Tea Blog

Cinnamon – A Tea and Spice Super Hero

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum; Lauraceae) is the dried inner bark of the shoots of the cinnamon tree in the Laurel family. Cinnamon is widely found in medicinal and culinary tea blends; highly valued in Chinese medicine as a warming and stimulating herb, used to stimulate circulation and clear congestion.  Ayurvedic physicians of India use cinnamon bark for respiratory ailments, stomach upsets, muscle spasms and diabetes. It’s action as a demulcent in the gastrointestinal tract is especially helpful for many problems due to coldness.

 What are cinnamon’s “warming qualities”?

A deep acting stimulant, cinnamon warms the internal body.  This aids many problems due to coldness such as rheumatic pain, cramps, spasms, gas, coughs, mucous, and lower back pain.  It also warms the kidneys and strengthens the adrenal glands. The warming helps enhance immune functions and our ability to handle stress. It is useful for diarrhea and replenishing strength, especially for the eldery.  It is a main ingredient in Tiger Balm, the popular topical Chinese ointment for pain relief. 

Daily consumption of cinnamon can lower risk factors and stabilize metabolic syndromes. Recent studies prove ¼-½ tsp cinnamon per day balances blood sugar and can control blood sugar problems, particularly in type 2 diabetes, and also lowers cholesterol and triglycerides. Those with type 2 diabetes or those who have elevated glucose, triglycerides or total cholesterol may benefit from regular inclusion of cinnamon in their daily diet. (Dartmouth College researchers reporting in Diabetes Care)   

Cinnamon’s prevention qualities

Cinnamon may help prevent and/or treat: cancer, cholesterol problems, heart disease, hypertension, prediabetes, stroke, high Triglycerides, ulcers, and wounds.  For women’s reproductive health, cinnamon relaxes the uterine muscle and calms painful uterine spasms. Further, complex, double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled scientific studies prove reduced pain scores for perineal pain and healing from episiotomy incisions. Another female disease where insulin and blood sugar levels are haywire and the sufferer is at higher risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke is PCOS(Polycystic Ovary Syndrome).  Researchers state “interesting” findings from studies, and encourage further research.

Slimy Cinnamon

Cinnamon is highly valued by herbalists for it’s extremely slimy quality. Cinnamon turns slimy if steeped in hot water for many hours and then chilled. In hot and/or extreme dry conditions, this is what you want in your gut. The slime helps retain adequate hydration and keeps your tissues moist. Cold water extracts extremely slimy chains of mucopolysaccharides from cinnamon bark which can be highly analgesic and wound healing. 

Cinnamon is a time-tested remedy for the onset of colds. It will resolve irritating coughs, sore throats and bronchial congestion, and clears stagnation throughout the respiratory tract. Cinnamon tea also makes an effective mouthwash for gum inflammation. 

Cinnamon has a food-preserving quality

This is why it features as a dominant spice in many traditional dishes throughout the world. It effectively eliminates one of the most virulent bacterial causes of food poisoning.  It eradicates Helicobacter pylori, the bacterial cause of most stomach ulcers and a leading cause of stomach cancer. Cinnamon is also effective against Candida albacans.  This is the fungus that causes most cases of vaginal yeast infections. Because it is warming, it is a perfect accompaniment for cold dairy foods. 

Much of the cinnamon imported into the United States is Cinnamon cassia, also called Chinese cinnamon.  True cinnamon is Cinnamomum verum and goes by the name Ceylon and Sri Lankan cinnamon.  The two cinnamons are very difficult to tell apart but differ in flavor.  Cassia is the sweeter and stronger of the two while true cinnamon’s flavor is more complex and light tasting.

Lake Missoula Tea Company’s cinnamon blends

While many Lake Missoula Tea Company blends have cinnamon, Sassy Cinnamon, Citrus & Hibiscus is our heavy hitter.  Other blends that have cinnamon:

Sweet Rhapsody | Baked Apple Pie  | Everything’s Coming Up Roses  | Cycle Goddess  | Joint Peace, Arthritis Blend  |  Joint Peace, Arthritis Blend | Virtually all of our Chais  | And Rice PuddingCinnamon Orange Spice

References and recommended reading:

The Herbal Kitchen by Kami McBride.  50 Easy-to-Find Herbs and Over 250 Recipes to Bring Lasting Health to You and Your Family.

The Mistress of Spices  A novel by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. 

Herbs for the Home Medicine Chest by Rosemary Gladstar, Storey Books.  Understanding Herbs, When to Use Herbs, Home Health Care with Herbs.

The Yoga of Herbs by Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Vasant Lad.  An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine

Healing Spices; How to Use 50 Everyday and Exotic Spices to Boost Health and Beat Disease, by Bharat B. Aggarwal with Deborah Yost

Nathaniel’s Nutmeg, or The True and Incredible Adventures of the Spice Trader Who Changed the Course of History, by Giles Milton

Written by

Greta de la Montagne, RH (Registered Herbalist), AHG (American Herbalists Guild), and Lake Missoula’s herbalist consultant and blogger, edited by Heather Kreilick.

Social Distancing, Create Ritual with Tea

Social distancing is affecting us all a little differently.  Those of us in rural areas have the luxury to social distance and have access to open space. This allows us to get outside more and separate ourselves from feeling cabin (or apartment) fever. Getting outside allows us to take a break from the onslaught of news and feeds.  We feel for others in urban environments during this time that don’t have as much outdoor access. Whether rural or urban, use tea to add ritual to your day.  Tea is know to help you relieve stress, maintain your immunity and has anti-viral properties.  Keep this in mind during this pandemic.
Lychee Black, the brewed tea in these photos, is made w essence of lychee. Lychees are small, translucent, sweet fruits found in Asia. They have a hard outer shell that you peel like an orange before eating.  This tea is delicious and is perfect hot or cold.

Tea shop PSA regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Tea shop PSA regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19):

Lake Missoula Tea Company is open at this time. However, brewed tea orders are for takeout only. Bags of tea are available for purchase.

Remember, you can order bags of tea online. We use flat rate shipping. This means one bag or ten bags will cost you the same amount for shipping.

Our thoughts are with everyone in this time of uncertainty.

Keep your immunity up-stay hydrated and healthy.

Please watch this blog or follow our social media for updates!

Chocolate in your Tea?

One of the best things about tea is flavor nuance.  Do you taste chocolate in your Colombian Black tea? We do!

This tea grows an hour from Cali, Colombia. From the top of a ridge, the tea farm blankets the mountain down to the town of Bitaco. The farm sits at 6,000 feet above sea level high in the Andean Mountains,  The tea plants flourish in the volcanic soil.  The areas unique terroir imparts a chocolatey aroma and flavor.

We recommend playing with your water temperature and time to bring out more of the chocolate flavor.  Try dropping the water temperature to 195 degrees and steep a little under 3 minutes.

Honey Bear Rooibos, a Cup of Sweetness

Honey Bear is a rooibos blend with bee pollen and fenugreek. Bee pollen is anti inflammatory, anti oxidant rich and helps immunity. It’s also said to reduce stress and aide in healing.  Fenugreek gives a maple syrup, nutty sweet flavor while lowering blood sugar. The overall effect is a rich, layered, honey flavored “tea”. Warming, caffeine free and cozy like a hibernating honey bear!

This rooibos blend is popular.  Both kids and adults find Honey Bear tasty and delicious.  Brew at 212 degrees (boiling) for 7 minutes for the best honey rich flavor!

Meet your tea farmer

David’s from the Nandi Hills of Kenya and belongs to the Beliot (Elephant) clan. He and his wife, Bernadine, have two daughters. Along with the tea farm, Bernadine runs a small roadside store and they operate an English garden for events like weddings and graduations. Our Beliote Black, Handcrafted Purple and Sunrise in Kenya teas come from David’s small scale tea farm. David encourages his tea pickers to grow purple tea and pays them weekly rather than when the tea is sold.

Read more about David’s teas.

Give a healthy gift of directly sourced tea!

Lake Missoula Tea Company sources our true teas directly, and the majority of our sources come from small farms. Directly sourced tea gets the leaf to costumers faster and fresher! Direct sourcing fosters trust and supports the communities from where the tea is grown. We know that the tea we source is organically grown and premium quality.

Quality, premiun tea hosts a myriad of health benefits.  These can include weight loss and heart health. In addition, drinking tea daily has been shown to provide the human body with vitality and longevity boosting properties.  High amounts of antioxidents and increased bone density are some of these health other properties.

We strive to source tea from farms that have the health of their community, the planet, and all its inhabitants in mind. These tea plant photos were taken at Bitaco Tea in Cali, Colombia.  The organically grown tea thrives and biodiversity initiatives are implemented.

Intentional gifts such as directly sourced, organic tea provides the recipent with benefits in the physical, mental, and global rhelms.  Health, vitality and joy – tea makes a truly well rounded gift!

Written by Boo Cury and Uriah Kreilick

Puerh Tea and the Ancient Tea Horse Trade Route

Long ago, a trade routes existed between China and other Asian cultures called the ancient tea horse trade route.  Tibet was one of China’s primary trade partners.  The ancient tea horse road was a network of caravan trails and roads that spread across Tibet and southwestern China, mostly in the provinces of Yunnan and Sichuan.  In fact, sections of these ancient trails persist today.

The main commodity being transported was Tibetan horses and Chinese puerh dark tea. The people of Tibet needed the tea for certain nutrients that they couldn’t otherwise get through their regular diets.  China was growing its army and needed the Tibetan horses to continue their military campaigns. Puerh tea was almost exclusively developed for transportation to far away destinations.  The puerh would often arrive in bricks of compressed tea leaves.

There are different methods to make puerh but the standard are Sheng and Shou and they go through a pan firing and drying process.  The tea is fermented (quickly is called Shou, over a long period of time is Sheng) and then compressed or left loose.  Sheng/raw Shou/ripe, bingcha, toucha and brick (Zhuancha) are some of the most common shapes and styles of compressed puerh.

To be called puerh, the tea must be grown in Yunnan.  Most sought after puerh comes from wild tea trees. The unique makeup of the wild tea trees gives the tea a deeper and more complex flavors, often with camphor notes from the camphor trees that grow in the same environment.  Puerh is perfect to be served Gongfu style as the taste evolves with each steep.

Written by Uriah Kreilick and Gunilla Gillette

Nuxalbari Tea Estate – Haven for Elephants

This from Sonia Jabbar, owner of Nuxalbari Tea Estate in Darjeeling District, India:

“Yesterday the Forest Dept. staff drove this herd of around 32 elephants out of Tukriajhar Forest. Chased by villagers, they ran into Nuxalbari and visibly relaxed once they entered. Our security was ready and safe passage ensured. But the elephants did not run further. They stayed in Section LB5E near the stream, bathing, foraging and relaxing until 10 PM. We watched from afar, delighting in the antics of the babies under the moonlight. Then they moved out to our eastern boundary into UCC Forest.”

Lake Missoula Tea Company is a proud purchaser of Nuxalbari Teas. In fact, when you buy any of our Earl Grey teas, including Earl Grey Blue, and our other flavored black blends, you support Nuxalbari’s efforts to create a safe haven for elephants. We encourage you to use this consumer power to forward the work Nuxalbari Tea Estate does for elephants.

For more information on teas from this estate, visit: https://lakemissoulateacompany.com/nu… This video is the property of Nuxalbari Tea Estate and Lake Missoula Tea Company was given permission to use this video.

Stress Less! and Adaptogenic Herbs

Learn about what herbs help your body deal with stress. Learn how adaptogens help build you immunity while at the same time strengthen your stamina and endurance to what life brings you. Several tea blends have these adaptogens in them and are blended to strengthen your body when it interacts with stress.

Thank you to Missoula Community Access Television (MCAT) for making this video!