of flavonoids, especially one called quercetin, it has the ability to relieve numerous abdominal ailments such as cramps, diarrhea and indigestion.  This is because the flavonoids help to reduce spasm, inflammation and allergies.  It has also been widely stated that the health benefits of rooibos extend to alleviating colic in babies.  As it is totally caffeine free, it is perfectly safe for them to drink.

Can protect against Parkinsons/Alzheimers disease – Drinking rooibos regularly can protect against a process known as lipid peridoxation.  This is where free radicals damage brain cells and nerve tissue.  If this is prolonged, it can lead eventually to progressive and deteriorating brain disease, such as Alzheimers. Laboratory tests on rats showed little difference in brain function from a group of older rats given rooibos tea to the brains of newborn rats.

Improves circulation – One of the many potent antioxidants in rooibos is called chysoeriol.  It can improve circulation by preventing the activity of the enzyme that triggers cardiovascular disease.  Drinking rooibos tea also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol.

Encourages restful sleep – One of the many health benefits of rooibos is that it can be drunk as often as you wish and at any time of day.  Many people choose to drink it before bedtime as it can help with insomnia.  Due to its high mineral content and lack of caffeine, it helps people to feel calm and relaxed.

ginger root

Ginger Root

Ginger is the most widely used and available herbal remedy on the planet, with billions of people using it every day as both food and medicine.  Long the subject of literature and fable, it is used either fresh or dried in nearly two thirds of all traditional Chinese and Japanese herbal formulas.  In Chinese medicine, ginger is said to warm the energy channels and stop bleeding, especially uterine bleeding.  It is a detoxifier, and is very effective when invading cold or infection has reached the interior of the body.  Scientists have found evidence to support ginger’s wide range of medicinal actions. These include the lowering of cholesterol levels, relief for allergies and asthma, arthritis, colds and nausea (including motion sickness): and protecting the digestive tract and liver against toxins and parasites.  It can protect the lining of the stomach from alcohol damage, which aggravates existing ulcers and promotes the development of new ones.  In small doses ginger is especially useful in pregnancy, and is an age-old remedy for morning sickness.

cardoman

Cardamom

The sweetly aromatic cardamom is the fruit of a tropical plant related to ginger, and one of the world's most expensive spices, after saffron and vanilla.  It has been used medicinally for centuries in India as a carminative, stimulant, and to treat urinary problems.  In the Middle East it was considered an aphrodisiac, and is mentioned frequently in One Thousand and One Nights.  In India it was known as the "Queen of Spices" to black pepper's title of "King of Spices".  Preliminary findings from laboratory research suggest that regular use of cardamom might help to prevent colon cancer and serve to strengthen the heart and lungs.  It is rich in antioxidants, and relieves pain and gas, and sharpens the mind.

cinamon

Cinnamon

The word cinnamon, the genus name, most likely came from either the Hebrew or Arabic language, but the species name cassia is from the Greek kassia, which means to strip off the bark.  Its use in Chinese medicine goes back nearly 5,000 years.  According to traditional Chinese medicine, it acts to help the body’s “fire” and to help “warm” the kidneys and spleen.  It is primarily known, however, as one of the most recognizable flavors in the world.  Cinnamon is recommended for treating the loss of appetite, as well as promoting digestion, and acting beneficially on cramps, flatulence, and nausea.  Its beneficial effects on the digestive tract are attributed to its antioxidant catechins, which may also help fight bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections.  It has been used for over a thousand years in both Eastern and Western medicine in treating chronic diarrhea, colds, kidney trouble, abdominal and heart pains, hypertension, and even cancer, among others.  It is said to help with adult onset diabetes and high blood pressure, helps to reduce inflammation, and enhances the brain, cognitive processing, memory and visual motor speed.

nutmeg

Nutmeg

Nutmeg isn’t really a nut, but the kernel of an apricot-like fruit.  As an herbal medicine, nutmeg powder is used to relieve or prevent flatulence, and to break up chest congestion.  It serves as a tonic for heart and brain, and stimulates the cardiovascular system, promotes concentration, acts as an expectorant, reduces joint inflammation and assists the liver in removing toxins.

black pepper

Black Pepper

Black pepper has been cultivated for thousands of years on the Malabar coast of southwestern India, in the region defined by the modern state of Kerala.  For most of the last 2,000 years, it was a luxury for the very rich, a commodity so valuable that it was even used as money.  In fact, it was often referred to as the “King of Spices”.  Nowadays black pepper is common around the world and used in the cuisine of almost every country.  Ancient herbalists used it as a stimulant to weak membranes, especially to treat runny nose and also to treat hemorrhoids.  Ayurvedic medicines use tiny amounts of black pepper to make the other herbs in the formula more available to the body.  Antioxidant rich, it is an antidepressant, and antiproliferative, preventing the spread of cancer cells.  As a pain relief agent it can be stronger than capsaicin.  In addition it is anti-bacterial and alleviates constipation, gas and loss of appetite.

cloves

Cloves

The aromatic flowers and oil of clove have been used for culinary and medicinal uses for centuries.  Cloves were actually one of the first globally traded spices in the world, going as far back as 1721 BC.  Over the course of time, it has been used to alleviate pain, prevent and treat bacterial infection, ease toothaches, treat worms and relieve congestion.  It is a natural antibiotic, and can alleviate cough, cold and sinus problems.  Long before it was used to flavor foods, it was used to sweeten bad breath and settle upset stomachs.

star anise

Star Anise

Star Anise is a beautiful herb shaped like an eight pointed star, with a distinctive and delightful flavor. It has numerous highly sought after properties. As a warming spice it is most widely used for treating digestive ailments such as abdominal cramps, bloating, constipation, gas, indigestion, lack of appetite and stomach aches. Star anise contains a substance known as Shikimic acid, which is extracted and used to make the antiviral drug, Tamiflu. Not only does it hinder the flu, it also helps keep the lungs clear of mucus, and is useful in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and dry cough. In Chinese medicine, it has enjoyed a reputation for promoting the health of women's reproductive organs, increasing breast milk production and improving libido.

mint

Mint

For centuries, mint has been enjoyed for its wonderful aroma, its great taste, and its healing power.  It is well known for its ability to sooth the digestive tract and reduce the severity and length of stomach aches.  In addition, it has shown great promise at easing the discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome, and even at slowing the growth of many of the most harmful bacteria and fungi. The well-documented antifungal properties of mint are thought to play a role in the treatment of asthma and many allergy conditions as well.  Because of its active compounds, mint has sedative, antispasmodic, and disinfectant properties, and is considered beneficial to the liver.



Disclaimer: The contents of this page are intended for educational and informational purposes only. The information herein found should NOT be used as a substitute for seeking the attention of qualified medical practitioners in diagnosing, treating, curing or preventing ailments and diseases.