The types and flavours of tea

The Types and Flavours of Tea

Aside from water, tea is the world’s most popular and frequently ingested beverage. Humans have been drinking tea since the beginning of recorded history and there is a seemingly endless variety of teas and flavours. Because tea can be made from the leaves or flowers of virtually any beneficial plant or mixture of plants, the possibilities for different combinations and flavours are limited only by one’s imagination. Generally speaking, however, there are only two basic types of tea: those that contain caffeine and those that do not.

Naturally caffeinated teas are divided into three categories, black, green or white, and are all harvested from the same plant, camellia sinensis. Their colour names refer to the level of the processing they undergo. Many health benefits are realised from drinking these caffeinated teas, with green tea garnering the recent spotlight due to its recognition as a powerful antioxidant. Flavours are added to caffeinated teas to enhance their taste by a process known as scenting. Bergamot is an example of a caffeinated tea that has been scented or infused with additional flavour, providing antibacterial properties to the stomach. Drinking Jasmine tea, another flavoured or scented caffeinated tea, promotes weight loss and also has powerful antioxidant properties.

Herb tea is also a popular drink due to its availability and health benefits. Virtually any plant product, its leaves, flowers or roots, can be infused in boiling water and ingested as tea. The medicinal benefits of drinking herb teas have been depended upon for ages and many of them have become established as remedies and tonics.

Chamomile, for example, is an age-old remedy for stomach upset or anxiety and also promotes relaxation and sleep in addition to imparting a pleasant flavour. Drinking various mint teas, particularly peppermint, helps relieve nausea and is good for respiratory congestion. Ginger tea is also used to relieve digestive distress and has a generally warming effect which enhances circulation.

Drinking raspberry leaf tea is highly recommended for women experiencing common hormonal conditions, particularly menstrual distress, pregnancy and childbirth. Liquorice root tea treats a host of ailments, from asthma to yeast infections, and has a uniquely sweet flavour due to it glycyrrhizin content which is purported to be fifty times as sweet as sugar.

In addition to tasting wonderful, lemon balm tea promotes sleep, relieves menstrual cramps, and calms the nerves. Nettle tea heals and tones the urinary system, treats prostate enlargement, and acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory. The most plentiful herb in the suburban realm, dandelion, is effective in relieving water retention, promoting weight loss and relieving liver congestion.

Drinking tea not only rewards the palate but improves one’s constitution as well. Flavoured teas, then, can be a prudent, pleasant way to take your medicine.

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