You can use it for an upset stomach, a headache or a sore throat. It has the potential to alleviate cold, flu, allergies and almost any other unnameable illness. It can wake you up as effectively as it can put you to sleep, or satisfy hunger without any caloric intake. It can prevent a variety of diseases and health problems from heart disease to cancer. It’s the perfect solution to stress or sadness, will remedy a broken heart or help you unwind after a long day.
What is this miracle medicine, you ask?
Why, it’s simply a hot cup of tea.
Before you disregard these claims as exaggerated or false, realize I have spent almost the entirety of my 20 years of existence holding to this truth: tea can serve as more than a beverage. It is a healer, soother and a fix-all for a variety of problems.
It doesn’t matter what flavor or type – although specific kinds are better than others, depending on the desired result. Chamomile is the champion relaxant; chai tea complements rainy days or late-night studying sessions; mint, of course, will calm an upset stomach; lemon and honey flavor soothes a sore throat.
Studies show herbal and black teas have numerous health benefits: stronger bones, oral health, and decreased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease and even cancer because of the antioxidants and other properties of certain flowers and herbs.
I can further solidify this seemingly Little House on the Prairie viewpoint with a very credible source: my own mother.
Growing up, I was never the child spoon-fed cough syrup or taken to the doctor – unless there was a visible or obvious illness or injury.
Instead, my mom encouraged me to wait a couple of hours, see if whatever it was went away and in the meantime, have a “nice, hot cup of tea.” It wasn’t ignorance or insensibility, just confidence that sometimes all it takes is a little herbal remedy.
I remember specific instances in high school when I flung open the back door to my house, upset or stressed, and my mother promptly put the tea kettle on the stove, and we talked it out over a mug of Lipton black tea with a little cream and sugar.
It wasn’t just the tea itself; it was choosing from our kitchen cupboard that overflowed with mugs of all shapes and sizes, each with its own character. Selecting from boxes and tins that crowded the entire upper shelf of the Lazy Susan cabinet and the comforting sound of the whistling kettle contributed to the experience.
When my sister and I left for college, we carried on my mom’s healing tea-art. My sister boasts a cabinet full of decorative mugs, and I tend to collect boxes of teas and stick to one, faithful mug.
Aside from the health benefits, tea is something I will always appreciate, thanks to my mother. Sharing a cup of tea is one of the many ways she showed her love to my family and her friends as I grew up, and it makes me happy to think of that every time I put the kettle on in my own house.