Ben Schuff
March 27, 2023

Is Tea the New Coffee?

How tea can be used as additional nourishment for vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and of course, for enjoyment.

What are the health benefits of drinking tea?

Tea is a gentle medicinal therapy with a wide range of therapeutic profiles based on the species of plant. The hot water associated with tea functions to damage the plant’s cellular structure enough for it to give up its healing properties to the liquid medium. The longer you steep the tea in hot water, the more active components are generally expressed.  

Daily tea infusions can be seen as additional nourishment for vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and of course, enjoyment. Teas can be chosen as seasonal tonics, as medicine for specific organs or body systems that may need support or for maintenance of health after a condition has improved.  

For example, tea contains many antioxidants and flavonoids that have demonstrated protection in cardiovascular risk, immune support and general inflammatory oxidative stress.  

Do you think tea is beginning to rival craft coffee? If so, why?

Perhaps. Globally, tea is more popular than coffee. In American culture, however, coffee still reigns supreme with preference, along with how people are utilizing these beverages and how it is affecting them physically and mentally.  

Coffee tends to outpace tea in the west because its generally more stimulant with the caffeine content. A typical 12 oz coffee has approximately 100-150 mg of caffeine whereas the most popular high-caffeine teas (i.e. matcha, yerba mate) max out around 70 mg. The coffee’s stimulation matches our cultural approach to productivity and how we gather—for example, a coffee date is more familiar than a tea date would be in other parts of the world. Tea is a wonderfully healthful beverage that is widely popular despite coffee’s predominance.  

What are some specific teas you recommend and what are their benefits?

Disclaimer: discuss any of these recommendations with a doctor

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis)- Dandelion is helpful in digestion and elimination by gently stimulating digestive secretions. Dandelion is also traditionally connected to the liver and is a useful daily tonic especially at the onset of the spring season to gently assist in “spring cleaning”. Roasted dandelion root is an excellent coffee substitute on the market for those loving the ritual, warmth and taste of coffee but are looking to avoid the caffeine content.  

Hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa)- Hibiscus is a delicious tart tasting red tea that has specific properties that have been shown to lower blood pressure. Just 2 cups a day can be effective  

Green tea (Camellia sinensis)- Green tea is rich in polyphenolic antioxidants called catechins which are helpful in preventing cardiovascular disease by decreasing inflammatory stress, clotting and vascular pathology. 1 tsp per cup of hot, not boiling water as the leaves are delicate. Green tea has about 40 mg of caffeine per serving, significantly less than coffee

Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)- Ginger is a warming aromatic root tea that is beneficial in improving circulation and warms up cold and congestive conditions in digestive and respiratory tracts, especially. It’s a classic remedy for nausea. Ginger is best consumed fresh—peel a 1-2 inch piece and slice into hot water, drink as needed.  

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)- Fennel seed is an aromatic go-to tea for indigestion and gas after meals, a property known as a “carminative”. 1-2 tsp of seeds (crushed if possible) per cup of hot water freely as needed. Its also traditional to simply chew on a few seeds post meal to release the helpful compounds.

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)- Chamomile is a classic tea with active ingredients that help calm the nervous system with general irritability, agitation or trouble sleeping hence its role in the popular “Sleepytime” teas on the market. 1 heaping TBSP per cup of water steeped for at least 10 minutes.  

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum spp)- Cinnamon is popular and as a tea, crushed stalks are used to warm and strengthen the organs of digestion especially when there are spasms or loose stools. Cinnamon has also been demonstrated to help lower blood sugar for diabetic patients. Use 1 tsp of bark per cup of water infused for an extended period of time, at least 25 minutes.  

Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)- Ginkgo helps improve central and peripheral circulation of blood. Ginkgo is used as a tea to increase blood flow to the brain to enhance memory and alleviate migraines. 1 tsp per cup of water

Medicinal mushroom complex powders- Combinations of Reishi, Shiitake, Maitake, Turkey Tail and Chaga are all excellent additions to teas or as standalone beverages. Beta-glucans are the active ingredients in medicinal mushrooms which have demonstrated significant positive benefits for immunity, inflammation, and energy.  ½ to 1 tsp per cup of water.

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