Tea is revered the world-over for its various and innumerable health benefits. In fact, second only to water, it is the most commonly consumed beverage in the world. The ancient Chinese drank it and the Japanese and the British are famous for their own unique blends. However, with so many countries offering so many varieties, it can be difficult to decide which is right for you. The following article will match up some common, modern-day issues with the tea varieties that suit.

One of the most prevailing and pervasive issues in today’s fast-paced, high-tech, global community is stress. A recent study conducted by the University College of London indicated that a daily dose of black tea could have a two-pronged effect on stress. By reducing levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, within the body, tea not only reduces stress but also speeds up recovery time from stressful situations. English breakfast and early grey are probably the best known black teas. Irish breakfast is wonderful if you prefer something a little heartier, while Russian Caravan tea has an interesting flavor twist that’s quite difficult to pin down. Chai tea combines black tea with various spices, making it a delightful treat for the senses. If you want the stress fighting properties without the caffeine hit, try Chamomile or Peppermint tea.

Recent studies suggest that the polyphenols found in tea have properties that may help to prevent certain types of cancer. More research is needed to lend support to these findings. However, the outlook is promising with one study claiming that drinking 2 cups a day may lower the risk of ovarian cancer by 46% and another study finding that if this is increased to 4 cups a day, the risk of gastric, esophageal and skin cancer is also greatly reduced. When it comes to cancer fighting properties, green tea comes out as the winner. Along with the polyphenols, which most teas have, green tea has also been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, meaning it may reduce the number and size of tumors. Once again, it must be stressed that these findings are only preliminary and there is a definite need for more research in this field. Whether it lives up to these claims or not though, regular consumption of green tea will definitely contribute to overall health and well-being.

One field people often turn to for general well-being and longevity is Chinese medicine. Indeed, there is a multitude of Chinese teas available, catering to every imaginable ailment. With such a great variety on the market, it is difficult to know which ones are genuinely good for you and which ones are simply fads. One that stands out as being the genuine article is a tonic herb called, Jiao Gu Lan. It is known in China as the, “immortality herb,” due to the unusually long life-spans of the locals of the Guizhou province, where the herb is most commonly cultivated and used. While there have been no scientific studies on this herb to date, it is believed that it can improve digestion, increase the metabolism and regulate blood sugar levels. If this is true, it means that regularly drinking it would allow you to maintain a healthy body weight and would likely add years onto your life. The choice as to whether or not to trust these claims lies with the individual and whether you believe in tradition or are a stickler for scientific research. If you decide to give it a go, it can be found in selected health food shops and Asian grocers. As a side note, it is best to add the herb to your favorite tea, rather than drinking it alone.

Speaking of fads and non-scientifically backed claims, let us turn our attention to the legion of weight loss teas that can be found on the shelves. Unlike those mentioned above, these teas can actually be dangerous. It is important to read the labels carefully. Many weight loss teas contain senna or cascara, both of which are stimulant laxatives. This is where the supposed weight loss comes from. The danger here is that, if consumed regularly, these herbs can have a paralyzing effect on the muscles of the large intestine. This means that the muscles will be incapable of moving feces through without the herbs to stimulate them. This can lead to chronic constipation and further health problems such as IBS. Laxative dependency can also lead to tearing of the intestinal walls, not to mention the fact that these herbs generally cause painful diarrhea. They are fine to take once in a while to help with constipation. However, laxative dependency can occur even after as little as seven days of regular use. If you are looking for healthful assistance with weight loss, try green tea or oolong tea to boost the metabolism; dandelion tea to aid in digestion; peppermint or licorice tea to curb the appetite; and ginseng to boost energy and vitality.

On a final note, if you’re anything like the author of this article and you just simply adore tea, regardless of the health benefits, then there is an amazing variety of unique and beautiful teas for you to enjoy. There are teas blended with flowers that look, smell and taste amazing. Check your local farmers market for blends or hand-rolled bouquet tea balls. There are also specialty tea shops both online and out in the real world, where you can personally choose the ingredients of your tea and have it blended and packaged for you.

Tea can provide such a wonderful experience, whether sipped alone or shared with friends. It is up to you to decide whether to put any stock in all the claims and the scientific findings. However, there is one indisputable fact: if you replace all soda, milkshakes, diet drinks and the like with tea, your health and vitality will improve and your body will definitely thank you.


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