Drinking tea is a sacred ritual in many cultures. Humans have been brewing tea for thousands of years. Tea has been widely used for medicinal properties, for religious and spiritual ceremonies, and for social gatherings.
Tea comes in many varieties, and you may be overwhelmed to choose if you’re a novice tea drinker. Luckily Carine Bourgeois, owner and chef of Roswell Teahouse on Magnolia Street, shared some of her deep insight about tea with us.
“Drinking tea improves people’s lives because of health benefits, but also, and maybe just as important, tea brings people together,” Carine says. “It evokes senses we didn’t think we had.”
Tea Is Good for You
We’re not talking southern style sweet tea loaded with sugar. If you’re from the southern part of the U.S., you probably think of sweet tea when someone mentions tea. But teas like green tea, oolong, black tea, and white tea are actually really good for you. If you visit a tea shop with an herbalist, you can have speciality teas mixed just for your specific desires.
“White tea is good for oral health and contains no tannins that stain the teeth,” Carine says.
White tea contains fluoride which helps reduce cavities, and it also contains a tannin that inhibits a specific bacteria, Streptococcus mutans, which helps plaque form. Thus white tea is very good for preventing cavities and discouraging plaque from forming.
Green tea is well known for its antioxidants. The Journal of Periodontology published a study on the positive effects of green tea on oral health. The study examined 940 men for three indicators of periodontal disease — bleeding gums when probed, periodontal pocket depth, and clinical attachment loss of the gum tissues. The subjects who drank a cup of green tea each day showed a decrease in each of the three gum disease indicators mentioned. Since oral health is a good indicator for overall health, it’s important to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy.
The health benefits of tea don’t stop with the teeth and gums.
“Oolong tea helps with stimulating the metabolism, so therefore you’ll find diet teas are mostly oolong teas,” says Dr. James Park, DMD, a dentist in La Habra. “Black tea is also good for the cardio vascular system and green tea inhibits cancer cells and prevents them from growing.”
Take it Plain, No Milk or Sugar
Many people enjoy adding milk or sugar to their teas, but tea is much better for you when you drink it plain. Adding milk to tea can cut some of its health benefits, and adding sugar is not good for your teeth and gums. Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth which can cause cavities and gum disease.
“I never use additives to my tea as I want the full flavor and I want to ‘experience’ my tea,” Carine says. “I want to know where my tea came from, how it was processed, etc. I can smell and taste a tea and know the basics of where it came from.”
Tea is a sacred ritual to many people the world over. Tea brings people together and encourages conversation. Buddhism and tea go hand in hand, as tea is commonly paired with meditation.
As Buddhist monk and author Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world revolves — slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.”
Drink mindfully, when possible, alone or with friends. Take a cue from Carine and sip slowly. Try to taste each flavor and name it. With a little practice, you could become a tea connoisseur.
And if you’re in Roswell, stop by and try one of the roughly 100 types of tea from around the world. Their Anti-Aging Houseblend is their most popular beverage — a blend of green tea, oolong, white tea, and rooibos tea.
“Drinking tea simply makes one feel better,” Carine says. Have a cup of tea, and you’ll feel better, too!