Tea Blog

Tea Drinkers May Live Longer Study Says

Tea* drinkers might live longer, study says. Well, that sounds like music to a tea seller’s ears! And it’s no accident that we sell tea that we truly believe is good for you.

So what’s going on with tea and longevity? Tea drinking can have positive impacts on cardiovascular diseases. Flavonoids in tea help with inflammation and in turn help with blood flow. Tea drinkers consume approximately 20 times more flavonoids than non tea drinker.  The writer of the article consulted the doctor who also pointed out that it might not just be the tea, but that tea drinkers also lead healthy lives. Either way, consuming an abundance of tea sets you up for the opportunity to a healthier, longer life!

*Tea here means true tea from the camellia sinensis plant – black, oolong, green, white, puerh and yellow tea.

Do Tea Drinkers Live Longer The New York Times

Cinnamon – A Tea and Spice Super Hero

Have you ever found yourself needing a little extra warmth from your tea? Cinnamon is often used for this exact purpose. This potent spice does wonders for stimulating our bodies and warming them from the inside out. Read on for an herbalist’s perspective on why cinnamon is 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 Citrus & Spice 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 with 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.

Chocolate in your Tea?

One of the best things about tea is flavor nuance.  Do you taste chocolate in your Birdsong 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 and the tea plants flourish in the volcanic soil.  The area’s unique terroir imparts a chocolatey aroma and flavor unlike any other black tea.

See if you detect the taste of chocolate in this Colombian black tea. We recommend playing with your water temperature and steeping time to bring out more of the chocolate flavor.  Try dropping the water temperature to 195 degrees and steep a little under 3 minutes. Pay particular attention to the aroma of the tea. You might just find the chocolate flavor intensifies. Enjoy this fun tea brewing exercise to enhance you tea tasting palette!

Honey Bear Rooibos, a Cup of Sweetness

While we carry man rooibos blends, our Honey Bear Rooibos is popular with both adults and kids. Honey Bear is a rooibos blend with bee pollen and fenugreek. Rooibos is an herbal plant endemic to South Africa and has a robust taste similar to that of tea. It is antioxidant rich and has a full bodiness to it that makes it a satisfying beverage to drink. Bee pollen is anti inflammatory, antioxidant 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”.

This blend is warming, caffeine free and cozy like a hibernating honey bear!

This rooibos blend is popular. Adults find Honey Bear as tasty and delicious as kids do. Brew at 205 degrees (just under boiling) for 7 minutes for the best honey rich flavor! Drink anytime of day, as this caffeine free brew won’t keep you up at night. If you like honey, this blend was made just for you!