A cup of tea is therapeutic. Cultures around the world have embraced different forms of tea to be part of their social culture and daily diet. What would a visit to London be without having a classic afternoon tea where black teas play an integral role in the ceremonial "high tea" service. Thai iced tea, a global hit, is also created using strongly brewed black tea. This is then infused with flavors such as cardamom, star anise and tamarind and then combined with sugar and condensed milk to make a truly refreshing drink. Many ancient cultures such as India start the day with a lovely, steaming cup of chai (the Hindi word for tea) which is often made with freshly ground ginger, cardamom or finely cut lemongrass to compliment the black tea. Chai is then lovingly cooked along with milk and sugar to make a truly calming, delicious start to the day. Below is picture taken from one of the beautiful tea plantations I have visited in Munnar, Kerala home to the iconic Tata Tea plantations and many others.
Mist Rises over the Tea plantations in the Munnar hills
Being an avid fan of chai, I was delighted to read a recent article in the Business Line, India, that countries around the world are rediscovering black tea due to its antioxidant benefit caused by the presence of Theaflavins which boosts the immune system against flu and viruses. According to a newsletter published by Medical News Today, the antioxidants in black tea have the capacity to fight free radicals in our bodies and therefore might help prevent ailments such as coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis, a condition caused by the development of plaque in the arteries. Other supplemental benefits found by Medical News Today included the possibility of lower blood pressure and the reduced risk of lung, breast, prostate, and skin cancers due to the polyphenols or Theaflavins present in black tea, however, they concluded that additional studies were needed to further support these observations.
In today's world where health is paramount and there is a global need for stress relief and some tranquility, black tea might just be your new best friend.