Tea, a drink made from herbs, could be divided into two types. First is the tea made from green tea leaves. Second, is the one made from other parts of herbal plants including petals, fruits, bark or roots. To make a cup of tea, we use heating water to bring out certain characters of herbs in a brief period. Thus it helps us avoid an excessive amount of natural chemicals, and at the same time, reserve nice aroma and taste.
Western countries are becoming more fond of herbal beverage. As the word’s second most popular beverage (the first is said to be plain water), tea could be divided into three groups: the “Black Tea”, “Green Tea” and “Herbal Tea”. The black and Green Tea are made of fresh young leaves of tea plant (Camellia sinensis) while the Herbal Tea comes from a method of medication production. Spices, dried fruit and flower could be added taste. Therefore, some would be reluctant to define herbal drinks as tea because it may not contain any tea leaves.
Popularity of Tea
It is estimated more than a half of the world’s population drinks tea everyday as a different beverage than plain water. Tea does not only possess inspiring aroma, it is also good for health.
The Chinese found a proper way to brew their tea by letting hot water to give certain medical substance in a brief period. This also prevents unwanted substances to come out as well as preserving the needed substances with fine taste and fragrance.
How we brew tea is critical to a healthy result. From a study in China, one of the world’s best tea plantation, found that a daily consumption of a cup of tea, either the Black or Green tea, during a 6-month period can reduce risk of lung cancer, gastronomic diseases, liver and skin cancer. The study also indicated that a regular consumption of tea can prevent heart disease, reduce cholesterol fat and maintain normal blood pressure because it contains Flavonoid, and anti-oxidant.
There is also and advice not to take tea while it is too hot because the heat may lead to oral cancer, and not to add milk because it can reduce an action of anti-oxidant. A suitable flavourings is sugar, honey, or lemon juice.
In Thailand, tea plantation is found in the northern region and tea products are distributed nationwide as generally served beverage. In may coffee shops in Thailand, a cup of tea shall be complementary served together with an order of coffee. It is because tea could reduce an acid character of coffee, which could be spiced up inside the stomach. Moreover, tea, containing lesser caffeine, also provides Tannin, a natural anti- biotic, to preserve the stomach’s tissue. Other substances of tea, theobromine and theophylline, help clearing heart’s blood circulation, reducing congested water in the lungs, and de-urinating.
However, a quantity of tea consumption has to be cautious. An over consumption or concentration of tea intake could compress the heart, kidney, while an excessive amount of tannin can reduce Vitamin B.
Herbal Tea comes from the same process of ordinary tea brewing. Fans of herbal tea also want to enjoy delicate aroma while gaining medicinal results. It is said that a cup of herbal tea can miraculously different from those of other beverages such as tea and coffee. But this will bring about a herbal taste and aroma. Regarded as a healthy drink, the Herbal Tea becomes more famous among new generations and anyone who wants a substitute beverage than coffee.
However, there is still a serious consideration to determine which Herbal Tea is a “healthy” drink or “medicative” drink, by calculating a quantity of herbs and consumption, as well as a possible side-effect from a long period of intake. If we drink the Herbal Tea because we love its taste and aroma, while its medicative action is a by-product, we may not have to worry about over-consumption. But if we want to take it for a certain result on our health, we have to drink the Herbal Tea t suitable quantity and select the right “herb” as desired results. Not all Herbal Tea is safe and healthy to everyone. Some could be allergic to certain herbs.
Therefore, we should learn about herbs well before taking its tea as medication. Each herb contains different results and limit of consumption. We could divide Herbal Tea according to purposes of drinking into three groups.
First is the Herbal Tea that we just want only good taste and nice aroma with some health benefits. This group of tea is usually not harmful. People could drink it as casual beverage. This Herbal Tea in this group include Gek-huay (chrisantimum), Ginger, Bai bua bok, Krajiab, Matoom, and other tea made of flowers such as Sarapee, Bunnag, Pigul, and Boa mali.
Second is the Herbal Tea with minor medicative action such as Nuad Maew grass, Rang-jued (Thunbergia laurifolia), Dok Kumphoi, Dok Khao grass. Herbal Tea in this group could be taken twice a day, one in the morning and another at night, for several days without side effects. Herbal Tea made of Nuad Maew grass could help de-urinate and eliminate common bile duct stones at a daily intake of 3 cups for 5-7 days. Rang-jued grass could help reduce fever and other mild poisoning by an intake of 4 hours a cup or every time the fever happens, or as normal drink for 2-3 days.
Dok Khao grass can help reduce stomach congestion, or a fever with coughing. At an intake of 3 glasses a day until recover. This quantity of intake should be reduced for those who just want a “healthy” drink.
Dok Kumphoi is a mild laxative, good for heart, blood system and menstruation. However, pregnant women are prohibited to drink tea made of Dok Kumphoi because it could be harmful to their pregnancy.
The last group of Herbal Tea is the drink aimed for medicative action such as the laxatives Chumhedted and Makhamkaek. Tea in this group should be taken as advised, and prolonged consumption is more harmful than good. Both of them urge the intestine to work, so a prolonged consumption could interfere or even stop a normal cycle of our body.
Herbal Tea is therefore a jewel of ancient medical knowledge that the Eastern culture spreads worldwide. It is also a healthy beverage comparing to carbonated soft drinks tat contains only sugar, caffeine and artificial flavour.
Infusions and Herb Teas
The ingredients used in herb teas are usually cut into fine strips and then air-dried. Occassionally, the ingredients may be roasted to give an agreeable aroma. One part of boiling water are added. This is then put aside to brew for 15-20 minutes.