We could talk about Green Tea, Black Tea or White Tea but we would be talking about the same plant in all cases: Camelia sinensis. ‘Tea’ with a capital, is in fact the common name of the plant. The word ‘tea’, without a capital letter can refer to literally anything we pour hot water on to and steep before drinking (think; peppermint, chamomile etc.)
Green Tea is steamed before drying, which makes it retain its green colour and its antioxidant properties, whilst black Tea is allowed to dry in the natural way which makes it oxidise and therefore go the familiar black colour. White Tea is taken from the young and tender shoots of the shrub, thus being much lighter in colour and taste.
Whether we like Earl grey, Lady grey, lapsang souchong, rose congou, pu’er, sencha, matcha, oolong or other flavoured Tea, the effects are all very similar. Some purport to be for fat loss and slimming, such as green Tea or pu’er Tea, but in fact they all have that ability, depending on how much milk and sugar is consumed at the same time. Some are smoked, fermented or have herbs and essential oils added. Many teas are blended to adapt the flavour and strength, hence breakfast Tea or afternoon Tea.
One of the features of Tea is the naturally occurring caffeine. Although at a lower level compared to our friend coffee, in fact, any of the above-mentioned Teas are loaded with it.
Yes, even Green Tea.
This means that for anyone experiencing any level of anxiety, sleeplessness, irritability or mood swings really ought to rethink their Tea consumption and caffeine intake overall. If you are a sufferer of anxiety, as a herbalist practitioner I would advise you to remove it completely from your daily habits. Go totally decaffeinated. Reduce your intake slowly, over a few days, to minimise the withdrawal headache. Introduce herbal teas without green Tea like Rooibos or decaf. When selecting a decaf, make sure it has been decaffeinated naturally, with either CO2 or water. Avoid the chemical types as these will taint the flavour and are not good for you. If sleep issues are a problem, have your last caffeine drink around lunchtime and no later. Even a cuppa around 6pm is far too late if you have a sleep problem. The body can’t always process the caffeine in time for you to go to sleep naturally later. This is particularly true of those experiencing any degree of stress.
Want to know what else Tea can be used for?
Cold/spent tea bags are great on the eyes; lie back, apply one to each eye and allow the moisture to gently soak into the eye area for 20 mins of or so. The Tea is naturally astringent and soothing on tired or puffy eyes. This is due to the high level of tannin which also makes the strong taste if allowed to stew.
Now relax and Let’s have a brew!