Tea And Babies – Can They Mix?

pregnancy pregnant motherboard parenthoof

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

So, fun fact – my sister-in-law, Amanda, is going to be bringing a baby boy into the world any day now! (worth noting that the picture to the right is not Amanda) Everyone in my family is excited for little Michael William, and all have been preparing for his arrival (everyone is also secretly hoping he is born on the 29th, making him a Leap Year Baby, but only time can tell that one). Whether it’s knitting or crocheting endless baby blankets, or getting ready to spoil that kid rotten, we are all preparing for the new joy about the bless our household.

Amanda is a huge tea fan like myself. I would even venture to say even more so. While I am also an avid coffee drinker, choosing tea more so when I am in the mood to relax, she strictly drinks tea for all scenarios. Sick? Drink tea. Tired? Tea. Relaxing? Tea.

But that got me thinking – what happens if you give a baby tea?

<insert disclaimer about how I am not a doctor and you should seek a medical professional’s advice before pursuing anything related to health>

According to WebMD, about 9% of mothers give herbal supplements to their infants under 1 year old. Mothers who use herbal supplements themselves were more likely to use them on their children.

Some baby bloggers are all on board the baby tea train. One blogger cites all the health benefits associated with rooibos tea, even going as far as to say there are no side effects associated with the beverage (warning, anyone that ever has the audacity to make such a claim either did not do their due diligent research or is flat out lying to you. Everything has side effects, whether good or bad. It’s just a matter of balancing them. To be fair, at the very end of the blog, the person does state to consult doctors and that side effects exist, they are rare, contradicting their earlier statements). And it’s true, there are a lot of health benefits associated with rooibos for adults. Another blogger goes into how to make a safe chamomile brew for your baby. Many cite tea as being a cure for colic.

That being said though, your baby is brand new to the world and will inherently react differently to things compared to good ole’ Mom and Dad. What might be good for you as an adult may not be good for your child. Though the jury is still out whether or not it is OK to give your infant teas and herbal supplements, babies under six months should still only receive breast milk and formula, using vitamins and supplements as directed by the doctor. Additionally, with tea being less regulated, numerous risks exist. And regardless, colicky babies should NOT be given tea as a form of medicine due to neurological risks.

In the end? Giving tea to babies may not be ruled as safe or unsafe yet, but it can be risky. Best suggestion from someone who is not a doctor? Leave the tea to the adults. If you are going to have a tea party with your infant, use formula only for now. At least until they are three years old.

Battling Illnesses With A Cuppa? Hold On There!

We all do it.   It’s something that we’ve probably grown up hearing that we should do, as a matter of fact.

“If you’re sick, grab a cup of tea and stay in bed.”

After all, we know about all the antioxidants and polyphenols that tea contains.   It would make sense that if our immune systems are battling the dark unknown, we should give it a boost of healthy supplements to get our T cells to win the war against our colds, flus, and general illnesses.

But, what if I told you that this is not necessarily the case?

“But Catherine, you write a whole blog dedicated to tea!   Surely you believe that tea has health benefits, which have been proven by scientific study after scientific study!”

Well, yes and no.

Just like I say at my Tea Love talks, I am NOT a doctor and would never dream of giving out medical advice.   However, as my talks became more popular, more and more people were asking about the health benefits of tea, and rightfully so.   Tea is proving to become more and more popular in the United States and is usually promoted for weight loss, dental health, cancer prevention (though the National Cancer Institute does not recommend for or against the use of tea to reduce the risk of any type of cancer due to inconclusive studies), and even diabetes management.   So in response, yes, I do touch upon a few medical studies that have been performed with tea, though never advocating for any particular use.

Global News reporter Rachel Lau recently published an article addressing the question if drinking tea really does help you when you are sick.

First, make sure that what you are drinking is healthy for you.   For example, those who might have certain mental illnesses might have to watch their caffeine intake.   All forms of tea, unless it specifies caffeine free (NOT decaffeinated, which does still contain trace amounts of caffeine), do contain caffeine.   By drinking without regarding the caffeine intake, you could be doing anything from packing on the caffeine right before bed to causing more serious health issues.

Second, never self-diagnose (I am terrible at this, so do not follow my example!).   If you think that drinking a certain tea might be beneficial, talk to your doctor first.   Some plants that you might use in your teas can cause more harm than good.

Third, be wary of the studies.   While yes, there are numerous studies for everything ranging from green tea to herbal teas, they are all new studies and some do not have the greatest controls.   So while, as the National Cancer Institute says, there are studies, most are new and some do not have the support of the medical community.

Overall?   Drink tea!   Love tea!   Worship tea!   But make sure you are drinking it for enjoyment or if you are cutting down on sugars and subbing tea instead, rather than drinking it to cure an illness like cancer.

Running Around for Christmas Time, Health Craziness, and Tea

Hi all!

So, I just posted on Facebook about how I had not been posting lately, and for that, I truly apologize.   Things have been crazy, to say the least.   Of course, there is the typical Christmas-time cleaning and running around.   Throw in that mix Operation Warm Heart, to help the homeless (worth mentioning that at the first program, one of the guests enjoyed tea so we were swapping tea facts), and some health things going on, and I just haven’t been able to sit at the computer to do too much.

Health problems, thankfully, are not severe!   I had gone in for some routine check-ups and the doctor discovered both two hemorrhaging ovarian cysts the size of grapes as well as a cyst on my kidney that is about half a foot long.   The ovarian cysts got cleared as OK.   The one on my kidney, I learn more about on Friday.   Though I was informed it is nothing big, the kidney one scares me a bit and I have been doing a lot of stuff to keep distracted, things that involved not writing my blog.   I know, it’s nothing big, but still…

Well, decided to update my blog after seeing an eye-opening comment on my Facebook page how a person was unfollowing me due to content that was not relevant!   I do apologize for that!   And now, I write something about tea as well as something related to health – what does tea do to cysts?

First, let’s start on the ovarian cyst.   For those that do not know, a cyst is a fluid-filled sac that sometimes forms.   According to my doctor, most women get them and do not even realize it.   They are normally seen through other scans.   If a cyst is bad, you can get some symptoms.   Mine, they are expecting to disappear on their own and I will be checked again to make sure.   Out of curiosity, I wanted to see if tea had anything to do with the cysts, or if I could drink a tea to help with them.

Please keep in mind, I am not a doctor, and I was looking this up for personal usage.   According to the LiveSTRONG website, two different teas are sometimes prescribed for those suffering from ovarian cysts – red clover tea and uterine herb tea.   Sometimes, herbal teas also make the cut.   Why red clover tea?   Apparently, red clover helps to balance the hormone levels, which might be a cause of ovarian cysts (thus why birth control is often another method of controlling cysts).   This might take 3-4 weeks until any noticeable results.   Being that the wait and watch approach is also used (as in my case) and I need to wait a month anyway, this is not necessarily a bad thing, though something to definitely take up with the doctor beforehand.

According to Natural Remedies and Cures, uterine herb tea contains cramp bark, motherwort, burdock root, rhizome of wild yam, ginger root, mullein leaves, cleavers leaves, and prickly ash bark.   Coming from someone who doesn’t know herbs all that well… what?   These ingredients, which can be found at a health food store, are used to clear the debris out of the uterus and help balance the hormones.   You can buy it either as a pill, or as the dry ingredients, and should only take as needed and in conjunction with your doctor.

Now, the one that scares me a little more – the kidney cyst.   The reason why this one is raising red flags is because my cyst is what is called a complex cyst, which can indicate kidney cancer.   I am trying not to jump to conclusions and have been sharing this with very few people, but am praying for my doctor’s appointment this Friday.   After all, everything on the internet creates cancer now-a-days, right?   According to PKD Clinic, green tea can help with kidney cysts due to the fact that there re so many vitamins and minerals contained within.   However, that being said, green tea also contains oxylates, which promote the growth of kidney stones.   And of course, herbal teas can help as well due to their many benefits.

So, that about sums up what is going on in my life and why I haven’t been able to write!   I am so sorry about that, and I do apologize for the less-than-substantive articles as of late on my Facebook page.   But know that this is getting worked through and, for the time being, things might be more me just posting general updates.   I am excited to list that I do have another tea review coming up, though, and I hope to do that sooner rather than later.

So in the meantime, happy sipping ❤

Exploring Purple Corn, Getting Lost in Peru, and Sampling Inca Tea™

Tea Love has two exciting announcements to make!  First, on Saturday, November 8th, I will be traveling down to Voorhees, NJ to the Camden County Library, 203 Laurel Rd, Voorhees, 08043, to explain the process behind a Japanese tea ceremony!  Of course, traditional matcha tea will be served.  And we have a special treat – author Ovidia Yu will be attending as well to talk about her book Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials.  Full of scandal, murder, and delicious traditional Singapore treats, Aunty Lee’s Deadly Specials is a must-read for those mystery lovers.  The event will start at 1:00 PM.  For more information, make sure to visit the Tea Love blog or check the Facebook page.

Second, a bit closer to home, you will start seeing a new brand of tea popping up in some stores near you.  Inca Tea is a privately owned company just starting to sprout up out of their home base in Cleveland, OH.  Founder and owner Ryan Florio first discovered the majesty of purple corn tea when he and his friends traveled to a Peruvian mountain trail for a whole ten days, led through the dangers by their guide, Edgar.

Prior to the hike, Florio had multiple health issues and was advised not to go.  “Of course, I went above and beyond my doctor’s wishes,” he said.  The first day out, Edgar decided to brew a cup of tea.  “is an old Incan tea.  Very good.  You must try,” Edgar said, brewing enough for the entire group.

Florio was struck by the deep red-purple color that the brew created and asked Edgar to brew a cuppa for each day of the hike.  “I felt physically awesome,” he said.  He eventually came back to the States, quit his job despite never having had coffee nor tea in his entire life prior to that trip, and started researching the tea, especially purple corn.

Purple corn has been studied extensively in the past 22 years and has shown great benefits.  It is chocked full of antioxidants, even more than blueberries and açai berries combined.  It is an anti-inflammatory, improves circulation, reduces cardiovascular disease, lowers blood pressure, and even aids in weight loss.  Florio trusted this drink so much, that he created an advisory board with a purple corn researcher on the team.

The tea, Florio explains is “based off of a thousand-year-old recipe.”  By September, loose teas should be served up along with the current four teas that are offered.

All teas are made with 100% biodegradable sachets and packaged in 100% recycled boxes.  Needless to say, this company is most certainly Mother Earth friendly.  The corn is also ground by hand, blended in Cleveland, bagged in Philly, and then Florio’s parents box it every night for sale.

Right now, Tea Love has four tea bags from Inca Teas, so I will be reviewing one bag of tea each month.

Yum!!!

Yum!!!

First, the Peruvian Spiced Berry.  Their main brew, it is based off of that ancient Inca recipe.  When you open the bag, the smell of the spices waft towards you, enticing you to take a sip.  The blend consists of hibiscus petals, elderberries, currants, purple corn, apple pieces, pineapple pieces, cinnamon, cloves and natural flavors.  It does not have a string on the bag, so you cannot really regulate the time as easily as pulling the bag out of your drink.  I just threw my bag into the water and sipped away.

The spices give a small bite to the drink, negating the sweetness of the fruit but in a positive way.  You can smell the cloves in particular when you smell the tea and the purple that is created is almost regal in appearance.  It is a nice, smooth tea, good for a late night of writing or just to drink to keep relaxed.

Interested in getting a box for yourself?  Order some at http://www.incatea.com/ or, if you live in the north New Jersey area, you can visit Bed, Bath, and Beyond in East Hanover or Woodbridge, where the drinks will be sold.

Next week?  Stay tuned for some Pick Me Up Peach.

Until next time!

Another Great Talk!

Hello Tea Love readers!   So, as many of you know, I just gave a Tea Love talk this past Wednesday and, my goodness, 63 people showed up to the Randolph Public Library to hear me speak!   That sort of outpouring of love and support was overwhelming!   I hope all the patrons enjoyed the talk as much as I enjoyed giving the talk 🙂   A special thanks to the Randolph Public Library for hosting me and a thank you to all who showed!

I got many questions while there and I figured I would address a few of them below.   Hope this helps you in your tea journey:

What are some different things you can do with used tea?

Compost, compost, compost.   Yes, this was my favorite answer for the talk.   I do enjoy helping the environment whenever I can and what better way than to using your tea to create something new?   Now, I have blogged about different uses for tea, including my oh-so-popular tea bag earrings, but there are many uses for tea.   For example, you can cut grease, hydrate your skin, help relieve those bags under your eyes, control odors, use it for cooking…   The possibilities are endless!   What are some of your favorite methods?

With all the scary news about different foods and everything in the news, how can you trust the tea that you buy?

That’s a tough one.   After all, we all want to ensure that our tea is of high quality and will not harm us in any way.   However, due to the ever-useful nature of tea, the FDA has trouble regulating it under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.   After all, tea can be used for cosmetics, health reasons, and as a delightful beverage.   How does one classify it?   Honestly, the best way to go about it is to just purchase tea from a trusted retailer.   You can find tea vendors who are members of The Tea Association of the U.S.A. or research your vendors before you buy.

What is bubble tea?

Bubble tea is amazingness wrapped in awesome wrapped in fantastic.   Bubble tea is a tea-based drink, invented in the 1980s in Taiwan.   The tea is often mixed with a fruit flavor or a milk with tapioca balls, known as pearls or bobas, added to it.   You are then usually given a large straw that can fit the bobas through in order to imbibe your drink of tastiness.   Bubble tea shops are starting to sprout up more and more.   Frozen yogurt restaurants are starting to sell them as well.   I definitely would recommend finding a bubble tea shop by you so you can sample some.

Can you decaffeinate tea by brewing it longer and dumping out the old tea?

According to “Caffeine and Tea: Myth ad Reality” by Nigel Melican, it’s sort of a yes and no.   It really all depends on how long you want to brew your tea.   A study published in Food Research International breaks it down by the numbers:

30 seconds: 9% caffeine removal
1 minute: 18% caffeine removal
2 minutes: 34% caffeine removal
3 minutes: 48% caffeine removal
4 minutes: 60% caffeine removal
5 minutes: 69% caffeine removal
10 minutes: 92% caffeine removal
15 minutes: 100% caffeine removal

So yes, you can remove the caffeine from a tea by brewing it.   However, it depends on how long.   If you want to remove all of it, you’ll need to go a full 15 minutes, which is possible, but if you are looking for a brew to bring with you to work, it isn’t the most appealing option.   However, it is more holistic than some decaffeination methods, which can include chemicals to remove the caffeine.   So, make sure you pick which option you are more comfortable with.

So, those are just a smattering of questions that I received at the Tea Love talk the other day.   Want to know the answer to a question?   Feel free to comment here or write it on my Facebook wall and I will do my best to get you an answer 🙂

Shedding Pounds With Green Tea?

People who know me know that I like my gym.   I might not get to go as often as I would like to, but when I do, I work out and I work out hard (and fun, usually doing something stupid like trying new machines and almost killing myself in the process).   I have been on a mission to lose weight for quite some time.   While working out this past week, a thought struck me.   Everyone always talks about losing weight with green tea.   While we all know how many snake oil products are out there, promoting their ability to help you shed the pounds in little to no time at all, I was curious if this one had any, well, weight to it.

So, curious, I turned to Facebook to ask for your opinion.   General consensus is that yes, it does help.

But Does It Really Help?

But Does It Really Help?

But, while it would be nice to take a Facebook poll and find out the secrets of the world, real life dictates you need to do your research to find out the truth, not just go by social media.

So, does it actually help?

I tried punching “green tea lose weight” into Google and came up with 22,300,000 results!   Articles ranged from WikiHow explaining how to drink tea (not necessarily green tea) to get a tiny waist, to Science Daily posting studies regarding weight loss and green tea.   Even popular website Calorie Count (of which I am a huge fan, especially for their yummy, healthy, low-fat recipes) chronicle how green tea has helped with weight loss.

There are lots of weight loss products that explain how they use the power of green tea to boost your metabolism and thus help you lose weight.   Again, a quick Google search pulled up 1,980 products in my area alone.   I think that I can go out on a limb and say that’s a lot!

Now, what do the heavier, scholarly articles say?

Well, we can’t make this easy, can we?

According to an article in Obesity: A Research Journal, a scientific study, funded by Novartis Consumer Health in Nyon, Switzerland, decided to look at 76 men and women who had BMIs ranging from 25 to 35 kg/m2, considered to be clinically obese.   The group was split where some received placebos and some received green tea pills.   From there, each division was then given a dose of low caffeine and high caffeine.   Those that had a lot of caffeine in the study seemed to have lost more weight!   However, if you do not drink a lot of caffeine, then green tea seems to help you with weight management, partially due to fat oxidation (breaking down fatty acids, which increases energy) and thermogenesis (generation of heat).

In the end, I would still always recommend exercise and eating well.   However, incorporating some tea will not hurt you in your weight loss journey and may even help out with your weight management, depending on your caffeine intake.

Drink tea, be happy, and maybe even have a happier waistline.

Tea Cleaning

Hello fellow tea sippers!   First, an apology.   I have not posted in quite some time!   One week, my friend was up from Bethlehem, PA so that we could see Taylor Swift in concert (AMAZING, by the way), then this week, my parents were away on vacation so I was keeping house.   This involved cooking and cleaning.   However, not just any cleaning.   I gave my parents a nice welcome-back with having the house practically sparkle, only relaxing last night when I got to brew myself around four cups of tea to unwind with some nice incense smoke whipping around the room to help me calm down after an active week.

Not only does tea help relax, it also helps clean!   Tea, with all its tannins, vitamins, and overall yummy goodness, helps to polish and shine.   Here are some great tea-cleaning ideas for the next time you decide to spruce up your living area:

Use tea on wooden floors to help give the floors a beautiful shine – If you have some black tea on hand, you can get your floors shining like new.   The tannins in the tea help bring out the natural shine of the wood.   Simply brew three or four tea bags in some boiling water and let it cool.   Mop the floor as normal and follow up with the black tea.

Need a wood polish?   Black tea can help – For the very same reason that black tea helps with wood floors, it can also help to polish wood.   Simply damp a rag with black tea and polish away.

Dust mites, yuck!   Clean them away with black tea – Take a spray bottle with black tea and spray away.   Not only will you have a nice smell of black tea permeating through your house, you’ll kill the dust mites in the process.

A clean throne is a happy throne – Sometimes, some toilet stains simply will not come out, no matter how hard you scrub.   Drop a few tea bags in and let them soak for a few hours before trying to clean again.

Get rid of that rust – Soak any rusty tools in a cold solution of black tea for at least an hour, and that rust should come right off.

What’s that smell?… – A smelly garbage is a nasty garbage!   Throw some green tea in to naturally deodorize your trash can.   A plus?   You have to drink the tea in order to get the leaves!   Don’t you love those little bonuses?

Got any more cleaning tips using tea?   Share them below!