Everyone’s Cup of Tea

Recipes courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (February 2017) and taken from Cleanse, Nurture, Restore with Herbal Tea by Sebastian Pole.

Forgive Me for I have Sinned

This is a help-you-feel-good tea to sip slowly after a night of indulgence.  It aids digestion, stimulates sluggish circulation and refreshes your mind.

Makes : 2-3 cups

Ingredients :
1 handful fresh peppermint leaves (or 1 tblsp dry)
3-5 slices fresh ginger root
2 sprigs fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp dry)
1/4 tsp turmeric root powder (or a sprinkle) per cup
Angostura bitters (a dash per cup)
1 tsp honey per cup

Place the mint, ginger and rosemary in a pot.  Add 500ml freshly boiled, filtered water.  Leave to steep for 10-15 minutes and then strain.  Add the turmeric, bitters and honey.  Breathe in the aromas of the infusion while you drink it, as they will help you feel better.

tea pic 2

Golden Milk of Bliss

A warm, deeply nourishing nectar to replenish your nervous and sexual energies.  This tea is a great relaxant, so drink warm before bedtime.  Calming bliss in a cup.

Makes : 1 cup

Ingredients :
150ml almond, rice or other milk
2 tsp ground almonds
2 cardamom pods (gently crushed or split)
5 saffron strands
Pinch of turmeric root powder
Pinch of nutmeg powder
1/4 tsp ashwagandha root
Honey, to taste

Gently warm the milk in a pan, then add all the other ingredients, except the honey.  Pour into a cup, sweeten to taste with honey and stir before drinking.  (If you don’t like the taste of ashwagandha, take a capsule of it when you drink the milk instead).

tea pic 1

Mint Digestif

There is an Ayurvedic saying: ‘All disease starts with poor digestion.’  This tea will help boost your digestive fire without over-heating it.  It is a pitta-balancing infusion made for sipping after a sumptuous meal.

Makes :  2-3 cups

Ingredients :
4g peppermint leaf
2g licorice rot
2g hibiscus flower
1g fennel seed
1g coriander seed

Put the ingredients in a pot, add 500ml boiled, filtered water.  Steep for 5-10 minutes, strain and drink.

Food Facts : Magic Tea

Article courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (October 2015)

IMG_1819

The Hype

A foreign princess is responsible for the Brits’ love of tea – in the 17th century, Catherine of Braganza, in Portugal, brought her tea-drinking custom to the English court, as the queen of Charles II.

Today, we drink 165 millions cups of tea every day in the UK (compared with 70 million cups of coffee), and the number of different varieties of tea, from rooibos to camomile and lapsang to matcha, has risen by 82 per cent in the last 10 years.  When once you just had to choose between milk or sugar with your cuppa, today, the myriad herbal, flower, fruit, black, white and green options has meant that supermarkets now dedicate half an aisle to tea.

The ancient Chinese proverb attests that it is ‘better to be deprived of food for three days than tea for one’.

The Facts:

  1. ‘All tea starts its life as a leaf from the same plant: the Camelia sinensis’, say Krisi and Mike, founders of Bluebird Tea Co. ‘The type of tea those leaves eventually end up as (black, green, white) is influenced by which part of the plant they are picked from, and what treatment they have been through once they are picked.  This also influences the caffeine content.  The amount of caffeine that actually ends up in your body is on a wide varying scale with many influencing factors such as age of leaf, water, temperature, steeping time and so on.’
  2. ‘Green and white tea is usually steeped at a lower temperature and for a shorter time, which gives the caffeine less chance to dissolve into the water.  This doesn’t mean the original tea had less caffeine, just that less of it was released into the water,’ say Krisi and Mike.  If you’re looking to avoid caffeine, it’s best to choose a naturally caffeine-free tea such as rooibos, which still contains catechins and polyphenols – potent antioxidants that mop up free radicals and help boost health.
  3. For the latter benefits however, it’s the new breed of ‘superteas’ that are really causing a stir.  Matcha is a 100 per cent green tea that has been ground to form a very fine powder.  Doing so concentrates the potency of the leaves, giving matcha its vivid green hue.  As the whole leaf is ingested, matcha is a far more potent source of nutrients than it’s steeped counterparts.  It also contains a naturally occurring amino acid called L-theanine which, together with caffeine, appears to increase alertness.

TeaThe Verdict

  • A study in 2011 also showed that decaffeinated tea hydrates you just as efficiently as water – with the added benefits of those antioxidants, too.
  • Fluoride is important for dental health and tea is one of the best sources of fluoride in the diet.  Research presented by Dr Carrie Ruxton to the UK Nutrition Society shows that the current average intake of tea falls short of the European fluoride recommendation, suggesting that tea intake should increase to access the benefits of fluoride for dental health.
  • Both black and green tea have been linked with improved cognitive function, according to a new study.  Commenting on the new research, Dr Tim Bond from the Tea Advisory Panel notes, ‘Tea has been associated with many mental health benefits such as improved mental attention, clarity of mind and relaxation.’
  • The polyphenols and flavonoids in camomile tea have been proven to protect against thyroid cancer, according to a new study published in the European Journal of Public Health.  Researchers found that camomile tea consumed two to six times a week reduced the risk of thyroid cancer by 700 per cent and benign thyroid disease by 84 per cent.
  • Matcha contains a unique polyphenol called EGCG which has been shown to boost metabolism and slow or halt the growth of cancer cells.
  • The evidence is clear; our ancestors were on to something.  Drink tea for its abundant health benefits – just be sure not to consume too much of the caffeinated variety.

 

Mulled Wine

IMG_1651It’s the perfect drink for chilly festive evenings and, with just a splash of brandy, it makes a great addition to a cocktail party menu.

For the best flavour, use a slightly fruity red wine.  While red wine and apple cider are the most traditional of the spiced winter warmers, you can also use cranberry juice or white wine to add some variation.  Just don’t let the mixture boil as this will evaporate the alcohol.

How to make …

Step One : Combine a bottle of red wine, a 10cm x 0.5cm (4 in x 1/4 in) slice of orange zest with the white pith removed, 3 orange slices, a thin slice of fresh ginger, 4 tablespoons of granulated sugar, 2 cardamom pods, 2 cinnamon sticks and 4 whole cloves in a large saucepan.

Step Two : Bring the mixture to just under a simmer over a low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Do not allow the wine to boil.

Step Three : The mulled wine is hot enough when the sugar has dissolved and lifting a spoon from the wine brings up steam.  To serve, add 1-2 teaspoons of brandy to a cup or mug and ladle the mulled wine over it.  Serves 6.

Keep the wine warm in a Mulled Wine Pot Warmer