Drinking tea always used to be regarded as the right and priviledge of the upper classes who invariably established social protocols and ceremonial rites around its consumption.
Today, while not as popular as coffee as the beverage of choice for the working man, tea has finally become recognized for its health benefits.
But this is nothing new. The medicinal powers of tea date back to the Sumerians c.3000BCE.
It is the Chinese who are most closely associated with the idea that tea offers major health benefits and, in the West, many researchers have also started to recognize that teas of all types contain such health benefits as the ability to cure heart diseases, improve digestive disorders, remove headaches and aid the respiratory and nervous systems.
It is also alleged that tea increases alertness, promote longevity and much more. Indeed, there appears to be few areas of human health that cannot be improved through regular tea drinking.
In The Healing Power of Tea, tea expert Caroline Dow shares her knowledge and insight into tea and its growing popularity throughout the World.
She observes that the tea plant (Camellia Sinensis) is no longer only grown in the Far East, but in places as diverse as Australia, Argentina and Chile.
There are several different types of standard tea. In her book, Caroline Dow describes the five most common types. White Tea (which is proven to aid in the cure of cancer); Yellow Tea (useful in reducing the effects of swelling and inflammation); Green Tea (lowers LDL cholesterol); Oolang Tea (known to be beneficial to Parkinson’s disease sufferers) and Black Tea (helpful in reducing the risk of heart conditions and strokes).
In addition to the various types of tea, Dow explains that there are many tea-based products available on the market today that are rapidly becoming popular, such as iced tea, tea liqueurs and Chocolate Tea.
Caroline Dow dedicates a chapter to each of the five different teas. She reveals a little more of the history of tea and the particular benefits from drinking it and the scientific research that seems to uphold much of the ancient health-lore regarding tea that has prevailed over the last few-thousand of years.
Dow is keen to point out that the popular herbal teas found in the marketplace today are not really teas at all and should really be referred to as infusions or tisanes.
She singles out several specific herbal teas of interest: blackberry, borage, fennel, liquorice and that rural favorite rose hip.
She also offers a list of popular plant and herb ingredients that can be used to add flavor to traditional tea. These include almond and basil, clove and ginger as well as lesser well known types such as parsnip and thyme.
For those readers who would like to drink more tea and possibly to reduce their reliance on caffeine each day, Caroline Dow reveals a number of coffee substitutes, such as chicory and dandelion.
Staying on the subject of herbal infusions, the author takes a close look at a collection of botanicals that are commonly used to make herbal infusions. Most of these are easy to obtain and are commonly grown in most herb gardens.
Once again, she describes the health benefits of each plant.
Whilst early on in her book, the author focuses upon the differing types of herbal infusions, subsequent sections shift attention towards common ailments and the most efficacious herbal tea remedies to treat them.
From mental disorders, such as anxiety, insomnia and depression, through to physical ailments, such as backache, arthritis and skin conditions, every common ailment has several different remedies in the forms of infusions. She also offers remedies to aid in weight loss, alleviate toothache and deal with motion sickness.
Next the author teaches the art of tea making. This includes the correct type of water, most suitable brewing vessel and most important of all the correct type of teapot. As some herbal infusions can taste a little bitter, the author talks at length about the various types of natural and artificial sweetness than can be used by atea drinker.
The obvious question given the wide variety of teas and herbal infusions that are under discussion here is where are they obtained from?
To answer that, the author includes a number of resources, including websites, where the raw ingredients can be purchased from.
If you would like to source your own herbs and plants, there is also a section that offers assistance in determining the best method for gathering plants.
Should you wish to grow your own, advice is given on growing your own herbs—even if you want to do so indoors!
Finally. the book closes with an appendix, useful recipes, glossary and references to the scientific data quoted throughout in support of the medicinal and health benefits of tea.
Our Review of ‘The Healing Power of Tea’ by Caroine Dow
As a dedicated herbal tea drinker myself, I approached this book with high expectations of what it might deliver—and was not in the slightest bit disappointed!
Caroline Dow does a great job in presenting the major health benefits that can be derived from drinking teas of all types. The research that she presents is backed up with scientific data from so many highly creditable sources that the reader is left wondering why the benefits of infusibles are not more widely known within the medical profession.
Whilst the book also contains interesting information on the history of tea, it is far from being an academic study. The inclusion of the author’s own practical experiences working with plant infusions of all types add greatly to the overall tone of the book and the deep level of fascination for which the author clearly has for the subject is very successfully conveyed to the reader.
The Healing Power of Tea is such an enjoyable book to read…but more importantly it serves as a valuable point of reference to anyone wishing to make major changes to their health and well-being.