Tea Cupboard

Hot tea is a very pleasant and beneficial beverage. Its elements produce a soothing aroma and lend comfort and well-being to the throat and body. Hot teas are a helpful drink for the body’s system. I thought I might research some of the teas in my cupboard and divulge what I’ve found useful in each tea’s properties.
 
I have garnered information from two books. I bought Victoria Zak’s 20,000 Secrets of Tea years ago. I saw it used as a resource for most organic grocers, co-ops, and herbal shops. The same is true for the second book, Jethro Kloss’s Back to Eden. Both my grandmother and my mother had a copy of this book and used several of Kloss’s herbal treatments.
 
I have compiled the information from the teas in my cupboard and listed the beneficial qualities which pertain to me alone. I should state what is usually mentioned when writing about things consumed: Consult your doctor for health advice concerning tea. Please don’t rely on my words alone. What’s good for one may not be good for another. Research and decide what’s best for you.
 
I have used no citations but credit information found within the two books I’ve used. My usual preference for floral or herbal hot tea is without sugar or honey. For dark teas, I prefer a little sugar and soy milk. Shall we look through my tea cupboard?
 
Chamomile
I drink this tea quite regularly. It has a comforting, “wheat-like” taste. My mother told me I was a colicky baby and my great-grandmother, Cora, often filled my bottle with cool chamomile tea. She said it had almost immediate results. According to Zak, there are only two kinds of chamomile used medicinally: Roman and German. Chamomile tea relieves muscle aches, strains, arthritic pain, menstrual cramps, nausea and helps fight bladder infection. It relieves muscle spasms in the digestive tract, thereby helping to relieve abdominal pain. For me, it relaxes tension and is quite a calming tea to drink before bed. When allowed to cool, it can be used as an eye wash to help cure “pink eye”. The same assessments are found in Back to Eden. Further, Kloss says chamomile is good for the kidneys, spleen, and bladder; and it helps with anxiety issues. It aids with colds and bronchitis. Kloss also agrees with using cooled chamomile tea as an eye wash and he goes further to say it can also be used to heal open sores and wounds. The flowers of the plant are the most beneficial part.
 
“Hot Cinnamon Spice”
This tea’s ingredients are black tea, cinnamon bark, orange peels, and sweet cloves. It’s great to drink in cold weather because it warms the body. Zak’s book says cinnamon creates calm and helps defuse chills when added to a tea blend. It is anti E-coli and an antiseptic. Its beneficial parts are the inner bark. Kloss says it also prevents gas and soured stomach. Neither book addresses the orange peel or the clove component of this tea, although the benefits of oranges themselves are widely known.
 
Echinacea
Echinacea is also called “purple coneflower” for the color and shape of its flower. Although its medicinal purpose has received criticism, I’ve experienced its healing properties myself when it decreased the duration of a head cold. In Zak’s book, 20,000 Secrets of Tea, Echinacea is said to encourage the production of T-Cells and regulate red blood cells. It is an anti-allergenic filled with vitamin B-Complex, iron, and calcium. It has excellent immunity and recovery properties. It is advisable to drink one cup daily, one month on and one month off, to allow the body to build its own immunity. Its beneficial parts are the root and rhizome. Kloss’s book, Back to Eden, lists the root as the most beneficial part and deems it an “excellent blood cleanser.”
 


 
Green Tea
Green Tea is extremely beneficial for the entire body. According to Zak, it has powerful antioxidants that are one hundred times stronger than vitamin E and it has “catkins” which protect a cell from carcinogens and toxins. It lowers cholesterol, reduces blood pressure, regulates blood sugar, and prevents cardiovascular disease. It is also an anti-viral tea that helps fight colds, flu, and viruses. It helps sustain healthy teeth and gums. It’s a mild decongestant and facilitates easy breathing. Research has consistently shown green tea’s benefits.
 
Kava
This tea has the following ingredients: kava root extract, sarsaparilla root, cinnamon bark, ginger root, hazelnut oil and licorice. Kava kava derives from the South Pacific Islands. A small amount of the root is used in certain prescription “nerve” pills. I learned this while working five years as a pharmacy technician. Zak says it’s a mild sedative which gives one a “tranquil feeling that reputedly does not lead to any loss in concentration or change in motor reflexes.” Its anti-anxiety properties ease heart palpitations, relax muscles, and help relieve tension and emotional stress. Drinking in high doses inebriates. Prolonged use damages the liver so it shouldn’t be regularly consumed. The beneficial part used is the root.
 
The sarsaparilla root in this tea is, according to Zak, “one of the best cleansing herbs for the body” because it possesses “saponins,” that remove toxins from various parts of the body. Used as a wash, the sarsaparilla root helps heal shingles. The plant is one of the few climbing herbs.
 
Licorice improves the adrenal glands and increases energy. It eases allergies, soothes the respiratory tract and lungs, and is a mild expectorant. All this makes it good to drink for a cold. Kloss advises not to take it if you have hypertension. Leaves are its beneficial parts.
 

 
Lavender
I am absolutely in love with lavender. Not only is it an attractive flowering plant, it is smells heavenly and has a plethora of uses. I use lavender oil mixed with orange oil as a perfume. I use the tea and/or oil in homemade cleaners. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial and can relieve burns or heal wounds because it stimulates tissue repair. It repels mosquitoes and flies. Add lavender flowers to chamomile tea to enhance the flavor. In Zak’s book, lavender tea is said to be a tonic for the nerves and helps relieve tension headaches. Lavender’s scent has a calming effect. It can be gargled for toothaches (although the only success I’ve ever found with toothaches is clove oil), sore throat, and laryngitis. According to Zak, the tea can be used as a hair wash to kill lice. Kloss’s book says it also prevents fainting, allays nausea, and deters moths from clothes. The flower is the most beneficial part.
 
Lemon-Ginseng
This tea is composed of ground ginseng and lemon peels. Zak’s book lists lemon rind as the beneficial part. She also says lemon tea increases vitamin C. It prevents the solidifying of arterial walls and strengthens veins, blood vessels, and capillaries. Lemon contains vitamins A, B1, B2, and B3. It is an antiseptic and can help reduce fever. In the system, it becomes alkaline and can help remove acid wastes from the body. Kloss’s book also says it cleans the system of toxins and is useful for treating asthma, colds, cough, sore throat, flu, heartburn, and fever. It contains potassium, phosphorus, sodium, calcium and iron.
 
The ginseng component’s usefulness is widely known – especially in Appalachia. The beneficial part is the root. My brother used to dig ginseng root when we lived in the holler. It is generally collected around August because the roots are plump. In 20,000 Secrets of Tea, Zak says it “acts on pituitary and adrenal glands and stimulates the nervous system to decrease fatigue.” Cellular aging is prevented through its antioxidants. It raises HDL cholesterol, adjusts blood sugar levels, and promotes both red blood cell and white blood cell creation. It is a body stimulant that fights exhaustion but should not be taken for more than six months if one has chronic bronchitis or high blood pressure. In Back to Eden, Kloss says ginseng is used as an anti-inflammatory, helpful for colds, chest troubles, coughs, as well as stomach and urinary troubles.
 
Peppermint
This tea is very useful to me. According to Zak, if it’s inhaled, it clears congestion in the nose and throat. A warm peppermint tea bag placed on the specific area of a headache brings pain relief. Since I often have migraines, I steep a bag of peppermint tea, place a wash cloth in its water and alternate the rag on my forehead, face and the back of my neck. Although it doesn’t rid the headache completely, it is a tremendous help for nausea.
 
Drinking peppermint tea calms nerves, controls nausea, and helps stop stomach pain. The most beneficial parts are the leaves and oil. Kloss says this tea relieves chills, colic, fevers, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and influenza. It strengthens the heart muscles and lessens heart palpitations. He also agrees that it is excellent for alleviating headaches.
 
Rose Tea
My rose tea has elements of rose hip and rose petals and is an absolutely beautiful tea to drink. I never knew the greatness of this tea. Zak’s book says it has vitamins A, D, B-Complex, C (citric, malic and ascorbic acid), E, and K. It contains calcium, iron, silicon, selenium and has lots of healing power. It helps with breathing by cleaning the respiratory tract. It is used as a tonic for energy and disease protection. It is excellent for preventing urinary tract infections. It’s an antidepressant, antioxidant and a good hormone regulator. The tea water softens and heals skin.
 

 
Conclusion
I have found tea to be a great comfort to me at various times and for various reasons. It is amazing how certain flowers, fruits, roots, stems, or leaves can be steeped in hot water to produce a medicine, strengthen the body, or help the body fight germs. Nothing satisfies like a quiet moment with a cup of hot tea.
 
“Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary.”
~Chinese Proverb

2 Comments

  1. This was a great post! So informative, both with the written word and the lovely visuals. I am going to print it off so I can refer to it as I go through my own tea cupboard and make appropriate decisions in times of specific needs. I really loved the pictures of the teas…and the cast iron teapot!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Margaret! I love teas and feel like they’re a testament to the power of medicine in nature. And the cast iron teapot is my favorite!!

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