Food was once in a plenty in all world civilizations and life far simpler. Comfort was in entirety and prosperity in health and well being. Elders in Indian villages will still bless younger recipients wishing the benevolence of food and health presiding deities and spirits on them. The relationship between food and prosperity and flourishment of the human race has its roots embedded deep down within pages of history of evolution of human civilization. Religious rituals and mythological texts predating millions of years from various civilizations spread across the globe have time and again reflected how certain food and fruits are considered auspicious in offering and consumption because of its preceding reputation as a mood enhancer. Eating chocolate makes you feel good and have anti-depressant properties. Strawberries also have a heady reputation as mood enhancers. A carbohydrate rich meal makes you drowsy. Scientists and their extensive reports have revealed that it is the dominant flavour integral to any particular food that affects the mood. Experiments conducted reveal almost 1700 indigenous natural flavour ingredients that are present and contributing to the taste of any particular food. And each of these flavours has a unique effect on the human nervous system thereby affecting mood of a person. Yes, you are what you eat, its true. If no one told you earlier,its never too late to learn.
A cup of tea has a legacy rich with legends of fostering fraternity and new alliances, dissolving cultural barriers & healing emotional wounds. Its palpable benefits are unsurmountable and its spiritual healing properties beyond words. And why not, for all the tangible ingredients that tea comprises of, Vitamin C, antioxidants, polyphenols and even traces of minerals form the chunk of them and their remarkable health benefits are not unheard. Tea has been recorded to have been consumed in China even before the birth of Christ in the modern world and is still being consumed across all civilizations in the world till date. Along with human civilization, tea has also gradually undergone a massive evolution right from its brewing to its storage to its commercialisation in trade. And with the evolution of human beings, associated ailments and diseases have also evolved. People suffer more from what cannot be seen or touched or felt in order to be diagnosed, mental diseases. The most common of them affecting majority of millenials and GenX and the elderly alike, is depression and its related side effects. And with the thriving epidemic of this disease, the effectiveness of tea in controlling depression and as a mood regulator is largely understated thanks to the rise of traditional allopathic medicine. But even doctors do not fail to recognize the remarkable and brilliant anti depressant properties of tea and even go as far to confide that this effect is further enhanced by certain flavours. In ancient times, flowers would be used to flavour tea. Owing to the abundance of nature, a variety of flowers have been used by our predecessors to flavour tea and the knowledge has been passed down and are still used today. However with the decline of natural vegetation and the growth in production most flavours & scents used in tea today are artificial preservatives. Jasmine was used most commonly to flavour green tea to produce jasmine tea and flavour light oolong teas. Tea flavoured with Rose and Chrysanthemum flowers were of high ornamental value and exquisite in taste due to subtle flavour of the respective blending flowers. Such flavoured blends were limited to aristocracy in India as was in China the Osmanthus tea made by combing flowers of the same name with black tea. One of the most exotic of the natural flavoured tea was the Lotus tea made from stuffing green tea leaves into the bosom of the lotus flower before it closes at night. It is then recovered when the lotus blooms in daylight the next day and baked multiple times with the stamens of the lotus flower. Such cases although much less occasional were limited to royalty or special festivals to be offered as tribute. With passing time natural methods and ingredients were rapidly discarded for progressive blending ingredients such as mint, citrus rinds, spices and even rum to offer an altered palate for a changed experience. Pure tea gradually started become a rarity and quickly lost its place to the presently obtainable processed variety with pure additives as they so claim.
But thankfully, you, my dear reader need not worry. You still have us, at Octavius to hold your hands and walk you through the vast world of tea, its various flavours and blends and the purpose it serves when consumed in correct measures at the right time in the day. A brew for every cure, like we like to say. If you are more of an evening or night person and find it difficult to wake up in the morning, a piping hot cup of green tea or black tea should boost your system with the right amount of energy to get you through the day. Unlike coffee which starts off your day on a slightly jittery note because of the caffeine it contains, green tea contains L Theanine, a compound which offers natural relaxation with the kick start effect of caffeine. Similarly for those who find it difficult to fall asleep at night, a cup of tea infused with chamomile or lavender herbs just before you go to bed, should cradle you gently to deep sleep. Chamomile has a delicious flavour as well, so it only goes to aid the guise of a useful bed time snack. Lavender has a tranquil scent and on consumption provides a feeing of tranquillity and a sense of relaxation, the lull before the storm as it prepares your system for rest. While it infuses a surge of energy if consumed early in the morning, a cup of green tea or tulsi tea is helpful to strengthen the immune system if consumed through the day. This property of tea is attributed to the abundance of antioxidants in it provided by the flavour. Lemon tea or mint tea is recommended for those who are occupied in working in stressful conditions as a mild stimulant and stress buster. Lemon has terpenes which are attributed for its anti stress combating properties while mint has a naturally relaxing effect. Tea infused and brewed with turmeric or saffron is famed for healing emotional wounds and provides a soothing and calming effect to the mind. Saffron influences the serotonin neurotransmitter in the brain which induces a feel good state and a feeling of happiness. Turmeric packs the same feeling but with double the punch. Although there is no strict dosage for consumption but in case of green tea, the more you consume it throughout the day the more you benefit from it manifold. A nice warm cup of green tea after a full meal helps in expediting digestion and increasing metabolism in the body. Green tea also has polyphenols that are critical to abetting optimum functioning of the brain to regulate learning and memory and concentrate better when consumed in healthy proportions through out the day. Green tea also contributes to emotional wellness. Fennel tea and ginger tea are helpful in relieving stomach pain and cramps. Tea also has laxative properties and tea blended with senna or peppermint enhances this effect. Fennel consists of volatile oil compounds that help ease mild and occasional nausea, bloating, cramps and flatulence. They provide a reliable natural approach to dissipate bowel movements and relieve the pain of constipation. Dandelion & Nettle teas are extremely well renowned detox agents and are documented in many medicinal texts as liver detoxifier and help clean the urinary system. Although tea can be chosen and selected from, for a variety of reasons and inherent properties, my personal favourite is green tea for its plentiful healing properties with no limitations on dosage. That it also has a mild stimulating taste and aids concentration is the icing on the cake. If you want a delicious drink while boosting your health, look no further than green tea. And if you want to build your own opinion on tea, well, educate yourself and choose wisely.