Teas and Infusions: A Guide to Each
You may drink tea every day, but you might not be aware of the huge variety of teas that are available to you or all their health-related properties. In the following article we’ll give you a comprehensive guide to most kinds of teas and infusions that are available today, and what each of them is good for. You’ll never be without them in the kitchen again!
Types and properties of tea
Green tea is used as a medicinal supplement all around the world, and is considered one of the healthiest and most beneficial teas of all (especially when fermented). When brewed it retains all of the natural qualities found in the original plant. Among the many properties of green tea we can share that it’s an antioxidant that delays the signs of premature aging; it helps detox the body and remove excess fluids; it also aids in digestion and helps you lose weight. Green tea is rich in vitamins A, B, and C, as well as fluorine, sodium, and other minerals. It strengthens the immune system and protects the body from infections and viruses.
Because it has a low caffeine content, it should be prepared using hot, but not boiling, water. Otherwise, the leaves are literally cooked and will release a bitter taste. The Chinese were the first to discover this wonderful tea, while nowhere on earth today is it consumed more than in Japan. The difference between the two cultures is in the preparation.
Black tea is the most popular in Western cultures and is sold in bags, as well as loose, worldwide. Its flavor and healthy properties make this a wonderful drink. It contains a good amount of antioxidants; it’s satisfying, good for digestion, and low in calories. Black tea wasn’t always used for drinking. In fact it was used for bartering because it doesn’t lose its flavor with time. The leaves of Camelia sinensis go through a process of oxidation by which they turn from green to black. The caffeine content of this tea is stimulating. Ideally you drink it at 200 degrees, and the intensity of the tea depends on how long you let it steep.
White tea is called the “elixir of youth” for a reason! It’s said to be one of the most refined and exquisite of teas. Instead of leaves, young and small shoots are collected for this tea. It’s been said that the person who drinks this is actually absorbing the youth of the plant itself, or its vital energy. Its light color is due to a white coating of the leaves when they first emerge and are harvested in the spring, by hand. White tea is produced in the high mountains of Fujian, China. It has a delicious flavor and a delicate aroma, providing vitamins C and E, as well as being an antioxidant and diuretic. You should drink this at a temperature of 170 °F.
Red tea is sometimes called “Pu-erh,” and is known for promoting efficient burning of fats. This was the “tea of the emperors” because for a long time its consumption was banned by commoners or people of lower social status. It has a strong, earthy taste with a deep reddish color. The ripening process takes years. Drinking three cups of this tea a day will help reduce body fat and cholesterol. Drink it at 200 ° F.
This tea is known as “oolong,” and is semi-fermented. It’s usually a color in between green and black. The fermentation processes is interrupted, at which time the tea is rolled and oxidized. It comes from two regions: Fujian (China) and Formosa (Taiwan). Blue tea has a flavor like a green vegetable, and the coloring can be lighter or darker depending on how it is processed. It’s a powerful antioxidant, strengthening the immune system, regulating cholesterol, reducing blood pressure, and it also contains vitamins and minerals. Ideally it’s served at 190 ° F, but it is “acceptable” to serve it on ice, or chilled.
Types of teas and their properties
Now that you know a little more about the main classes of tea, here’s some information about the specific herbs and plants you can use to make them.
Chamomile is widely used to treat mild digestive disorders like indigestion, cramps, diarrhea and gastritis. It also reduces eye irritation or inflammation and alleviates respiratory conditions like asthma, cough, or cold. It can even treat acne and clean superficial wounds.
Mint has antiseptic, antispasmodic, and digestive properties. It reduces flatulence, repels insects, and helps promote good breath. It’s often used for colds and coughs.
The medicinal part of the linden plant is in its fruits and flowers. It is used as a sedative and tranquilizer for the nervous system. It also improves digestion and helps you sleep better. Linden flower tea can be used to reduce arterial problems, cramps, and menstrual pain.
Valerian root is similar to linden flower in its sedative and relaxing qualities. Be careful not to drink too much of this tea, because it can cause the nervous system to slow excessively, lowering blood pressure and reducing circulation.
The leaves of this plant freshen the breath when chewed, and a tea made with green anise can be used as an expectorant, a stomach tonic, to regulate the menstrual cycle, ease flatulence, and aid in digestion.
Rosemary helps repair damage to the nervous system, while also enhancing memory and improving circulation.