I love tea. It’s so versatile. I can drink it the whole day. Hot or cold. After flushing down a glass of lukewarm lemon water (hoping to release all toxins from the night before and relying on its power to help slimming down), tea is my next fluid to start the day with. And it’s my last drink in the evening after dinner to relax and have a little zen moment on the couch.
With six major tea types (black, pu-erh, green, red, white and oolong), there’s a lot to choose from. Did you know that tea has lots of great benefits and is even useful for non-drinking purposes?
Tea plants (the Camellia Sinensis) thrive in hot and humid climates. Here’s a list of 62 countries producing tea. Flavor and quality are influenced – like wine – on soil, climate, growing conditions, altitude (the higher the better), when it’s picked, how it’s processed, how it’s packaged stored, and how it’s transported.
Picture Tea Plantation Munnar-India, by Ravi Pinisetti
Benefits of Tea
All six tea types contain antioxidants (catechins), and polyphenols (polyphenols), which positively impact our bodies. Tea contains substances linked to a lower risk for heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, says Harvard Medical School.
However, you must see this in the right perspective!
Adding sugar and drinking processed, sweetened tea beverages are loaded with extra calories. When visiting a nice cafe, one of my favorite drinks to order is a hot matcha latte. Matcha tea is very healthy itself because you are actually drinking the entire matcha tea leaf, not just the tea water. This is one of many reasons, why matcha tea is much more nutrient dense than standard green tea. But matcha tea tastes a tad bitter without any sweetener.
So keep in mind that with this kind of drinks, you’re taking in some added sugar faster than you’d think.
Herbal teas and Benefits
Herbal teas are a stress-free way to add some goodness to your diet and boost health. Find suitable herbs in the picture below to boost your health and/or sooth any inconveniences you have.
36 Surprising Ways to use Tea
- Sprinkle dried or steeped dried up tea leaves on a smelly carpet and leave for 20 minutes to an hour. You will have a fresh carpet again.
- Place an uncovered container with dried out tea leaves in the refrigerator, and they’ll soak up any nasty odors in a day or two. For that same reason, don’t use the leaves for drinking purpose afterward!
- Rub your hands with tea leaves after cutting garlic or onion to remove unwanted odors. Also, works on cutting boards.
- Sprinkle dried tea leaves into your cat’s litter box to soak up odors.
- Put a tea bag (used or new) in a smelly shoe, it will smell fresh again.
- Scent your car or clothing closet with a few flavored tea bags or muslin bags filled with aromatic tea leaves.
- Fill homemade eye pillows with dry, flavored tea leaves scented with relaxing lavender, chamomile or rose for a peaceful, calming rest.
- Place dry, scented tea leaves in small, decorative bowls in your house to infuse your home with the scent of your favorite teas.
*Add any of your favorite essential oil(s) to the tea leaves to create a personal aromatic scent. Try oils like peppermint, orange, lemon, lavender, rose or rosemary.
Picture source: Pinterest
- Make a strong brewed tea. Add rosemary and sage (fresh or dried) then leave overnight. Use it as a daily hair rinse (leave in) for a natural way to darken gray hairs. You can use a spray for easy application.
- Use chamomile tea instead of water to mix with your natural henna dye, for a more relaxing feeling. The color that comes from the henna paste, will also develop better as tea is very acidic.
- Dye fabrics and lace to create a vintage look with a strong brewed tea. Cool the tea to room temperature, then soak the fabric in it until it has the desired color.
- Create an antique paper look. Dip heavyweight paper into cooled, brewed tea and let it dry. Repeat for more intense color.
- Create unique Easter eggs with different types of tea. Place hard boiled eggs in bowls of strong brewed tea. Add a splash of vinegar. Leave them for an hour get dyed. Mix and match colors by placing eggs in one tea (for ex. green) for part of the time and then another tea (for ex. Hibiscus flowers) for the rest of the time.
*Tea is not a permanent dye, so it will fade gradually after washing your hair and/or fabrics.
- Put cold brewed tea in a spray bottle and let mirrors and glass sparkle again.
- Let some tea bags “steep” in the toilet for an hour or so, and then remove before scrubbing the toilet with a brush and flushing down.
- Rub tea gently into hardwood floors or wood furniture with a rag for natural color and shine. Use white tea on lighter wood and oolong or black tea on darker wood.
- Throw used tea leaves into a compost pile to help nurture your garden.
- Place a handful of tea leaves in the drainage layer at the bottom of a flower pot, when planting new plants or seeds. It will help absorb water and will slowly be released back into the plant.
- Don’t throw away leftover tea anymore, use it to water your plants as it is highly acidic and full of nutrients.
- Feed your plants by scattering steeped tea leaves into the top layer of the plant’s soil.
- Use old leaves to fill up votives and add candles on top.
- Fill glass vases with dry tea leaves and add silk flowers.
- Steep tea in any cooking liquids to create an extra hint.
- Marinate meat in strong-brewed black tea for several hours or even overnight. The tannins in tea tenderize the meat.
- Use steeped tea leaves or ground dry tea leaves like a spice or seasoning in your favorite cookies, cakes, and other savory sweets.
- Mix steeped green or oolong tea leaves into your favorite stir fry or omelet.
- Poach fish in a strong brewed tea for extra flavor.
- Having a tea bath is as relaxing as sipping a cup of tea. Also good when your skin aches after being sun burned. (see point 29)
- Apply wet tea bags to razor or sun burned skin. This will take out the sting and cool down.
- Press a cool wet tea bag directly onto the affected area, to stop bleeding and soothe the pain from a lost or recently pulled a tooth.
- Hold a wet tea bag gently on the skin after an (immunization) injection. The tannic acid in the tea will soothe the soreness.
- Revitalize tired, puffy eyes. Place two warm tea bags over your closed eyes for 20 minutes. The tannins in the tea reduce puffiness and soothe tired eyes.
- Tea leaves can serve as a natural colorant and light exfoliant in homemade soap. If the tea is added with flavors, herbs or spices, you end up with a nice aroma in your bathroom.
- Use it as a mouthwash and swish a lightly brewed tea or herbal infusion made with mint or lemongrass to refresh your taste buds.
- Make a green tea facial scrub with used tea. Mix the tea with granulated sugar and a little water. Use to exfoliate the skin. It gives you an incredible glow.
- Make a face mask by mixing equal amounts of baking soda and green tea and a bit of honey. Honey helps to rejuvenate your skin and green tea tightens the skin. Baking soda is a good exfoliator and helps detox the skin.
Hope this blog was helpful to you and that you now know about the amazing benefits and inventive usefulness of tea. I’m going to close my eyes and relax now.
Let me know if you have any useful tips to add to the list. I’m looking forward to reading them in the comments! (OK, after I’m done with my tea bags and had a good eye rest ;-))