“And by the river upon the bank thereof, on this side and on that side, shall grow all trees for meat, whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed: it shall bring forth new fruit according to his months, because their waters they issued out of the sanctuary: and the fruit thereof shall be for meat, and the leaf thereof for medicine.”  (Ezekiel 47:12)

Did you know that tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, outdone only by water itself? And here’s a little more trivia for you; all “true” teas are made from the same plant, the Camellia Sinensis, nicknamed the tea plant. Herbal teas are made from leaves, roots, fruits and flowers of other plants, so therefore they are not classed as a true tea. The difference in teas is in their processing, growing conditions and the region they are grown in. China and India are the two largest producers of tea in the world.

There are up to seven procedures involved in the processing of fresh tea leaves; including or excluding any of these stages results in a different type of tea. These procedures are carried out in climate-controlled facilities to avoid spoilage due to excess moisture and fluctuating temperatures.

Here’s a few of the optional steps in processing tea:

Withering reduces the moisture content in the leaves and allows the flavour to develop.

Fixing is the process of heating the leaves. The longer it takes to fix the leaves, the more aromatic the tea.

Oxidation – In order to bring out specific intensities in flavours, tea makers control the amount of oxidation the leaves undergo.

Rolling – As the leaves are gently rolled, essential oils and sap tend to ooze out of the leaves, intensifying the taste even further.

Drying reduces the tea’s moisture content to less than 1%. This enhances the tea’s flavours and ensures its long shelf-life.

There are four main categories of teas; black, oolong, green and white.  Black tea is fully oxidized, oolong tea is partially oxidized and green and white teas are not oxidized at all. Generally speaking, heavily oxidized teas will yield a dark, rich, reddish-brown infusion while less oxidized teas will be much lighter.

White tea is made from baby tea leaves and is the rarest of the four groups. It undergoes virtually no processing, the leaves are simply wilted and dried. Many consider it to be the healthiest of all teas, due to its high levels of antioxidants. It is suggested that you boil the water then let it sit for a few minutes before pouring it onto the white tea leaves. This will allow it to keep its distinctive light flavour.

Green tea is very popular in health circles these days. Like white tea, it has many health benefits also, including: lowers the risk of cancer, lowers cholesterol (thereby promoting good heart health), lowers blood pressure, fights tooth decay and much, much more.

Oolong tea is claimed in reports to lower cholesterol, reduce plaque in the arteries, boost metabolism and aid in weight-loss. Because of the different processing techniques, oolong tea can have a wide array of flavours and aromas, from light and flowery-sweet to very full and rich.

Black tea, known as red tea in China, makes up nearly 80% of the world’s consumption of teas. It generally has the highest caffeine and the least amount of antioxidants and nutrients. These teas are heavily oxidized and are distinct for their bold taste.

Herbal tea is really just a brew of leaves, seeds, roots or bark extracted in hot water. When we drink a well-steeped herbal tea, we get all of the plant’s benefits in an easily digestible form. Drinking herbal tea can be a great source of vitamins and minerals.  And it’s caffeine-free.

To get the full benefits from drinking herbal tea, make sure you steep your loose tea or tea bags 10 to 15 minutes to bring out all of its healthful properties. If you drink organic herbal tea every day, you will make significant changes to your mood, your skin, your sense of well-being and energy.There are so many herbal teas to choose from, here are just a few of them:

Chamomile – A gentle calming and sedative tea made from flowers, chamomile tea can be helpful for insomnia. It can also be helpful with stomach and digestive issues, ease your migraines, prevent and treat colds and it promotes healthy skin.  It’s great for old and young alike.

Peppermint – Peppermint is a fragrant herb that makes for a soothing drink. It can help you digest your foods better and also reduces digestive issues. A cup of peppermint tea will ease nausea and vomiting, especially if you suffer motion sickness. And the natural mint flavor of the herb helps to freshen your breath.

Ginger – Another great digestive aid, ginger can be used to curb nausea, vomiting or an upset stomach.  Add lemon juice and honey when you feel a cold coming on.

Rosehip – Rosehips are the fruit of the rose plant and are one of the best plant sources of vitamin C.  This is important for your immune system, skin and tissue health and adrenal function. Make a rosehip tea the next time you need a health boost.

Nettle – Nettle tea is made with the leaves of stinging nettle, named for the tiny hairs on the fresh leaves which can sting the skin. This herb is one of nature’s best remedies for an assortment of ailments including anemia, high blood pressure, rheumatism, arthritis, coughs and colds, congestion, urinary tract infections and kidney and bladder problems.

Milk Thistle and Dandelion – When consumed as a tea, milk thistle and dandelion are gentle liver cleansers. They contain properties that help the liver to regenerate and function at a higher capacity. They both can assist in the production of bile, which can help with our digestive process.

Lavender – Lavender tea is made from the flowers that grow on lavender shrubs. Used as a scented herb for many centuries, lavender’s medicinal uses have been appreciated for centuries. A cup of lavender tea can soothe your mind and body, inducing sleep. If you are feeling down and depressed, a cup of lavender tea can help uplift your spirit.

Echinacea – Echinacea tea is widely used to prevent or cure the common cold. It’s a powerful herb that contains active substances that enhance the activity of the immune system, relieve pain, reduce inflammation and has antioxidant effects.

Disclaimer:  I am not a doctor and I don’t have any medical training.  I am just an individual that researches information that other people have studied and proven to be effective, and I just pass that information on to you.