No. 7 - On health (part 1)

World Health Day is a day to reflect on and bring awareness to the incredible advances that have been made as well as issues still facing our global community (learn more from the WHO). I am reminded how fortunate we are to have access to critical health care services, medicines, clean air to breathe and clean water to drink, and the availability of fresh foods at the local farm market when so many across the globe, and even here in Canada, do not. It emphasizes the importance of maintaining our health through good habits - including calming cups of tea, I would add. And how fortunate to have access to such a diversity of plants in the form of a tasty beverage to support our health journey! With so many benefits to tea, I couldn't possibly squeeze everything into one post so here is part 1 On health.


Beyond the benefits of embracing the ritual of tea - pausing in the preparation and savouring the first sip - serenity can be found in many a cup of herbal tea. From lemon balm to lavender, chamomile to calendula, there are so many beautiful plants imbued with powers to calm our nervous systems, musculoskeletal systems, and digestive systems. My personal favourite is mallow (Althea officinalis). Eaten as candy in Ancient Egypt and used to make marshmallows in mid-1800s France, it provides a lovely texture and cooling feeling in the body when we take it as tea. Cold infusions of the root are wonderful for soothing an irritated throat or stomach. Simply infuse 1 part root to 20 parts cold water (1 tsp to 200 ml) and let steep for 4 to 24 hours. Sip as needed. Or mix it with dried fruit, cold infuse, and pour over ice for a healthful mocktail.


Teas grown at high elevations, such as Nuwara Eliya in Sri Lanka or the Darjeeling region in India, are often referred to as the 'champagne' of teas. These teas are celebrated for their complex flavors, exquisite mouthfeel, and compelling aromas. The high elevation imposes a mild stress on the plants and they adapt their makeup to survive and thrive. Similarly, our human bodies may also benefit from a little physical stress. Think about exercise, intermittent fasting (if suitable for your body), and sauna bathing (it's a thing). For my fellow podcast nerds, if you haven't yet listened to "Lifespan" it is worth adding to your favourites. The authors of the book by the same name explore the current science on aging (as of 2022) and have some intriguing discussions on redefining the concept and why it might be possible to aspire to live as long as a bowhead whale. I'm game, as long as there is tea.


Where to even begin? There are articles upon articles and books upon books about the healing properties of herbs and the health benefits of black and green tea. For the herb curious and green thumbs, you may want to track down a copy of Grow It Heal It by Christopher Hobbs and Leslie Gardner. Not only do they highlight the benefits of the herbs, but they also provide tips on growing and harvesting from the plants. Plus, getting into the garden is a beautiful form of exercise and an easy way to complete your One Nature Challenge 30 x 30 goals. But if you prefer to leave the gardening to the experts, visiting your local farm market gets you outside too. Roasted radish, beet and turnip soup is beautiful this time of year (literally, it turns bright pink). Try pairing with an iced green tea to bring out the grassy notes in the tea and the sweetness in the soup.

For the heath benefits of Camelia sinensis teas ... stay tuned for part 2.

One more thing ...

"Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary."
- Chinese Proverb

Until next time,
Steep Calm.

No. 7 - On health (part 1)
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