Legend has it that a Chinese Emperor was boiling drinking water and some leaves from a nearby Camellia plant floated into the pot. The emperor drank the mixture and declared it gave vigor and contentment to the body. As testament to this, tea is second only to water in worldwide consumption. In the U.S., 2.25 billion gallons of tea is drunk in one form or another whether it be hot, iced, flavored or spiced.

Tea is an aromatic stimulant containing various polyphenols, essential oils and caffeine. There are 3000 varities of tea but only one plant, Camellia Sinensis, a white flowering plant, a native of Southeast Asia. Tea is currently consumed by about half of the world’s population with China, India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka being its main producers. Leaf buds and young leaves, called tips, are used in making tea, the age of the leaves determining the taste and name of the particular commercial variety.


Medical Benefits of Tea

Recent research suggests drinking tea may help prevent everything from cavities to Parkinson’s disease. Below are some of the conditions that may be prevented by drinking tea:

Arthritis According to studies, older women who drink tea are 60% less likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis. Drinking tea regularly may produce stronger bones, leading to higher bone mineral density in their spines.

Cancer Green tea extracts were found to inhibit growth of bladder cancer cells in the lab, while other studies suggest that drinking green tea protects against developing stomach and esophageal cancers.

Flu You may be able to boost your fight against flu with black tea. In a recent study, people who gargled with a black tea extract solution twice a day showed a higher immunity to the flu virus.

Heart Disease A recent study suggested that drinking more than two cups a day of tea decreases the risk of death following a heart attack by 44%. Tea is a rich source of flavonoids, and high dietary intake is associated with reduced risk of fatal heart attacks.

High Blood Pressure Drinking a half cup of green or oolong tea per day reduces a person’s risk of high blood pressure by almost 50%.

Oral Health Rinsing with black tea may prevent cavities and gum disease.


What’s Responsible for Tea’s Many Health Benefits?

It is the chemical flavonoids in tea that are a natural class of antioxidants that rid the body of molecules called free radicals, which are by-products of damage done to the body by pollution and the natural aging process. Hibiscus teas contain a number of different antioxidants that may help to protect against cell-damaging free radicals. You can find hibiscus in such teas as sour tea, red zinger tea and sorrel tea.


Black, Green or Oolong?

Black, green and oolong teas are all made from the plant Camellia Sinensis, but differ in their methods of preparation. All tea leaves are withered, rolled and heated, but black teas go through an oxidative process called fermentation before the final heating step. Oolong teas are partially fermented. Herbal teas are not derived from the above mentioned plant, but from leaves, bark, roots, seeds and flowers of other plants. Oolong teas are not really associated with the many healing benefits that black and green teas have.


Green Tea

Green tea is thought to reduce the risk of cancer, lower lipid (cholesterol) blood levels, prevent dental cavities and treat stomach ailments, such as diarrhea and vomiting. Possible side effects: Drinking large amounts of green tea may cause heartburn, stomach irritation and loss of appetite. Green tea has caffeine in it which could also cause nervousness, insomnia, requent urination and increase in blood pressure. Green tea could be drunk or swallowed in the form of a capsule or tablet.


Tannic Acid in Tea

My grandmother used to say to dip your finger in tea if you have a cut on your finger. It is actually the tannic acid in tea that has anti-inflammatory and germicidal properties. Aromatic teas dissolve fats and promote digestion which is useful with meat centered diets.


Tea in Cooking

Cashmere Soup

250 grams of dried apricots

1 cup of cold tea

2 teaspoons of Halal Chicken bouillon

A handful of chopped mint

A pinch of curry powder

Salt and pepper

2 teaspoons cream

mint leaves for garnish

Wash the apricots and let them soak in cold tea overnight. Simmer apricots in tea until soft. Make a puree of apricots together with what is left of the tea in a mixer. Pour the puree in a big saucepan and add Halal bouillon, mint, curry, salt, and pepper. Stir in the cream. Mix in more bouillon if it is necessary. Heat the soup. Garnish with mint leaves before serving.

Serves 4 – 6 portions.


IFANCA Certifies the Following Companies and Their Products…

  • China Mist Tea Company, USA
  • International Coffeebean and Tea Leaf, USA
  • Lincang Lancang River Tea Industry, CHINA
  • Monin, Inc., USA-Amaretto Flavor
  • Rich Products, Inc., USA—Whipping Cream


Pause and Reflect

On the Authority of Abdullah bin Abbas, Who Said:
One day I was Behind the Prophet(s) and he said to me:

“…Be mindful of Allah, you will find Him before you. Get to know Allah in prosperity and He will know you in adversity. Know that what has passed you by was not going to befall you; and that what has befallen you was not going to pass you by. And know that victory comes with patience, relief with affliction, and ease with hardship.”

Related by Tirmithi. Source: An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadiths