Surprising benefits of drinking tea – especially with a friend or ten!
OK, so I am biased. I love tea. I drink it, I bathe in it, I use it in my garden! OK, well, technically, it’s not tea. Tea is the word reserved for beverages made by steeping the leaves of the camellia sinensis plant in water. What I’m talking about is actually an herbal tea, or more properly, a tisane. You can use the word tisane when you share this with your friends and they’ll think you’re uber fancy. For this article, we’ll just call them tea, because, well, that’s the word that comes to mind when you think of that hot cup of fragrant plant infusion. And, despite my inner grammarian’s best efforts, once a word gets stuck in the common lexicon, it’s virtually impossible to change.
Tea as a Remedy
As an herbalist, I use tea as a remedy. When working with a client, I recognize areas that need a little assistance to find a better balance point. I often choose herbs that work well in a tea, because tea is easy to take, is (usually) pleasant to drink, and is portable. It’s a special skill to formulate teas that are both effective and tasty, and perhaps one of the most interesting parts of my job. Anyone can throw some herbs into a mug, cover with hot water, and get the needed phytochemicals into their system. And, to be honest, sometimes, I do just that. Herbalists are pretty well trained in drinking unpleasant decoctions.
Teas are wonderful ways of consuming vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They also give you the benefit of aromatherapy as you’re drinking them. Hard for a tablet or capsule to do all that!
Tea as a Ritual
Drinking tea is also a great ritual. The act of making tea (even a tea bag dunked in a mug of hot water) requires that you slow down for at least a moment. It requires your attention for a few minutes so the tea steeps for the right amount of time. It requires patience, as you wait for the water to cool until it is comfortable to drink. Then, as you drink it, there’s a whole symphony of flavors that you can choose to contemplate or choose to just accept and move on. You can sip your tea slowly, or drink it quickly.
I like to make my tea making and drinking a quiet break time. It’s only a few minutes of time, but the stepping away from busy-ness allows me to refocus on the things that are ahead, to get a new perspective on a challenging problem, or to come back to a place of emotional center if I’ve been feeling frustrated or anxious. Just a few moments with a cup of delicious, aromatic tea brings you into the present moment.
Tea as Hospitality
Sharing tea is a centuries old tradition. In almost every culture, the sharing of tea is an important part of hospitality. Curiously enough, the word hospitality comes from the Latin hospitium, which means a place where someone takes great care of you, a place where you’re welcomed with compassion, love, and kindness. Doesn’t that paint a lovely picture? Sharing tea creates a space where others are welcomed into close connection with you. Take a moment and visualize that. Breathe it in.
Sharing tea gives us an opportunity to open our hearts, to open powerful conversations, and to open our minds to possibility. Who would have thought a few leaves and hot water would be so powerful?
I would love to share my tea process with you. I have created a virtual tea experience called GraviTEA. It’s an opportunity to get some of my awesome herbal teas sent to your door, and a video conference room where I’ll share the details of the tea, explain how it might affect you, and how to make it. We’ll explore some other mythology about tea, the cosmos, and share in powerful conversation with other tea drinkers! Visit my GraviTEA page to find out more and sign up. This is a very popular program and it is filling up fast.