If coffee is the go to standard for a super caffeine fix - then tea is the underdog hero with endless hidden super powers.
On the sunny, warm days in California, I would often find on the front porch of my childhood home my mother's large glass jar filled with water and bags of a mysterious dark substance called tea. I would watch as the color of the water would change from clear to a dark, rich caramel color. The first time I tasted this I was eager to know what flavors that beautifully caramel colored liquid produced. My young palate was appalled at the bitter, dry taste of unsweetened sun tea.
For two decades that was the extent of my understanding of tea. It was dark, cold, and bitter. In my time studying in England and their tradition of tea over coffee, I began to fall in love with this dark leaf served with sugar and milk. Even then, sold in boxes and bagged, the relationship I had with it was very obscure. Not until I started studying herbs and alternative medicine did I grasp the relationship of the healing powers of tea in all forms - from green tea and its antioxidants, to herbal blends that could aid sleep, soothe stomach aches, and relieve congestion. That is when a love story began.
Here are five ways tea can be used for our skin and health.
1- Soothing, Cooling Toner - For a seriously soothing and refreshing toner with a divine aroma, use jasmine green tea mixed with pure rosewater. Be sure to steep the tea for one hour and allow to fully cool before mixing it with the rosewater- decant into a 4 oz glass bottle with 2 Tbs of rosewater, and keep in the refrigerator. This completely witch hazel free, preservative free toner has power packed antioxidants and will refresh the skin.
2 - Soothing Bath Soak - Combining loose leaf chamomile, tulsi basil tea, rooibos, lavender and rose petal tea can be a powerful and soothing blend. You can use cloth tea bags to put the loose leaf tea in, or just right out of the box, like you are making a giant cup of tea. Chamomile is known for its calming and soothing properties, along with tulsi for its balancing, and rooibos for its soothing nature.
3 - Lip Balm - Having the power of tulsi Holy Basil leaf, (a friend in the basil plant family) my lip balm works as a remedy for irritated skin. This means I am getting a balancing, healing herb for my lips that are constantly taxed by the drier winter months and heating indoors, which can also be incredibly drying to the skin. According to Dr. Axe, Tulsi is a supportive herbal remedy that contains adaptogens (anti-stress agents). You can read more about the benefits of Tulsi tea in his article here.
4 - De-puffing the Eyes - Brew in hot water for one minute two bags of green tea, which contains natural antioxidants that help fight free radicals, and then save the bags and throw them in the fridge so that, while you are sipping on your tea, the bags are cooling. Once they are completely cold, place the tea bags on puffy, tired eyes with dark circles. This caffeine from the green tea mixed with the coolness will release puffiness and increase circulation.
5 - Tonifying Tonic - Our outer appearance is greatly affected by what we eat and drink. Choosing spicy, decaffeinated tonifying tonic for the gut can help inflammation and create a warming effect from the increased blood flow, leaving you with a glowing completion.
Here is a recipe for the ultimate anti-inflammatory tea tonic from Nutrition Stripped:
- 2 cups water
- 1 inch fresh ginger root, minced
- 2 teaspoon ground turmeric (or 1 inch turmeric root)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or 2-3 cinnamon sticks)
- 1 lemongrass tea bag
- 6 peppercorns, optional
- Pinch of sea salt
- TO SERVE: sliced oranges, honey, juice of 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil, add peeled and minced ginger root, turmeric, cinnamon (you may also add cinnamon sticks), peppercorns if desired, sliced oranges, sea salt.
- Simmer for 10-15 minutes on medium-low heat. Add lemongrass tea bag if using- steep for 3 minutes and then take out.
- Pour in a tea mug,
- TO SERVE: add coconut oil, which is optional, honey to taste, and fresh lemon juice. Enjoy hot or warm.
Using our knowledge of its powers to heal and soothe our skin, we love to share this through the products we carry in our store that contain the incredible leaves, petals, herbs, and spices that make up what we know as tea.